Take a few days in the charming riverside town of Windsor. Just a short commute from London, it’s been the backdrop for many major events; the weddings of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as well as the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, took place in its centre. The Royal Castle is a clear attraction for visitors – it’s the oldest inhabited one in the world and is partly open to the public. Legoland too is a wonderful day out for little (and big) kids, as is a Thames’ boat trip, and there’s a beautiful, historic theatre hosting super touring productions.
Stay on this impressive Tudor estate on the outskirts of the town. The 50 acres of grounds alone are a sight to behold; they contain a sundial presented to Great Fosters by Sir Francis Drake, topiaries, terraces, a florally decorated Japanese bridge that crosses over a moat, a fountain, tennis courts and a heated outdoor pool. Once inside, you’ll find two restaurants, the Michelin starred Tony Parkin at The Tudor Room and the two AA rosette awarded The Estate Grill. The hotel has brought together several buildings, the oldest thought to be a Royal hunting lodge dating back to 1550.
Found a little further afield in Sunningdale, near Ascot, Coworth Park is part of the Dorchester Collection. It’s more like a resort than a hotel, with an eco-friendly spa, a pool with underwater music, tennis courts, an equestrian centre and Guards Polo Academy, three restaurants (one of which has a Michelin star) and a library, as well as acres of land to roam. Yet with just 70 rooms it retains a sense of intimacy. Each has its own minibar, Nespresso machine, Mitchell and Peach bath products and a Bang + Olufsen TV, while some suites offer freestanding copper coloured tubs, four-poster beds and garden views.
Fairmont Windsor Park
Conveniently located on the edge of the stunning Windsor Great Park, this hotel provides a very green outlook. Sitting beside a lake and landscaped gardens it’s a serene setting, but with ample onsite facilities. There are more than 200 large bedrooms and multiple places to eat and drink: the 1215 Restaurant, the 1215 Bar, the Orchid Tea Room, MOREISH Restaurant, The Library Club, Schroders’ Botanicals Bar and Greens Cafe. A spa and wellness area offers group classes and advanced treatments such as cryotherapy, dry flotation and nutritional therapy. Book the luxury two-bedroom corner suite for your own in-room private cocktail bar.
The Runnymede on Thames Hotel and Spa
Found right on the riverbank, this four-star hotel provides direct access to some water-based recreation in the form of its own hire boats. In the summertime, the outdoor terrace becomes an open-air cinema, as well as a place to eat and drink. Very family (and dog) friendly, the hotel has a games room with a PS4 and Xbox, table tennis, a playground and an indoor pool for kids. There’s also an outdoor pool area with sun loungers, a hot tub, and a Guinot crown elite spa. A river theme runs throughout The Runnymede, in the decor and its aptly named Leftbank restaurant (boasting a theatre-style kitchen and Japanese robata-style grill) and the Lock Bar restaurant.