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.
This post was originally published a few years ago, but I’ve just updated it with all new photographs and information.
Places to See During A Visit to Windsor Castle
Please note that at the time of this update, Windsor Castle is undergoing extensive works. At time of writing (July 2019), Queen Mary’s Doll House is under restoration and a new cafe is being constructed so please check before you visit.
Built from 1066, Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world. It’s 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 2 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!
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 daily services at 5pm open to all. On Sundays the Chapel is closed to sightseers, but you can attend a service if you wish.
St George’s Chapel has gorgeous carvings, altars and stained glass windows. Don’t forget to look up because the stone ceiling is quite amazing. Beneath your feet lie some of the greatest rulers in history, including Henry VIII and his best loved wife, Queen Jane Seymour.
I can definitely understand why TRH the Duke and Duchess of Sussex chose St George’s Chapel as the venue for their wedding. The atmosphere is wonderful and I always feel a real sense of peace when I visit.
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.
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.