One thing you may be asking yourself when visiting London is “Is Windsor Castle Worth Visiting?” With so much to do in London, you are probably trying to figure out what you can fit in your trip. Windsor is one of my favorite towns in England and you should certainly make time to visit Windsor Castle.
What You Will Learn on a Windsor Castle Tour
During your tour of Windsor Castle, you will be able to enjoy learning all about the castle from the inside of the castle as well as the outside. Here are a few things you will learn:
- Windsor Castle is the official residence of The King
- It is the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world!
- Dating back to 1070 AD, William the Conqueror had Windsor Castle built as a way to provide fortification for 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 Will Get to See on a Windsor Castle Tour
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.
When you visit 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 King 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 some of the most richly decorated interiors in the Castle.
Today, the King uses them for entertaining guests.
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 Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
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 visit Windsor 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 King is in residence. If the Royal Standard is flying at Windsor Castle, The King is at home. If the Union Flag is up, she’s not.
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 11:00 am.
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 10:45 am and march through the Town Center.
Windsor Castle Tickets
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.
How far is Windsor Castle from London
On average, it will take you about 40 minutes to travel to Windsor from London.
The easiest way to travel is by the Great Western train. Pick up the train at Paddington Station (runs every 15 minutes or so) and get off at Slough. Transfer to the other side of the Slough train station and take it to Windsor. Round trip will cost you about £12.
Looking to spend more time in Windsor and see more than the castle? There is plenty to do & see when you visit Windsor for the day.
Have you made a visit to Windsor Castle? What was your favorite part of the trip?