Guidance for visitors to Windsor Great Park
Your safety, the safety of our staff and other Park visitors is our utmost priority, so please maintain social distancing at all times, staying at least two metres from people outside of your household. When meeting family and/or friends you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, you must not meet in a group of more than six (6), indoors or outdoors. Before visiting please familiarise yourselves with the latest Government guidelines. Please also refer to the guidelines about meeting others safely.
Before you leave home
Please note - there may be occasions where our team will ask you to move on if an area is becoming too crowded. Please respect their request.
The Savill Building
The Gift Shop, Plant Centre and toilets at The Savill Building are open. On busier days you may need to queue.
The Savill Garden
The Savill Garden is open for Friends and Members as well as a limited number of pre-booked tickets.
The children's play area - Obelisk Lawn
This area will remain closed.
Virginia Water Pavilion
Firstly, try The Savill Garden car park at TW20 0UJ. Other areas of the Great Park are within easy reach of this car park.
The following are also open:
The car park at The Valley Gardens remains closed.
More information about car parking can be found here.
Cycling in Windsor Great Park
More information about cycling can be found here.
Catering facilities in Windsor Great Park
The Savill Garden Kitchen is open with a reduced menu. The terrace is open from 9am - 11am for teas, coffees and pastries and then the lunch menu is available from 11.30am - 4pm.
During this time whilst we are operating a reduced service, we want to ensure that as many of our Visitors, Friends and Members are able to enjoy the restaurant facilities. Your table occupancy for dining is limited to one (1) hour with no return within two (2) hours. Thank you for your understanding and co-operation.
The following reduced take-away catering will be available:
We are constantly reviewing the situation and should Government advice change, or public safety be compromised, we will not hesitate to impose further closures or restrictions.
The Punch Bowl was originally started back in 1948 and completed in 1951 from a wide selection of Kurume azaleas obtained from cuttings from the garden of John Barr Stevenson at Tower Court – one of the most renowned collections of Rhododendrons (including Azaleas) in the world. It was estimated that over 50,000 Azaleas were planted to create one of the most beautiful landscapes in the country.
In the mid-nineteen eighties the then Gardens team, under the guidance of the Keeper of the Gardens - John Bond, instructed that the Azaleas needed to be pruned back. Thirty years later under the Keeper of the Gardens – John Anderson it was time to start the restoration of the Punch Bowl.
In May 2017 a plan was created to prune the Azaleas (mostly Kurume), once they had started to finish flowering.The strategy was clear. We would be pruning the Azaleas very hard back. In several cases, we would remove up to two metres of growth.
This project gave the team an opportunity to remove the years of litter and debris hidden amongst the dense growth. We utilised the better access to treat the ever-invading bracken fern which had become a nuisance in several places. We also removed the small stand of Abies procera ‘Glauca’ (Noble Firs), several of which were due to come down because of decay and, in some cases, hollow trunks.
Running parallel with this project was the propagation of several thousands of Azaleas by the propagation team which would be essential to give us the opportunity to replant several large areas at a later date.
Fast forward three years to 2020 and the Punch Bowl is getting back to where we want it to be and this spring, the Azalea bowl flowered very well. Over the past winter, our team added large quantities of leaf mould in preparation for new plantings of propagated Azaleas, which were planted in the gaps. They have also been diligently watering and controlling the outbreak of weeds.
Looking ahead, the plans are to continue to propagate the Azaleas and replant in large blocks over the next few years. The Azaleas will continue to be pruned back every year, depending on the growth. This pruning is to keep the Azalea compact and in good flowering condition. Such is our determination to keep the Punch Bowl the unique feature that it deserves to be, we have maintained the small fence around it to ensure that the team can continue to concentrate on the restoration.
We are keeping an eye on the ageing Japanese Maples, as some are beginning to show signs of slowing down and die back due to climate variations. This hotter and drier weather over longer periods of the year is having an impact on many other trees across The Valley Gardens and wider Great Park. There is a success story however as the Styrax japonica (Silverball Tree), a beautiful ornamental large shrub small tree, is loving the climate conditions in the Punch Bowl and is self-seeding abundantly!