UK, Greater London, Windsor Castle and Park

MAY 27,2013 - MAY 27,2013 (1 DAYS)

Museums

One Day in Windsor Castle & Park: Must see in England.

Arrival:

By train: To Windsor from London Waterloo or London Paddington. Then 5 mins walk to the Castle.The Castle is at the top of a steep hill. Getting to this famous royal Castle is easy. Trains from Waterloo to Windsor & Eaton Riverside Station depart every half hour throughout the day, hourly on Sundays. The journey takes about an hour and 20 minutes.
Windsor & Eton Riverside - About a 10 minutes walk.

Trains from Paddington to Windsor Central depart every 10 to 15 minutes throughout the day. The journey takes about 35 minutes. You have to change trains at Slough. Take one of the frequent trains from London Paddington Station to Slough, get off and cross the platform to the single line train to Windsor and Eton Central Station, get off and follow the crowd through the modern shopping center that has grown around the station and up the hill to the castle.

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By coach: Green Line operates daily services from London Victoria Coach Station.

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Note: There is no visitor car parking at the Castle. No shelter from the rain or the wind. It might be unpleasant waiting outside the palace ( a long line until you buy your tickets) - if it is raining outside. With the London Pass you can skip that and get into the much shorter "fast track" line.The Admission Centre is at its busiest between 09:30 and 11:30, so you may like to consider arriving after 11:30.  Very important: BUY YOUR TICKETS BEFOREHAND! You get to go right in and not wait online. Buying your ticket through the web will give you the rare opportunity to skip the queue and go straight to security check. Photography and filming are not permitted inside the State Apartments, the Semi-State Rooms or St George's Chapel.  Eating and drinking are not permitted in the State Apartments or St George’s Chapel but only in the outside grounds. Visitors wishing to leave the Castle for refreshments in the town may obtain re-entry permits from the Castle shops or the audio return point. Once inside the grounds, the crowd thins out a bit as there is much to see. But, lines begin inside for the main exhibits as well. The guided outside tour is included in the admission price and certainly worth the additional time. Pick up your free audio headphone guide, comes in really useful during the whole tour as it explains wonderfully the history of the palace and the royals. The free audio tour is very informative and easy to use.

Duration: Allow 1 day for the transportation, queuing-up and the visit itself.  A typical visit lasts 3-4  hours.

Opening times:

March to October
Open daily 09:45-17:15
(last admission 16:00)

November to February
Open daily 09:45-16:15
(last admission 15:00).

St. George’s Chapel is closed to visitors on Sundays. The Castle is closed: 25-26 December, 18 April, 20 April  (closed until 13:00), 16 June,
25-26 December.

Admission prices: very expensive. Standard: Adult £17.75, Over 60/Student  £16.15, Under 17 £10.60, Under 5 Free, Family £46.50 (2 adults and 3 under 17s). With these prices you get 1-year pass:  free re-admission for a year if you buy your ticket directly from the palace tickets office. At the end of your visit, don’t forget to ask a Warden to stamp your ticket to convert it into a 1-Year Pass. It's not a cheap day out, but well worth it.

Highlights: The Castle is a real highlight. Follow the moat wall around and go onto the North Terrace where you will have fine views of the countryside. This is the oldest occupied Castle in the world. The lavishly furnished and decorated State Apartments are amazing and will far exceed your expectations. Also Queen Mary's Doll's House and St. George's Chapel are a must do. The changing of the guard, with all it's pomp and splendor- is far more grand than the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. After touring the castle walk around town, lots to do there as well. All in all, an inspiring day.

The castle is not only a great historical monument of British royal heritage, it is also one of the current official residences of the Queen and her family. See and feel what is was like to be Royalty through the ages. Windsor castle's exterior is not the most impressive of castles, but once you take a step inside to its interior, Windsor Castle has no rival. The state rooms are filled with priceless artifacts. The rooms are splendid and large. It really is a trip back in time. It has some of the most fascinating treasures accumulated by the British over time - including the throne and swords of Tipu Sultan (those of Indian background would know him as the Tiger of Mysore). It's also good to see the incredible restoration work completed by modern day craftsmen and women following the horrific fire in year 1992.

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See the guard changing at 11.00. - Awesome!  You can go through St. George's Cathedral at 10.00 and get your place for the changing right outside at about 10:30. The ceremony lasts about 30 minutes. For most of the year Guard Mounting takes place on alternate dates, but it is held daily (except Sundays) from April to July. The new guard, accompanied by the band, march 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 the Castle.

