Windsor Castle is No.1 in our list of best day trips away from London
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.
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!
Craig’s review – “Windsor Castle is a bit of a trek from London. If you're travelling from Waterloo then you're looking at the best part of an hour on the train. I don't normally go that far out, but it's Windsor isn't it. I've come to pay homage to our leader — the Queen. Let's hope she's home or it will have been a wasted journey. This is actually my very first visit to the castle.… continued”
Harry & Meghan’s Royal Wedding exhibition – 26 Oct 2018 to 6 Jan 2019 – See Meghan's beautiful wedding dress and Harry's Household Cavalry uniform at the Royal Wedding exhibition at Windsor Castle
Princess Diana — Her Fashion Story – 24 Feb 2017 to 17 Feb 2019 – Diana's Fashion Story at Kensington Palace is an exhibition of iconic dresses that show the evolution of her style
Victoria Revealed, at Kensington Palace – 24 May 2018 to 6 Jan 2019 – Kensington Palace will be exploring the life of Queen Victoria, using objects and excerpts from her journals and letters
The Last Tsar — Blood And Revolution – 21 Sep 2018 to 24 Mar 2019 – The Science Museum will be exploring the life and death of the Romanovs — the last imperial monarchs of Russia
Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace – 1 Oct to 30 Nov 2018 – The 'Changing the Guard' ceremony at Buckingham Palace is one of the must-see events for every tourist's itinerary.
Old Palace Tour at Somerset House – Every Tue – The Old Palace Tour will introduce you to three Stuart queens who had an association with the old buildings at Somerset House
Exclusive Evening Tour of Windsor Castle – 20, 23, 30 Oct, 7, 20, 21, 22, 27 Nov, 4, 13, 18, 19 and 28 Dec 2018 – This after hours tour will give you a chance to see the State Apartments at Windsor Castle away from all the crowds.
Look for more Royal events taking place in November
Disclaimer: Event details can change at short notice and you should reconfirm everything before making plans