Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world, and if you’re in Berkshire or London then it really is a must-see. The impressive castle is the Queen’s official residence and her favourite weekend home, and she spends most of her weekends when she isn’t conducting Royal duties there. Windsor Castle has become one of the most iconic landmarks in England, and its close proximity to Heathrow Airport means that many visitors can spot the huge castle from the air on their arrival to the country.
It is no surprise that Windsor Castle is a very popular attraction, and sees tourists from all across the globe flock to its doors every single day. Due to the popularity of Windsor Castle, it is worth planning ahead for your trip to really make the most of your day. Read on for our top tips for visiting Windsor Castle and some insider secrets to make your day out go as smoothly as possible.
1. Arrive By Train
Planning your arrival in Windsor couldn’t be easier when you choose to take the train. Driving and parking in central Windsor is no easy task, with little car parking being available in the historic town centre. Windsor has two train stations both within easy walking distance of Windsor Castle, and if you are travelling from London you can arrive in Windsor from either Paddington or Waterloo and the journey takes just 30 minutes.
2. Check The Opening Hours Before You Visit
Windsor Castle is still a working castle, and the opening hours reflect this. The Queen still uses the castle for many ceremonial and state occasions and depending on what is on all or part of the castle might be closed to visitors. The opening times change throughout the year, with the castle opening at 9.45am all year round, and closing at 5.15pm between March and October, and 4.15pm between November and February. Always check the Windsor Castle website before planning your visit, to make sure there are no other events taking place that might impact your day.
3. Head To The Castle After Lunch
Many tourists visit the Castle every day, and the queues can be very lengthy in the morning when everyone first arrives. To avoid the queues and still have a great day out, aim to get to the Castle after midday. We recommend you grab a spot of lunch in Windsor before heading to Windsor Castle, and at that time you should be able to walk straight in without much waiting around. Head to The Brasserie at Sir Christopher Wren for a delicious bite to eat overlooking the beautiful river Thames, before taking a few steps up the road to the castle.
4. Watch The Changing Of The Guard From The Guildhall
The Changing of the Guard happens on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 11am, and whilst you need to enter the castle to see the actual handover, you can watch the Guards march to and from the castle from The Guildhall. If you are taking our advice and skipping the queues by entering the castle after midday, then head to The Guildhall to watch the march.
5. Don’t Visit On Sundays
If you want to experience St George’s Chapel then don’t plan to visit Windsor Castle on a Sunday as it will be shut to the public. As well as being the famous venue for the recent Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, St George’s Chapel is home one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in the country. Once inside the chapel, you can see King Edward III’s impressive sword which is two metres long and very likely to be the weapon he used during battle.
6. Remember The Rules
As Windsor Castle is a Royal residence there are rules that come with it. When you are in the State Apartments or St George’s Chapel there is no photography or video recording allowed so be sure to put the camera away. There is also no eating or drinking allowed in these areas so make sure you don’t visit when hungry and put any snacks away before entering.
7. Make A Weekend Of It
When visiting Windsor Castle why not make the most of your time in the area and stay for a night or two. With no need to rush off you can experience everything that Windsor has to offer, such as taking a stroll down the Long Walk, or exploring the famous Eton College. You can stay right in the heart of the historic town at Sir Christopher Wren Hotel & Spa, and with the Windsor Castle Package you can enjoy your accommodation, full English breakfast, £50 to spend in The Brasserie, as well as your entry to Windsor Castle. Book online now with prices starting from just £210 per room.
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