Your friend says they’ll babysit and you can have a date night in Windsor. What do you do? Here’s what we did on our one night out in Windsor.
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Shout out to our good friend, Derek, for coming up with this brilliant plan to give us a night out. We love you Derek 💖.
Before We Book Anything
Check Groupon first for specials before booking. If you want even more of a bargain navigate to Groupon via Top Cashback. This way we got cash back for using Groupon via www.topcashback.com and half price duck tour tickets on Groupon.
There were quite a few dinner deals for the Windsor area, including a three-course meal for two for £45 at Marco Pierre White. Dinner and a show at PJ’s for £35 for two and half price meals at a few other pubs. We choose to stroll through town and spontaneously go where the wind blows.
The cheapest car park is Romney Lock car park or Home Park and it’s a short walk from the Theatre Royale and Windsor Castle. We did not know this and paid £8 for 3 hours in the town centre at the Riverside car park. Again, remember cash. The meters don’t take cards. As soon we park we run to an atm to draw cash and buy a drink at a kiosk to get change. Dash back to the car to put the pay and display ticket in the window just as the ticket officer makes his rounds and issues fines to cars parked around ours. Lucky!
Windsor Duck Tours
Full of golden nuggets and rather endearing is how I’ll describe our tour guide on the duck tour of Windsor tonight. A local old guy with years of experience who delights with comedic banter worthy of a mic, stage and lights. Despite the accent, we enjoy his humour and learn a lot about the Thames, Eton College, Windsor Castle and the swans.
If we share all the interesting tidbits with you now you might be bored when you go on the duck tour yourself. Although, in my humble opinion, the views, the trip in itself and the banter will be entertaining enough, which means that we can share our favourite facts with you anyway. Read further down to the bottom to read our favourites.
The Last Duck Standing
The Windsor duck is currently the only amphibious craft operating in the country. Apparently, a new sewer line is under construction under the Thames and the London duck stopped running because it can’t use that route any longer. It’s awesome driving into and out of a river on an amphibious craft so we’re glad that we decide to do this while we get the chance.
A Pleasant Ride
On a rainy cold spring evening, it’s only us and another young family on the duck. The quacking duck departs at 17:10 on this wet Friday from the Theatre Royale, drives through Windsor and enters the River Thames five minutes later. The commentator lets the boy and his Dad sit on his seat right in front next to the Skipper as the duck enters the water. I wish I was three again.
We pass Eton boys rowing on the river Thames who kindly stop and wave at us curious tourists. Right at this moment, Brendan and I decide, or perhaps it is a fleeting conversation of a mutual dream we share, that we want our son to go to Eton College one day to also row on the river Thames and politely greet passers-by in this idyllic setting. Despite the rain, we get clear views of Windsor Castle and our dreamy trip is all over in an hour. Which leaves us with two hours to find somewhere to have dinner before our expensive parking ticket expires.
The Flaming Cow
It isn’t easy choosing spontaneously as we pass restaurants of almost every ethnic background you can imagine. Lebanese, Greek, Moroccan, Italian, Indian and many traditional pubs are some that vie for our attention. Names we consider as we pass on our way from Windsor to Eton are the Windsor Pub and Grill, right at the foot of the castle, The Boatman, Eton Mess and The George. All places that offer more traditional English food, but they all look busy and we see lots of reserved signs on the tables.
Book in advance if you know where you’re going
After a quick beer at the Henry VI pub to help us make up our minds, we walk back in the direction of Windsor to The George just to find it’s fully booked. Rooky mistake. For a second we regret not making reservations, but undeterred, we look around and see a sign for burgers across the road. Famished and drooling a little bit at the smell of the burgers wafting down the street, we spot an open table through the window. That’s how we end up at the door of The Flaming Cow. Call it fate.
What a Nice Surprise!
From the second we open the door the vibe is electric. A charming host welcomes us in off the cold street with a big smile. He explains that celebrity chef Diego is in tonight with a popup special menu and there are two menus to choose and order from. Feeling adventurous and really hungry we order everything on the special menu and man, it’s good!
Normally, I don’t order burgers in restaurants for two reasons.
Nr 1. It’s easy enough to make at home or pick up as fast food. At a restaurant, I prefer a meal that is well thought out and put together in an aesthetically pleasing way.
