Windsor Castle Royal Windsor
Berkshire SL4 1NJ
 
 
Windsor Castle is a must see for the visitor.  It looks like everyone’s idea of a castle and is crammed full of wonderful furnishings, fabulous Old Master paintings, sculpture, armoury and a fascinating dolls’ house.
 
The Castle is rectangular in layout divided into two halves (the Lower and Upper Wards) by the motte (mound) and Round Tower.  Entry is through the Henry VIII gateway into the Lower Ward.
 
When the Queen is in Residence
Windsor Castle is one of the official residences of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. It is her favourite home and she spends as much time here as possible. When the Queen is in residence the Royal Standard (a yellow and red flag) flies from the top of the Round Tower.  When she is not in residence, it is replaced by the Union Jack. Visitors can easily check if the Queen is at home.
 
Queen Elizabeth II's Easter Court
Every year The Queen takes up official residence in Windsor Castle for a month over Easter (March-April).  This period is known as The Easter Court.  She is also in residence for a week in June, when she attends the Service of the Order of the Garter in St George's Chapel and the Royal Ascot Racecourse meeting.
 
Changing the Guard
The Changing the Guard Ceremony is a colourful spectacle.
 
Some History of the Castle
The Castle has been home to Royal families for over 900 years.  In 1070 King William I (William the Conqueror) erected the original fort.  Built of wood it was for defensive purposes only and consisted of a motte and bailey on a 50 foot (15 metre) mound surrounded by wooden walls.  A century later King Henry II replaced the wooden structures with stone and the Round Tower was built on the mound. The first Royal apartments were built in the Upper Ward.
 
St George's Chapel
In 1360 King Edward III extended the castle in the Lower Ward by building St George’s Hall to accommodate the Garter Knights.  St George’s Chapel was begun in the 15th century by King Edward IV and finished by King Henry VIII.  It is a superb example of late medieval architecture and is the last resting place of ten British monarchs. This is the heart of the Order of the Garter ceremonies and is decorated with the banners and coats of arms of the current holders of this rare Royal Order of Chivalry.
 
Oliver Cromwell, King Charles I & King Charles II
During the Civil War Oliver Cromwell used Windsor Castle as a prison and headquarters for his Parliamentary forces.  King Charles I was imprisoned in Windsor until his execution at Whitehall, and then his body was returned for burial in St George’s Chapel.
 
When King Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660 he set about refurbishing The State Apartments and in magnificent style. Much of this splendour is visible to visitors to The State Apartments.
 
In the 1820s King George IV set about altering the fabric of the castle.  He chose a Gothic style and added the crenulations and turrets that we see today.   He moved the private apartments from the north side to the other side of the quadrangle and redesigned the rooms on the north side as formal State Rooms.  These Semi-State rooms are Usually open to the public between the months of September to March.
 
The Drawings Gallery houses exhibits from the Royal Collection of drawings, maps, manuscripts, books and photographs.  These exhibitions change on a regular basis.
 
Accommodation - Search & Book through Booking.com here: 

 

 
Conquer The Tower Tour
For those who are not afraid of heights and enjoy a challenge, the 'Conquer The Tower Tour' may just be available whilst you are visiting Windsor Castle. The Round Tower climb is demanding, however after ascending the 200 stairs, the views over the Castle and Windsor Great Park, the Thames Valley and the London skyline are breathtaking.
 
For details and requirements, please visit the Web: Royal Collection website.
 
Queen Mary's Dolls House
Last but not least is the magnificent Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House. Standing three feet (0.9 metres) tall, and on a scale of 1 inch to one foot, the house was completed in 1924 and represents a gentleman’s house of the 1920s.  It was not a toy but a showcase of the best of British craft and includes many 1/12th representations of treasures in Windsor Palace.  It is a superb example of miniaturisation and detail.
 
Queen Victoria & Prince Albert
Windsor was the favourite home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and it was this monarch who first opened the State Apartments to the public.  Prince Albert died at Windsor in 1861 from typhoid fever.  The distraught Queen built a special mausoleum at Frogmore in Windsor Home Park for her beloved Albert’s body.  She was laid to rest beside him many decades later.
 
Many of the Royal Estate workers live in cottages in Windsor Home Park and there are two organic farms whose produce is sold in the Farm Shop.  Windsor Home Park is not normally open to the general public.
 
Plan Your Visit 
Accommodation - Search & Book through Tripadvisor here:
 
Opening Hours & Admission Tickets
Ticket prices include free Audion Guides & Guided Tours
 
Castle Terms & Conditions
- Visitors will undergo airport-type security screening before entering the Castle and large baggage items such as large backpacks and pushchairs must be left in the cloakroom.
- Mobile (Cell) phones must be switched off inside the State Apartments and St George’s Chapel.
- Eating and drinking are not permitted in the State Apartments or St George’s Chapel. Visitors wishing to leave the Castle for refreshments in the town may obtain re-entry permits from the Castle shops or the audio return point.
Smoking, including e-cigarettes, is not permitted.
 
Disabled Access
The Castle website advises: "most public areas are accessible for wheelchair-users, including the State Apartments. Wheelchairs can be borrowed, free of charge, from the Visitor Centre. These wheelchairs cannot be pre-booked and must remain in the Castle grounds. Information about access is available by Tel: +44(0)2077 667 324 or going to  Web:  Windsor Castle/ Plan Your Visit
 
Facilities
Admission Centre & Shop in the Castle Courtyard.
Toilets & Baby-care available in the Courtyard at the the North Terrace.
Disabled toilets at the Admission Centre, on the North Terrace and in Engine Court. They are locked with a RADAR key, so please ask a Warden to unlock them if you do not have your own key.
Secure Cloakroom in the China Museum at the entrance to the State Apartments.
 
Contact & Further Information
Telephone   +44 (0)20 7766 7304
Website   Royal Collection/ Windsor Castle
 
Getting There
Follow the directions in this website for getting to Royal Windsor.
 
Google Maps - Windsor Castle