Friday, July 24, 2015

Great ways see Windsor

Windsor is a great place to visit and ever popular with the tourists, thanks in no doubt to its rich history, proximity to London and famous inhabitants. Liz, Phil and family to name just a few.

If you are only visiting for the day there is a lot of it to see in one day so a short tour is an excellent way of discovering Windsor without taking up your whole day.

We experienced two of the most popular options , the more conventional City Sightseeing open top bus tour and the more off the wall Windsor Ducks tour.

Both of these take about an hour, assuming you stay on the bus on the City Sightseeing tour.

So which was best? I guess it depends on your needs and tastes. Let me describe both and you can take your pick!

Duck Tours of Windsor

First up we did the duck tour, without explaining to our kids that it was an amphibious vehicle. On board this great vehicle you are sat at a quite a height – not far off the height of the top deck of the double decker bus!

This was a great fun tour with a humorous commentary on board from our tour guide.

It takes you around all the key parts of Windsor before heading down to a ramp into the river. Here its party piece allows it to excel, as you drive down the ramp and straight onto the River Thames.

Our daughters looked a little shocked! The second part of the tour is a gentle cruise up the Thames, giving you some great views and photo opportunities of Windsor Castle.

Traffic was light in the first part of the tour and we were ahead of schedule so our driver (or should I say Captain at this point?) headed a little further up the river which was great. Then back into town to the start point (just down the hill from the Castle on the main road). Really good fun, a true life experience and different.

City Sightseeing Tours of Windsor

The next day we took the City Sightseeing option. This tour operator is well known and does this type of tour so well in numerous locations and countries. Its tour of Windsor was up to its usual high standards.

The driver patiently waited for the changing of the guard to finish, before driving us to another photo opportunity spot to get even more changing of the guard shots, with plenty of time to finish our photos and get back on board.

The bus has a higher speed than the Duck, which allows it to fit more distance into the same amount of time, so this tour explores a little more of the region taking in Eton and its famous college.

You also have the opportunity to ‘hop off hop on’ at any of the 10 stops which allows you to make this more of a day tour should you wish.

Again this tour benefits from a fun and humorous commentary, served up via the supplied headphones. Great for non-English speakers who can tune in other languages (assuming they speak English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Polish, Russian, Japanese, Mandarin or Cantonese). But maybe lacking the interaction and spontaneity of the live commentary on board the Duck!

It’s commentary, as well as being light hearted, is educational and very informative – I learnt quite a lot of fun facts on board.

In Summary

Both great trips – the pro and cons if you cannot do both!
  • City Sightseeing – you get to see more of the area, multi lingual, hop on and off allows you to make it more of a day trip
  • Windsor Ducks – More of an experience due to the nature of the vehicle, suspect the kids will love this one more, you get to see Windsor from the Thames.
There you go take your pick!

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