Windsor Olympic Base
As the Olympics in London approaches so does the decision of where to stay for the global event.
London itself is filling up nicely and a chance to stay a short distance from the capital is certainly a pretty good option to think about?
A town with some very British connections only a short train ride away from London sitting at the side of the River Thames, one side is Eton the home of the famous school and the other side Windsor home to the Windsor’s in their magnificent castle.
After all it is the Monarch’s choice too! How about that for a pretty good recommendation to start with?
Linked to London not by one but two rail connections, getting there is oh so simple.
A journey time of around 55 minutes from Windsor Riverside with trains about every 30 minutes to Waterloo. With an ideal connection to the Jubilee Line underground service direct to Stratford the location of the Olympic stadium. The faster journey to London Paddington is 40 minutes from Windsor Central but it does require a change at Slough train frequency varies from 15 minutes to 30 minutes.Windsor itself is almost an Olympic venue as Dorney Lake is the venue for the Rowing and Kayak events in the Olympic and Paralympic Games just over the county border in Buckinghamshire.
A perfect choice of a place to stay could well be the Macdonald Windsor Hotel located outside the castle walls, itself a few minutes walk to both stations and puts it in a prime position in the Royal town.
With its very contemporary styling the hotel offers a peaceful and sumptuous place to retire to after the excitement of and bustle of life in London, if Windsor is good enough for the Queen as a refuge then who are we to argue?
With a host of very attentive and friendly staff you will certainly find the hotel a comfortable place to unwind in. Its grey and purple coloured tones work well and is the theme colour for all the rooms.
Bearing a very Scottish name the hotel reflects that heritage very much in its catering department as many of the food items have their roots fixed firmly North of the border. The menu does feature some very classic Scottish ingrediants, smoked salmon and kippers along with a range of aged prime steaks from fillets to T bones and a delicious black pudding that comes from even further North and West from the Isle of Lewis.
Dining in the relaxing surroundings of Caleys restuarant at the rear of the hotel the ever friendly staff will engage with you in meaningful, and genuine conversation.I did wonder if it was a staff policy and was warmed to notice a prolonged conversation with one family group about a whole range of things as well as the menu. It was interesting to see, rather than the clipped corporate speak you often get at some hotels.
Located in the main street near to the castle you could walk past the front entrance without noticing it that much. However step inside into a subdued but very comfortable seating, lounge and reception area. The main bar and Caleys restaurant completes the ground floor. Car parking managed very efficiently with valet parking taking your car to a secure underground facility.
Taking time out from the sporting events in London there is quite a lot to see and do in and around Windsor. The castle is very much a first choice for most visitors, at most times of the day you are certain to see a real throng of tourists coming and going around its entrance.
A less busy area and a chance to see around one of the country’s oldest schools at Eton just across the river from Windsor makes for a quieter break. For some six centuries the school has been educating the more privileged boys of the nation. The current British Prime Minister for example was a pupil at the school. The area around the school is full of small shops and cafes some of which are aimed at the pupils themselves, with outfitters to sell them their unique starched collar style uniforms or perhaps some hunting, fishing or country pursuits outfits for their school holidays.
The river itself is a very pleasant way to spend and hour or two, a walk along the banks or ride on a number of tourist boats that operate near to the bridge. A drive to nearby Henley-on-Thames famed for its annual rowing regatta is a fairly short distance away or it is possible to hire your own river cruiser and take to the Thames at your own pace. For around £130 with a £150 deposit you could be your own captain for the day with instruction given by the boat owners if you have not been afloat before.
Legoland theme park has been a major draw for years more targeted at families but perhaps a chance to revisit some childhood memories. Shopping is on the doorstep with the former royal station now a shopping and café area.
Making Windsor a base for the up and coming Olympics or indeed an out of London base at anytime of year is a very good choice. The hotel will makes a perfect riverside retreat, royalty you may not be but you may feel a little that way after a stay there, I know I did!