Just a short 30 minute train ride outside of London sits the famous Windsor Castle. As the Queen’s official weekend residence and the oldest occupied castle in the world, Windsor is a must see for any history buff visiting London. With it’s beautifully maintained grounds, all access tours of the State Apartments, and some of the finest treasures of the Royal Collection, it’s the perfect way to escape the busy city life while on holiday. Interested in paying this historic castle a visit? Here are a few things you should know.
It’s Accessible By Train
Taking a taxi 30+ minutes outside of the city can get a bit expensive, and I found that the train is a much more cost effective mode of transportation when traveling to Windsor. Elton Central station is right across the street from the castle, which makes day trips easy and convenient. We had one stop before catching a connecting train to Paddington, and it only cost us 10 pounds!
It’s On The London Pass
There is much debate over whether or not the London Pass is worth the money, but in our case it was. Windsor isn’t close to the city, so most tourists will likely bypass the visit here. For those who do venture out, however, the fast pass to cut the lines that is a part of the London Pass is a definite bonus here. Depending on the season it can get extremely crowded.
Check The Website Ahead of Time
Even if you are planning on using your London pass for your ticket, be sure to check Windsor Castle’s website before your visit. Sometimes certain parts of the grounds are closed for special ceremonies, or others will be open like the Conquer The Tower tour that we went on. This wasn’t advertised anywhere inside the ticket entrance, and we would have missed it had we not checked the website first. It is also important to check the website for the opening and closing times, as they change seasonally!
No Photos Inside
Just like most of the major historic buildings in England, there are no photos allowed inside the castle, which includes the State Apartments, The Queen’s Dollhouse, and St. George’s Chapel. Interestingly enough, there are no photos allowed of the Queen’s private residence at the back of the castle, even if she is not there. On our tour to the top of the tower, our guide informed us that we were unable to snap a picture of the London skyline in the distance for this very same reason. The grounds around the back half of the castle are free for the Queen to walk her dogs or ride her horse, so they do not allow any photography so to maintain her privacy.
Spend A Day
Touring the Castle may not take all day, but the town of Windsor is incredibly charming and worth an extended visit. We arrived at Windsor by noon and ended up staying for dinner before taking the train back. The streets are filled with cafe’s and shops, and on a sunny day it is the perfect place to take a walk and explore. One of my favorite buildings was this one! Known as the Crooked House of Windsor, this commercial building was built in 1687 and draws crowds from all over the world for its outrageously crooked slant.
Grab A Bite
Behind the Crooked House of Windor sits a cobble stoned street known as Church Street, which is lined with all kinds of restaurants and cafes. We stopped here for an afternoon tea with finger sandwiches and my new favorite sweet treat: a clotted cream and jam covered scone.
When we had first arrived at Windsor it was lunch time, so we grabbed a bite to eat at The Two Brewers, a quaint pub beside the castle’s entrance that serves traditional British bar food and lots of local drinks on tap. I ordered myself a chicken and roasted pepper sandwich on sourdough bread with a side of chips that was delicious and very reasonably priced! There isn’t a lot of places to stop and get a bite once inside the castle, so it is smart to eat beforehand.
After our tour we stopped by one of the local cafe’s for a scoop of gelato before walking over to the train station, which is home to dozens of excellent restaurants and cafe’s as well if you’re looking for a more mainstream joint. There are also loads of retail stores that you can poke your head into while waiting for your train to arrive.