Back in July 2013, I came to Windsor for a job interview. Coming from Hungary and having lived only in London, I hadn’t heard of Windsor before so I did some internet research about the town prior to the big day. I read about the attractions, the restaurants, the social life, the transport and from every angle Windsor seemed a great place to live. However, back then I was more worried about getting the job and not so much about the town. So when I got off the train at Central Station on the day of the interview, my thoughts were focussed around the upcoming questions and I wasn’t thinking about the town too much. And yet as I stepped off the train I was amazed.
“How can a train station be so charming? And if the train station is so lovely what should I expect from the town?”
As I left the station I was impressed by Windsor Castle, the charming cobbled streets and shops, by the happy, relaxed people all around me. I loved every little detail: the River Thames, the Windsor Bridge, Peascod Street, the narrow alleyways and Alexandra Gardens. I had a feeling that I had found the perfect place to live! I was so surprised I couldn’t read the map properly (most unlike me) so I had to ask for help to find the way to my interview at Alma House.
Luckily for me it went really well and I was offered the job and asked to move in on the same day. Since then I have learnt more about the town and I still think Windsor is the greatest place to live.
It was love at first sight!
My role at at the company is very varied; I do a fair bit of cleaning of really fantastic apartments as well as maintenance jobs and looking after guests if they need anything out of office hours. This means I work closely with all of my colleagues from Housekeeping, Maintenance and in the Office too, not just from one Department. The most exciting parts of my job are that I always can improve my English, learn something new and meet new people every day. I love to chat with guests about their travelling, impressions of Windsor or our Bed & Breakfast. A fresh pair of eyes is always helpful and it’s great to share stories and places to visit in this wonderful town.
Days out and weekends away can be expensive, especially with the kids in tow, so we thought we’d have a look at how much you can do in Windsor for FREE.
1. THE CHANGING OF THE GUARD
Position yourself on the High Street at 10.50am on selected days of the week to watch the Guards as they march past on their way to the Castle. The march lasts around 20 minutes and is heralded by the accompanying band.
2. THE LONG WALK TO THE COPPER HORSE
The straight path which links Windsor Castle and Snow Hill in Windsor Great Park is known as the Long Walk and is 2.64 miles in length. Lined with elm trees, this walk is stunning in all seasons and as a result very popular. You will often see couples enjoying a romantic stroll, families playing with their children and people walking their dogs.
3. ROYAL WINDSOR (WINDOW) SHOPPING
The Royal Windsor shopping area is largely covered and built on the site of the 100 year old railway station right in the centre of town. It boasts an array of top retail brands and chic cafes for a great combination of shopping and relaxing. You can plan what to buy after pay day!
4. VISIT ST JOHN’S CHURCH
St. Johns Parish Church is located in the centre of town just along the High Street from the castle. Built in a medieval style in 1822 this grand church contains the Royal Borough’s war memorial to the fallen soldiers of the Second World War and a spectacular painting of the Last Supper.
5. FEED THE SWANS
Feeding the swans is an activity which can be enjoyed by people of all ages and there is certainly no lack of swans to feed at Windsor Bridge. You can either bring your own leftover bread or purchase a bag of swan feed from the food stall located near the Bridge.
Eton High Street offers a range of galleries, boutiques and antique shops which are great for a gentle browse. Once you cross over the Barnes Pool Bridge you are within the boundaries of Eton College so continue on to see the most prestigious school in the country.
7. EXPLORE WINDSOR GREAT PARK
This beautiful and vast open space provides the perfect setting for picnics, ball games, kite flying and cycling- you can bring your dog too.
8. ALEXANDRA GARDENS
Take a picnic along to Alexandra Gardens where you can relax in a beautiful setting with a perfect view of the castle, kick-back and enjoy the Windsor Wheel gently revolving in the summer season or watch the ice-skaters throughout the winter months.
9. WALK ALONG THE WINDSOR TRAIL
Enjoy an easy stroll along the River Thames Path in either direction from the Castle to see some wonderful countryside and historic locks and towns. Walking from Windsor to Old Windsor offers wonderful views of the Castle and provides the opportunity to explore Datchet on the way. Keep going past Old Windsor to Runnymede to see where King John signed the Magna Carta in 1215.
10. WINDSOR CASTLE
Residents of Windsor can enjoy unlimited free entry to Windsor Castle with their Advantage Cards. Non-residents who don’t want to pay to enter can still enjoy walking around the outside of the Castle where it meets the High Street with lots of lovely photo opportunities.
With the end of my degree looming and the promise of final year exams soon to be over I decided it was probably a good time to start thinking about life after university; or as we like to call it the real world. Luckily I stumbled across a job advert on Facebook of all places. This advert stated that Accommodation Windsor Limited was looking for an Office Junior to help with administration, marketing, accounts, sales and much more besides. I thought what a great opportunity that would be to try my hand at a bit of everything. So I responded with my CV attached and waited patiently, but not altogether optimistically!
I didnt have to wait very long, the next day I received a call asking if I would be interested in having a phone interview for the position, which of course I was. Fifteen minutes later, the friendly woman on the other end of the phone told me that she thought it had gone really well and I would hear shortly about having an interview in person. A week later I was in the office of Accommodation Windsor for an interview, which was (to my relief!) very relaxed and informal and 2 weeks later I began working as an Office Junior.
When people ask me what Im doing now Ive finished my degree they usually expect me to say either one of 2 things, looking for a job or doing something related to the environment, my degree being a BSc in Geography. They are always surprised therefore when I tell them that I am working full time for an accommodation company. When they ask why I was interested in the job I tell them that I wanted to gain experience of working in a busy office environment where I could learn as much about the different aspects of running a company as I can. And I definitely picked the right job for that!
My first week at Accommodation Windsor was a blur of new information and new faces. I was shown how to check people into the Bed and Breakfast, how to work the databases, how to create, pay and file invoices, how to check the keys back in everyday and so much more that Im still trying to remember! Now I have a long list of daily tasks, my favourite of which is checking people into Alma House B&B because I get to chat to so many different people from all over the world.
Each day I walk into the town centre during my lunch hour and see that it is always buzzing with people either shopping or sight-seeing. As far as places to sit and eat your lunch on a sunny (or even rainy!) afternoon youd be hard pressed to beat the benches outside Windsor Castle. I am curious how long it will take before I stop feeling amazed at how beautiful a place Windsor is!
I am still getting to grips with some aspects of the job and learning new things everyday and of course I still make some mistakes now and then but I always go home at the end of a long day feeling satisfied and happy that I was lucky enough to get such a lovely job in such a lovely place.