Windsor, London, and The Royal Wedding

windsor london travel guide

When it was first announced that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle would marry in Windsor, my best friend Anna had an idea: we were going to go to Windsor for the Royal Wedding. At first, I thought she might be joking. But she was quite serious about her proposal.

Anna partly grew up in Windsor. I had heard her talk about her love for it many times, and it made me want to visit. Even though neither of us are super-fans of the Royal Family, The Royal Wedding seemed like a good enough reason to go.

Windsor houses

Tour the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world

The Windsor Castle is the main attraction of the town of Windsor. And because of the Royal Wedding, it was one of the few I was able to see while I was there.

Here’s the thing about Windsor Castle: the outside looks pretty spectacular, but the inside is mind-blowing (and unfortunately, they don’t let you take pictures inside). Each room is ornately designed and at least slightly gilded.

The State Apartments are where you’ll find the Royal Family’s collection. One room is filled with suits of armor and arms. The next is filled with a variety of chinaware featuring different patterns. The impressive collection of furniture, paintings, and sculptures is placed throughout the rooms without much flourish.

My favorite feature was Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House. Which you could probably guess based on my effusive recommendation of The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures in Kansas City. There were some royal-level miniatures.

Treat Yourself in London

The Parlour at Fortnum and Mason
The Parlour at Fortnum and Mason

If you’ve been to London before and have done all of the historical sites and museums, it takes a lot of the pressure off to see everything the city has to offer. My friend Anna used to live in London and I went for the first time last year, so we used our day-trips into London to relax…and treat ourselves.

  • An Actual Treat: After wandering into Fortnum & Mason to ogle the tea and baskets on display, we found ourselves upstairs in The Parlour, the store’s ice cream cafe. Build-Your-Own sundaes are definitely the way to go. You will not be disappointed. The Parlour also offers an afternoon tea (my favorite meal) if you want a less formal and cheaper option than their Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon.
Ice cream sundae at Fortnum and Mason
“Surprise me!”
  • Fine Leather Goods: Neither of us could resist getting a new bag from The Cambridge Satchel Company. Ok, we actually got matching bags.
  • A Stiff Drink: Anna introduced me to The Whisky Exchange in Covent Garden (she’s a big whisky fan). This store is like visiting a museum devoted to whiskys. On the bottom floor, you can look at the bottles behind glass that will cost you a couple thousand pounds. NBD. I indulged in buying tiny bottles of alcohol, which are both adorable and useful.
  • Take in Some Views: You can sip a Pimm’s on the Southbank and take in the sights of the London Eye and Westminster. Or you can wander through the National Gallery.

The Royal Wedding

The Two Brewers Windsor

The town of Windsor was decked out for the Royal Wedding. It started slowly at first. We went into town when we arrived that Wednesday and saw mostly journalists. The shops were ready, though. Every store had a congratulatory message for Harry and Meghan emblazoning the outside. There were cardboard cutouts of the couple galore.

Hats for the Royal Wedding in a local department store
Hats for the Royal Wedding in a local department store

The day before the event: The crowds seemed to appear out of nowhere. The Royalists had come out in full force and were now beginning to out-number the journalists. More people were beginning to camp out.

The night before: We set out our game plan—alarms at 5:30 and on the lawn before 7:00. One in our party went ahead and staked a claim on our part of the Long Walk around 5:00 AM. True dedication.

Only a few people showed up

My favorite thing about British celebrations? Pimm’s! Thankfully, the Long Walk was lined with Pimm’s tents and double-decker buses. If you’re wondering what Pimm’s is: it’s a gin-based drink, served with lemonade (which is entirely different in the UK, more like a fizzy, lemon-flavored soda) and fruit, cucumbers, and mint.

The Royal Wedding Procession

After a long day in the morning chill and the scorching afternoon sun, we saw the Procession. And I only had to elbow out a few pushy middle-aged British ladies to see it!

My friend Anna asked me after if I would recommend going to a Royal Wedding. And my answer is: Of course! There’s really nothing else like it. And now I think I’ll have to attend every major Royal Family event. Which do you think will be next? A coronation or a wedding?

This post is the fourth in my 12 Trips in 12 Months challenge. See my trips to Atlanta, Seattle, and Kansas City

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