Windsor Castle Has Been a Royal Residence Since the Time of Henry I:Set in the county of Berkshire, about 32 km from London is Windsor Castle, one of the oldest and largest occupied castles in the world. Windsor Castle is one of the official residences of Her Majesty The Queen and has been a royal home and fortress for over 925 years.
After the Norman invasion, William the Conqueror established Windsor Castle in 1070–86 as one of a chain of fortifications around London. Since the time of Henry I, Windsor Castle has been used as a royal residence by a succession of monarchs, who either re-modelled or added to the castle structure. In 1170 Henry II replaced the Norman keep with the Round Tower. It was re-modelled by George IV in the 1820s.
Every year the Queen takes up official residence in Windsor Castle for a month over Easter when she hosts occasional events for guests, including politicians and public figures. The Queen is also in residence for a week in June, when she attends the service of the Order of the Garter and the Royal Ascot race meeting. The castle is also used by the Queen to host state visits from overseas monarchs and presidents.
What to see in Windsor Castle
- The lavishly decorated State Apartments are furnished with some of the finest works of art from the Royal Collection, including paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Canaletto and Gainsborough.
- From October to March an additional five rooms, known collectively as the Semi-State Rooms, are included in the visitor route. Visitors can enjoy George IV’s private apartments, among the most richly decorated interiors in the Castle.
- St George’s Chapel is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in England. It is the spiritual home of the Order of the Garter, Britain’s senior chivalric order established in 1348 by Edward III. Within the chapel are the tombs of ten sovereigns, including Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour, and Charles I. Worshippers are welcome to attend the Sunday services at St George’s Chapel but the chapel is closed to general visitors on Sundays.
Windsor Castle is a working royal palace and as such opening arrangements may change at short notice. If you’re planning a visit, it’s advisable to check if there are any official events taking place.
Among the highlights of a visit to Windsor is Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, the most famous dolls’ house in the world.
Changing the Guard takes place at 11:00 daily from April until the end of July and on alternate days for the rest of the year, weather permitting. Changing of the Guard does not take place on Sunday.
Windsor Castle Opening times (daily):
9.45 am–5.15 pm Mar–Oct
9.45 am–4.15 pm Nov–Feb
The train journey from London to Windsor Castle is about 30 minutes (from Paddington Station). Alternatively, you can join one of the many half or full-day tours to Windsor Castle from London.
If you’re looking to make Windsor your base, there are several hotels that are just metres away from Windsor Castle. Search for hotels, read hotel reviews and book your Windsor Castle hotel here >
Windsor, Berkshire SL4 1NJ
Map of Windsor: