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Windsor Castle from London - train or bus tour?

Windsor Castle from London - train or bus tour?

Aug 8th, 2006, 06:39 PM
  #1  
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Windsor Castle from London - train or bus tour?

I need help for my sister's Aug. 24 trip to London. It is the first time out of the country for her and DH. Any advice would be very much appreciated.

We will be in London for a week and we want to visit Windsor Castle. I am 60 and DH is 72. Would it be best for us to take a train? Would we have to change trains and how long would the trip from London be? We are staying near the London Eye, Waterloo Station. OR would it be best to take a bus tour by Golden Tours from London. It is a private tour of Windsor Castle and Frogmore House.

Thanks for all your help. Sebina
sebinah is offline  
Aug 8th, 2006, 06:49 PM
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My first time to London was in 2002. I took my 15-yr old daughter. We easily took the train to Windsor on our own. I had purchase London Days Out passes before we left, so we were good to go. We just had to get our passes validated at the train station.

With a little help from some people on the train platforms we were able to find the correct train & car for our trip. We also went to Dover with the same passes (2 Days out in 8).

I will be doing the same thing with my husband this year...we leave on Augsust 24th too! We are going to Cambridge & Portsmouth with our passes.

The train in Windsor drops you off very close to the castle. You can also walk to Eton and tour the school on the same trip. Windsor is a lovely town. I would hate to be rushed by tour group.
travelinsue is offline  
Aug 8th, 2006, 06:51 PM
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A bus tour isn't necessary. It would cost a lot more and you wouldn't have any flexibility. But if it is a small group (private) including Frogmore House, it might be a good option.

There are two different trains to Windsor: Waterloo to Windsor/Eton Riverside, or Paddington to Windsor/Eton Central.

It is really 6 of one, half dozen of the other which route is better. The Waterloo train is direct w/o changing but th eRiverside station is a bit farther from teh Castle. The Paddington train has a change in Slough, but Central station is closer to the castle.

Since you are staying near Waterloo, that is the train I'd take.
janisj is online now  
Aug 8th, 2006, 06:53 PM
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Just to clarify - I'd prefer doing it on my own. But if any of you have mobility issues a very small group tour would be OK. Just avoid those large coach tours.
janisj is online now  
Aug 8th, 2006, 06:57 PM
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We just returned from London with our DD (17) and DS (12), and we took the train from Waterloo to Windsor. A word of caution - we had London Pass travelcards and thought they were valid for the trip to Windsor. A train conductor checked them on the way there and made no comment, but a different man checked them on the way back and told us they weren't valid that far out. (Apparently we were farther out at the time of checking on the return trip.) Fortunately, he took a credit card right then and there, and we had to buy additional tickets. I got the impression that perhaps the trip from Paddington might be covered? Moral of the story, be sure of what you need before you make the journey.
edgecorp is offline  
Aug 8th, 2006, 07:13 PM
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edgecorp: The transport portion of the LondonPass only covers TFL (tube/buses/trains w/i zone 6/DLR. Basically, London Transport. They do not cover any out of town trains - and Windsor is definitely out of town. You lucked out not having to pay on the way out too.

For others reading this thread - It is debatable whether the LondonPass is a deal or not (most folks say "not") - but the transport portion is definitely not a good deal. You'll get more and cheaper options once you are in London.
janisj is online now  
Aug 8th, 2006, 08:41 PM
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Trains from Paddington with the change at Slough get you to Windsor faster than the ones from Waterloo. According to the National Rail site the trip through Slough can take as few as 24 minutes whereas from Waterloo it takes almost an hour.

It is hard to get lost during the Slough transfer even though you usually have to change platforms (up one flight of stairs and down another) since there are signs saying "Windsor Train" with an arrow that are HARD to miss.

When you arrive in Windsor you'll be basically across the street from the castle entrance.
Dukey is offline  
Aug 8th, 2006, 09:38 PM
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The only problem is the OP is staying near Waterloo. It could take them 20 minutes or more to travel across to Paddington.

I agree, if one is staying anywhere near or north of the park then Paddington makes more sense. But for someone staying near Waterloo - not so much.
janisj is online now  
Aug 8th, 2006, 10:52 PM
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Londonpass tickets are valid on Thames Trains services to/from Windsor.

Whether Londonpass is worth it is another question
alanRow is offline  
Aug 9th, 2006, 01:08 AM
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I took a bus tour and really regretted as the town is really sweet and the tour gave you just enough time to run around Windsor, take some photos and then hop back on to return to London. When I saw that the train station was right at the foot of the Castle, I was sorely tempted to bag the return trip by bus and stay and visit the little town and have lunch there. If I ever did it again, I would go on my own.
beaupeep is offline  
Aug 9th, 2006, 01:17 AM
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It won't affect the OP's trip, but those planning a trip to Windsor via Paddington/Slough later this year should be advised that there are plans to cut back the number of trains between Slough and Windsor. Residents are protesting the planned changes so perhaps they won't go through, but overall, we believe that it's better to go to Windsor via Waterloo if possible. The trains are newer and cleaner than on the Paddington route and there are train staff on board. Also, as a frequent user of the FGW Link trains serving that route, I'd say that giving 24 minutes for the journey between Paddington and Windsor is...optimistic.

