Windsor Castle: A Perfectly Regal Day Out

I felt very emotional a few weeks ago watching Prince Philip’s memorial service. I’ve always loved our Queen and to see her so frail and so teary, it just made me feel very sad. I think she’s given her life in service to the country and for her to be celebrating her Platinum Jubilee in 2022 (70 years of reign) is quite incredible.

Windsor is the Queen’s main residence which is reason enough to visit, but I also wanted to visit to re-trace my Grandpa’s footsteps there. In March 2016, my Grandpa had a very very special visit as he was a recipient of the Maundy Money. This is a bag of coins that the Queen gives out every year to Pensioners who have contributed to their communities. My Grandpa served as a vicar for decades and is a worthy recipient, and I’m glad he got to meet the Queen.

In 2020 we lost my beloved Granny and over the last few years my Grandpa’s health has gradually declined and in March 2022, he moved in to a home. The impact of age is truly distressing. Thinking of both the Queen, and my own Grandparents, I realise the wonderful lives they’ve led that sometimes we don’t truly appreciate until they’re not here any more. So a lot of this trip was to go while I could still send my Grandpa a postcard to tell him I’d been.

Mum and Grandpa at the service


Windsor Castle

There is so much to see and do at Windsor Castle, and everything is a right royal treat so allow yourself at least 2-3 hours at the site, and assuming you’re doing it as a day trip – don’t allocate anything else to that day.

Approaching the entrance

And if you prefer your castles without the crowds, then I recommend you book a ticket in advance online for 9.30am. You will be able to get photos like mine with nobody in them. But if you leave it until just 10am (the official advertised opening time, when the State Apartments open and the tour buses turn up), it will be heaving and queues can be up to 1.5 hours long just to get in.

Once you’re in, be sure not to miss the main sites in and around the Castle.

A. The Long Walk

The Long Walk is a 3 mile route which runs from Windsor Great Park up to the Castle (though you can’t actually enter the Castle this way, you then have to go round through the town to the visitor entrance), but the walk is stunning. I arrived at 8am in Winsor Great Park to do the walk ahead of going to the Castle entrance, but you could equally do it afterwards.

The Castle from The Long Walk

B. The Precincts

Windsor Castle dates all the way back to the Norman Conquest of 1066 and William the Conqueror himself. Since the time of Henry I (1100-1135), it has been home to our Monarch, making it the longest inhabited Castle in Europe.

Entering the Castle on a beautiful morning

The Castle is made up of a lower and an upper Ward, or Precincts – which basically refer to the outdoors areas of the grounds. You can do a Precincts tour with a warden (included in the ticket price), though I recommend doing this at the end of your visit, after you’ve strolled round yourselves.

I also recommend picking up an Audio Guide from the entrance as they are really interesting with lots of great information.

More lovely views

C. State Apartments

Wow. Now you can’t take photos inside the Castle (or the Chapel below) at all, so please be aware you’re not going to get gorgeous shots of the interior. But WOW they are incredible, absolutely one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been in. Some of the apartments were actually destroyed by a fire in 1992 and have rebuilt in a more recent style, which is also interesting to see.

St George’s Hall (from Royal Collection Trust official website)

D. St George’s Chapel

This is a special, special place. Personally because it’s where my Grandpa received his Maundy Money, but historically it’s most famous for who’s buried there, including Henry VIII, Jane Seymour, George VI & Elizabeth (the current Queen’s parents) and many more.

The Chapel on the left

This is also where Harry and Megan got married, and I was really struck by the number of Americans who visited because of that! I’d say about 80% of the people I encountered on my visit were American, and 4 separate tour groups stopped to ask what I thought of Harry. I also heard many groups moaning about not being able to take photos inside (‘they don’t even have a model of the Queen we can pose next to’). I had to stop myself laughing at the thought of the Queen putting a giant cut out of herself in her own garden at a Castle which has been home to our Monarch since the 1100s, but I found myself smiling and loving the idea.

E. Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House

Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House is the largest, most beautiful and most famous dolls’ house in the world. Built between 1921 and 1924 for Queen Mary, it includes contributions from over 1,500 of the finest artists, craftsmen and manufacturers of the early twentieth century. It is beautiful if you like that kind of thing.

The Dolls’ House

F. Changing the Guard

Well…it wouldn’t be England without a ridiculous ceremony would it. Changing the Guard happens at 11am, and if you want a front row spot, expect to get there around 10.40 latest to get a good place. There’s a marching band playing amazing music, lots of men parading about in big fluffy hats….and it’s, well, ridiculously, pompously English but marvellous at the same time.

Ceremony in the sun


Windsor Town

I actually chose to stay the night in Windsor so I could get to the Castle early. I stayed in the Castle Hotel, only a 5 minute walk away. There are also a lot of lovely pubs, shops and streets to wander in central Windsor, so it’s worth popping down to the town after visiting the Castle.

Strolling the beautiful town


Getting to Windsor

Most people visit Windsor on a day trip from central London – it’s best to take the train from London Waterloo to Windsor & Eton Riverside which is 55 minutes on a direct route. Trains run every 30 minutes. It’s then just a 6 minute walk up to the Castle. If you’re driving to Windsor, you can park in one of the car parks and it will take you around 1.5hrs from London, 2hrs from Cambridge and 1hr from Oxford.