Nr.2. Good burgers are awkward to eat with a knife and fork. They are best eaten at home with bare hands so that burger sauce can freely drip down my arms and face and I can have a shower afterwards if need be. No reason for other restaurant-goers to witness the mess.
Brendan loves burgers but doesn’t have the same problem as me. He is a painstakingly neat and clean eater and mind-bogglingly cleans any plate without getting his hands dirty. I give his mom credit for him inheriting this superpower.
Something Else. Something Special
Chef Diego’s burgers are something else indeed. On the menu is his award winning Angus beef burger with truffle hollandaise and his three meats burger with pastrami and caramelised bacon, which is our favourite. Caramelised bacon is utterly delicious. All the flavours are a welcome new taste sensation and I eat it with my knife and fork but try the hands a few times before abandoning the thought. Half-way through we’re so entranced by our meal that we almost forget to swap plates.
Our other new favourite is the avo chips. Avo chips! While some might think it a sin to deep-fry avo, we can tell you that it might be the answer to many problems in life. I am starting a campaign to get avo chips into every family food outlet in the world. Avo chips should be made a main dish all over the world like wraps and burgers. I’ll order it every time with a side salad and garlic olives for us and for the kids. We love avo chips. Sign the petition by commenting below. 😉
The food is superb, the service is just about perfect and the atmosphere is vibrant. The beer and sparkling wine may or may not have something to do with our happy mood, but Brendan thanks chef Diego and The Flaming Cow staff for their stellar service and we leave satisfied and relaxed.
Cost Of Our Night Out in Windsor & Eton: £98,60
- £8 Parking
- £20 Windsor Duck Tour (Groupon half price deal)
- £8,60 Henry VI pub drinks
- £49 Flaming Cow (Celeb Chef Dinner)
- £11 Dessert
This was the biggest surprise of the night! Dinner, drinks and an excursion in Windsor came in at a whopping £100. It was fabulous and we enjoyed every minute but there won’t be many more date nights in the UK while we save for our American Road Trip and six months of full time travel from September to March.
Did You Know?
How many of these facts do you know already? Before our Windsor Duck Tours trip I knew one, nr 4, and the rest are either new to me or I knew half the story.
1. The river Thames derived its name from an ancient Celtic word Temesas, meaning dark or muddy. It’s one of the oldest words in the English language.
2. To sail every waterway in England will apparently take you eleven years.
“You’ll be slowed down by all the locks and all the pubs, no doubt.” Comedy by Our Tourguide
3. Eton College, established in 1440, is an independent boarding school for boys ages 13 to 18. Annual fees amount up to about £38000, but Eton generously grants financial aid and many bursaries to students every year (We might be in with a chance!). Their biggest profits are made from land, left to them in wills and testaments.
4. Windsor Castle is the biggest and oldest occupied castle in the World. It was first made of wood as one of nine strongholds built to fortify London and was through hundreds of years improved and upgraded by each reigning monarch.
5. There is always a flag up at Windsor Castle. At all the castles in England actually. When the Union Jack is flying the Queen is not in. The small Royal Standard flag is flown to show that the Sovereign is in residence in a personal capacity. The large Royal Standard, the size of half a tennis court, shows the Queen is in on official duties.
6. When you visit Windsor Castle make sure you get a stamp in your Castle Passport to get free access for the rest of the year and you can come and go as you please! If we knew that earlier we wouldn’t have left our Castle visit for the last day of our stay in Windsor.
7. All the swans do not belong to the Queen. She only owns half of them, all the unmarked mute swans on the Thames. The other half is owned by two of London’s ancient trade guilds, the Worshipful Companies of Dyers and Vintners, which are some of the richest and most powerful organizations in London.
8. Some parts of bridges crossing the Thames have been painted in red for the safety of the swans. They spot the colour red easily and can avoid flying into bridges at high speed.
9. Natalie Imbruglia lived on White Lilies Island in Windsor next to the Thames for about 12 years. Her album, White Lilies Island, released in 2001 is named after the island. The duck takes you right past the island with a good few of the property.
10. A four bedroom apartment next to the Thames in Windsor will cost you about £2,5million.
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