As you walk up Peascod Street in the centre of Windsor, the Castle dominates the view ahead. Set atop a hill, designed and built by William the Conqueror following his successful Norman invasion, it is not hard to understand why this is her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s favourite residence. This medieval fortress became a royal court for a succession of monarchs and is now a wonderful world tourist destination. You simply cannot visit Windsor without a visit to the Castle which has been home to British Kings and Queens for the last 1000 years. When the Queen is in residence her standard flag flies from the Round Tower.
Surrounded by stunning parkland teeming with deer, the Castle is still very much a working royal palace and regularly hosts ceremonial and state occasions, including official visits from Heads of State. Many Banquets have been held in St George’s Hall which can seat 160 guests.
Admission price includes entrance to the stunning State Apartments which forms the centrepiece of the Castle and these are funished with some of the finest works of art from the Royal Collection. The State Apartments were destroyed during the fire of 1992 and have been completely restored. These are open throughout the year and close only for State events. The Dolls’ House, built for Queen Mary by Sir Edwin Lutyens and completed in 1924, shouldn’t be missed. Visitors are able to walk around the dolls’ house and enjoy the minute replication of the Castle rooms, both above and below stairs, from the 1920s.
During your visit you are also able to join a Precinct Tour which introduces the Castle’s history as a fortress and a palace and the role it plays today as an official residence of the Queen, and takes in the spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. You can tag photos #windsorcastle when you share on Twitter and Instagram.
Another fantastic aspect of the Castle is St George’s Chapel which is located within the Castle walls and is a fine example of early Gothic architecture in England. Within the Chapel are the tombs of many monarchs including Henry VIII and Jane Seymour and Charles I. Worshippers are welcome to attend services throughout the day.
The gardens, park land and views surrounding the Castle are also stunning and there is an opportunity to see the Changing of the Guard which takes place daily / odd days through the year between 10.45 and 11.15am according to the weather and season. See link for details during your visit.
Located just a short distance from Windsor Castle is Frogmore House which is open just for charity events and on the August bank holiday weekend. You are also able to visit the gardens through the National Garden Scheme throughout the year – check their website. This venue houses some fabulous art work that was collected by Victoria and Albert during their lifetime and is also home to their Mausoleum. Very much worth a visit if you are able to coincide it with your visit.
The Long Walk is not for the feint-hearted – 2.65 miles there (…AND the same back again) to the Copper Horse but oh so worth it for the fabulous views! From Cambridge Gate you head up the Long Walk, and enjoy the fabulous scenery and when you arrive you have the breathtaking view back to Windsor Castle. There are many deer that you are likely to see, especially early in the morning and this adds to the sheer drama and beauty of Windsor Castle. If you continue on from the Copper Horse rather than turning back, there are no end of fabulous trails to follow through Windsor Great Park, the Deer Park, Virginia Water Lake and Savill Gardens. Around 4800 acres in all. Amazing in all seasons and dotted with lovely pubs such as Two Brewers located next to Cambridge Gate, Fox & Hounds next to Cumberland Gate and The Belvedere next to Blacknest Gate. Locals will cycle, dog walk, walk, run, horse ride eat, drink and generally be merry, delighting in this fabulous landscape on our doorstep.
You can purchase Windsor Castle Tickets here