LONDON - DAY 3
Our third day in London was rather relaxing and we really only had one major thing on our agenda and that was so visit Windsor Castle.
Let me be the first to say, the trip is well worth it and besides, you cant make a trip to London without venturing out to see the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world--- seriously, the castle was founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th century! Anyway, moving past the history lesson, let us tell you about this majestic castle and the stunning city of Windsor. As we often recommend, or should I say most always recommend, we got off to an early start.
We’ve become quite fond of Bill’s for breakfast and today was no different--- funny enough, I think this is the second location we’ve been to in London. As always, the tea is delicious, and the classic English breakfast never disappoints. Now with our appetites curbed, we were ready to start our trek out to Windsor.
There are several options for getting to Windsor and each has its positives/negatives. If you decide to drive/taxi, you can get to Windsor in about 35 minutes, which may be the fastest method. However, the main drawback here is the cost. Which is why we highly recommend the option we chose--- the train. You can catch a train from London Waterloo station to the Windsor/Eton Riverside station and arrive in approximately 50 minutes.
Upon arrival at the Windsor station, you’re greeted with a variety of bars, restaurants, and shopping. However, we didn’t spend much time exploring the station, because we wanted to avoid the long queues of people waiting to tour the castle itself. The walk to the castle doesn’t take too long and you get to walk through the quaint, yet still lively, town of Windsor--- it had a more traditional and cozy old-world vibe you would expect when visiting towns outside of London. Don’t get us wrong, it is still indeed busy though. Once we arrived at the castle, we were relieved that arriving early did allow for us to miss the hoards of people and we began our self-guided tour without any wait. Words cannot describe the grandeur and history of this castle… it’s just one of those places you have to see to believe. The self-guided tour, at a reasonable pace, will take about a half of a day to fully appreciate all it has to offer, The State Apartments, St. George's Chapel and Queen Mary's Doll House just to name a few.
Once you’re done touring Windsor Castle, you must go and explore the encompassing city. There are a ton of great restaurants, pubs, and shops all within the city.
We really wanted to stop for some tea at the Drury House Tea Room (which has been open since 1645) but they were completely booked for the afternoon. So, we headed toward the town square where we enjoyed some of the best street food. It was Catherine's first time trying Paella!
After exploring the city center we decided to stop off and grab a bite to eat at a traditional English pub by the name of Queen Victoria Pub. This place was right in city center and served the largest Fish and Chips plate we’ve ever ate--- yes, it’s more than enough for two! The bar featured all of the pub beers and served by the friendliest staff! The vibe here felt like it could be a place where locals would frequent to grab a bite and socialize. Look, any pub with a fireplace is a winner in our books!
After eating far too much fish, we set off to explore the city a bit more before heading back to London. We stumbled across a random bar with inviting curb appeal that drew us right in through the doors. Which brings us to our next stop--- The Piper Art Bar. This place had a hipster-ish, artsy, and eclectic vibe. Think--- rolled leather chairs, local artists works adorning walls (and for sale), and delicious cocktails. However, the best part of visiting this particular bar was for their homemade mulled wine. If nothing else, and you fancy a mulled wine, pop in here and indulge in one or two!
It was getting rather late, and we didn’t want to miss a dinner experience in London, so we headed back to the station to grab a train ride home. Oh, which brings up a great point, you don’t necessarily have to book roundtrip train tickets a head of time, just buy a one-way ticket so that you enjoy Windsor at your own leisure; as we did. Purchasing a ticket last minute is simple and there are trains leaving for London every 30 minutes or so. While waiting for our train, we popped into All Bar One, which is in the train station.
Once back in the city, we decided to visit the Trafalgar Square Christmas Market. We really wish we could say how amazing the market was, but it was just meh. Would we go back? Probably not. However, one of the vendors, Lokma Delight, were serving up these chocolate-filled “dough balls” that were divine… so, maybe this stop wasn’t so bad after all. We got a small sized serving and mixed our fillings between Nutella and custard, and topped them off with strawberries, hazelnuts, and pistachios! We highly recommend visiting the market for the dough balls, but if you're looking for anything else, you can just skip this market. Now, time for dinner. We wanted to get something closer back to Covent Garden and decided on this restaurant that looks like a Russian palace on the outside--- The Balthazar. We shared a bowl of beef stew, but sadly, this restaurant wasn’t anything we remember any particular “wow” factor about.
Nonetheless, our third day in London has now come to an end and are ready to sleep off the bountiful amounts of food and drinks we indulged in throughout the day. Until tomorrow!