So what do you think of Windsor? Would you like to visit? I think it’s a wonderful place and if you do ever get the chance to go, please give my Grandpa a thought as you enter St George’s Chapel. Thanks so much for reading – stay safe and happy travelling everyone!

31 Comments

  1. Love, love, love the tour of Windsor! That must have been really special to think of your grandpa there receiving the money for his service. I thought the memorial for Prince Phillip was lovely too. What a beautiful example he and Her Majesty give of service and devotion. The detail in the dollhouse is just incredible. But those American visitors sound really obnoxious- Windsor is such a historically significant and architecturally beautiful place and the only thing they care about is wanting to know what you think of Harry and Megan. *Face palm*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw thanks Meg, I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I agree, they have given their lives in service and I admire that very much. It’s so special to be able to visit 🙂 Haha!! I know…..honestly, it’s been home to our monarch for literally a thousand years and the focus on Megan and Harry was insane. Also one group (not American, they were Australian actually) was saying it was ‘missing the opportunity to be Insta famous’ not allowing pictures inside. I had to choke down a laugh…just how ridiculous!!! I was doing a lot of rude English eye rolls as I walked around!!!! Thanks so much for reading, have a great day 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What an honor it must’ve been for your grandfather to have met the Queen! I’ve been to Windsor, but only as a *very rushed* day trip from London, and I didn’t step inside: I only walked the exterior and wandered the town. It’s a shame, though, because the interior is STUNNING (holy cow to St George’s Hall)! It’s actually quite surprising to hear of many Americans visiting Windsor Castle (although to be fair, I am one and I did visit it, too!), and I usually find their commentary (especially from the older travelers) to be rather distasteful. But glad to hear that you found them amusing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw yes definitely, very proud of him. Yes the inside is breathtaking, it really is so beautiful and well worth visiting and spending some time in. It’s great you got to visit though, often there isn’t time on trips to London. Yes I was really surprised – it did make me chuckle though (and roll my eyes and tut and sigh a lot like a rude English person haha!!) 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I guess I never really thought about being able to visit the castle as a tourist. I think I would enjoy it. It looks beautiful; I’d enjoy seeing the architecture and learning the history of the castle and monarchy. Thanks for the tour!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw so glad you enjoyed it, and I hope you get to visit one day. There isn’t too much security actually, but there is all around the parts of the castle the Queen is in that’s for sure! You’re not silly at all, you’re entirely correct. So Buckingham Palace was the official ‘main residence’ of the King/Queen from about the 1800s onwards, with Windsor being the ‘weekend home’. However, in 2020 the Queen made Windsor her main residence and moved out of Buckingham Palace.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Strangely, I’ve never been inside Windsor Castle as I’ve always arrived during the afternoon when it’s been crowded but I do intend to visit early in the day as you suggest. How wonderful both for your grandpa to receive the maundy money from the Queen and so special for your mother to accompany him too! It’s definitely a great day out and you seemed to have lovely weather for it too! Wishing you a Happy Easter Hannah.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh, yes it gets so crowded by the afternoon – I was lucky to have it completely to myself for a good hour or so before the masses turned up. Going inside is well worth it as it’s absolutely beautiful. Thanks for reading Marion, and you have a wonderful Easter too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Isn’t it great to get an early start to the day before the crowds arrive? It’s funny how 30 minutes can make such a huge difference. Good for you for getting an early start to take your pictures and experience the quieter side of the grounds. Windsor Castle sounds like a fun day-trip and a great way to follow in your Grandpa’s footsteps.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love the backstory to your visit involving your grandad, it was quite emotional I imagine. Plus, as you say, to be able to share it with him is what it’s all about. Windsor Castle looks like a dream, The Long Walk looking particularly magical. I have visited Windsor itself but so long ago I can hardly remember, plus I didn’t make it to the castle. Some good tips here, great piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. No trip to Windsor could possibly be complete without a visit to amazing Windsor Castle Thanks for the tour, I can only imagine how many staff members they need to keep all 1000 rooms and 300 fireplaces clean and tidy! It must have been an emotional visit, re-tracing your Grandpa’s footsteps. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Such iconic shots of Windsor Castle ~ thank you for sharing, dear Hannah! I hope that your Grandpa is well, and it’s nice of you to send a postcard to him from your visit. Wishing you a Happy Easter, my friend 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I visited Windsor many years ago but for some reason I don’t have a really strong memory of it. What I DO remember is that we visited on a Sunday and as a result, we couldn’t go in St. George’s chapel – the thing I wanted to see most of all because of the graves of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour – because Sunday services were being held!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh noooo! If it helps, you can’t actually see Henry VIII and Jane Seymour’s graves – there is just a stone with their names on, but their tombs are under the floor and not visit-able. You also can’t take any photos…..just trying to help make it not seem so bad 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  10. What an honour to your grandpa … my sincere thoughts are with you while frail health keeps him in a home. From your photo’s, I can see that the grounds around the castle is truly beautiful (as it must be inside as well).

    Liked by 2 people

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