Saturday, 6 August 2016

ms-havachat discovering Surrey - French Brothers Ferry Rides, Windsor

My photo, shame about the grey sky.

Windsor is an easy day trip from London. There are numerous coach tours there or you can catch the train, or hire a car for flexibility. London Waterloo train station to Windsor about 55 minutes and about the same by car (of course, this totally depends on time of day etc). Parking can be expensive and difficult to find as locals shop/live in the area.

Once there, tour of the Castle, stroll the shops, enjoy a meal, do the Hop On Hop Off Bus tour and then wander to the River Thames for a relaxing hour or so before returning to the rush of London.

The Thames River starts in the beautiful Cotswolds, flows through London and out to the North Sea for a total of 210 miles. There are 45 locks, an abundance of bird and sea life, and many opportunities to enjoy the river by boat, punt, or simply strolling on the paths alongside it. The section that flows past Windsor is pretty and offers visitors another opportunity to enjoy Mother Nature.

A few weekends ago, I went on a short cruise on the Thames from Windsor with MIL, on the boats provided by French Brothers. Despite the grey clouds, we had a pleasant 40 minutes on board one of the old fashioned boats. I just might have to do the trip again, simply to get better photos!

Google pics photo

The boats leave often enough so there's not much of a wait, tho on a sunny day, in high tourist season, I would recommend purchasing tickets when you arrive so you can plan the rest of they day around the cruise. We only waited 15 minutes for the next cruise so decided to stroll along the river. We were surprised how the pedestrian path had no fencing on the rivers edge, as we're used to that sort of public safety protection in other parts of the world. There were LOTS of swans and ducks eagerly feeding by the river edge from food bought from the ticket office by tourists. Not sure who was having more fun, the swans and ducks or the kids!

Once on board, the audio guide started and it's interesting enough, tho it did you leave you wanting more. At some points, the guide seemed to be ahead of where the boat was which was frustrating. I'm sure there's a LOT MORE history and interesting tidbits of information to be learned about this part of the river, especially when you consider Windsor Castle, Eton College and other famous places along the way.

I recall a story about this bench and concrete wall having something to do with the boys from Eton College but not the details. Thought it made a nice photo even against the grey skies.

The "Chinese Bridge"should probably be painted red for authenticity was still very pretty. I took the photo before the commentary started to explain it.

The riverbanks are home to swans and ducks and numerous other bird life, and also fish. There were several people fishing, and we had peek-a-boo sights of the Royal Windsor Race Course thru the trees.

There are 45 locks along the length of the river. While Oxford isn't that far away, we were told it would take a few days cruising to get there (a) the cruising speed on the river is slow, and (b) the number of locks you go thru. If you're interested, here's a link to The Royal River Thames website.

I loved the various boats on the river. It bought back childhood memories of holidaying on the Hawkesbury River from Bobbin Head in New South Wales as a kid with mum and dad. We'd hire Halversen boat for a week or so and cruise the river. Might suggest something similar to G for our next staycation - a few days punting on the Thames between villages.

Stock photo of a Halverson.

People live on the Thames. Sadly, in some parts of London it's causing congestion and frustration, not the sort of things one would expect an idyllic lifestyle to do. As London real estate continues to spiral out of control upwards, living on the river is proving to be a cost effective way to live IN London.

It was really enjoyable watching the changing shoreline - from overgrown trees to cycle tracks, walking paths, the racecourse and then suburbia. These houses were beautiful!

The finale photo opportunity is Windsor Castle from the river, the way it's been seen for hundreds of years.

I sincerely hope you enjoy your time on the Thames at Windsor,

With friendship

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