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Days Out from London : Windsor

One of the most popular days out from London is Windsor which is a historic market town in Berkshire and is known as the site of Windsor Castle, one of the official residences of the British Royal Family.

The town is situated 21 miles (34 km) west of the centre of London and is easily reached by train, car or coach. Windsor has two railway stations, Windsor & Eton Central railway station connecting which connects via Slough to express trains to London Paddington and to Reading and Windsor & Eton Riverside station provides a service to London Waterloo. Windsor has frequent bus services to/from London Heathrow Airport and Victoria Coach Station in central London.

Because Windsor has been a popular tourist attraction for a long time there is a well-developed tourist infrastructure with a several hotels, bars and restaurants. Various boat trips operate on the River Thames which winds its way through creating attractive riverside walks.  Windsor is linked to the town of Eton which is on the opposite bank of the River Thames by Windsor Bridge.

Windsor Castle has been an important site for centuries, it was William the Conqueror who chose the site for Windsor Castle around 1070. The Castle was originally constructed to guard the approach to London. In the late 12th century, Henry II began rebuild the castle and Edward III in the 1350s spent a fortune to transform the castle into a palace

Charles II, who reclaimed his throne in 1660, modernised the royal apartments with expensive textiles and magnificent tapestries. Queen Victoria was especially fond of Windsor Castle and added a new private chapel in the 1840s.

One of the most dramatic events at the castle was more recent, when in 1992 a fire broke out in Queen Victoria’s private chapel destroying a number of areas in the building. The long process of repair and restoration began immediately and was completed within five years.  

Although Windsor Castle is the main attraction, Windsor does also boast another major attraction with Legoland Windsor. The attraction is the only Legoland park in the United Kingdom and is one of the largest Legoland park in the world.  

Like many tourist towns, there are plenty of gift shops and shops, one of the main shopping areas is the Windsor Royal Shopping arcade which is  inside Windsor & Eton Central railway station.

Windsor attracts crowds of tourists who just stay for the day, however it has plenty of attractions and provides a good base to explore the surrounding area if you would to stay for a few days.

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Exhibition Review – Scottish Artists 1750-1900: From Caledonia to the Continent at The Queen’s Gallery from 18th March to 9th October 2016

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The Queen’s Gallery present an exhibition that explores the work of Scottish Artists from 1750 to 1900 and brings together paintings, drawings and miniatures collected by monarchs from George III to Queen Victoria.

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The exhibition includes the work of painters who were born in Scotland and travelled abroad, such as Allan Ramsay and Sir David Wilkie, and of those whose inspiration remained in their native land, such as Alexander Nasmyth and James Giles.

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The first part of the exhibition features the two main 18th century Scottish artists who made international reputations. Allan Ramsay was born and trained in Edinburgh and continued his artistic education in Italy. He gradually established a successful studio in London as a portrait painter and was often employed to paint the Scottish nobility. In 1760, Ramsay was selected to paint the King’s state portrait became the first Scot to be appointed to the role of Principal Painter in Ordinary to His Majesty.

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David Wilkie was born in Fife, and trained in Edinburgh. He gradually built a reputation in London and abroad with scenes of everyday life . His two well-known commissions , Blind Man’s Buff and The Penny Wedding, for the Prince Regent (later George IV) are featured in the exhibition with his most important royal commission, The Entrance of George IV to Holyroodhouse which recorded the King’s visit to Scotland in 1822.

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The success of Wilkie and Ramsay led in the 19th century to a greater acceptance of Scottish painters and a number of these Scottish school of artists began to respond to wider interest in Scotland by painting the landscape and scenes from the literature or folklore of the nation. The interest in Scotland by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert further expanded a particular view of Scotland that was wild and dramatic. Paintings by James Giles of Balmoral in the exhibition and other drawings of highlanders in kilts illustrate the beginning of a mini industry in Scottish art. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were extensively the subject of paintings and the exhibition features some early examples of the Queen by Sir Francis Grant.

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Other Scottish artists including David Roberts and John Phillip followed in Wilkie and Ramsay footsteps by travelling abroad. John Phillip painted a number of paintings in Spain, whilst David Roberts travelled to the Middle East and painted scenes of Egypt, the Holy Land, Syria and Palestine.

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These two strands of Scottish artists is the focus of an exhibition that challenges some of the preconceptions of Scottish art, the cultural domination of the Victorian view of Scotland masks the reality that Scottish artists were much more diverse in their subject matter than is widely accepted. In many ways, the Victorian paintings have obscured some of the triumphs and the international reputation of Wilkie and Ramsey. This interesting exhibition explores some of the contradictions and influences connected to Scottish artists, one of the ironies of the exhibition is that royal patronage especially in the Victorian period created its own particular view of Scotland that would dominate Scottish art for decades.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

Scottish Artists 1750 – 1900: From Caledonia to the Continent is shown at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace with Maria Merian’s Butterflies.

For more information or book tickets, visit the Royal Collection website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in  2014 , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here