One thing you must do while in London is make the day trip to Windsor Castle. Windsor castle is the official residence of The Queen and happens to be the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world!
Dating back to 1070 AD William the Conquerer had Windsor Castle built as a way to provide fortification from those coming to London from the west.
The castle took 16 years to build, but underwent construction through the centuries.
The wooden walls of the Castle were replaced with stone in the late 12th century by Henry II and then the entire facade of the castle underwent a Gothic transformation with more stone & masonry added after George IV came to the throne in 1820.
What You Can See during a Day Trip to Windsor Castle
When you first arrive at the Castle, you will be able to take a free 30-minute tour of the Castle ground that is led by Wardens. They will talk to you about the history of Windsor Castle.
During your tour of Windsor Castle, you will get to see the State Apartments that were built for Charles II and his Queen, Catherine of Braganza during the late 17th century.
They are considered some of the grandest Baroque State Apartments in England. Not only are the rooms exquisite, but so are the decorations.
You will be able to see such rooms as the Grand Reception room where the Queen hosts official visits by Heads of State and awards ceremonies and see paintings by notable artists.
The Semi-State Rooms are open from autumn until spring each year. Your ticket price will reflect whether or not these rooms are open to the public.
As you walk through these private apartments created for George IV, you will find them some of the most richly decorated interiors in the Castle.
Today, the Queen uses them for official entertaining.
One of the neatest things to see is Queen Mary’s Doll House, which is ridiculously intricate. There is a wine cellar, garden and even hot & cold running water.
St George’s Chapel
Included in your Windsor Castle ticket is St. George’s Chapel. This is where Prince Harry married Meghan Markle.
Within the St. George’s chapel are the tombs of ten sovereigns, including Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour.
It is also the final resting place of Queen Victoria’s husband, Albert.
The Chapel does close at 16:15 (last entry 16:00 Monday-Saturday in order to prepare for the Evensong at 17:15.
Evensong at St. George’s Chapel
Evensong at St. George’s Chapel begins at 17:15, is free, and lasts about 45-min.
Choral Evensong is a choral tradition that dates back nearly 500 years and is done at a time between day & night to give the listeners a time for restful contemplation.
If you don’t intend to tour the Castle, you can still attend Evensong. It is the only way to access St. George’s Chapel without a ticket.
Simply line up at the main gate about 20 minutes before Evensong begins.
*Note that no photography or video recording is allowed within the State Apartments or St George’s Chapel.
The castle is open year round even when The Queen is in residence.
If the Royal Standard is flying at Windsor Castle, The Queen is at home. If the Union Flag is up, she’s not.
Windsor Castle Ticket Prices (BOOK Online)
- Adult £23.50 per ticket
- Adult (during closure of State Apartments) £13.50 per ticket
- Disabled £13.50 per ticket
- Disabled (during closure of State Apartments) £7.30 per ticket
- Family: 2 adults & 3 under 17 £60.50 per ticket
- Family: 2 adults & 3 under 17 (during closure of State Apartments) £32.00 per ticket
- Senior/Student £21.20 per ticket
- Senior/Student (during closure of State Apartments) £11.20 per ticket
- Under 17 £13.50 per ticket
- Under 17 (during closure of State Apartments) £7.30 per ticket
Windsor Castle Hours
Mar– 31 Oct
Monday – Sunday 10:00 – 17:15*
Nov– 28 Feb
Monday – Sunday 10:00 – 16:15*
* Last admission 75 minutes before closing.
Changing of the Guard at Windsor Castle
Changing of the Guard is something you really should try to see while you are in town. It takes place in the Lower Ward inside the castle at 11:00am.
The sentries are changed throughout the day.
If you don’t have a ticket to see Windsor Castle at this time, you still can watch them as they arrive from Victoria Barracks on Sheet Street at approximately 10:45am and march through the Town Center.
Have you made the day trip to Windsor Castle? What was your favorite part of the trip?