Windsor Castle is one of the largest and oldest occupied castles in the world. It’s also a royal residence, and home to HRH The Queen and many other members of the royal family. So if you’re looking for a quintessential English experience, be sure to visit Windsor Castle!
History of the Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle is a royal residence at Windsor in the English county of Berkshire. It is notable for its long association with the English and later British royal family, and for its architecture. The castle is located on 13 acres (5 hectares) of land above the southern bank of the River Thames. The magnificent Windsor Castle is one of the major royal residences, along with the Buckingham Palace.
The original castle was built in the 11th century (1070–1086), by William the Conqueror, a few years after his invasion of England. During the reign of King Edward III (1327–1377), Windsor Castle was transformed from a military fortification into a gothic, magnificent palace.
The chapel, a famous element of Windsor Castle, was begun by Edward IV in 1475 and finished by Henry VIII in 1528.
During the English Civil Wars (1642 to 1651), Charles I was detained at Windsor before being beheaded.
The castle has undergone further changes under the rule of King George IV. It was the favorite residency of Queen Victoria, and her daughters were raised there. Queen Elizabeth II has been known to spend many weekends at Windsor throughout her reign, even before it became her official residence.
On November 20, 1992, in Windsor Castle, a fire began in Queen Victoria’s Private Chapel and spread to the rest of the castle. It destroyed 115 rooms and lasted for 15 hours. The fire ruined much of the town’s history, including its oldest buildings, but preservation efforts began immediately and were over five years later. Now the Windsor Castle is open to the public. In 2018, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry married at St George’s Chapel of Windsor Castle.
Royal Residence. Monarchs Who Lived in Windsor Castle
39 British monarchs lived in the Windsor Castle during their reign, from King Henry I to King George VI & Queen Elizabeth II. It is the oldest and the biggest occupied castle in the world, being a royal residence from 1110 till now. It witnessed many key events in English history, so be sure to add it to your places-to-visit list.
Visit Windsor Castle. Information for Tourists, Opening Times
Windsor Castle is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United Kingdom. The castle is located in Windsor, Berkshire, and is just a short drive from London. The castle is open to the public throughout the year, and there are a variety of different tours that visitors can take.
Windsor Castle is open for visitors five days a week (closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays). The admission will vary depending on the day and type of the ticket, but it’s generally around £27.00 per adult, and £15.00 per children. Kids under 5 can visit the castle for free, and there are many discounts for disabled, families, groups, etc.
Tips for Visiting Windsor Castle
Here are some of the best tips for visitors to have the most pleasant experience during your visit:
- book your tickets in advance – you can do that on the official website and print your tickets at home to avoid lines;
- always check the website before your arrival – sometimes the castle can close (fully or partially) at short notice;
- consider visiting the castle in winter months – you will have a chance to see the Christmas decorations in State Apartments;
- St George’s Chapel is closed for visitors on Sundays, but opened for worshipers;
- visiting the Windsor Castle with children is a great idea – there are many family-friendly activities taking place each month;
- don’t forget to take a multimedia guide to assist you get the most out of your visit to Windsor Castle – it’s in many different languages, and there’s also a family tour led by Scorch the dragon;
- check the website regularly to see if there are any special events, including visiting different parts of the castle;
- don’t forget to see the Changing of the Guard!
Things Included in Your Ticket
What will you see in Windsor Castle during your visit? The ticket includes:
- a tour through State Apartments, where you will have a chance to see some of the best pieces of furniture and examples of decorative arts in the country, as well as masterpieces of Rembrandt, Rubens, and Canaletto;
- St George’s Chapel – the place of burial for many monarchs, as well as location of the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle;
- Semi-State Rooms – private apartments which are open for visitors only in winter months.
How to Get to the Windsor Castle
There are a few ways to get to Windsor Castle, depending on your location and mode of transportation.
If you’re coming from London, the easiest way to get to Windsor is by train from London Paddington Station to Windsor Central Station. You can also take a coach (The Green Line No. 702), or go by car.
There are several tours that depart from London and visit Windsor Castle, often combining a stop at other well-known tourist locations such as Stratford-upon-Avon, Oxford, Bath, or Stonehenge.
Other Things to See Near Windsor Castle
In addition to Windsor Castle, there are a number of other interesting things to see in the area. These include:
- Theatre Royal Windsor – this theater has been entertaining audiences for many years, and is one of the most popular attractions in Windsor. It stages a wide variety of shows, from musicals to comedy, and is definitely worth a visit.
- Windsor Royal Station – this is the main train station in Windsor, and is a beautiful building in its own right. It’s also a great place to watch the world go by, as it’s one of the busiest stations in the area.
- Windsor Racecourse – this is a great place to go for a day out, whether you’re interested in horse racing or not. It’s also a beautiful setting, and you can often see Windsor Castle from here.
- Legoland Windsor – this is a must-visit for any family with young children. It’s a great day out, and there’s plenty to keep the little ones entertained.
- Windsor & Eton Brewery – this is a great place to sample some of the local beer, and tour the brewery to see how it’s made.
- Windsor Great Park – this is a huge park, and a great place to go for a walk or picnic. You can also often see deer here, which is a bonus!
So, there you have it – a few of the many things to see and do near Windsor Castle. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or just want to spend a day out with the family, there’s something for everyone in this area.
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