10 Wondrous dog walks in Windsor great park

Dog walks
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Famous the world over because of its royal connections, you thankfully don’t need to be a king or queen to enjoy dog walks in Windsor Great Park. It’s a hot-spot for locals to come for a run or a walk with the family and dog, as well as attracting tourists from across the globe who want to enjoy visiting the royal residence and historic town.

The town itself makes a paw-some destination for you and the pup given the plentiful walks, stunning surroundings, and many dog-friendly places for a drink and bite to eat.

The tranquil lakes, ancient woodland, and vast open fields of the Great Park make for many picturesque and varied walks around Windsor. There are well-maintained trails across all these landscapes making it easy for you to enjoy easy and (mostly) mud-free walking with the dog all year round.

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The park has been the playground of kings and queens for centuries and most famously was a hunting forest until the 18th century. At this point, monarchs started to landscape and garden the park instead. However, the deer still roam freely to this day, and allegedly, so does the ghost of the infamous Herne the Hunter.

As a housekeeping (or would it be groundskeeping?) note, your pooch will need to be under control at all times in the park. In addition, some areas will require dogs to be on a lead. These on-lead areas will be very clearly signposted. You can find out where these are and the other Windsor dog walking guidelines here.

Country & country park walks

The long walk

Despite the name, many people are deceived by just how long this walk is. Because it is a surfaced path in a dead straight line where you can see each end of the walk, you can be easily fooled into thinking it is shorter than it really is. At 2.64 miles long one way, it means that to stroll to the end and back you and the pooch will be out walking for well over an hour.

Starting at the gate of Windsor castle this long path runs out to The Copper Horse, which is a statue of King George III on his steed. This stands on top of Snow Hill, and from this vantage point you can see East across the London skyline as well as back towards Windsor.

Given the monumental landmarks on this walk and the incredible view over the town and castle, it’s no wonder it is probably the most famous walk in Windsor. Not to mention, given the great condition and linear path, it’s very popular with families looking for an easy-going stroll, or runners looking to easily track their distance. That being said, it is ever pup-ular with dog walkers, although your furry friend must stay on the lead.

It would be impossible not to list this walk as one of the greatest dog walks in Windsor Great Park given the unforgettable scenery and regal backdrop. You can either park in Windsor town and start at the castle, or in one of the many free car parks along the A332 for the deer park.

  • Walk Length: 4.24km one way

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Windsor Castle or The Copper Horse

  • Terrain: Paths, parkland, undulating, level, even

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: The Long Walk, Windsor, SL4 1BP

More information: Windsor Great Park: The Long Walk

The great park and deer park

You could spend hours walking around the deer park with your dog, wandering the clearly marked trails over the lush green fields. You could easily follow your nose and take a free-ranging walk, or you can follow this route around some of the most pup-ular areas of the park.

As with almost all of Windsor, the area is exceptionally well-maintained with numerous clear trails, keeping it level underfoot and making for easy walking. You’ll find yourself on a mixture of grass tracks, sandy trails, and surfaced paths on this long but gentle walk.

The Great Park is perhaps one of our favourite places in the country to go walking as there are splendid views of the countryside, Windsor, and many interesting sights. For example, we have once seen the guards in full colours out on horseback on one of the side roads. But even here, the pomp and regalia of the royal town seems only an atmospheric echo.

You’ll start at Cranbourne Gate, which is most people’s preferred starting point for their rambles around the park. You’ll explore some of the wider parkland and take a trip to visit the Copper Horse. Your pup will need to be under control at all times and on the lead when indicated within the deer park.

  • Walk Length: 8.4km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Cranbourne Gate car park

  • Terrain: Paths, parkland, trails, sand, flat, even

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: A332, Windsor, SL4 2BT

More information: AllTrails: Windsor The Great Park

Cranbourne to Virginia water

Again starting from Cranbourne gate, this circular walk will take you up Snow Hill to visit the Copper Horse and enjoy the views before weaving through the various woodlands and plantations down to Virginia Water. This is a long walk and your pup will love having the op-paw-tunity to be off the lead and exploring the different habitats and exciting smells. On the return leg, you’ll be on more open ground and will have to climb Leiper Hill and Primrose Hill before returning to the start.

This route will take you near the Belvedere Arms below Virginia Water lake where you can paw-se for a rest just past the halfway point on your walk. Otherwise, there are a few pubs and eateries within a short drive which you and the pup can pop into. One of which would be The Fox and Hounds, where we start several of our other favourite dog walks in Windsor Great Park.

