Windsor Castle is the largest occupied castle in the world that is still used by the monarchy. Since William the Conqueror built a wooden fortress here over 900 years ago, this has been a royal palace and residence. Despite its daily use for royal business, much of the palace is open to the public and well worth a visit.
Parts of the castle are open to visitors, including the State Apartments, Queen Mary’s intricate dolls’ house, and George VI’s private apartments. St. George’s Chapel is another highlight, where many royal weddings and funerals have occurred, as well as where the Queen Mother’s and King Henry VII’s tombs are found. On a guided tour, you can see the Great Kitchen to witness the inner workings of the castle.
Things to Know Before You Go
- British history buffs and royal enthusiasts will want to prioritize a visit.
- Windsor Castle is often visited on a half-day tour from London or on a full-day tour that also stops at Stonehenge, Oxford, or Bath.
- Entrance to the castle is included in the London Pass.
How to Get to Windsor
Windsor is located less than an hour from central London by road. You can get there by train via London Waterloo (direct) or Paddington (one change). From the station, the castle is an easy walk. Buses run to Windsor from Victoria.
When to Get There
The castle is open daily from 9:45am to 4:15pm from November to February. From March to October, it closes at 5:15pm. Keep in mind that parts of the castle sometimes close for royal events.
Official Royal Business at Windsor Castle
As an official residence, Windsor Castle hosts Queen Elizabeth for a month at Easter, a week in June, and during most weekends. At Windsor, she also often hosts state dinners for international dignitaries and entertains those she has knighted into the Order of the Garter. When the queen is in residence, you can see the Changing of the Guard (as you do when she is at Buckingham Palace).