Visiting Slough and Windsor – A City Guide
Slough and Windsor are only a couple of miles apart, but they're very different. Extensively rebuilt during the 20th century, Slough is a modern, culturally diverse community that takes full advantage of its proximity to London. In contrast, neighbouring Windsor, home of Britain's royal family, revels in history, heritage and pageantry.
Slough and Windsor: city layout
Around 20 miles west of London, Slough is less than 30 minutes from the capital by rail. The M4 motorway runs south of Slough, linking the town with London Heathrow Airport (LHR) in about 10–15 minutes. Slough Trading Estate, an extensive industrial and business complex, lies west of the town centre.
The Jubilee River, an artificial channel linked to the River Thames, curves around Slough's southern edge. On the northern bank of the Thames lies historic Eton, best known as the home of élite private school Eton College.
Across the Thames in Windsor, the mighty battlements and iconic Round Tower of riverside Windsor Castle dominate the town's cobbled streets and spacious Windsor Great Park.
Top attractions in Windsor
The attraction that draws most visitors to this part of the world is Windsor Castle, a residence of British royalty for more than 900 years.
Inside, you'll find opulent royal apartments designed for Charles II, a collection of paintings by old masters like Canaletto, Rubens and Rembrandt, and St. George's Chapel, last resting place of 10 monarchs, including Henry VIII and Charles I.
Marvel at the castle from afar at Windsor Great Park, where red and fallow deer roam freely among ancient oaks. Roses and waterlilies make colourful displays in the park's Savill and Valley gardens.
At the southwest corner of Windsor Great Park, set within immaculate landscaped grounds, Frogmore House is a royal retreat filled with antiques.
The serpentine River Thames is an attraction in its own right, offering a range of waterborne activities. If you're feeling energetic, you can rent a boat from Canoe and Kayak Tours to paddle along the gently flowing river. In a lazier mood, board a Thames cruiser for an unforgettable view of the castle.
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Hotels in Slough and Windsor
Hotels in Slough and Windsor offer guests the best of several worlds. Modern business hotels and no-frills accommodation in central Slough are within easy reach of London and Heathrow Airport (LHR) by road and rail.
The M4 motorway carries you to Heathrow in 10-15 minutes, and also connects with the M25 London orbital motorway. If you prefer to go by rail, central London is around 20 minutes from Slough.
For business travellers, Slough Trading Estate, north-west of the town centre, is the UK headquarters for IT and telecoms giants and other companies. For those planning a sightseeing trip, Windsor Castle is only a couple of miles away.
To stay within walking distance of the castle and other local attractions, the quaint streets of Windsor itself offer good-value, modern hotels.
Eating Out in Slough and Windsor
Thanks to Slough's large South Asian community, you'll find plenty of eateries in the town centre serving spicy dishes from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, as well as fast-food restaurants serving pizza, pasta and burgers.
These days, you're unlikely to encounter Windsor soup in local restaurants. Once a fixture on English menus – and reputedly a favourite of Queen Victoria – this meaty broth has fallen from fashion.
Instead, you'll find cutting-edge cuisine at Bray, a 20-minute cab ride from Slough. Thanks to a clique of celebrity chefs, this chic riverside village has become a foodie magnet.
There's no shortage of atmospheric inns in Windsor and along either bank of the River Thames, in spots like Eton and Datchet. Look out for ales from the Windsor & Eton Brewery to accompany a hearty Sunday roast or pub favourites like steak and ale pie and fish and chips.
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Shopping in Slough and Windsor
You can shop for all your everyday needs in Slough. If you’re looking for characterful stores or original souvenirs, you’re bound to find something you like in Eton or Windsor.
Browse more than 100 stores – including familiar names like Debenhams, H. Samuel and H&M – at Queensmere Observatory shopping centre in central Slough.
Within the Victorian railway station building opposite Windsor Castle, Windsor Royal Shopping houses upscale brands like Aquascutum, Jaeger and Whistles, as well as a daily arts and crafts market.
You'll find artisan jewellery and ceramics on Lower Peascod Street, Thames Street and High Street, bordering the castle in central Windsor.
Cross the river to Eton, by the arched Windsor Thames Bridge, to discover boutiques selling designer wear and accessories, plus independent shops specialising in antiques, vintage clothing, contemporary art and antiquarian books.
Royal souvenirs from Windsor
Culture & Nightlife in Slough and Windsor
The bright lights of London are temptingly close to Slough and Windsor, so many locals opt to head for the city for a big night out. Plenty of pubs and bars are dotted through central Slough, however, and Windsor offers a wide choice of venues for live music, theatre, cabaret and dancing.
The Wheatsheaf in central Slough entertains a loyal local following with free live music events and pub games like trivia quiz nights, darts and pool. The Henry VI, a popular pub in Eton, presents tribute and cover bands most Friday and Saturday nights.
If you're planning a special occasion with a group of friends, you can hire a party boat, complete with DJ, from French Brothers vessels for an evening disco cruise on the River Thames.
Drama and dancing in Windsor
Visiting Slough and Windsor with a Family
Family-friendly activities and attractions in and around Slough and Windsor range from royal castles and gardens with play spaces to theme parks with rides, slides and child-friendly eateries.
You can start a day's sightseeing with the Changing of the Guard, when red-coated soldiers march through town to take up their posts at Windsor Castle.
Inside the castle, a highlight for younger visitors is Queen Mary's Dolls' House, a miniature marvel filled with thousands of tiny treasures.
Windsor Castle also offers an activity trail and multimedia tours for families. Each Saturday, youngsters can enjoy history-themed storytelling and dress up in costumes from bygone times.
A carriage ride with Windsor Carriages or Ascot Carriages is a fun and effortless way of showing children the sights.
In summer, Windsor Great Park offers pretty spots for a family picnic, with plenty of green space where kids can romp.
There's more excitement for families at LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort, where you'll find more than 55 rides and attractions, plus scale models of world-famous landmarks like Buckingham Palace and the Eiffel Tower.
Family fun on the Thames