  • Walk Length: 16.4km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: Cranbourne Gate car park

  • Terrain: Paths, flat, parkland, trails, even, slopes.

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: A332, Windsor, SL4 2BT

More information: ViewRanger: Windsor Walking Route

Windsor town centre

If you’ve travelled to visit Windsor, it’s incredibly easy to enjoy a walk in the park as well as a gentle exploration of the charming town. You can park in town, or if you fancy an afternoon walking and exploring, you can instead park for free in one of the car parks along the A332 and enjoy a stroll along the Long Walk, the most iconic dog walk in Windsor, before continuing into the town.

Windsor is almost always bustling with tourists, particularly Thames Street with its patchwork of historic buildings that passes right by the castle. A favourite sight of ours, other than the royal palace, is the aptly named Crooked House. This quirky building is the oldest teahouse in England, and you can find it and explore the rest of the rich history of Windsor on this heritage trail around town.

It’s a short walk packed with fascinating facts and sights, and the pooch is welcome to join you for it all. You’ll have no shortage of outdoor seating and eateries where you can paw-se to enjoy some delightful food and drink. Walk down any of the old streets and you’ll find somewhere to paw-se together. Try Windsor Yards, Peascod Street, Lower Peascod Street, Guildhall Island and the High Street for outdoor seating. There are also a number of cafes and restaurants by the station too.

  • Walk Length: 1.6km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Windsor Castle

  • Terrain: Paths, flat, even.

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Windsor, SL4 1NJ

More information: Windsor.gov PDFPet-friendly in Windsor

Home park

Home Park is a pocket of green wedged between Windsor and Eton. Although it isn’t within the Great Park, it is similarly managed by the Crown Estate. Being within town and only a stone’s throw from the Great Park, it’s another local area that’s great for walking. It is a green flag awarded park that provides picturesque settings for family strolls and dog walks in Windsor, as well as being a popular location for local recreation and sporting activities.

The park isn’t only a pretty spot for walking, it also has some splendid views of the castle. The open green space is paw-fect for you and the dog to visit to play ball games or fetch and burn off some excess energy. You could also simply take a relaxing stroll around the park. It’s an ideal spot to come for a family walk too, and there is a play park for your little ones to tear around in while the pup races around the green.

  • Walk Length: 3.7km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Home Park

  • Terrain: Parkland, flat, fields, even.

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Home Park, Windsor, SL4 6HX

More information: Historic England: Windsor Home Park

Woodland walks

Runnymede to Obelisk pond

This walk is similar to the Cow Pond route, another of our favourite dog walks in Windsor Great Park. However, this walk will take you significantly deeper into the plantations of the park to Obelisk pond, which you will use as a turning point before returning to Runnymede. Whilst there, you’ll have the chance to admire the handsome obelisk, which was built by King George II to honour his son.

If you and the pooch have the stamina, you could try venturing even further and connect this walk with the route around Virginia Water listed below, creating a large circuit around The Valley Gardens.

Some road walking is unavoidable so make sure your dog is on the lead for these sections. But the roads are quiet and enveloped by greenery, so your walk should remain tranquil even in these parts. It’s also well worth it, as it means you can enjoy a walk along the Thames in Runnymede as well as a wander in the woods.

The walk starts at The Fox and Hounds and you and the dog are welcome to pop in for a rest and drink before or after the walk. You’ll also pass the lovely Barley Mow pub, which is another option for a pit-stop. Alternatively, you could paw-se for a rest on the Savill Garden terrace. Sadly, dogs aren’t allowed in the garden itself, but the terrace is the paw-fect place for a rest with the pooch when exploring this side of the park.

  • Walk Length: 11.5km

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Starting Point: The Fox and Hounds

  • Terrain: Paths, flat, trails, parkland, descents, even

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Bishopsgate Road, Englefield Green, TW20 0XU

More information: Walking Guide: Runnymede PDF, Obelisk Lawn: Windsor Great Park

Swinley forest

Swinley Forest was once part of the royal hunting ground and although not within Windsor Great Park, it remains under the ownership and care of the crown estate. There are many trails throughout this large forest, making it paw-fect for you and the pup to return to time and again for walks together. We have mentioned one walk into the forest in our previous article about the best dog walks in Berkshire, but there are dozens of other routes and areas to explore. There is a walking map of the forest available to purchase which details the different trails ranging from 2km to 8.3km.

