A trip to London is like no other. It is a once in a lifetime experience! However, if you want to spend one day outside London in a mesmerizing place, I have the perfect suggestion for you. I invite you to head to Virginia Water Lake; a peaceful nature gem located within Windsor Great Park in Surrey.
In this beautiful place, you’ll find woodlands, winding paths and flowering trees. Additionally, it is very easy to reach this destination from London.
How to reach Virginia Water Lake?
The first transportation option is taking the train from London Waterloo. The trip lasts around 1 hour and costs between £10 up to £21. Furthermore, you’ll find a train every 20 minutes.
Another good transportation method is commuting by car. If you choose this method, you must know that there is a quite big parking space in the park. Usually, you won’t have a problem finding a place for your car. However, the parking price is a little bit expensive. It costs £3 per hour and £12 after 3 hours.
Walk around the lake
Virginia Water is a good place for a walk. Spreading on 6.9 KM, the place has numerous trails that you can follow.
Each trail is adapted for all skill levels and ages. Additionally, the walk lasts from 1 to 2 hours depending on what you want to visit.
What can you expect to see on your way to Virginia Water Lake?
If you want to have a first glimpse of what Virginia Water can offer, I recommend you start walking from the train station to the lake.
The walk lasts about 30 minutes and will give you the opportunity to discover the expensive properties on Christchurch road and the Christ Church Virginia Water.
Virginia Water lake opening hours
Concerning the opening hours of Virginia Water Lake, the place is open from 7:45 am until 7 pm throughout the year.
Virginia Water Lake Highlights
1) The Cascade
Virginia Water houses extensive wildlife, mesmerizing flowers and must-visit grounds all year round. Additionally, the place has a beautiful lake that you can walk around to enjoy astonishing views.
However, the real gem here is the cascade. Constructed in the 1750s, the cascade was destroyed by a violent storm in 1768 and then rebuilt in the late 1780s. The Virginia Water Cascade is, to say the least, beautiful and a good opportunity for taking awesome Instagram pictures.
Furthermore, you can take your children to visit the cascade’s ornamental. To reach the cascade, head left once you enter Virginia Water. Just follow a paved footpath for around 10 minutes and you’ll reach your destination.
2) Roman Ruins Leptis Magna Ruins
Another must-see place in Virginia Water Lake is the Leptis Magna Ruins. They incorporate an extensive collection of Roman ruins from Leptis Magna in Libya, North Africa.
The ruins were built in the 1820s and are considered as one of the largest assemblages of Roman architectural fragments in the UK. The story of building these ruins dates back to the Roman North Africa era and the British Empire.
Nowadays, you’ll find a detailed plan of Leptis Magna and a cathalogue of all the items to help you capture the importance of this place. You’ll also find at your disposal catalogues explaining the origin, evolution history and construction methods of the site.
3) Cafe in the park
After visiting the cascade and Leptis Magna ruins, you’ll need a break and I have a good suggestion for you. I invite you to visit the Virginia Water Pavilion. It is the Cafe in the park and is open for indoor and outdoor catering.
The place is quite spacious and bright. Additionally, it is equipped with children’s facilities, highchairs and the staff is very friendly.
I advise you to grab a hot chocolate or a cafe and sit by the lake to enjoy a relaxing view away from the noise of London. As for the cafe’s foodservice opening times, they are as follows:
● Breakfast 9:00 am – 11:30 am
● Lunch 12:00 pm – 4:30 pm (last food order at 3.30 pm)
4) Five Arch Bridge
After a relaxing break at the cafe, it is time to continue your visit. I suggest you go to the Five Arch Bridge. Designed by Sir. Jeffry Wyattville, the architectural masterpiece, was completed in 1827.
Located in the North-West of Virginia Water, the Five Arch Bridge replaced the Great Bridge built by the Duke of Cumberland in the XVIII century.
The Great Bridge was completed in 1789, however, after a while, it was completely dilapidated.
In 1826, Sir. Jeffry Wyatville decided it was time to repair the bridge and built the Five Arch. Since that time, this UK architectural masterpiece has remained unchanged.
5) The Totem Pole
It is impossible to visit Virginia Water Lake and not admire its poles. With a height of 100 feet, they were given as a gift from the Canadian people to the Queen in 1958.
The Queen received a 100 feet high Totem Pole, one foot for every year, to commemorate the centenary of British Columbia.
The colony was named by Queen Victoria in 1858 and is now a part of the Canadian Pacific Coast Province.
They Additionally, the Totem Pole has no religious significance but is a characteristic feature of the Pacific Coast Indian Art. It embodies their tribal history and represent a family tree for the Pacific Coast Indians.
Don’t miss the chance to admire the Totems’ authentic style of Kwakiutl and the figures carved on the top of them. Between, sea otters, whales, cedar man, thunderbird etc. You’ll be mesmerized by the creativity of the Pacific Coast Indians.
6) Enchanted Forest
Another must-visit place in Virginia Water Lake is the Enchanted Forest.
This natural gem is very popular all year round, with its glittering waters and luxurious and abundant wildlife. The Enchanted Forest surrounds the large lake and has plenty of woodlands to explore and get lost in.
Additionally, the Enchanted Forest is an excellent place for a walk with your pets or your children and is open all year round.
