Exploring Windsor Castle: A Guide to a Trip to the Queen’s Favourite Home

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Windor Castle

Windsor Castle is one of the most famous buildings in the UK, as it is one of three official residences of the queen, and it has been home to the Sovereign for over 900 years.

The Castle is the largest inhabited castle in the world, and the oldest in continuous occupation, so when you visit there you truly are a guest, as it’s not purely open for visitors and tourists. The impressive towers and battlements of the castle loom large from every approach to the town, creating one of the world’s most spectacular skylines.

Hundreds of thousands of people flock to the castle each year to glimpse the queen’s favourite residence, but there are a lot of unknown things about the place she often calls her home.

General FAQs About Windsor Castle

Is Windsor Castle open to the public?

A good place to start for those wondering, can you visit Windsor Castle in England? Yes, from March – October the doors open to the public at 10.00am every day, including Sunday, and close at 5.15pm. From November to February opening time is 10:00 am, closing 4.15pm. Last entrance is 90 minutes prior to closing time.

Who lives in Windsor Castle?

The queen spends most of her private weekends at Windsor Castle and takes up official residence for a month over Easter, which is known as ‘Easter Court’. The queen is also at Windsor for one week each June, while attending Royal Ascot and the service of the Order of the Garter at St George’s Chapel.

How much does it cost to go to Windsor Castle?

Adult  £22.50

Over 60 / Student £20.30

Under 17 / Disabled  £13.00

Under 5  Free

Family  (2 adults and 3 under 17s) £58.00

Tickets for groups are available for a discounted rate, and companion tickets are offered for those visiting with a person with a disability.

How old is Windsor Castle?

As of this year, Windsor Castle is a staggering 949 years old, which makes is the oldest inhabited castle on the planet. Fun fact: the original castle was built in the 11th century after the Norman invasion of England by William the Conqueror.

How much is Windsor Castle worth?

The question we all want to know the answer to!

Though it’s not known 100% for sure, a report published in 2017 estimated that it was worth an eye-watering $236million.

How far is Windsor Castle from London?

The average journey times from London are around 60-90 minutes by coach and around an hour by train, with lots of different service providers offering good deals throughout the year. There are two rail stations within five minutes’ walk, each of which has several services an hour to London. The address of Windsor Castle is Castle Hill, Windsor SL4 1PD.

Getting the Most Out of Your Visit

Now you’re armed with a few facts about the building, it’s time to get planning your trip! Here are some top tips for getting the most out of your time at this extraordinary castle.

Accommodation nearby

There are some truly amazing accommodation options just a short train ride away in London, so you can make the most of the exciting capital, whilst being really near the castle. The Piccadilly London West End Hotel Spa is a particular highlight, as it provides a great relaxing refuge amongst the hustle and bustle of Piccadilly.

Places to eat nearby

asian food

If opting for the above listed Piccadilly London Hotel, you can enjoy a fantastic Indian Afternoon Tea. It’s an absolute must for the foodies out there. This is one of the best restaurants near Piccadilly, but there are lots of other places to grab a quick bite near the castle too for when you’re feeling peckish as you explore.

Changing of the Guard

Changing the Guard

Many visitors like to time their visit so they can view the Changing of the Guard. This is very similar to that practiced in Central London at Buckingham Palace or Horseguards. The Changing of the Guard at Windsor usually takes place at 11am within the Castle grounds Mondays to Saturdays from April until the end of July and on alternate days for the rest of the year, weather permitting.

Queues and time it takes to look around

The ticket buying process at Windsor Castle is really standard and straightforward. However, in peak seasons (the summer months) you can expect to wait in queues to purchase them for up to an hour.

Therefore, it’s highly recommended that you book your tickets ahead of time online before visiting, as you’ll then be allowed in much quicker, as there is a fast track entrance within the ticket hall building. During the winter months when there are no queues, the average visitor will take 90 minutes to two hours in the Castle, although the official Windsor Castle website suggests three hours or more. At peak times during the summer months, there are often long queues to the entrance of the State Apartments, so your trip will take a bit longer.

St George’s Chapel

St george chapel

St George’s Chapel within the Castle Precincts is the spiritual home of the Order of the Garter, which was founded at Windsor by Edward III in 1348.  The Garter Knights attend an annual Service of Thanksgiving in the Chapel; processing in their robes through the Castle Precincts. Today, the Order includes the queen, who is Sovereign of the Garter, several senior Members of the Royal Family, and 24 knights chosen in recognition of their work. St George’s Chapel remains an active centre for worship, with daily services open to all.

Etiquette inside the castle

No photography or video recording is allowed within the State Apartments or St George’s Chapel at any time. Eating and drinking are not permitted in the State Apartments or St George’s Chapel. You will be asked to place drinks and food in closed bags before being admitted to the castle, so it’s best to avoid purchasing drinks and food until after your visit if possible.

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