Updated June 2011
To get from Windsor to Heathrow we went to the main street in front of the Castle where there were 2 stops with buses going to Heathrow, bus 77 from stop D in front of WH Smith and bus 71 at stop J a little further up the street on the other side. The schedule is posted at the bus stop, for us on a Sunday they left at 7 and 9 past the hour so either route would have got us there at about the same time. The bus takes you to Terminal 5, you can use airport transit if you need to get to another terminal. The bus ride should take 40-50 minutes and currently costs £4.30, you buy the ticket when you get on the bus.
The quickest way to Windsor from London is via train from Paddington Station to Slough where you change trains for Windsor and Eton Central station. From the train station in Windsor, it is a very short walk to the castle. The train takes 35-40 minutes if you catch a direct train. The platforms at Slough are well marked, there is a directional sign telling you where to pick up the train for Windsor.
You can also leave from London's Waterloo station with no change but it takes over 50 minutes and it goes into Windsor and Eton Riverside Station, a 5-10 minute walk from the castle.
Unlike most other daytrips from London where the cheapest ticket is prebooked in advance at specific times, the cheapest option to Windsor always seems to be a cheap day return which you can purchase on the day of travel and gives you the flexibility of returning when you want and not having to select a return time. But you need to travel offpeak, after 9:30am during the week, no restrictions on the weekend. In January 2008, we paid £8.10 round trip per person, in July 2008 we got a group saver where 4 people travel for the price of 2 and it was £4.05 per person. In June 2011 we only needed to go one way from Waterloo, it was £8.50 one way, reduced to £7.30 by showing our travelcards.
Check here for other transport options
I took this picture to emphasise the fact that this line is a single track line, and only has one stop (to Slough). From Slough it is easy to change and catch trains to London Paddington, Reading or the West Coast Line.
This station is Windsor and Eton Central. There is also Windsor and Eton Riverside, which is a bit bigger and has direct trains to London Waterloo. I believe the Riverside Station is also a terminus.
The two stations are served by different rail companies, so to check the timetable for the Slough route, use: www.thamestrains.co.uk, and for the Riverside route, use: www.swtrains.co.uk
Little Windsor confusingly has two train stations, but Windsor Central is the one you are most likely to end up at when catching a train from London, since the London Paddington connection with a change at Slough near Windsor is quicker than to go from London's Victoria station. This is because the first alternative only stops at Slough before heading further west whereas the latter takes you through southern suburbia for a good while. At Slough, the London train usually comes in to the same platform as the little Windsor buggy leaves from so no stress since it is just there to shuttle tourists and commuters from the main line. Your main stress should be finding a seat if on a really busy day, but try sitting on the left side of the train coming in, as then you will see the castle approach. Windsor Central is then very close to the castle as you can see in the picture, which includes both...
Windsor is a very straight forward and simple journey from Central London, well within the capabilities of any visitor to London.
Most visitors will travel by train to Windsor. There are two railway stations in Windsor, equally close to the castle. One railway line runs from London's Waterloo station, the other from Paddington. The Paddington train option normally requires a change of train at Slough where you catch the shuttle service down the branch line to Windsor. Even with this change the Paddington option is still normally faster than the train from Waterloo.
London Paddington - Windsor (central) via Slough
Frequency - Normally twice hourly
Journey Time - Around 40 minutes
London Waterloo - Windsor (Riverside)
Frequency - Normally twice hourly
Journey Time - Around 60 minutes
Getting from London to Windsor and back is a breeze by rail. You can take trains from either Paddington or Waterloo. From Paddington the trip is about 35-40 minutes and from Waterloo closer to an hour. I mention it because it might be more convenient to use Waterloo depending on where you are staying/going in London (Waterloo is right next to the London Eye). The Paddington train arrives at Royal Windsor Station and the Waterloo one arrives at the Windsor and Eton Riverside Station. Both are very near Windsor Castle. The trains run frequently both ways and you can get detailed info on schedules and fares for both trains on the link below.
