Windsor Castle, London
A residence and fortress for almost 950 years, Windsor Castle London is one of the oldest and largest continually occupied castle in the world. Located in the English county of Berkshire, Windsor Castle has deep and ancient roots with the British Royal Family and is widely famous for its stellar British architecture as well. Taking day trip from London to Windsor Castle is a scenic affair that will walk you down years of British monarchy and maybe even an encounter with the Queen herself!
Here’s all you need to know before planning a Windsor Castle day trip from London, a quick few tips and the different types of tickets you can purchase for an enjoyable day tour.
Windsor Castle, London - History & Architecture
Back in the 11th century, the Windsor Castle was commissioned by William the Conqueror as a motte and bailey shelter against Norman dominance, with a strategic lookout overseeing River Thames to guard against potential invasions. The construction started around 1070 AD and took 16 years for completion. Windsor Castle stretches across more than 13 acres and has in its premises a small town, palace and fort. Henry I lived in the castle, and his grandson Henry II later renovated it to include special royal apartments. Henry II was also responsible for upgrading the walls of Windsor Castle from timber to stone, which took 60 years in total. Between 1350 and 1377, Edward III spent £50,000 on work to the castle, which was the most any monarch had ever spent on a single building. It was renovated multiple times over the years to keep it fit for royal residence.
After the fire outbreak in 1992, the castle went under reconstruction and got it’s Victorian and Georgian design. Complete with modern and gothic elements, this medieval structure is a contemporary reinterpretation of older tradition and fashion, imitating antiquated styles.
Windsor Castle is always owned by whoever is the reigning monarch at the time, which is currently Queen Elizabeth II. This building has played an integral part of British history, surviving the English Civil War, and housing the royals during the Luftwaffe bombings of WWII.
Best Windsor Castle Tickets
Purchasing your Windsor Castle Tickets online is highly recommended. This way, you can avail a few discounts and cashbacks on your tickets. Here's our curation of the best Windsor Castle tickets at the best prices available on the internet.
Also, did you know that the Prince of Wales introduces the audio guided tour at Windsor Castle?! The audio commentary carries you through the highlights of the State Apartments and St George’s Chapel. You can also interact with the staff from the Royal Household during the tour who will enlighten you about the work involved in running the castle. So, techically, you get to see the castle through the eyes of Prince Charles!
Windsor Castle Entrance Tickets with Multimedia Guide- Bestseller
- Entry to the State Apartments and George’s Chapel
- Entry to the Semi-State Rooms (autumn to spring only)
- From 26 October 2018 - 6 January 2019, a ticket includes A Royal Wedding: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex
- Multilingual multimedia guide
Windsor Castle Half Day Tour from London- 10% Cashback
- Entry to Windsor Castle State Apartments.
- Transport to the Windsor Castle and back to Gloucester Road in London.
- Free Wi-Fi on board the coach & Multilingual audio guide.
- Visit to St George’s Chapel.
Windsor Castle Entrance Tickets with Windsor Duck Tour- Must Try
- Entrance to the Windsor Castle.
- Guided 1 Hour Windsor Duck tour.
- A visit to St. George’s Chapel.
- Return Rail Tickets to Windsor (depending on the option selected)
Going from London to Windsor Castle
Distance from London to Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle lies 25 miles from Central London
Duration of Travel from London to Windsor Castle
The total travel time from London to Windsor Castle should not take more than an hour. This means you have to spend less than 2 hours on traveling back and forth, which gives you plenty of time to explore the castle and its numerous attractions. You can also squeeze in a visit to nearby towns like Eton, Bath, Stonehenge and Oxford.
How To Travel from London to Windsor Castle
- By Train : You get direct trains from Paddington or Waterloo in London to Windsor & Eton Central every 30 minutes. It will take you around 45 minutes to reach the Windsor & Eton Central which is below the Castle and a 10-minute stride up the hill. Round Trip fares start at under £12.
- By Bus : Green Line Express Coaches (routes 701 and 702) travel between London Victoria Station and Windsor several times per hour. The journey takes 1 hour and 10 minutes with round trip fares starting at £15.
