Hi everyone! As part of my work trip this past Spring, I was able to visit Windsor Castle. It’s about a 30 minute train ride from London, so it’s very accessible to get there for the afternoon.
Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. Queen Elizabeth II enjoys spending holidays and weekends at Windsor, so it is still lived in and used by the Royal Family frequently.
Founded in the 11th century, Windsor has been used by 39 monarchs! In its lifetime, it has served as a military headquarters during the English civil war, a prison for King Charles I, as well as a safe haven during the WWII air raids on London. It costs 22.50 pounds to visit Windsor. On some occasions, when the Queen or the Royal family are using the castle, the price will be reduced to 12.90 pounds since you won’t have access to the State Rooms. Occasionally Windsor itself will be closed down with hardly any notice, but since it is still a working Royal residence, this should always be on your mind.
There are many highlights to see while visiting Windsor so it’s best to give yourself at least 3 hours there. They provide a multi-media device so you can listen to information throughout your self-guided tour. I followed the ‘Ceremonial Route’ when in the State Apartments, but there is also a ‘Historic Route’ as well. To read specifically about the differences between the two, click here. (Keep in mind you are not able to take photos while inside the State Apartments).
While touring the grounds, you can also enter St. George’s chapel. This is where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were married in 2018. It’s important to note that the Chapel is closed on Sundays due to services held throughout the day so if it’s important for you to view, you’ll want to visit Windsor on another day.
It is highly recommended that you purchase your tickets in advance when visiting Windsor Castle to avoid a long queue. Their website indicates the morning is the busiest time to visit, so I suggest making it an afternoon trip! For more information about opening times, closure dates for Windsor and the state rooms, as well as ticket prices, click here.
Overall, I was blown away by Windsor Castle. It was much larger than I realized and it was fun recognizing the State Rooms from pictures I had seen of the Royal Family. I understand why the Queen would so frequently want to escape the hustle and bustle of London to stay here.