When doing the royal tour around England, one stop that is a must is a visit to Windsor Castle. While Buckingham Palace only has seasonal entry, Windsor Castle tends to be a year round opportunity to step into the world of the British Royal family.
We had the opportunity to visit during a very intensive day trip from London to Stonehenge, Bath, to see the Roman Baths, and Windsor Castle.
From there, we made our way to Westminister Palace in the heart of London, England. This was one of the most beautiful palaces we have ever seen, and we have seen quite a few.
While each of these attractions had their own unique historic appeal, Windsor Castle was the one that needed the longest amount of time to explore.
VISITING WINDSOR CASTLE
Our visit to Windsor Castle was in the summer, in late July. Lucky for us it was a nice day. This was our second stop on our daytrip, following our visit to Stonehenge. It was also our destination for lunch, although with so much to see, our lunch resembled a quick takeaway sandwich we quickly ate in the carpark waiting to reboard the bus. Who has time for food when there is are so many things to see?
While waiting for our tour guide to get organised with tickets, we had a short time to stroll around the streets neighbouring Windsor Castle. We found this pretty cool actually, to have a castle right in the middle of a town… just like an ordinary house.
Most of the time castles and palaces are set apart from the residential areas nearby, but it is simply across the cobblestone street from this gorgeous little part of Windsor.
We had to line up for a while before we could go inside, which was a bit of a pain considering you expect guided tours to skip the wait.
Although one of the great things about this tour was it was more of a self-explore instead of staying glued to a tour group for the day. We got handed our entry tickets, and lined up just like other visitors to the castle, free to explore and see what we wanted during our visit.
Windsor Castle is every bit the medieval castle you would expect from a fairytale. Those towering structures and high brick walls. Kids would think they were having their very own chance to be a prince or princess for the day.
The grounds are quite large, with many different areas to visit. Of course there are also a lot of areas not possible to visit during the tour, for security reasons, and I think even stricter when any of the royal family are home… of course!
The tour mostly takes you through the grounds of the Castle, more so than inside the castle itself… at least this was the case for our visit. Most of the year, you have access to several internal areas of the castle, including the state apartments, but the Queen must have been in residence at the time.
There are lots of garden areas that would be fun to explore, were you a young royal growing up on the grounds of Windsor Castle. Minus the hoards of tourists of course. Sometimes it’s nice to dream about life as a princess… or is that just me?
And of course while in London, one of the attractions is watching the guards do their marching and change overs. This is an interesting routine to observe and quintessential London culture.
Windsor Castle is open for visitors all year round with the exception of Christmas and Boxing Day. Entry is from 9:45am until 4:15pm or 5:15pm, depending on the time of year.
*Prices correct as of 30 October 2015. Check the website before your visit for up to date prices.
WINDSOR CASTLE FACTS
- Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world
- It is the official residence of the Queen of England
- When the Queen is in residence, the flag will be flown from the round tower
- Windsor Castle has been home to British royalty for over 1000 years
- The Queen takes up official residence over Easter each year