We have had some lovely days at Windsor Castle. The gorgeous gardens, historic buildings, beautiful interiors, and activities for kids mean a visit to Windsor Castle has something for everyone.
UPDATED: September 2022
Places to See During A Visit to Windsor Castle
Built from 1066, Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world. It was also one of HM The Queen’s favourite homes. With massive rooms, high ornate ceilings, priceless artworks and gorgeous crystal chandeliers, the State Rooms are particularly breathtaking.
There are lots of interesting stories about the inhabitants of the castle. For example, King Charles II insisted he preferred to sleep in his dressing room because it was warmer. That may have been true, but the room also had a secret door. This door led to a staircase which in turn led to the bedroom of his mistress on a lower floor of the castle!
Special Exhibitions at Windsor Castle
There are often special exhibitions at Windsor Castle. However following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the Platinum Jubilee Exhibition is now closed. I am sure there will be more special exhibitions in the years to come.
The Castle Precincts
The grounds of the castle are full of waterfalls, gardens and ancient trees. During a visit to Windsor Castle, I always like to take a tour of the “precincts” with one of the Yeoman Warders because they so enjoy sharing the history and secrets of this magical place. They tell entertaining stories of plots, intrigues and love-struck prisoners. Tours with the Yeoman Warders are included in the price of your admission ticket.
Changing the Guard
On a smaller scale to The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, the Changing of The Guard at Windsor Castle is still an impressive sight. You can watch the beginning of the procession from outside. However, the majority of the Changing of The Guard takes place within the Castle precincts so you will need a ticket to visit the Castle to see the complete ceremony. Times for Changing the Guard can vary. Please visit The Changing of the Guard Website for up to date details.
St George’s Hall
St George’s Hall was almost completely destroyed in the 1992 fire at Windsor Castle. Before the fire, the original oak had weathered and aged. The hall has now been rebuilt using new oak and I’ve been told this makes it look almost exactly like it did when it was built in the 1360’s. It even smells new and it’s so beautiful. The ceiling is decorated with the crests of every Knight of the Garter, the oldest order of chivalry in the world.
Queen Mary’s Doll House
I love Queen Mary’s Doll House! It was built in the 1920’s and is a perfect replica of an aristocratic home in miniature. It really is magical, with miniature furniture and paintings by the leading artists of the day, a library full of doll sized books and a garden designed by horticulturalist Gertrude Jekyll. This incredible structure even boasts electricity, hot and cold running water, working elevators and flushing toilets.
St George’s Chapel
No visit to Windsor Castle is complete without a stop at St George’s Chapel. This welcoming church is one of my favourite Royal chapels and is still an active centre for worship with services open to all. You can visit St George’s Chapel on Mondays, Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays. There is an entry fee for sightseeing. General visitors are not allowed on Sundays, but if you wish to worship at the chapel you are welcome to attend a service.
St George’s Chapel has gorgeous carvings, altars and stained glass windows. Don’t forget to look up! The stone ceiling is absolutely breathtaking.
Beneath your feet lie some of the famous rulers in history including Henry VIII and his best loved wife, Queen Jane Seymour. Our beloved late Queen Elizabeth II lies in a beautiful side chapel with her husband the late Prince Philip, her father the late King George VI, and the late Queen Mother. Her sister the late Princess Margaret’s ashes are also interred here. I saw the chapel some years ago on one of the aforementioned tours conducted by the castle’s Yeoman Warders. Our guide said at the time it was where the Queen wished to be buried, and I feel privileged to have seen it all those years ago.
Tips to Make a Visit to Windsor Castle Extra Special
A visit to Windsor Castle takes between 2½ to 3 hours. You may wish to stay longer so allow plenty of time. The castle is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Although Windsor is often listed as part of London tourist attractions, Windsor is actually a town outside the capital. Trains from London’s Paddington and Waterloo stations go to Windsor. The journey takes about a half hour from Paddington and about an hour from Waterloo. The 25 mile journey takes about an hour and fifteen minutes by car (longer by bus). Journey times often increase due to heavy traffic. Parking in Windsor is limited and expensive, so if you are travelling from London I recommend going by train.
Opening times and admission prices for Windsor Castle vary. Please click here for essential information about booking your visit. Be sure to book in advance to avoid the queues.
Ask about the free kid-friendly audio tour and activities.
Don’t forget to get your ticket stamped before you leave. It allows you to return to Windsor Castle at no charge as many times as you like within a one year period.
Subscribe to updates from The Royal Collection website to be kept updated of special events and exhibits at Windsor Castle as well as many other Royal palaces and properties.
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