Windsor is more than just a castle

I dropped by Windsor Castle to visit the Queen of England but she wasn’t even home. That cheeky bitch!

Naturally, I’d come all that way from London so I thought I’d have a look around anyway.

Windsor Castle - home of the Queen of England

Originally built by the fun-loving William the Conqueror in the 11th century, the history of Windsor Castle has been inextricably linked with that of the English Monarchy ever since. It’s the official residence of Her Majesty the Queen and is the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world.

It covers an area of roughly five hectares and features some amazing architecture including St George’s Chapel, the burial place of ten monarchs, and state apartments that look like something out of Downton Abbey.

Inside, this major British tourist attraction is kind of like a gigantic museum. It’s awe-inspiring to imagine the people who’ve walked the halls of Windsor Castle, with portraits of former kings and queens and their families adorning every wall.

As a Kiwi, I was delighted to spot Sir Edmund Hillary’s name and his coat of arms at Windsor Castle, alongside other members of the illustrious Order of the Garter.

Other highlights were Queen Mary’s doll house and St George’s banquet hall (it boggles the mind to imagine who has dined here throughout the years).

Me in Windsor, the seat of the home of the Queen of England

The twin towns of Windsor and Eton are nothing to be sniffed at either, separated by the River Thames with Windsor Bridge for access between them.

Windsor boasts the caste, of course, but also a great number of pubs, cafes and shops. It’s a festive spot in the run-up to Christmas and it’s also home to the United Kingdom’s Legoland amusement park – just two miles (3km) from the Windsor town centre.

Eton, on the other hand, is much smaller but no less affluent. Dominated by the college, Eton is a quaint little town with a number of very decent pubs. It should only take about 15 minutes to walk here from the castle.

I recommend you check out both Windsor and Eton – but you shouldn’t need any more than a day to take in both towns and Windsor Castle.

Nicola outside Windsor Castle's state apartments

Entry to Windsor Caste costs £17.75 for adults, with the ticket price dropping to £9.70 during the closure of the castle’s state apartments (see the official website for details about that). Windsor Castle is free to enter for children under five; a family ticket for two adults and three under-17s will set you back £46.50.

It’s really easy to get to Windsor and Eton, which makes it one of the best day trips from London. The Royal Borough is just 30 miles west of London (Heathrow airport is 15mins away by car; Luton and Gatwick are within an hour’s drive).

By National Rail, getting to Windsor & Eton Riverside takes less than an hour from Waterloo in central London (a direct journey with no changes) or Paddington (two changes).

You might also like the best London day-trips and cheap and cheerful things to do in London.

About Simon Petersen 315 Articles
Travel blogger, journalist, sports and movie fiend. Chronicling the life and times of a Kiwi at home and abroad.

4 Comments

  1. Freaky!
    You’ve done the exact same trip as I’ve got planned for my 2013 London trip!
    I’ve planned to visit Windsor castle in the morning and then Windsor itself and Eton afterwards.
    Good to read that it’s all very do-able in a day!

    • Wicked! I’m so jealous! I only went once when I lived in London but I had an amazing time. It’s just so nice there – I can see why the wealthy like to live there.

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