Day 1: Absorb the History
Start early, and head straight for Her Majesty’s weekend home (the Royal Standard will be flying if she’s in residence). Windsor Castle’s walls guard the glorious State Apartments, the Drawings Gallery, Queen Mary’s Dolls House and St George’s Chapel; in winter, the five Semi-State Rooms are also open. Admission includes a guided tour of the Precinct and an audio tour. The best views over the surrounding countryside are from the north terrace.
A visit to the castle takes two to three hours. Keep an eye on the time if you want to catch the Changing the Guard (11am Mon-Sat, April-July; alternate days the rest of the year).
Next door to the castle is the elegant, Grade Misted Guildhall. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1690, it has hosted the marriage of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles. It’s also home to the Windsor & Royal Borough Museum. From the Guildhall, head back past the castle gates and Queen Vic’s statue to follow the road down to the Thames. Cross the footbridge into Eton to visit the prestigious college, where 19 prime ministers and many young royals have studied. Guided tours run on certain dates, Mar-Oct.
Cross back over the bridge to finish with a meal at Bel & The Dragon, which has been an inn since the 11th century.