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Some of the things to see and do in Windsor

PUBLISHED: 06:04 05 December 2019

Windsor, Berkshire, England, UK - October 15, 2018: Windsor Castle exterior

Windsor, Berkshire, England, UK - October 15, 2018: Windsor Castle exterior

Archant

Celebrities including Elton John and Brian May have made their home in Windsor, but what is it that attracts them to the town?

Windsor, England - June 09, 2017: Changing guard ceremony in Windsor Castle, country house queen of EnglandWindsor, England - June 09, 2017: Changing guard ceremony in Windsor Castle, country house queen of England

The 'real' home of the Queen, Windsor and its famous castle welcomes over seven million visitors every year. With its fascinating history, Royal connections, stunning parks and collection of shops, whether you live here or are simply stopping by for the day, there's something for everyone.

The castle is the star attraction and is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world, and has been home to 30 monarchs. Founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, there's 1,000 years of history to uncover beginning with the State Apartments and, of course, St George's Chapel, where Harry and Meghan tied the knot. There are other special houses too, including the Grade I-listed stately home Dorney Court and Frogmore House. The latter is only open three days of the year in June.

The Changing the Guard is one of the highlights of a visit to Windsor. The guards march from Victoria Barracks on Sheet Street, up the High Street and into Windsor Castle. The best places to see them are on Windsor High Street or on the Corn Exchange under the Windsor Guildhall. If you want to see the actual 'changing' ceremony you need to buy a Windsor Castle ticket.

The ceremony itself takes place in the Lower Ward of the castle, outside the Guardroom, except during Easter Court when the change takes place in the Quadrangle. It takes 10 minutes to watch the guards march up the High Street, and the actual ceremony inside the castle lasts about 30 minutes. The Guard March takes place all year round, dependant on the weather. Check the Household Division website for the Windsor Changing of the Guard schedule (changing-guard.com).

Away from the hustle and bustle of the castle is Windsor Great Park. Covering 4,800 acres, it was once a popular hunting spot for past kings. With luck, you will spot some of the 500 free-roaming red deer as you meander along any of the many walking tracks.

It was Queen Victoria and Prince Albert who introduced many of the Christmas traditions we know today, such as indoor decorated trees. You can pick up 
a real tree in Windsor Park ready for this festive season. The town goes all out for Christmas, including festive race meetings and outdoor ice-skating (from 16 November), the reindeer parade (7 December) and Carols on Windsor Hill (13 December). Whether you love Christmas or not, a trip to Windsor will soon have you full of festive cheer.

He's behind you!

We all love a good pantomime and November hails the start of panto season in Windsor. Take the whole family to see the Theatre Royal Windsor's magical tale of Aladdin, on stage from 29 November to 5 January. This year, The Real Marigold Hotel and Just Good Friends star Paul Nicholas plays the evil Abanazar alongside musical legend and actress Marti Webb as Empress Huawei. Joining Paul and Marti are Windsor's favourite, calamitous, comedy duo, Kevin Cruise (Wishee Washee) and Steven Blakeley (Widow Twankey), who are celebrating their 10th year in panto together at the Theatre Royal. Also returning is the little fox with the big laugh, Basil Brush. With an ensemble of fantastic dancers, stunning sets and costumes, a fabulous live band and a sprinkle of Windsor's traditional panto magic, Aladdin is shaping up to be Windsor's best panto yet.

Tickets cost from £17. Book at theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk

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