James Max

Fit for a Queen: why Windsor should be on your property radar

Fit for a Queen: why Windsor should be on your property radar
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It’s rumoured that Prince William is considering a move from Kensington Palace to be closer to his grandmother in Windsor. Since her return from Balmoral, she has based herself full time at Windsor Castle and it’s certainly a great town but should you consider moving there too?

Years ago I worked with American investors looking to buy commercial real estate in the UK. One thing they could never quite appreciate is how old everything was. They’d often ask why anyone would build Windsor Castle under a flight path.

I’ll merely leave that there with a raised eyebrow and let you know that an original castle was first built on the site in the 11th Century. During the reign of Henry VIII it was used as a royal court and centre for diplomatic entertainment. George III and George IV spent a fortune in the 18th century turning it into the castle it is today. Whilst Queen Victoria tinkered, it became the refuge for the Royal Family during WW2 and has been the most favoured of royal homes by our current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. And so it’s no surprise that Prince William has indicated that a move to the Windsor area might be a nice thing to do, should the Queen be planning to spend more time there.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are rumoured to be considering a move to Windsor (Getty)

It may be a stone's throw away from Eton but does Windsor work for us ordinary plebeians? House prices there have actually fallen in recent months - only by a mere 1.83 per cent, but still enough to buck the national trend.

We all know that working in an office five days a week is likely to be consigned to the history books. As long as you can get to the City, or West End should you need to, a good commuter town with a range of resources could be rather convenient. Just outside the town is a wonderful array of villages and beautiful countryside. Windsor Great Park, belonging as it does to Her Majesty, does not have to contend with the usual pressure of incumbent housing developments. It is guaranteed green space, right on your doorstep.

Given its royal connections, Windsor has a lot more resources than a usual town of its size. It is home to The Theatre Royal, a range of shops, as well as some fine dining establishments too. The Waterside Inn boasts three Michelin stars and cracking views to boot while local favourite Gilby's will service you with nothing but the finest vintages. If you need to get into central London there are two train stations, Windsor and Eton Central and Windsor and Eton Riverside. Trains are regular (45 minutes into Waterloo) and you can be in Paddington in as little as 25 minutes if you commute from nearby Slough. Whether it’s London you want to get to or an airport (remember those?), you’re right in the middle of it all.

As for education, the town is the tenth best in the country for ‘Outstanding’ schools. At secondary level, there is Newlands school for girls and Windsor Boys' school, plus Charters School in nearby Sunningdale.

For those able to widen their search, Maidenhead is less of a tourist trap than its more famous neighbour and yet boasts all the same perks, with solid train links. At the top end of the market, here's what £10 million will buy you:

Ockwell's Manor (Savills)

For those seeking to cash in on London property, why not pick a house that’s somewhat deceptive in size? This 3000 square feet, five-bedroom, Grade II listed terraced house with a walled garden is a stone’s throw away from the castle. Compared to similar sized properties in London, it's a snip at £2 million.

Image: Lawsons

With the Castle in view, a townhouse that in much of the capital would cost you twice as much… it’s all been done and is ready to move into. A rather splendid 3 bedroom terraced property could be yours. For £1.35 million.

Image: Strutt and Parker

Or how about a coach house? It’s certainly got potential, off street parking and a 26ft drawing room for entertaining.

Back in the real world, if you fancy living in the area, a riverside view has to be one of the potential features you’d go for. It might be bijoux but £1.195 million will secure you a lovely period cottage with the most stunning river views.

And for the same kind of money you can get double the space in Old Windsor, which is south of Frogmore Cottage. Handy for visiting the cousins.

Just down from the Long Walk is a two bedroom semi-detached house listed at £785k with off-street parking for one small car. Nicely done, it’s close enough to all of the town’s amenities.

Image: Strutt and Parker

Venturing out of the town centre there’s some wonderful countryside and for my money, I’d rather have a bit more indoor and outdoor space. £1.5 million will find you a rather splendid three bedroom character home (pictured above) with a detached office, garage, gardens and all within a reasonable distance of the town.

And then I suppose if you wanted castle living, there is another option. Buy an apartment in a development that has a pool, communal areas and gardens. Yes, there will be a service charge but if convenience is what you want, then there are a few developments worth considering.

Windsor ticks all the boxes for a post pandemic move. For my money I’d always pick a period property and focus on the space it offers rather than replacing one urban environment with another. And, if the Cambridges do make the move, you can guarantee its capital will soar.