Windsor Castle Day Trip

Enjoy a day trip to Windsor Castle

Overlooking Windsor Castle
Overlooking Windsor Castle cc licensed photo by Karen Roe

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 9:45am to 5:15pm except until 4:15pm from November to February.

For more information about Windsor Castle including hours and admission charges visit their official website linked above.

Facts For Your Visit

Fee: Yes.

Windsor Castle Hours:
Opening hours may differ on holidays

  • Monday: 10:00 AM – 5:15 PM
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: Closed
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 5:15 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 5:15 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 5:15 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:15 PM

Address: Windsor SL4 1NJ, UK

Phone: 0303 123 7334

Official Website: Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle Reviews

Rated 4.7 out of 5 Star Rating

5 Star Rating I was impressed by the tour (individual audio). Really a lot of interesting things to see, as well as the chapel. we also saw the changing of the guard. in short, worth a visit, buy tickets in advance
V V - in the last week

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4 Star Rating I liked it. We visited as part of a 2-day tour from London so we had limited time, but it was more than enough to visit the whole place. We didn’t get to see the changing of the guard, but the doll house is very impressive. There are lots of rooms to explore, and the audio guide was explanatory. However, one of the guides had the files in different order so it was difficult to follow the path
María Guillermina Véscovo - a week ago

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2 Star Rating It's great to visit a place that it is actively being used, but the ticket price is not justified. The majority of the places that you can see are actually on the outside of the castle. The only good thing is that is you decide to donate the ticket amout to charity, you have access for a year to the castle with the same tickets, but still, if you don't live nearby then my initial comment stands. The dollhouse, for example, has really long queues, and once inside, you have to keep moving and can not really enjoy how much you want as the flow has to move. Honestly, overall, it's not that impressive compared to other castles that I have visited. The great thing about it is the location as it is really close to the train station and it's easy to reach.
Anelis Glodean - a week ago

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5 Star Rating Windsor Castle reigns supreme as the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world, proudly perched atop a Thames-side bluff for over 900 years. Witness to British monarchs from William the Conqueror to Queen Elizabeth II, it's a tapestry woven with royal splendor, architectural intrigue, and captivating stories. Key Features: St George's Chapel: A Gothic masterpiece, housing the tombs of 10 monarchs and Prince Harry & Meghan Markle's wedding venue. State Apartments: Immerse yourself in the opulent living quarters of the royal family, adorned with priceless art and furniture. Changing of the Guard: Witness the iconic ceremony where Queen's Guard regiments swap duties in a vibrant display of precision and tradition. Magnificent Grounds: Explore sprawling gardens, lush lawns, and the majestic Round Tower, offering panoramic views of the Thames Valley. Significance: A symbol of British monarchy and national pride for centuries. A stunning example of medieval and Gothic architecture, evolving over time. A vibrant working castle, hosting state occasions and royal residences. Visiting Windsor Castle: Open to the public for tours of the State Apartments and St George's Chapel. Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place daily. Advance booking recommended, especially during peak season. Step into a world of royal grandeur at Windsor Castle, where history whispers from every stone.
Yasith Ramawickrama - 2 months ago

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4 Star Rating Went on a Sunday, having booked tickets in advance. Definitely book them beforehand. If you have a print out of the ticket, you can convert it into a season ticket at the castle. It is a bit weird that they need a physical copy even in today’s age to do so! The castle is beautiful. Pick up an audio guide and go around. We also got to see the change of guard when we were exiting. The visit was a bit disappointing in some regards though. 1) we were unable to go to the chapel since it was closed 2) the audio guide didn’t match up with the way we encountered the rooms - it seems they had reversed the path and as a result we had to figure out which section of the guide to listen to upon entering each section. Overall though, it was a great visit and would recommend going.
Gaurang Ahuja - a month ago

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Directions

Tube and National Rail Line Nearest Station Walking Time
District, Circle, Hammersmith and City, and Bakerloo LinesPaddington Station4 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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