As noted previously, if there are mobility issues you might prefer the bus. What is Golden Tours charging for the trip? If mobility isn't an issue, then suggest you go on your own, departing from Waterloo.
BTilke is offline  
Aug 9th, 2006, 01:20 AM
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BTilke...didn't you recently have some sort of "unpleasant" experience on a train out of Paddington? Something about some of the other passengers aboard?
Dukey is offline  
Aug 9th, 2006, 01:27 AM
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Well, there have been a few incidents, unfortunately that train route tends to attract some less than desirable customers, particularly on late night trains. It's also VERY crowded on rush hour trains (I mean standing room only), that route is more likely than not to have no or minimal airco, you almost never see staff checking tickets (which means this is the last route one should every buy first class tickets for because first class is often occupied by obnoxious young louts), and the trains are often full of litter (more as the day goes on). The Waterloo to Windsor line, in contrast, uses new, clean trains with airco and on-board staff who check tickets.
Note: on the Waterloo to Windsor route, they don't actually sell first class tickets but they are still using some first class cars. So feel free to sit in first, it's perfectly legit. My husband usually does this on the nights he comes home from Brussels (at least, there are no first class tickets for the trains he takes, maybe there are for others).
BTilke is offline  
Aug 9th, 2006, 01:31 AM
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hi there, I work at the castle (you may see me)

since youre staying in Waterloo id advise taking the Waterloo line. It's slower but travelling across London to take the quicker Paddington line would defeat the purpose, plus there's no need to change. Also by using the SouthWest Trains line you can purchase discounted Windsor Castle tickets at Waterloo station itself - ask for them when you are buying your train tickets and they'll issue you with another set of tickets (printed with "Windsor Castle Not For Travel" as a destination). You'll need to exchange these tickets at the Castle Ticket Office (and may be able to jump the queues too).
Remember to ask for senior rate and whatever you do, don't believe train staff if they tell you these discounted tickets can be obtained when you reach the castle itself - they can't.

btw Windsor Castle can take up a good part of the day so come early, especially if Frogmore House is open too (Bank Holiday August only). Last entry is at 4pm summertime and 3pm wintertime.
zupermaus is offline  
Aug 9th, 2006, 04:31 AM
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Zupermas:

We will be visiting in late Nov/early December?

Anything special going on for the holidays?

Thanks!
Katie7 is offline  
Aug 9th, 2006, 04:43 AM
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Sounds to me like the way to go is from Waterloo given all the comments above.
Dukey is offline  
Aug 9th, 2006, 07:35 AM
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Thanks to all you Fodorites. This will be very helpful to my sister. Sounds like taking the train from Waterloo (very near where they are staying) is not too difficult and gives them the most flexibility. They are taking a bus tour both to P.D. Gravesite and to Normandy from Paris, so the train sounds great. Thanks again for all your help.

Sebina
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Aug 9th, 2006, 10:50 AM
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Katie 7, yes, during winter months its alot less crowded for one and they'll have opened the Semi-State Rooms, 2 extra rooms lavishly upholstered, one in crimson and one in green. Also they currently will have the Queens photographs exhibition on, a small exhibition on the Queens 80 years including family and holiday snapshots - very rare, and your one and only chance to see them. I think the East Terrace will also be open, basically a small promintory where you can see over the Queens private formal garden laid out in French style. Undisclosed, but this promontory, if you have the chance to be standing on it, is actually the roof of the queens hidden swimming pool.

-Remember every Sunday St George's Chapel is closed (and the price stays the same) except to worshippers for the Sermon at 10.45am and the Sung Eucharist at 11.45am.
Every day there is an Evensong with the choirboys from the local St George's school at 5.10pm (after the Castle has closed). You wait at the exit gate from 5pm and the police reopen the doors and shuttle you in.
zupermaus is offline  
Aug 10th, 2006, 04:18 AM
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Zupermaus:

Thanks for the info. Looking forward to our visit!

Katie
Katie7 is offline  
Aug 10th, 2006, 01:32 PM
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hope you enjoy it . One last thing, things can change at short notice i.e. weddings closing the chapel or the State Apts being used/ cleaned so do check with the Ticket Sales and Information Office in the Buckingham Palace HQ before you come. Their number is: 0207 7667300

Alternatively the official website (there are hundreds of unoffcial ones and they oft give out the wrong info) is accessed via www.royalgov.uk
zupermaus is offline  
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