- By Car : Take the M4 to exit 6, and follow signs to Windsor Town Center. Know that parking lots fill up quickly during popular times of year so, if you must drive, arrive early. Choose the long-stay parking areas, which cost less than half the rate of short-stay parking. You may have to walk about 20 minutes from the long-stay parking area, but it is a scenic stroll, so shouldn't be a problem.
London To Windsor Castle Day Trip Combo Deals
If you have a whole day, why tour just Windsor Castle? London is so conviniently located that you can hop skip jump and cover about 3 to 4 British towns a day. You can go on all British day trip and cover Stonehenge, Bath, Oxford & Salisbury in a day! Here's our top picks to explore the best historical sites in England and indulge in an epic sightseeing excursion that is sure to educate and inspire you.
Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Bath Tour from London- Recommended
- Admission to Windsor Castle, St. George's Chapel and State Apartments
- Admission to the Stonehenge
- Panoramic tour of Bath with admission to the Roman Baths
- Transfers to and from London with expert guide onboard
Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Oxford Tour from London-10% Cashback
- Walking Tour of Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Oxford
- Transfers to and from London in a comfortable AC coach with a professional guide and complimentary wifi
- VOX Personal Audio Headset
- Entrance to Windsor Castle and Stonehenge.
Windsor, Salisbury Cathedral, Stonehenge and Bath Tour with Lunch Pack- 10% Cashback
- Walking tour of Windsor, Stonehenge, Bath and Salisbury
- Transfers to and from London
- Entry tickets to the Salisbury Cathedral, Windsor Castle & Stonehenge
Day Trips From London - Detailed Guides
Day Trip From London To Stonehenge
Day Trip From London To Oxford
Day Trip From London To Dover
Day Trip From London To Cotswolds
Day Trip From London To Bath
Inside Windsor Castle - Highlights
If you look at the Windsor Castle Estate map below, you'll know that there's more than one can cover in a day at Windsor Castle. While all the rooms are not open to public vieweing, a good number of them are, making it worth your while and money. However, since the Windsor Castle is a working royal estate, it is advisable to check whether all parts of the Castle are open on the day of your visit. This way you can reschedule your plans in case there are any royal affairs that coincide with your visit.
Explore the changing tastes of the 39 monarchs who have stayed in Windsor Castle and the individual marks they left on the State Apartments. With every monarch, a change in architectural style, design and additions to the Castle is seen. Today, members of the Royal Family often use the opulent rooms for both private and state affairs.
St George’s Chapel
The St George’s Chapel with its intricate Gothic architecture holds the the tombs of 10 monarchs, including Charles I, Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour. It is the spiritual home of the Order of the Garter, the senior most order of British Chivalry. Look for the mirror table in the central aisle of the nave as it provides a good view of the elaborate ceiling. This was also the wedding venue for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
The Round Tower is mounted on a man-made motte that dates from the castle's earliest days. Today the Round Tower houses the the Royal Photographic Collection & Royal Archives. If the Union Jack, the national flag of the UK is hoisted above the Round Tower it means that the Queen is not in residence. If the Royal Standard is flying, it means the Queen is in the Castle.
Royal Wedding Exhibition
An exhibition that takes place only from October to January, the Royal Wedding Exhibition allows you a glimpse of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding outfits. Get a chance to admire the intricasies of Meghan Markle’s beautiful dress by Givenchy and the 5-metre long embroidered veil, boat neckline bodice and diamond tiara.
The Semi-State Rooms
The Queen uses the lavish semi-state rooms for official entertaining remain open to the public only from September to March. George IV commissioned these late-Georgian rooms but a fire in 1992 severely damaged several rooms, including the magnificent Crimson Drawing Room.The rooms have since been painstakingly restored to its original glory.
Queen Mary’s Dolls' House
This magical doll house was built for Queen Mary by architect Edwin Lutyens and filled with impressive diminutive treasures. It is an exact replica of an aristocratic home, complete with electricity, running hot and cold water and working lifts! Only a few people at a time are allowed in to see it, so the wait can be very long. Check the signs posted along the queue that count off the time remaining in line.