Only a short drive from Windsor, the forest offers quieter walks with fewer landmarks and tourists, but no less stunning scenery. It’s particularly well-frequented by horse riders, mountain bikers, and dog walkers. Yet quite often you can find you will wander here without seeing many other souls.

This long figure of eight walk is great for exercising an energetic dog, where they will have plenty of op-paw-tunities to explore the undergrowth off the lead and there are a few steep climbs to tire out your legs. As it is a figure of eight, you could shorten the route and follow one of the circuits before returning to the start.

The Lookout has a nice cafe and is a great place to take the kids. The forest directly around it is used for family walks, bike rides, and den building. The Golden Retriever pub is also within a short drive.

  • Walk Length: 11.2km

  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

  • Starting Point: Lookout Discovery Centre

  • Terrain: Paths, trails, woodland, uneven.

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Nine Mile Ride, Bracknell, RG12 7QW

More information: ViewRanger: Swinley Forest

Waterside walks

Dorney lake

The purpose-built rowing lake at Dorney is owned by Eton College. Although it is still a very active centre for rowing, including the 2012 Olympics, it is open for the public to enjoy every day. Other than the lake itself, there are 400 acres of parkland you and the pooch can explore. Even though this walk isn’t within the great park, it is a nearby walk in Windsor that is well worth remembering.

This is a fabulous spot for walking as the lake is bounded by the Thames Path on one side and a national cycle path on the other. This allows you to easily walk a circuit of the long lake, or pass it by on a much longer route along either of those paths.

The route we enjoy most will see you and the pup start in the village of Dorney before walking in a large loop out to the lake and along the Thames path. This particular route is wonderful as it is long enough to tire you and the dog, with op-paw-tunities for them to be off the lead. It is also free of stiles and follows good level tracks and paths throughout, making it possible for all ages and abilities. You will start and end the walk at The Palmers Arms, which is conveniently very dog friendly. The pub has its own dogs, after all, and serves some amazing food.

  • Walk Length: 7.1km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: The Palmers Arms

  • Terrain: Paths, trails, towpaths, gravel, flat, even

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: 1293 Village Road, Dorney, Windsor, SL4 6QW

More information: AllTrails: Dorney Lake, GPS Routes, The Palmer Arms

Cow pond

This is a short but exceptionally beautiful woodland walk with the pond serving as the focal point. The pond itself is full of lilies and was extensively renovated for the Queen’s jubilee, at which time a footbridge and oak arbour were installed. Walking here is wonderful year-round, and usually much quieter than other areas of the park.

This is a beautiful walk in any season. Autumn brings with it the vivid fiery colours of the Japanese maples, whilst the start of the year brings out the perfume and hue of the witch hazels. Meanwhile, summer is the best time to admire the abundance of lilies in the pond.

Your pup will love this off-lead romp while you admire the fragrant flora and enjoy this easy-going walk. As with most of the Great Park, you’ll be on good paths and gravel throughout. After your stroll you can pop into The Fox and Hounds for a pit stop, but if you don’t patronise the pub, you can park further up the road.

  • Walk Length: 2.6km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: The Fox and Hounds

  • Terrain: Paths, trails, gravel, flat, even, woodland

  • Free Parking: Yes

  • Address: Bishopsgate Road, Englefield Green, TW20 0XU

More information: Windsor Great Park: Cow Pond

Virginia water

We included this spot as one of our favourite dog walks in Surrey, but as it is also a section of Windsor Great Park, so we couldn’t fail to include it here. Not to fear, as there are several routes for you and the pooch to explore, and a repeat trip to the park will not be a wasted venture! If you have already tried a picnic and pootle around the lake as previously suggested, you can take this longer and wilder walk within the plantations and up and around the gardens.

Your pup will love this ramble through the brooding woodland, which is often quieter than the main hub of Virginia Water on the opposite side of the lake. You’ll follow the path along the west of the lake, past the Leptis Magna ruins and around the totem pole, before following the paths as they move between the gardens and the polo grounds. Once you cross the bridge, you’ll be back where you started with you and the pooch feeling energised after a long walk in wonderful, natural surroundings. If you need any facilities, there are plenty within Virginia Water for you to use, including a dog-friendly pub.

  • Walk Length: 6km

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Starting Point: Virginia Water south car park

  • Terrain: Paths, trails, flat, even, woodland

  • Free Parking: No

  • Address: Blacknest Road, SL5 7SB

More dog walks: Kent, Bedfordshire, East Sussex