Royal River Thames & River Cruises
For hundreds of years, the Thames has provided a handy highway for royalty travelling from one residence to another and as royal properties go, Windsor Castle – a firm favourite with our own Queen – is perfectly situated within a bustling and historic market town.
View From the Water
From its most basic form in the days of William the Conqueror to the magnificent medieval structure that stands proud today, the castle has been rebuilt on the same site – at a bend in the river - and derives its name from ‘windels or windlass` (a winch) and ‘ora` the Old English for bank.
Getting out onto the river is an effortless way of seeing some of Winsor’s best features. You’ll enjoy excellent views of the castle and the surrounding area, inevitably accompanied by a serene escort of swans.
If you’re visiting in July, you might want to check dates for ‘swan upping`, an annual event that is vital for the conservation of the mute swan population. The Queen’s scarlet-coated Royal Swan Uppers and Swan Uppers from the Vintners’ and Dyers’ travel along the Thames on traditional skiffs (shallow wooden boats) to undertake a ‘swan census,’ gathering data and assessing the health of adults and young, more vulnerable cygnets.
The Thames flows at a tranquil pace for most of the year, so if you’re looking for a swan’s-eye view, why not hire a rowing boat – or even a little motorboat.
Pop down on the day to John Logie on the Windsor promenade. If you’d like to cover more ground, check out the river cruises run by French Brothers. There’s a 40-minute trip to Boveney Lock and back that offers fantastic castle views or choose a longer cruise - perhaps following the well-oared royal path to the palace at Hampton Court.