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Windsor Castle State Apartments: (no photos allowed !):

Some parts of the State Apartments were completely destroyed in the 1992 fire. One of the major benefits to arise from the restoration work was the return of George IV’s decorative scheme to its original splendour, using the original designs that survive in the Royal Library.

The King's Drawing Room:Paintings by Rubens and Van Dyke and a remarkable musical clock.

The King's Bed chamber.

The King's Dressing Room: Some of the most important Northern Renaissance paintings in the Royal Collection, including Breughel's painting the Massacre of the Innocents and a wonderful portrait of a Lady in Green by Bronzino.

The Queen's Drawing Room: Among the paintings look for the famous Portrait of Charles I in three positions by Van Dyke.

The King's Dining Room: Created for Charles II's private entertaining, it is dark and masculine, covered in rococco decoration and wood carvings by Grinling Gibbons.

The Queen's Ballroom: Among the collection of Van Dykes, look for the portrait of the five eldest children of Charles I, the King beheaded in 1649.St. George's Hall: Often used for state banquets, this room is 185 feet long and can hold a table that seats 160. The ceiling  is a new hammer-beam roof, constructed of oak wood after the 1992 fire using medieval carpentry methods. The shields are coats of arms of the Garter Knights.

The Lantern Lobby: Formerly a private chapel, this is where it is believed the 1992 fire began. Today it is used to display gilded silver objects from the Royal Collection. A suit of Henry VIII's armor against a wall gives some idea of the old king's size.

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Queen Mary's doll house is not to be missed despite the long queues. While you are walking around, near the entrance line to the Dolls House, you will have a view over the local land, and there should be a small mobile ice cream stall nearby. Ice cream here is made from the Queen's dairy herd and is very good. Queen Mary's Doll House, now on permanent display at Windsor Castle, was a gift to Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth II's grandmother, who was fond of miniatures. Queen Mary's Doll House is very popular. 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 in 15 minute increments. It is worth the wait, but bring along a jacket as the entrance on the North Terrace is one of the highest spots around and can get windy and cold.

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If you have limited time, leave an extra 20 minutes to go through the St. George Chapel. Very nice. I would say this is better to see on its own.  St. George's Church will take your breath away with it's raw beauty, but also because of it's history and tombs of many notable royals. St George's Chapel is the burial place of the former King and Queen Mother as well as Henry VIII. The Chapel is open to visitors between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. During worship services, including Sunday services, the Chapel is closed to visitors but the public is welcome to attend to take part.

List of tombs in St. George Chapel:

The tombs of King George V and Queen Mary.

Look for the elaborate but rather moving carved memorial to Princess Charlotte, only child of King George IV, who died in childbirth. The memorial is in a side chapel toward the back of the nave.

A side chapel that can be seen off the north Quire aisle, holds the relatively simply memorials of Queen Elizabeth II's parents (George VI and Elizabeth, the Queen Mother) and her sister, Princess Margaret.

A simple stone slab in the center aisle of the Quire is the entrance to a vault that holds the tombs of Henry VIII, Charles I (beheaded by Cromwell's forces, after the English Civil War) and Jane Seymour (Henry VIII's third wife, who died following the birth of Henry VIII's only son).

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After leaving the Castle - you should at least walk around the castle and the old town close to it. The magnificent, enormous castle is perched on a hill overlooking the estate in one direction and the city of Windsor in the other. Walk through the quaint town and enjoy lunch at one of the various dining establishments.

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Before heading to Windsor Park - walk a few minutes to Windsor centre. Set among the splendor of historic Windsor with its easy access, famous visitor attractions and superb shopping and dining offers, the Guildhall is an ideal place for meetings and celebrations including weddings and civil partnerships. This elegant grade 1 listed building, designed by Sir Thomas Fitch and completed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1689 is steeped in history and is a dominant feature of the town:

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Windsor Great Park is a wonderful place to walk around, with many trails leading to many different sides of the park to see. There is a great walk from the castle, known as the Long Walk. It heads out towards a monument of King George on a copper horse The Long Walk is actually a 3 mile walk. The first mile is to the road (crossing the Park) and the 2nd and 3rd in the country with deer everywhere. Fantastic outdoors feeling, just walk, walk and walk. This is a lovely park you can either walk through it but be warned it is huge and you will get lost or end up somewhere you don't expect. I suggest looking at a map in order to plan your day as it is very easy to get lost. No toilets around. It is peaceful, clean and really beautiful. The view of the Windsor Castle is really great from here. I would recommend sparing a special, dedicated (clear) day for exploring the park and walking the Long Walk from the Castle and back. The views back to Windsor Castle are quite breathtaking. Stunning park, magical views. Can't be missed:

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