04:43PM, Monday 11 April 2016
Windsor Castle could be set for its first cafe as part of a multi-million pound investment which aims to ‘transform the experience of visitors’ to the royal residence.
The Royal Collection Trust announced plans to spend £37m on a collection of projects known as ‘Future Programme’.
The investment will be split between Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, in Edinburgh, and has been funded by entrance fees to the Queen’s official residences and retail income.
Planned improvements at the castle include increasing public access to the ground floor of the State Apartments and opening up the medieval Undercroft to make way for a cafe.
The Undercroft is one of the oldest surviving parts of the castle and served as its principal cellar and larder during the 14th century. Work is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.
Express reporter David Lee spoke to shoppers in Peascod Street to find out if people thought it was a worthwhile investment or whether it was a load of royal rubbish.
Windsor resident David Eglise said: “I went to Windsor Castle a couple of weeks ago with my grandkids so a rest while the children go and explore would benefit me and the others. I have no problem with the cafe as long as it’s not too commercial. The investment is a good idea for the tired castle.”
John Foster, a retired tax manager from Ascot, said: “It’s about the only place that doesn’t have a cafe I would have thought. Buckingham Palace has opened up quite a lot so I think it’s a good idea that Windsor Castle does the same. I think we’ve got to modernise otherwise it will just fall behind everything else.”
Helen Cunliffe, 50, visiting from Hampshire, said: “If there was a tea room they’d make an absolute bomb. I think it would be nice to keep it traditional. It wouldn’t be good to see if there was a chain place in there. Yeah, the money could be spent elsewhere but you could argue it warrants it."
Sally Joselyn, from Sutherland Chase, Ascot, who was visiting Windsor with her husband Mark, 54, said: “I’m not sure about the cafe as there’s already enough of them based in Windsor already. As long as the businesses in the High Street don’t lose out then it will be OK."
Peter Furney, 69, who lives in Dedworth, said: “Would the money actually be spent on anything else? If it’s going to be paid for with entrance fees then it would only be spent on the castle. What was it, a million visitors they had last year? It’s a good cause.”
More than 50 street parties are set to take place this weekend across the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and the surrounding areas.
An independent report into a Conservative councillor has found a breach of the Royal Borough’s code of conduct in a document seen by the Advertiser.