Your group travel guide to Windsor’s historic houses and cruises
The Royal Wedding in Windsor certainly increased the exposure for the Royal Borough. It’s put Windsor and its many attractions at the very top of a ‘must see’ list. Val Baynton took a trip to the town to find out the latest ideas for group visits.The River Thames runs through Windsor and a selection of cruises linking Windsor to Runnymede and Maidenhead, and further downstream to Marlow and Hampton Court are available for groups from French Brothers.
The round trip cruise departing from Runnymede is very popular as it will take your group around three sides of Windsor Castle giving you unique views of this Royal home including the private royal garden. You may even see the Queen riding her horse along the river side!
The skippers of each boat are experts in the lore and wildlife of the river and will share their personal insights into what you can see as you enjoy your cruise. You will also be able to learn about commemorative sculptures relating to Magna Carta during the cruise.
The coach park at Runnymede is very close to the embarkation point so your members will not have far to walk and you are then well positioned to access other attractions for your day out such as The Savill Garden and Dorney Court.
French Brothers excel at helping GTOs plan their visit and the booking team aims to take all the stress away from the GTO so that the day out is as enjoyable for them as for their members.
Cruises can include lunch or traditional afternoon tea options and there is also flexibility in booking a combined package with another attraction ensuring the day works for your group.
Group bookings are for 20 plus passengers, but French Bros have a programme of special events for which there are no minimum numbers so ideal for smaller groups, and they can also help to ‘match’ small groups together.
Another cruise operator offering views of Windsor is Bateaux Windsor and this elegant dining cruise experience will take your group from Windsor towards Maidenhead and back passing iconic sites such as Windsor Castle, Windsor Racecourse and Eton College.
A number of options are available for groups of 21 or more including lunch and afternoon tea cruises and an audio commentary runs during the cruise to tell you about the history of the river.
Dorney Court is one of England’s most beautiful Tudor Manor Houses and has been owned by the Palmer family since the mid-16th century.
The current owners, James and Anna, live in the house with their young family and welcome visits by groups of 20 or more people, times can be arranged to suit.
Tours of the house led by expert guides take in its unique history as a family home and highlights include a huge stone pineapple – made to commemorate the first ever pineapple grown in England at Dorney Court – impressive linenfold panelling in the Great Hall, barrel vaulted ceilings and paintings of Seven Eminent Turks.
The house is popular with film and TV directors and it has appeared in Midsummer Murders, Miss Marple and Taboo, amongst many other TV productions.
Set amidst gardens, there’s also a church to visit, plus an onsite café and garden shop in the walled garden and a gardening courses and talks run throughout the year.
As an old building, Dorney Court does not have a lift to the upper floor but visitors can choose to sit and watch a pre recorded film revealing the upstairs rooms.
Meanwhile, just a little way from Windsor Castle is Frogmore House – a retreat used by Royalty for private entertaining for more than 300 years – and where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle held their evening reception following their wedding on 19th May. Frogmore House with its stunning interiors and gardens is only open to pre-booked groups in August each year.
windsor.gov.uk +44 (0)1753 743900