How to spend a lovely morning in Eton

If you’d like to spend a morning taking in some fresh air and a lovely combination of countryside, river and town, then Eton is definitely a place to head.

There is nothing to set you up for the day quite like a bit of walking. A great walk from Eton starts with crossing the Brocas fields. They lie on the northern banks of the Thames, opposite Alexandra Gardens in Windsor, and just to the west of Eton High Street.

Walk along the river, across the fields and continue on the tow path. This could take you as far as Oxfordshire, but that will have to wait for another day. On this occasion, walk until you have passed under both the railway bridge and the big bridge for the dual carriageway. Here the main path veers away from the river and takes a diagonal shortcut across what is actually an island. If you look at the map – or decide to follow the river for the long way around – you can see that there is a particularly sharp bend in the river here. In fact, the passenger boats sometimes hoist a rope around a post located on the inner bend, to help them ‘turn the corner’.

Continue walking until you get to the arched ‘Chinese bridge’, it’s not much further. From here you can look out on the river and see Windsor Racecourse on the opposite side. Then it’s time to turn around and head back to Eton. Things to look out for along the path include the local birdlife on the river, as well as lots of local dogs and their owners on the path. Under the road bridge, called the Elizabeth Bridge, is a mural which was painted in 2012 when this was part of the walkway to get to the Olympic rowing at Dorney Lake. The railway bridge was built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and opened in 1849. It is the oldest wrought iron bridge still in service in the country. When you get back to the Brocas fields you have one of the best views of Windsor Castle right ahead of you.

By the time you are back on Eton High Street, some 30 or 40 minutes after setting off, you will probably have worked up a nice appetite for some breakfast or a morning coffee. We are spoiled in Eton with great places to eat, so whether you’d like a cooked breakfast of a coffee and a pastry you have several places to choose from. I will opt for Eaten Café for a cooked breakfast, and for Nimia for something lighter.

For another wander, maybe at a more leisurely pace after your meal, head north along the High Street and cross Baldwins Bridge – where you can stop to look at the flood marker. North of the bridge is all Eton College ground and buildings. While it is not possible to enter School Yard and explore the oldest area of the college, there are lots of beautiful buildings to admire by just walking around the roads and public footpaths in the area.

On your way back down the High Street there’s plenty of window shopping to be had. Or you might like to pick up some flowers, gifts or groceries, Eton has lots of lovely little shops to get to know. You might also find yourself spotting locations for a drink or a meal, but seeing as you’ve only got the morning, that will have to wait for another time, and we’ll tell you more about the local Eton pubs and restaurants in a future blog.


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