A Walk Around Windsor

Empty afternoons with A sometimes loom ahead ominously, begging to be filled with activities and play dates; but sometimes it’s nice to take time touristing in our own town. If you’ve been to Windsor you’ve probably been spat from the castle gates into the glaring slope of chain restaurants and tourist tat outside, but our home town has lots of other hidden treats in corners we forget to see as we busy about our daily lives. Here are some of the corners A and I have noticed:

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Whilst the pastel-painted buildings of Castle Hill are spoiled by high-street frontages, the ones on Guildhall Island retain a little quirk and dinge. The leaning frames of buildings alternate with proper boozers aside the cobbles (which are best taken at a run with a buggy – clack-clack-clack-clack).

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There is of course the castle, but the corners and turrets, as well as the paintbox-pink gatehouses, that house the staff of the royal estate are somehow more quaint and mysterious. The back entrances where mysterious Land Rovers come and go from fascinate  me. We also have an astonishingly good collection of historic post boxes!

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The castle gives way to the endless carpet of green that is the Great Park – stretching further than the eye can see to farmland, villages, lakes, polo grounds, monuments and private estate. Best enjoyed at the late-afternoon golden hour when the shadows are long, or early in the morning when you can spy grazing deer between greeting fellow joggers.

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Whilst tourists congregate at the top of town to watch the guard-change ceremony, on weekdays at the barracks soldiers march up the hill largely unobserved except for a handful of parents with toddlers clapping along. Some days to brass instruments, other times pipers – around 10.45 you can hear them warming up with the Grandstand theme tune.

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The end of town we call home is our favourite part – the snooty florist with gorgeous window displays, the mouthwatering smell of cinnamon from the German bakery and the bright fishmonger’s display merge into a patchwork of Victorian terraces and worker’s cottages in various stages of renovation, renewal and rental. Beer is still delivered from the brewery by horse and cart whilst commuter cars fight for kerb-side parking and children race parents on scooters to pre-school.

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