A day trip to Windsor Castle will fill your day with an abundance of photo opportunities and a fascinating lesson in medieval history. There is so much history behind this castle that we can only touch the surface here.
Windsor Castle is the largest castle in the world today still occupied as a residence. An official residence to the Queen, this 900 plus year old castle continues as a full working palace and covers an area of 26 acres.
The castle was first built after the Norman invasion in order to maintain Norman dominance along the western outskirts of London. It also overlooked and protected a strategic part of the River Thames, having a mote and bailey. Originally constructed of wood by William the Conqueror, the castle later became a residence for King Henry l. During the later half of the 12th century his grandson, Henry II gradually rebuilt the castle with stone to improve its fortification. He also converted the inside of the castle into an elaborate palace. In the 13th century Henry lll made even more improvements followed by Edward III who rebuilt much of that same palace with even more extravagance. Over the following centuries subsequent Kings have each added their own interesting touches and improvements to the castle.
Windsor Castle has served as a home and fortress for Monarchs for nearly a millennium. It has stood up to invasions during the First Barons' War in the early 13th century and during the civil war in the 15th century it served as headquarters to Parliamentary military forces. As recently as the Second World War the castle provided protection to the Royal Family from bombing campaigns.
In spite of its resilience in times of war, Windsor Castle almost succumbed to a terrible fire that swept over the building in 1992 destroying all but the outer shell of a number of rooms. The fire started by a spotlight coming into contact with curtains inside the Queen's Private Chapel and quickly spread up into the roof of the palace. The damaged rooms were all painstakingly restored, a project that took five years to complete.
One of the amazing and very interesting highlights of a visit to Windsor Castle is Queen Mary's Doll house. This is definitely not your average doll house. It is the largest most elegant and famous doll house in the world. Built for Queen Mary by the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens between 1921-1924 This scaled-down replica is an impeccable likeness to an aristocratic home, with features such as a fully stocked wine cellar a library a garden, electricity, running water both hot and cold, flushing toilets and elevators that work. In an adjacent display you will see two beautiful French dolls, France and Marianne with part of their wardrobe of clothes and adornments that were designed and made by Parisian fashion houses for Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret rose the daughters of King George Vl and Queen Elizabeth.
Windsor Castle is only a short distance from Legoland so you may want to combine the two into a single day trip, however, it is easy to spend a full day exploring either one.
Windsor Castle is open most days of the year for visitors and tours from 9:45 am to 5:15 pm except until 4:15 pm from November to February. You can get free admission to Windsor Castle if you have purchased the London Pass.
For more information about Windsor Castle including hours and admission charges visit their official website linked above.
Facts For Your Visit
Official Website: Windsor CastleFee: Yes, however admission is free with a London Pass.
Stephanie K. Sep-27-2020
We were able to order our tickets online one day before our visit. Due to Covid, it wasn't crowded at all. Masks are required when inside buildings and they... Read More
Tracey A. Jan-18-2020
If castles are your thing, Windsor Castle is about as good as they get. Castles aren't exactly my thing but when in Windsor... What you need to know is... Read More
Niki B. May-11-2020
"Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world." How amazing is that?! This castle was also founded by William the Conqueror in the... Read More
Accommodations near Windsor Castle:
|Tube and National Rail Line||Nearest Station||Walking Time|
|District, Circle, Hammersmith and City, and Bakerloo Lines||Paddington Station||4 MInutes|
How to get to Windsor Castle by Tube and National Rail
From Paddington Station Purchase a National Rail Ticket for the First Great Western Line to Windsor and Eton Central Station. There will be a transfer between trains at Slough Station. Total time on the train including the transfer varies between 26 and 50 minutes depending on which train you catch.
When you arrive at Windsor and Eton Central Station take the Windsor Castle (east) exit and walk south on Thames St. then left on Castle Hill to get to the visitor entrance.
Use the National Rail Journey Planner to get details and departure times for you trip.
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