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London Excursion: Virginia Water & Windsor Great Park

London Excursion: Virginia Water & Windsor Great Park

Oct 22nd, 2009, 07:04 AM
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London Excursion: Virginia Water & Windsor Great Park

I recently took a day trip from London to Virginia Water and then a long long hike thru Windsor Great Park to Windsor and found it extremely enjoyable.

First i hopped on a train at London's Waterloo Station heading for Virginia Water Station, on the very south side of Windsor Great Park and likt train rides in the London area things are apt not to go smoothly. About 15 minutes out of Waterloo the train ground to a halt and sat for about 20 minutes before an announcement saying that on the train ahead of ours on the same track a staffer had been assaulted and we'd be underway shortly after police sorted the incident on the train ahead.

Ok about 15 minutes later our train was on the move. I had only vague ideas of what the Virginia Water area would be like - the town itself and coming out of the station there was a neat obviously upscale little shopping strip - no chippies here.

And then after looking at a posted map it seemed that hanging a left on the main road in front of the station the Victoria Water part of Windsor Great Park would be about a mile away.

And soon huge huge - for Europe really huge mansions appeared - one after the other - many behind gated surroundings in some kind of association - really really plush houses - i really have never seen such a collection of mansions in Europe before. Virginia Water has to be one of the wealthiest communities in the U.K.

Anyway the road did finally lead to a entry to Windsor Great Park and Virginia Water, an artificial lake dating from the mid 1700s and once used by royals and the wealthy as a pleasure grounds - with even a lavish royal barge once plying the lake and sundry follies dotting the shores, some of which are still left.

Sources below say the lake is the largest artifical body of water in the British Isle.

TBC - if anyone has any experiences at Virginia Water i'd be pleased as punch to hear them.

Next - A Walk Around Virginia Water.



The Royal Landscape - Windsor Great Park ... Varied and exotic woodland to explore around Virginia Water lake. ... Pumpkins in the Park - Competition ...
The Savill Garden - Visitor info - Events - Virginia Water
www.theroyallandscape.co.uk

The Savill Garden - Visitor info - Events - Virginia Water
www.theroyallandscape.co.uk/ - Cached - SimilarWindsor Great Park - Information and history by Thamesweb
Jump to Virginia Water‎: The beautiful Virginia Water, which is a large man-made lake, .... not only Virginia Water but the whole of Windsor Great Park. ...
www.thamesweb.co.uk/windsor/info/grtpk.html
Palenque is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2009, 07:10 AM
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Palneque writes: "TBC - if anyone has any experiences at Virginia Water i'd be pleased as punch to hear them."

My parents spent their brief honeymoon in a hotel there in 1944, avoiding the buzz bombs then striking London. My mother worked in Grosvenor Square, my father at Widewing in Bushey Park.
Ackislander is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2009, 07:19 AM
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Ackislander - interesting to note that in the links they say Virginia Water was drained during WW2 because the large body of water was so visible and thus an orientation thing i guess for Germans.
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Oct 22nd, 2009, 07:22 AM
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The gated community your passed is teh Wentworth estate, centred around the famous golf course, and home to golfing stars such as Ernie Els, plus show bizz stars too.
A school friend of mine lived there for many years. We had a few great parties there. Their house has now been knocked down and replaced by some mega mansion I believe.
Another schoolfriend lived in Virginia Water village. Also in a pretty chique house.
I used to love walking around VW and WGP when we lived near.
hetismij is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2009, 07:28 AM
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The only thing I know about Virginia Water is it used to be the home of Britain's biggest loony bin.
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Oct 22nd, 2009, 07:47 AM
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Now yet another gated community for the criminally rich

Fantastic building though.
hetismij is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2009, 07:57 AM
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IIRC, Bill Bryson got a job helping out in the mental hospital in his young days, and met his wife there (she was working as a nurse).
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Oct 22nd, 2009, 08:01 AM
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That's how I know this factette.
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Oct 22nd, 2009, 08:02 AM
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holloway_Sanatorium