7) Prince Consort Statue
Erected in 1887 by the Sculptor Boehm, the Bronze figure of Prince Albert in military uniform on his horse is a must-see. The Prince Consort founded a Library and Reading Room in Cumberland Lodge. This became the social centre of the Park where concerts and lectures were held.
Additionally, In this statue, Prince Albert is standing on a large base and plinth of pink granite.
Furthermore, on all 4 sides of the plinth, you’ll find bronze plaques bearing inscriptions saying that the statue was presented to Queen Victoria “from the daughters of Her Empire”.
Moreover, there is one inscription in English and the others are in Gaelic, Latin and Sanskrit.
8. Heather Garden
This is another must-see place in Virginia Water like. Known for its many varieties of heather, this is probably the most colourful place in all of the park. There, you’ll find a palette of pinks and purples bringing this area alive.
It also houses an extensive fauna and the bees are always busy at work there. Additionally, in spring, Heather Garden becomes a welcome relief after the dark winter months.
9. Wick Pond
After visiting the famous Totem Poles, I invite you to head straight to Wick Pond. It is an ideal place for toddlers and feeding birds. The Wick is a separate pond from the Virginia Water Lake at a slightly higher level.
Additionally, in this place, you can see fauna like ducks, geese and swans. Furthermore, if you visit the place in Summer, you’ll find an ice cream truck that will make you remember your days as a child.
10) The Valley Gardens
Spreading on 250 acres of space, this place was co-created by Sir Eric Savill and Hope Findlay. These undulating valleys were planted with magnolias, exotic azaleas and other blooms from all over the world.
Every season offers colourful vegetation collections that will surprise even the most seasoned of horticulturists among you.
Don’t miss the opportunity to admire the National Collections of Magnolia, Glenn Dale Azaleas, Rhododendron Species and Himalayan and Chinese Birches.
Additionally, you’ll have the opportunity to see camellias while wandering in the Valley Gardens. Furthermore, if you visit the place from mid-April to mid-June, be ready for a real treat as the woods will ablaze with a riot of colours everywhere you’ll go.
11) Savill Garden Kitchen
After a delightful and exhausting walk through the Valley Gardens, I invite you to refuel yourself with Savill Garden Kitchen’s delicious dishes. It is an astonishing place equipped with a large outdoor terrace perfect for dog walkers.
Created in the 1930s by Sir Eric Savill, the place has an extensive range of stunning gardens and woodland. To access Savill Garden you’ll have to pay £13.50 per ticket if you’re an adult and £7.50 per ticket if you’re a minor.
However, car parking is free if you already paid for the ticket to access the park. I also invite you to head to the gift shop.
It offers products evocative of an idyllic country lifestyle and an extensive range of plants and Royal gardens’ accessories.
Additionally, the kitchen at the garden’s visitor centre has amazing options worth trying. From salads and burgers to roast dinners to wood-fired pizzas, you’re in for a delightful time!
Furthermore, Savill Gardens are equipped with disability access toilets at the main entrance. There are also manual wheelchairs available to borrow on request. The place offers a beautiful panoramic view of the gardens.
Moreover, breakfast is served from 9 – 11.30 am, lunch from 12 – 4.30 pm and drinks only between 4.30 – 5 pm.
12) Cumberland Obelisk and Obelisk Pond
Originally named Hurst Lake, the Obelisk Pond was substantially completed in four years 1748 – 1752. Woodland and rhododendrons frame the place. Additionally, the stream feeding the Obelisk Pond is the one forming a central feature of the Savill Garden.
The stream continues at the southeastern outlet of the Pond to join with another of the tributaries of Virginia Water, reaching the lake by way of Wick Pond. Additionally, the soil excavated when the Pond was constructed was used to increase the hill’s height of the hill to the northeast.
At that place stands the Cumberland Obelisk. A memorial was constructed in honour of the Duke of Cumberland.
On the monument, you can read the following inscription “This Obelisk was raised by command of King George II, commemorates the services of his son William, Duke of Cumberland, the success of his arms, and the gratitude of his father.
This tablet was inscribed by His Majesty King William IV.
13) Guards Polo Club
After visiting Obelisk Pond, go discover the Guards Polo Club. Founded in 1955 by Prince Philip and the Duke of Edinburgh, this place was originally named the Household Brigade Polo Club.
In 1969, the name was changed to the current one. Since its inception, the Guards Polo Club has grown considerably. Nowadays, it is the largest polo club in all of Europe in terms of membership and number of grounds.
Located nearby renowned Savill and Valley Gardens, Guards Polo Club offers a relaxing setting for its members and visitors.
Additionally, the place hosts some of the most prestigious equestrian tournaments, including the Cartier Queen’s Cup. Furthermore, the club houses 14 polo fields and around 500 matches every season, making it an ideal location for everyone who loves equestrian sport.
14) The Wheatsheaf pub
To end this list in beauty, I invite you to refresh yourself at the Wheatsheaf Pub. This pub restaurant dates back to the XVII century and offers a cosy atmosphere and delicious food.
Additionally, the place has a large menu to choose from. Furthermore, the pub is equipped with a car parking space and outdoor seating. Moreover, the place is open:
Virginia Water Lake is full of architectural and natural wonders. It is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit outside of London! I hope you enjoyed this guide.
Please, don’t hesitate to share your favourite spots and thoughts with me. I’m looking forward to reading your comments