Windsor Castle is the oldest inhabited castle in the world, and has been home to the monarch for nearly 1,000 years. The Queen reportedly loves it more than any of her other royal residences, spending practically all of her weekends here.
Windsor is easily the prettiest Royal palace near London, and knocks the socks of Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace and Hampton Court (although Hampton Court comes a close second). In terms of pure history, then the only one that beats it is the Tower of London.
Windsor Castle has the atmosphere of Camelot with it's turreted towers, drawbridge and dry moat, but it's still very much a working palace, and the spectacular rooms are still used for ceremonial and State occasions. Your visit will take in many of the most magnificent rooms, decorated with some of the finest works of art from the Royal Collection. You'll see works by Rembrandt, Rubens, Canaletto and Gainsborough on the wall, alongside guns, muskets, swords and shining suits of knightly armour.
You will also be able to look inside the historic St George's Chapel. This is the burial site of Henry VIII and our martyred king, Charles I. It is also the spiritual home of the Order of the Garter -- the oldest order of chivalry in the world.
This is one of Craig's favourite days out from London (he's a big fan of the Royals), and he definitely recommends a visit. The only downside is the 40-55 minute train journey from Waterloo or Paddington to Windsor & Eton Riverside. You probably need to set aside at least five hours for a visit (which includes the travel time to and from London) -- but allow more if you want to walk around the town beforehand. Have a read through his review of Windsor Castle on his blog first, to see what you think.
Feel free to ask Craig some questions about Windsor Castle before you go. Or maybe you'd like to write your own review on the forum.
Note: Windsor Castle is still used for State ceremonies and official entertaining, and may close at short notice. The Semi-State Rooms are only open between September and March. St. George's Chapel is only open for worship on Sundays. We definitely recommend checking the closure dates on their website before booking any tickets, because you don't want to go all that way and miss the best stuff!
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