Over 800 years ago, in June 1215, King John met his barons in this unassuming field, 3 miles southeast of Windsor. Together they hammered out an agreement on a basic charter of rights that guaranteed the liberties of the king's subjects, and restricted the monarch's absolute power. The document they signed, the Magna Carta, was the world's first constitution. The field remains much as it was, plus a few modern memorials and two 1929 lodges, designed by Edwin Lutyens.
The Magna Carta formed the basis for statutes and charters throughout the world's democracies, and is paraphrased by both the national and state constitutions of the USA. The American Bar Association erected the Memorial to Magna Carta, across the field from the car park and styled to resemble a Greek temple, in 1957. A short uphill path nearby leads to the 1965 President John F Kennedy Memorial, which sits between trees on an acre of land gifted to the US. The main field also holds The Jurors, a 12-bronze-chair memorial that commemorates the Magna Carta's 800th anniversary in 2015.
After stomping through the mud to reach these three memorials, you can continue uphill on a 1.5-mile loop track to the moving Commonwealth Airforces Memorial, inscribed with the names of 20,000 WWII airmen without graves from the UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, India and South Africa.
Bus 8 from Windsor (£4.20, 10 minutes) stops half a mile northwest of Runnymede, on Windsor Rd (A308).