Windsor Castle is in Windsor, around 25 km from London. The river Thames flows towards London beneath the castle.
Windsor Castle is the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world. Together with Buckingham Palace in London and Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, it counts as one of the main residences of the British Royals. The presence of the Queen in Windsor is indicated by the Royal Standard. It is only in her absence that the Union Jack flies on the Round Tower.
A visit to Windsor Castle is easy with the London Pass. Admission is free and pass holders get to queue in the fast lane. Those who booked a Travel Card with their London Pass also get the train ride to Windsor for free.
We took the train to Windsor and that alone was quite the experience. The journey time is 50 minutes with one change in between to catch the only transit train to Windsor.
The station is integrated into a shopping arcade. We arrived on time for the first admission to the castle and everything was nice and quiet then. When we left in the afternoon the cafés and restaurants were busy.
It’s only a short walk from the station to the castle.
We planned to arrive as early as we possibly could to avoid the busloads of tourists. It worked!
Set some time aside to queue. The line moves reasonably quickly but every visitor has to pass through security, much like at an airport. Also, handing out the free audio guides takes some time.
The tour is really lovely. On many occasions, the audio guide supplied some extra information but for the most part, the impression one gets by simply walking through the castle is enough without further explanation.
This is the floorplan of Windsor Castle:
Windsor Castle – floorplan
A: Round Tower
B: Upper Ward
C: The State Apartments
D: Private Apartments
E: Visitor’s Apartments
F: Lower Ward
G: St. George’s Chapel
H: The Horseshoe Cloisters
K: Henry VIII Gateway
L: The Long Walk
M: The Norman Gateway
N: The North Terrace
O: Edward III Tower
T: Curfew Tower
We only visited the Queen Mary Dollhouse (please plan ahead for waiting times at the entrance). A stunningly pretty dollhouse. Too bad that we felt quite rushed by all the other people who want to see it, too. Some smaller details might very well have escaped our eyes.
We did not visit the rest of the interior but this video (English) gives a good overview.
We spent more time on the castle grounds and visited the Lower Ward, St. George’s Chapel and the Horseshoe Cloisters and were very impressed.
An excursion that is certainly worthwhile and shouldn’t be missing from any London trip.
Windsor and Maidenhead SL4 1NJ
Opening hours (2018):
March – October: 09.30 to 17.30
November – February: 09.45 to 16.15
The Castle will be completely closed on:
- 15 - 17 January 2018
- 29 March 2018
- 30 March 2018
- 20 April 2018
- 19 May 2018
Admission fees (2018):
London Pass holders: free
Adults: 21.20 £ Reduced prices available