We are taking a day trip from London to Windsor next week. Would you suggest train or boat up the Thames? Once there-any tips? Places to have lunch?
We took the train, one short change to a train that goes into Windsor. Much faster. Buy Windsor tickets ahead, online, to save standing in long lines.
It's very easy to take the train from Paddington. You change to another train at Slough that then goes directly to Windsor. I went in early November '18, in the early afternoon, and there were no crowds at that time. It seemed like it had been busier in the morning.
For dining, I enjoyed a great early dinner at The Dutchess of Cambridge. It's cozy and has nicer pub fare. Enjoy!
As you exit the castle through the King Henry VIII gate, there is a pub across the street The Horse and Groom. After you exit the castle turn to your right and walk down to High Street, once on High Street turn to your right and walk down the side walk, it will take you to Windsor Great Park, after walking through the gates up to your left and you will see another set of gates. You get a great view on the royal residents part of the castle. There is a pub The Two Brewer Pub right before you enter the gates to the park. You will see a roadin the park, it’s card The Long Walk it’s the private road for the royal family to use to enter and exit the castle. If you cross the road and stand facing the castle turn to your left, walk down to the second street on your left and turn onto it. There is pedestrian bridge that goes over the Thames, after crossing the bridge you will be in Eton, it’s about an 8 minute walk.
Is boat actually an option? I would be amazed. it would take all day to get there. Certainly wouldn't be a good use of the time for a day trip.
You can get a boat in Windsor for a short trip along the Thames though - often with lunch etc.
As Suki and Maria stayed, the train from Paddington is easy. We visited in December and there were essentially no lines for tickets, or to enter the castle/apartments, or chapel. The castle is a short walk from the train station.
And don't forget, you can walk from Windsor right into Eton - see the outside of the colleges, and have a bite there! It's really lovely, and just a mile walk. The flocks of swans on the river are amazing.