Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

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Jun '12

England and Spain Adventure, Day 5: Windsor

On Monday, our fifth day of travel, we decided to take a day trip to Windsor and visit Windsor Castle.

We activated our BritRail England passes and took the train from Waterloo Station to Windsor-Eaton. The advantage of buying the BritRail pass is that instead of buying a specific ticket for a specific train, you can arrive at the station and catch whatever train shows up next. It’s only good for a certain number of days but it’s flexible, which was nice for our family and our unpredictability.

Here we are as our train to Windsor pulled up.

The kids LOVED everything to do with the trains. (Even now, at home, Wes will sometimes say, “Train tonight” like he wants to go on a train.) Our train to Windsor was a good first overground train to ride because it wasn’t busy, and it wasn’t a long trip (under an hour).

I had been to Windsor as a BYU student ten years ago, but the experience was different this time. First, this time it was raining. And second, we had our kids to juggle. And by juggle, I mean take turns holding/swapping them in and out of the stroller while they slept.

At least Carissa is small enough still that we can carry her for a little while. We took turns. But John held her a lot.

This is a bird’s eye view of the castle:

We took pictures on the grounds, but photos weren’t allowed at all inside the castle. I guess that’s how they make so much money off their postcards and coffee table books. The grounds were lovely. I didn’t remember seeing such pretty gardens last time.

We saw royal guards up close.

(Must be such a boring job, standing there, totally still.)

In the first picture of the guards above notice the gentleman walking on the left–he was The Man with The Keys. Strollers aren’t allowed in Windsor Castle unless physically needed. When we passed through security before entrance, the nice lady looked at Wes in the stroller and asked if he needed to be in it. We said no. She asked, But would it be easier if he were in it? We said yes. So that’s where The Man with The Keys comes in. He let us in special doors openable only with his key that led us to elevators. I felt like we were going behind the scenes of Windsor Castle. But Wes had to stay in the stroller the whole time, which he didn’t like.

We saw some neat things:
– Queen Mary’s dollhouse

It’s a giant dollhouse that was built in the 1920’s to an exact 1:12 scale and includes miniatures of famous paintings, books, and china created by the artists, authors, and craftsmen especially for the doll house. It showcases a new gadget of the day–a vacuum–and the bathroom toilet even flushes. I don’t remember being especially interested in it ten years ago, but I thought it was pretty cool this time.

– St. George’s Hall

I remember seeing a special on PBS about the kitchens at Windsor Castle and all the work that goes into holding a royal banquet there. This is the hall where such banquets are held. It was cool to see it in person (minus the table and guests shown in this picture from the Internet). They measure each place setting and the distance between chairs precisely so it appears impeccably perfect. Nothing too good for the Queen.

After we finished at Windsor Castle we headed down the street for lunch. Windsor has such a pleasant shopping area, I wish we had more time to stroll. But lunch was fantastic, and it had mostly stopped raining.

We ate at The Drury House (“Windor’s Oldest Established Restaurant for Over 100 Years”). It was built in 1645.

It was small and cramped, but the food was good. It serves traditional British fare. I ate chicken pot pie, which was homemade and came with potatoes, carrots, and peas (the Brits eat peas with everything, it seems). Guy had fish and chips. Donee had yorkshire pudding. John had some sort of meat. Wes ate a salad, and Carissa had french fries (her go-to favorite).

It was tasty, but my favorite was the cream tea. In England tea is a common afternoon snack. It’s served nearly everywhere. Cream tea usually involves a pot of tea for one, a scone (American biscuit) or two, and strawberry jam with clotted cream (which is a cream as thick as sour cream, but mildly sweet). This was my first time ever enjoying afternoon tea (I can’t say I’m surprised I missed out on this as a BYU student; Mormons don’t do tea), and I loved it. We ordered peppermint tea, which is herbal. I love hot drinks, and I love scones, and I love clotted cream. A match made in heaven. John never really understood why afternoon tea is so great; it’s just not his thing. But Guy is a total herbal tea-head, so we made time for afternoon tea together other days after this. YUM. Probably one of my favorite English experiences.

We shopped a little and bought some Walker’s shortbread (so much cheaper than at our local grocery store in Utah), but we had to hurry to catch our train back to London.

Carissa relaxing on the way home.

That night we ate dinner across the river at Canary Wharf again (at Zizzi’s) and packed, preparing to check out of our hotel the next day and travel to Bath.

1 Comment »

One Response to “England and Spain Adventure, Day 5: Windsor”

  1. tara72 Says:

    really cool castle! and I think it’s cute that tea was one of your favorite things. that scone looks yummy!

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