If you take the train to Windsor, there is a bus from behind the castle that takes you there. The stop is labeled and is on the High Street about equal distances from the 2 train stations (a 5 minute walk). There is a charge of GBP 4 for adults and 2 for children for the round trip. The ride is about 10-15 minutes and you are dropped off in the parking lot. If you drive, Legoland is just about 2 miles from the town center. You can get directions from their website.
To get to Windsor, you can take a train from London Paddington, Reading or the other stations along the line or, as I did, from Oxford and change at Slough. There is no waiting involved: the trains are perfectly coordinated so as not to waste the tourists' precious time.
Get a cheap day return for convenience if you are coming back on the same day. From Oxford the price was 12.40 GBP (2003).
There are two train stations in Windsor, which can be quite confusing!
This station is further up the hill, by the mall.
To get from one station to the other is about a 10 minute walk, doable in 7 minutes if you are in a hurry.
There is a ticket office here, but only one, as it is a small station.
It only goes to one destination: Slough (journey takes 6 minutes).
I have never cycled in Windsor, always having travelled here by train and then walked around.
I notice many people to cycle to the train stations and then take the train from then on for their commute to and fro work, from Windsor and Eton Riversidel Station AND Windsor and Eton Central Station.
(The photo is taken at Windsor and Eton Central Station)
Cycling is popular here, and I would advise it.. but be aware there are some hilly areas, especially the main road going up to the castle from Windsor and Eton train station! :)
This hill I could not manage myself, on a bike, but many could, and do!
There are bicycle racks for security at various points throughout the town, so you can lock up your bike with peace of mind as you jump onto a train or continue your day by foot.
The simplest way to Windsor departs from Waterloo Station.Or from Paddington but the journey requires a change of train.The journey takes 90minutes.
A "greenline" runs from Victoria Station.
With a change at Slough there are fast trains into Paddington.Also change at Slough for Oxford,Henley and Stratford upon Avon.
Check web page below,click on quick links on the right sideof the page.
Trains to slough run about every 20-30 minutes depending on the time of day.
Trains to Paddington are many but the slow, all stop trains run from platform 5,fast ones run from platform 2 and almost as fast ones run from platform 4.
Station has TV screens to check on the trains and times which are just at the entrance to the stairs over the tracks which you will have to take to get to all those platforms.
If you come to Windsor by coach then you'll surely park at the coach park just below the station and alongside Alexander gardens.I'm sure most groups then come up through the station although you could use Boots passage.
There is a cafe and gift shops at one end of the park and i believe the Tourist Information office is soon to be reloceted there also.
The easiest way for British people to get to Windsor is to hop in your car, and drive along the M4 motorway (Windsor is very easy to get to from the M4 and very close to it too). Indeed there are quite good views of the Castle from the Motorway.
In this picture, you can see my car (oh alright then, it isn't really my car - mine was just across the road). Parking isn't too bad in Windsor, but prices vary enormously. I remember from previous visits that Jennings carpark is very expensive, so drive around a bit before parking to see how much each cost.
Another reason for using this photo was the house in the background. I have already said on this page that Windsor is expensive. Any guesses on how much the house is in the background? It has 4 bedrooms (1 en-suite), shower room, cellar, conservatory and walled garden.
No guesses, well the asking price is £5000 short of a cool £1,000,000 GBP. That isn't too short of $2,000,000 USD at todays exchange rates. I told you Windsor was dear!
One of the few downsides I can think of for Windsor apart from the colossal house prices, is that London Heathrow airport is extremely close, and Windsor tends to be right under the flight path. On my last visit it had planes about to land flying just overhead.
Note:- Heathrow has 3 runways, and there is some variation to which are used depending on weather etc.
Anyhow, the plus side of being close to the airport is that for tourists, it is extremely easy to visit Windsor if you fly in, especially if you use LHR (London Heathrow). LGW (London Gatwick) isn't that far either.