Tourist attractions in the Capital and beyond have seen a massive surge in bookings this summer, with Windsor Castle reporting a 92 per cent increase in ticket sales following the Royal Wedding in May 2018.
This is according to online tour booking service Isango, which sells a range of tours around the historic castle, with many of its customers coming from all corners of the globe. Isango examined their booking data from 1,000 customers and found Windsor Castle to be their top attraction in the UK, followed by bus tours of central London, Northern Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway and boat cruises down the Thames.
Those visiting Windsor during the heatwave have opted to buy tickets for Windsor Castle as it offers a break from the heat, but also has beautiful gardens to explore in the sunshine.
The summer’s heatwave has resulted in a booming trade for many of London’s outdoor attractions this year, with general sales up 56 per cent, according to Isango.
Particularly popular this summer were attractions such as Hampton Court, London Zoo and Greenwich Park, which all reported increased ticket sales thanks to the warm weather.
Restaurants, bars, hotels and casinos in London’s West End have reported enjoying bumper summer, following a six-month period of depressed sales. The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions reported a 4 per cent increase in ticket sales this year so far, compared with last year, which was, itself, a record-breaking year for London tourism.
The newly titled Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expected to be moving to Windsor soon, to set up home at Adelaide Cottage in the grounds of Windsor’s Home Park.
Reportedly, the Queen has gifted the residence to the couple following their wedding at the Castle in May.
The house itself is a much-loved property that has an interesting history. It was first built in 1831 for the wife of King William IV, who was known as Queen Adelaide. The interior features some elaborate motifs, including gold dolphins, and there are also said to be Greek-style marble fireplaces within the cottage.
Queen Victoria would often take her breakfast or tea at the cottage, according to reports, while Princess Margaret’s lover, Peter Townsend, who she was apparently unable to marry due to Royal traditions and protocols, is another notable past-tenant.
The happy couple have been living in the grounds of Kensington Palace at Nottingham Cottage since their marriage, but are said to favour Windsor as a location. They are reported to like the idea of the privacy that Adelaide Cottage could offer them, while maintaining a level of proximity to London.
Newspapers claim that Harry and Meghan have already been to view the cottage and are excited to be making the move to Windsor very soon.
It’s that time of year again – children are jumping for joy and parents are reaching for the gin: it’s the summer holidays! Don’t worry though, we’ve got some great tips on how to keep the little ones entertained in and around Windsor this August.
Kids Cinema in Windsor
Windsor is once again home to a great cinema, thanks to the lovely folk at The Screen who have been putting on a great selection of films at the Old Court on St Leonard’s Rd since the beginning of July. With the school holidays in mind, they have three kids films showing in August so check out their website for times and how to book.
Liquid Leisure Aqua Park
Liquid Leisure has, once again, brought its epic inflatable assault course to the Thames at Datchet. For kids aged 6 and above, providing they can swim well, it’s a huge amount of fun. Tickets for a 50-minute session are £15 in advance and £20 walk-in.
Children’s theatre is a great way to introduce your kids to something a bit more cultural this summer and we are lucky enough to have a wonderful production of Julia Donaldson’s The Snail and the Whale playing at our very own Theatre Royal Windsor this summer. There are several performances between 13th and 15th August, but be sure to book soon as it’s bound to sell out.
Fierce Ladies and Naughty Knights at the Castle
Throughout the summer holidays, Windsor Castle is hosting some special activities aimed at children. The activities, which include art workshops, talks and dress-up sessions, are largely themed around knights and kids will get the chance to learn more about this fascinating side to Royal history.
Windsor Leisure Centre
During this long hot summer we’re enjoying, swimming is an extremely popular activity and the fantastic leisure pool at Windsor Leisure Centre is very busy during the holidays. However, with a little planning (like coming in the middle of day, around lunch time) it can be a little quieter. The flumes and wave machines will be running between 10am and 6pm every day during the holidays, but check the website for last-minute updates.
No summer in Windsor would be complete without a trip to Legoland now would it? There are always some great offers for buy-one-get-one-free tickets, which make a visit to the theme park slightly less damaging to the wallet. Also, for locals with an Advantage Card, entry is half price – another reason to get yourself down to the library or the leisure centre with proof of address.
This summer, Legoland is hosting a Summer of Fun beach party-style event complete with the UK’s largest water play structure and play beach, so be sure to bring towels and spare clothes for the little ones. The special summer events will take place every day until 2 September.
Windsor is set to host another Autumn of amazing cultural events during its annual Windsor Festival in September, and tickets are now on sale.
This year, the line-up is marking the centenaries of both the end of the First World War and of Women’s Suffrage. The exciting list of performances and speakers includes the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Orpheus Sinfonia, together with leading baritone Roderick Williams, who will be performing music commemorating the Great War.
A number of fascinating speakers will be coming to Windsor to share some insights about notable women from history. Jenni Murray will be sharing her thoughts on ‘A History of the World in 21 Women’, while Shami Chakrabarti is also appearing to talk about her book ‘Of Women: In the 21st Century’.
As well as giving locals and those visiting Windsor the chance to enjoy some cultural highlights this Autumn, the Windsor Festival also opens up some of the town’s most beautiful and historic buildings as venues. This year these include St George’s Chapel, Waterloo Chamber in Windsor Castle, Windsor Guildhall and Cumberland Lodge in the Great Park.
As well as the programme of music and talks, there will be a number of open houses featuring the work of local artists and craftspeople. Several other small exhibitions, as well as a community stage will also feature as part of the festival at the Old Court arts centre on St Leonard’s Rd.
The Macdonald Windsor Hotel, right across from the Castle, will be offering a special Festival Menu throughout the duration of the event from 16th September to 30th September.
A record number of foreign visitors holidayed in the UK last year, according to the latest figures just released by the Office for National Statistics.
The charms of the UK, together with the weaker Pound, attracted 39.2 million visitors from overseas in 2017, which is up an impressive 4 percent on the year before.
Towns like Windsor, which offer historical sites, as well as quintessential English charm, are forever popular with tourists from Europe, but also from further afield, such as China, America and Australia. In fact, the UK tourism organisation, VisitBritain, claims that visitor numbers from these countries were up last year. Of course, some of the visitors are staying in the UK on business and others are here visiting friends and family who live in the UK.
As for how much overseas visitors are spending once they are here … well that’s on the up as well. In 2017 it totalled £24.5bn, an astonishing 9 percent higher than in 2016. This illustrates the cheaper Pound’s powerful impact on spending.
Although London is still the top location for foreign visitors, they are spending billions in other UK destinations such as Windsor, Oxford, Edinburgh, the Lake District and the South West of England.
The long, hot summer we are enjoying is thought to be impacting the number of Brits going abroad for their holidays this year, with more than usual opting to stay put. There have been reports of massive discounts being offered on foreign package holidays as travel agents struggle to sell the deals that usually fly off the shelves.