Windsor part 2, wandering around Alexandra Gardens

Of course the main focus of Windsor has to be its royal heritage, especially as the castle can be seen from most of the town, (our header photo is taken from Baths island)

The castle from Windsor Central train station

The promenade along the Windsor side of the Thames is no different, the adjoining park is known as Alexandra Gardens, and honours King Edward VII’s wife queen Alexandra. At the end of the Queens Walk is the Jubilee fountain build to commemorate our Queens Diamond Jubilee,

The Jubilee Fountain

During the summer there’s usually music at the bandstand on a Sunday afternoon and we stumbled upon the rotary club summer fete. We won the “guess the weight of the cake” competition but sadly didn’t win the £400 prize duck race

Just be glad they dont have canada geese races

It seems that Windsor has a thing about Ducks as we also stumbled on this odd mode of transport

The Windsor Duck Bus

Or perhaps its not ducks but transport that floats their boat, as the elegant Windsor Royal (train) station has been transformed into a very upmarket shopping arcade, including a replica of Queen Victoria’s steam train that took her from London to Windsor.

The Queen

There is still a single track station in operation, which I took advantage of to make a flying trip back to Suffolk, whilst Eric was moored safely and you can see the castle from the train

The castle from the train

Windsor isn’t just about boats and trains. Windsor was home to Sir Sidney Camm who designed the Hawker Hurricane fighter plane in the 1930s. Its quite a shock to come round the corner and be confronted by a full scale hurricane in the park

The Hawker Hurricane

Camm’s love of planes and inspiration came when in 1911 Windsor received the first airmail post in the country


We found the aerial postbox in the Windsor museum but the other pillar boxes were around the streets of Windsor. Sadly I missed the blue box.

Just a few of Windsors post boxes


…but the river, mooring on the Eton side, is probably the best place to see the castle from elsewhere in the town. And there’s ample mooring on both the Windsor and Eton banks for just £10 for 24 hours, and on Baths island there’s even 4 electric charging points for an extra £5, which we made use of on our last night’s stay.

Moored at the electric charging point on Baths Island

Windsor is a fascinating place to visit as a boater, almost too overwhelming to do justice in a few day, and definitely too busy for our liking, though as visitors ourselves, we cant really complain. We were very lucky to have found our wild mooring so close to town, it was nice to retreat to tranquillity in the evenings

Tranquillity

And as a personal post script one of our friends who regularly reads our blog lost their beloved dog today, We hope doggy heaven is full of juicy bones and sniffy lamposts

In memory of Butch

Looks like Her Majesty’s at home, Windsor part 1, Eton

No wonder the tourists love visiting Windsor, everywhere you look there is history, pageantry and Britishness, which includes lots and lots of people and touts cashing in. But we were lucky enough to find a spot of unrestricted wild mooring, opposite the race course, just a 15 minute walk into town.

Wild mooring, opposite the Windsor racecourse.

At the weekends, Eton College opens it’s museums to the public, so as it was Sunday we walked up to the hallowed halls and enjoyed wondering what it would have been to have been educated in a place like this,

The back entrance


but as the Victorian Educator, William Johnson Cory who was an Eton Master expressed, its not so much about being educated, as being taught how to learn, and that was the vibe we picked up. It might seem like a privilege to be educated here, but oh boy we also got the impression that those boys work very very hard.

That’s a lot to live up to


Eton, itself is not just a school but an entire town. Eton being derived from the old English word, meaning “river town”, was a hamlet in 1066, built up by people maintaining the road and bridge from London to Windsor. It wasn’t until 1440 when Henry VI chose to build his new college here that the name Eton became synonymous with an elite education.

One of the main entrances


Nowadays most of the town’s businesses, are dedicated to supporting the schools infrastructure.

Tom Browns tailors

Eton was the first place in England to have a post office and this early Victorian post box shows why in the style of a doric column helps explain why they are called pillar boxes.

A proper pillar box, with a vertical letter slot


Whilst we were there, we saw the Queens Baton relay arrive, which has toured the commonwealth in anticipation of the commonwealth games being held in Birmingham later this summer.

Not quite as exciting as an olympic flame, but still a great honour and I’m sure Birmingham will do us proud

The baton was carried over the Windsor bridge which has been pedestrianised to link Windsor and Eton. We also crossed the river and continued to expore….

Windsor Bridge