The remains of an ancient royal hunting forest, this park stretches for some 5,000 acres south of Windsor Castle. Much of it is open to the public and can be explored by car or on foot. Its chief attractions are clustered around the southeastern section, known (or at least marketed) as the Royal Landscape. These include Virginia Water, a 2-mile-long lake that forms the park's main geographical focal point. More than anything, however, the Royal Landscape is defined by its two beautiful gardens. Valley Gardens, located on the north shore of Virginia Water, is particularly vibrant in April and May, when the dazzling multicolored azaleas are in full bloom.
If you're feeling fit, the romantic Long Walk is one of England's most photographed footpaths—the 3-mile-long route, designed by Charles II, starts in the Great Park and leads all the way to Windsor Castle.
Divided from the Great Park by the busy A308 highway, the smaller Windsor Home Park, on the eastern side of Windsor
Castle, is the private property of the Royal Family. It contains Frogmore House, a lavish royal residence. Completed in 1684, Frogmore was bought by George III as a gift for his wife, Queen Charlotte. The sprawling white mansion later became a beloved retreat of Queen Victoria. Today it's mainly used for official functions, but you can visit by guided tour (£9.80) on a handful of days in July and August; see www.royalcollection.org.uk, or call 020/7766–7321 for more information.