I spend enough time of my life in airports. As lovely as the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is, we couldn’t justify spending the entire day there. We debated going into London proper, but with each of us having been there multiple times, we instead opted to head in the other direction, to Windsor.
St. George’s Chapel, part of the Windsor Castle complex
Visiting Windsor on my Heathrow layover
Windsor Castle is an official royal residence and the typical weekend home of Queen Elizabeth. The castle complex is probably the major attraction in the area, and was our first stop while touring there.
To get to Windsor, we just took Uber from the airport. It was easy, and relatively cheap. A bus is an option too, but it looked like a trip of over an hour, with a change, so we spent a little more and went for the easier route that took less than 20 minutes.
Our uber summary showing the short trip from Heathrow to Windsor
The driver was friendly, and we had a nice discussion of the (at the time) impending Brexit vote. Leaving from Heathrow was quite a bit more expensive than the return, due to a Heathrow pickup fee and a higher base fare versus departing from Windsor. The return to Heathrow was under £16. Once in Windsor, our driver let us out right near the castle, and from there we lined up to buy tickets.
Photos are not allowed inside any buildings of the castle, so I don’t have too much to share from here. As a fan of history, and always sort of intrigued by the monarchy, I really enjoyed visiting the complex.
One of my favorite parts of the tour was St. George’s Hall. This is part of the state apartments, with the walls and ceiling covered with the arms of all members of the Order of the Garter, which dates to 1348. This section has been renovated since a fire in 1992.
St George’s Hall, By Joshua Barnett [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
There is also St. George’s Chapel (photo at top of page), which is still an active church. In addition to a long list of historic bits of trivia, is the final resting place of King Henry VIII and more recently, the mother of Queen Elizabeth.
We spent several hours touring here, and as seen in the below photo, the castle is on the approach path to Heathrow.
Windsor Castle under the Heathrow approach path
Bite and a pint before returning to Heathrow
After our time in the castle, we walked around Windsor before finding a pub along the Thames for a late lunch. I think both of us were starting to drag after a short sleep on the way over from Chicago. We walked along a shopping street for a while, and while it wasn’t too warm, it was nice enough to stop again to have a pint of beer while sitting outside. I apparently was so tired that when I was talking to the bartender who asked where I was from started describing where in the states Milwaukee is located even though she was from Montana. Guess I missed her accent. Yikes! Be careful with jetlag…
After several hours in Windsor, we took Uber back to Heathrow. We would have some time to enjoy the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class departure experience, including the Clubhouse lounge. Stay tuned!