Built to celebrate the victory at the Battle of Waterloo, the Waterloo Chamber houses portraits depicting the allied monarchs, statesmen and commanders involved in the defeat of Napoleon. You can also see a monumental portrait of the Duke of Wellington and an Indian carpet woven by inmates from Agra prison for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1894 in this room.
At the China Museum you can see beautiful pieces of porcelain that Queen Mary chose to display in the corridor during the 1920s. Amongst the collection are two Sèvres sets, including one with Queen Victoria’s turquoise-rimmed pattern with her monogram and one by Worcester, decorated with badges from the Order of the Garter and featured at the Order’s annual lunch.
Windsor Castle Changing of The Guard
A more intimate version than the one at Buckingham Palace, the Windsor Castle Changing of The Guard ceremony is an enthralling visual spectacle. You can march with the guardsmen and as they band up from Victoria barracks, up Sheet Street, left into the High Street, past the Parish Church and the Guildhall, then turn right onto Castle Hill by Queen Victoria's Statue and into Windsor Castle. Note, to watch the full ceremony inside the Castle you will need tickets to the Windsor Castle.
The New Guard will step off from Victoria Barracks at approximately 10: 45 AM and the Changing Guard Ceremony will take place inside Windsor Castle at 11: 00 AM. The Windsor Castle Changing of The Guard ceremony takes place on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and during Easter, but the schedule can change so it's best to check the website before planning your visit.
Windsor Castle Long Walk
From Windsor Castle's gate to the statue of King George III (The Copper Horse), the Long Walk spans for 2.64 miles. This tree-lined avenue is used till date by the royal carriages every year as part of the route from Windsor Castle to the Ascot Races. Occasionally a warden’s car comes down Windsor’s Long Walk but other than that it is free from vehicular traffic. Cycling is also not permitted on any part of the Long Walk. However, the tens of thousands of visitors who come to see the Windsor Castle take a stroll by the Long Walk giving rise to tremendeous pedestrian traffic! During summers, most people walk all the way upto Snow Hill and enjoy a picnic on the lush grass and spend a few hours relaxing their feet after touring the Windsor Castle. If you're visiting during summers, you should too! After all, a picnic with a grand view is hard to resist.
Most of the park is open to the public and free of charge from dawn to dusk, but there is a nominal fee to enter Savill Garden.
Windsor Castle Estate Map
Below is an easy to understand Windsor Castle Estate map that will help you navigate around the castle. Download this Windsor Castle Estate map and keep it handy on your phone if you're doing a self guided / audio guided tour of the Castle. If you're taking a guided tour of the Castle, leave the task of navigating to your expert guide and simply enjoy the intricasies of the Castle.
Windsor Castle Hours
November to February
- 9:45 AM to 4:15 PM. Last entrance is at 3:00 PM
March to October
- 9:45 AM to 5:15 PM. Last entrance is at 4:00 PM
St George's Chapel is a working chapel which closes for religious services on Sundays and other religious days like Good Friday.
Windsor Castle remians closed during state visits and royal events, hence it is best to check the yearly calendar on the website before booking your tickets.
Getting To Windsor Castle, London
Windsor Castle Address
Windsor SL4 1NJ, UK
Find Windsor Castle on Google Map
Know Before You Visit Windsor Castle, London
- Visit the Windsor Great Park : The Windsor Great Park is the remnants of the private hunting grounds that used to stretch for miles back in medieval times. This piece of land is owned by the Crown Estate, containing several farms, forestry land, polo fields and a lot more, most of them open to the public. During winters, you can see the majestic Red deer and hear their barking echo through the woods. Over by Smith's Lawn there is the equestrian statue of Prince Albert and from there you can walk down to Virginia Water to see the Five arch bridge. Continue your walk and see the waterfall, the Canadian Totem Pole, the Valley Gardens and Obelisk before ending up in the Savill Gardens.
- Best Time To Visit Windsor Castle : The best time to visit Windsor Castle would be in Winter from November to March, as King George IV’s Semi-State Rooms are open to the public only during these months. This allows you to explore more of the Palace with your tickets.
