It was cold and windy when we left our hotel in London, the UK that morning. Our plan? To visit Windsor Castle and have a look inside the Royal residence.
We wanted to arrive when it opened and took a train to Slough at Paddington at around 8.30 am. From there it was about half an hour to slough, where we had to wait 15 minutes to get the small train to Windsor. You can see the castle growing bigger as the train approaches and once you get out of the station, you just have to cross the street and there it is.
When visiting Windsor Castle in the morning, it's best to take the train. Not only is it less expensive than taking a cab, but it might also be a bit quick during rush hour.
Visiting Windsor Castle – Inside the Queen's castle
The castle opened at 9.45 am, but they let us (and the few groups waiting outside) in a bit earlier. I don’t know if they always do this or if they made an exception because it started to rain.
The Windsor Tourism Board was so kind to provide us with two complimentary tickets that we just needed to pick up. There weren’t any real lines to get in and we had no problem passing through security.
I’d been a bit worried about that because I’d read that big bags aren’t allowed in the castle and my dad was carrying a backpack with his photography equipment. No need for worries, though, as the security scanners at the castle are about the same size as the ones at the airport so I’m guessing that any bag that is allowed as carry-on, will be allowed onto the castle grounds.
After we'd walked around a bit outside, we headed to the Dollhouse, the Portrait Gallery and the State apartments.
Inside Windsor Castle: the Dollhouse
Queen Mary‘s Dollhouse was built between 1921 and 1924. It's one of the largest dollhouses in the world and a perfect miniature replica of an aristocratic home at a 1:12 scale. Several English artists and craftsmen have designed the thousands of pieces of furniture, draperies, China and other objects inside the house and it even has running hot and cold water, flushing toilets and working lifts.
On top of that, the wine cellar contains bottles that are actually filled with wine and the library has tiny books contributed by famous writers, such as Rudyard Kipling.
The Dollhouse was the only place inside Windsor Castle where we had to shuffle a bit to get through, as everybody wanted to absorb the details of it as closely as possible.
Inside Windsor Castle: the Portrait Gallery
From the Dollhouse we walked on to the Portrait gallery, containing portraits of The Queen by different artists. I only found out later that this was a temporary exhibition. Best to check the Windsor Castle to see what exhibition is on when you're planning your visit.
Then came the highlight of our visit: the State Apartments.
Inside Windsor Castle: the State Apartments
Enormous rooms, high ceilings, armory, paintings, wall rugs… At the State Apartments you dont know where to look first. It's amazing and overwhelming, but at the same time I couldn’t help but think how appalling it actually is that so few people could be so wealthy while so many others were starving. In that area, not much has changed since then.
In the midst of our visit, we upped our pace a bit because we didn’t want to miss the Changing of the Guard, which started at 11 am.
Changing of the guard at Windsor Castle
We got to the Low Ward just in time for the spectacle.
From April to July the Changing of the Guard at Windsor happens daily except on Sundays. All other months, it takes place on alternate days but also never on Sundays. Dates and times for the Chaing of the Guard are determined by the British army and can change on short notice.
- We took the train from Paddington train station to Windsor. You have to make a change at Slough. The train there to Windsor usually leaves from track one and it's only one stop.
- After visiting Windsor Castle and the town, we took a taxi to Heathrow Airport. It took us only 15 minutes to get there and we paid £30. There are taxis waiting just outside the castle.
- Windsor Castle is open daily from March until Octobre (9.45 am – 5.15 pm); November to February (9.45 am – 4.15 pm).
- For more information on ticket prices and special closing dates please check out the official visitor website of the Royal Borough of Windsor.
- You're not allowed to make images inside Windsor Castle, which is why I've used press images for this post.
Where to stay in London
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The Windsor Tourism Board provided us with two complimentary entrance tickets. However, my love can't be bought so all of the opinions expressed in this article are my own – as always.