Well i must have been overdoing the paint not to notice this imposing edifice which the Wiki entry says is right by Virginia Water Station. Reason to go back i guess just to see the re-development into luxury housing. thanks for mentioning it.
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Oct 23rd, 2009, 06:33 AM
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VIRGINIA WATER

Entering Windsor Great Park on the south entrance, off the main road from Virginia Water train station, you are faced with the artificial lake called Virginia Water, a lovely large impoundment of water ringed by nice trees - a really bucolic vision.
The Cascade, a pile of rocks that acts as a dam to create the lake, is right near the entrance and folks were scrambling all over it - it was a really warm sunny day for early February and the park here was a hubbub of mothers pushing baby prams around, joggers, strollers, etc. There is a large parking lot here for motorists.
A marker by the Cascade said that some decades ago a flood wiped out the cascade and many houses were ruined and there was some loss of life, if i remember correctly - seems strange that such a tranquil stream could turn into a torrent here.
I did not walk around the lake on the about 4.5 mile path as i intended to hoof it down thru Windsor Great Park all the way to Windsor Castle and Windsor town - several miles i estimated.
But i had heard about some Roman ruins that were moved here in the early 1800s, from Tripoli i think. At first glance i say none but hidden away in a cul de sac hemmed in by the roadway there was indeed partial remains of a Roman temple, which alas was roped off due to restoration works. But it was a unique site in this setting.
Now plodding on north towards Windsor i next encountered a tall colorful totem pole - a 100-foot-high gift from British Columbia, Canada, sources say.
Next i passed by the entrance to Saville Gardens, one of Britain's most famous collection of plants i understand, but i did not go in - days are short still in mid-winter and i trudged on - kind of flummoxed as to exactly how to go i emerged at a large - huge expanse of lawn that i now know to have been the Guards Polo Field.
But i could see no way to continue into Windsor Great Park from here so i retraced my steps to Saville Gardens and headed east, not at all sure i were going the right way but it did turn out to be right and after a half hour or so i finally came to the Long Walk, which stretches straight up from Windsor Castle thru the Great Park to an imposing Equestiran Statue of George III, depicted as a Roman Emperor.
The vista stretching downhill to the castle in the far distance was rivetting and i set the Castle in my sights.

TBC
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Oct 23rd, 2009, 10:33 PM
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It was a honeymoon. On my honeymoon, they might as well have drained the Atlantic!
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Oct 27th, 2009, 07:21 AM
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! Yup

Anyway walking down the Long Walk with Windsor Castle plopped on its hill at the end is mesmerizing and added to the unique venue are hundreds of small deer that are grazing all around - with the usual signs warning about rutting season and how they can become aggressive if approached.

Anyone visiting Windsor should consider taking at least a short stroll thru Windsor Great Park on the Long Walk just to catch the visage of the castle itself from a distance. And there are benches, etc. for a picnic, etc.
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Oct 29th, 2009, 10:42 PM
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Wow, we used to go there all the time when our children were young, lovely for a good walk and a picnic.

We sometimes parked in the parking lot off of the A30 but occasionally at the Savill garden entrance - especially if we met my Parents In Law who at the time lived in Windsor, a nice easy central point to meet, have a snack and they could wander around the gardens while we walked though to the Great Walk

Our favourite place to park though was between the 2 car parks above, you follow the signs from the A30 and you come to what looks like a dead end (the road curves to the right and takes you to Savill Gardens) - you had to park at the side of the road, since it was free it was a poplular spot.

We always took the kiddies bikes since cars (unless offical) aren't allowed in the park and there is a really low speed limit, so it was nice and safe - the best thing though that there was a pub on the corner

Tire the kids out on their bikes, pub grub for dinner and home for an early Saturday night - the kiddies, not us

I enjoyed going to see my Parents In Law and driving round the 'peanut roundabout' - any local knows this roundabout, just up from 'Tescos'.... aka Andrew and Sarah's pad but there is a property that had Llamas in their field and we always looked out for them

Thanks for the memories PalQ
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