- Best View of Windsor Castle : Climb up Snow Hill to get the impressive view of Windsor Castle from the Copper Horse statue.
- Get An Audio Guide : Audio Guides are available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian and Chinese. If you're interested in an audio guided tour, make sure that you purchase admission tickets with an audio guide online as these audio guide devices are distributed on a first come basis for those buying tickets on-site. During peak season, there is a high chance of the audio devices running out by 11 PM. Hence, for an assured audio device, purchase your Windsor Castle tickets online.
- Go For The Choral Evensong : St. George's Chapel closes at 4:00 PM , although visitors are welcome to attend evensong at 5:15 PM . Choral Evensong is one of the best set-pieces at St George’s Chapel. At this event, Boys & Men sing on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:15 PM, and Men sing alone on Fridays and Saturdays at 5:15 PM. You can check out the schedule here. The Chapel is also closed to visitors on Sundays but worshippers are welcome to attend services.
Tips For Your Windsor Castle Visit
- We'd suggest keeping aside 2 to 3 hours for a sedate visit of the Windsor Castle. If you're looking to visit the Windsor Great Park and other parts of the Estate, make that 5 hours.
- If you're coming via train, know that there is an uphill stride to reach the Castle. Touring the castle also involves a lot of walking. Make sure you're comfortably dressed with good walking shoes.
- The ticket queues outside Windsor Castle can take upto an hour easily. Purchasing your tickets online will help you save time and energy.
- There is an airport-style security check before entering the Castle. Bring as little as possible in order to get through security screening more quickly.
- If you have difficulty in walking, it is recommended that you skip the tour as it can be long and there are not too many places for you to rest during the course of the tour.
- Once you exit a room, you cannot step back inside. For security reasons, a one-way system operates along the visitor route inside the Castle.
- If you wish to re-visit certain parts of the Castle, you can get re-entry permits from the Castle shops or the audio return point.
- While Pushchairs can be used around the Castle grounds, you will have to check them in at the cloakroom near the entrance to the State Apartments before entering the rooms. You can collect them back once you have finished touring the State Apartments.
- Smoking, including e-cigarettes is not permitted anywhere inside the Castle grounds.
- If you're carrying heavy luggage, you can check it in at the cloakroom in the China Museum at the entrance to the State Apartments.
- Eating and drinking are not permitted inside the State Apartments or St George's Chapel. If you do have food in your bag, it will have to be placed in closed bags before being admitted to these areas of the Castle.
- While picnicking in the Castle grounds are not permitted, you can picnic at the Snow Hill.
- There are no free water dispensers in the Castle, but you can purchase them from the Castle Shop.
- Baby carriers and hip seats can be borrowed free of charge, subject to availability
- Toilets and baby-care facilities are located near the Admissions Centre and before the entrance to the State Apartments.
Windsor Castle Reviews
Having spent five days in London, I would have to say this was my favorite experience. My husband and I spent several hours walking around and having lunch in a local pub near the castle. The tour was very informative, awe-inspiring! The cathedral was so rich in history, so many details, and very cool to see in person where Prince Harry was recently married. The castle takes you through several rooms that have so much to see! Across a courtyard you can see the part of the castle where the royal family stays today. This is a very worthwhile place to tour. We got our tickets online so we didn't have to wait much.
PKMPhiladelphia , November 2018 Tripadvisor
The Windsor Castle is an amazing experience and worth the extra travel time from Central London. We used the Great Western Railway from London Paddington which took only 40 minutes in total. There are bus tours that go there as well, but rail is easiest because you can stay as long as you want. The castle is the weekend home for the queen. You only view a small part of the castle, but what we saw was spectacular. The state rooms were amazing, they had a Royal Wedding exhibit, and the St. George Chapel was neat as well. We enjoyed every moment of it. After touring the castle, the town of Windsor is perfect for a meal and shopping. The town has a small town feel, yet is so close to London.
EaglesFan27 , November 2018 Tripadvisor
Read more Windsor Castle Reviews on TripAdvisor and learn what past visitors have to say about this regal castle.
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