The Changing of the Guard is, strictly speaking, called Guard Mounting where the new guard exchanges duty with the old guard. The Guards are stationed at Victoria Barracks and march up to and from the Castle accompanied by the Guards Band playing traditional military marches as well as popular songs.
Queen Mary's Dolls' House is a magnificent dollhouse built in the early 1920s, completed in 1924, for Queen Mary, the wife of King George V of the United Kingdom. The idea for building the dollhouse originally came from the queen's cousin, Princess Marie Louise, who discussed her idea with one of the top architects of the time, Sir Edwin Lutyens at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition of 1921.
Windsor Castle is an official residence of The Queen and the largest occupied castle in the world. A Royal home and fortress for over 900 years, the Castle remains a working palace today.
Visitors can walk around the State Apartments, extensive suites of rooms at the heart of the working palace. For part of the year visitors can also see the Semi State rooms, which are some of the most splendid interiors in the castle. They are furnished with treasures from the Royal Collection including paintings by Holbein, Rubens, Van Dyck and Lawrence, fine tapestries and porcelain, sculpture and armour.
Within the Castle complex there are many additional attractions, including the Drawings Gallery, Queen Mary's dolls' house, and the fourteenth-century St. George's Chapel, the burial place of ten sovereigns and setting for many Royal weddings.
PHOTOGRAPHY IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED INSIDE ROOMS
Last visit July 2008
Windsor Castle is the reason most people choose to visit Windsor. It's one of the easiest day trips from London, currently the castle costs £14.80 to get in, less if you are a child or a student. I've been to the Castle three times, the 2nd time in August 2004 when I had the London Pass that included admission and the 3rd time with my niece, nephew and sister in law in July 2008. We got the family admission for the four of us for £38.10 so the 2nd child was free (up to 3 under age 17).
A brief guided tour is included in the cost of admission and you can pick it up just past the entrance. I caught one already in progress, the guide took us through the upper area of the castle and ended the tour right in front of the entrance to the doll house and state apartments. You can also pick up the audio guide which is also included.
We got to the castle shortly after it opened and there wasn't really much of a crowd. It seems that the crowds get larger as the day progresses at most of the larger tourist attractions so try and plan a morning visit and go early to visit the dollhouse and State Apartments. Also make sure to note if the Changing of the Guard is on that day at 11 am.
After visiting Queen Mary's doll house the tour of the interior continues through the State Apartments or you can skip the dollhouse if you have no interest or the line is too long. No photos are allowed in here either. According to the website, sometimes the State Apartments are not open to visitors so it's best to check the website before going out.
From Sept-March, you can also view the semi-state rooms, the private apartments of George IV, I've never seen them.
I saw so many palaces and state apartments on this trip that they are all kind of jumbled in my head but one of the things that sticks out in my mind is the fabulous gold tiger head that was part of Tipu's throne, part of the loot brought back to England in 1799 during the Mysore War in India. Also the massive St. George's Hall which is still used for state functions and the State dining room.
The State Apartments are included on the Audio guide, be sure to pick one up at the entrance, included in the Castle admission.
After visiting the dollhouse and State Apartments continue on down the hill towards the exit to St. George's Chapel. At the entrance you can buy a guide to the chapel for 25p or there's a lot of excellent information on the attached website or you can listen to the audioguide that is included as part of the Windsor Castle admission.
The chapel dates back to 1475 during the reign of Edward IV. Ten monarchs are buried in the Chapel, including Edward IV, Henry VIII with Jane Seymour, the only wife he didn't divorce or behead (OK, the last one survived too but perhaps only because she outlived him), Charles I who was beheaded after the Civil War, George V and Queen Mary; and George VI and the Queen mum, the father and mother of the current Queen.
Windsor Castle, the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world, is one of the official residences of Her Majesty The Queen. The Castle's dramatic site encapsulates 900 years of British history. It covers an area of 26 acres and contains, as well as a royal palace, a magnificent chapel and the homes and workplaces of a large number of people.
What there is to see:
The magnificent State Apartments are furnished with some of the finest works of art from the Royal Collection, including paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Canaletto, Gainsborough and the famous triple portrait of Charles I by Sir Anthony van Dyck.
In 1992 fire destroyed or damaged more than 100 rooms at the Castle. By good fortune the rooms worst affected were empty at the time, and as a result, few of the Castle's artistic treasures were destroyed. The highly acclaimed restoration work, completed in 1997, is a testament to the extraordinary skills of some of the finest craftsmen in Europe.
From October to March visitors can also enjoy George IV's private apartments (the Semi-State Rooms), among the most richly decorated interiors in the Castle.
St George's Chapel is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in England. It is the spiritual home of the Order of the Garter, the senior order of British Chivalry established in 1348 by Edward III. Within the chapel are the tombs of ten sovereigns, including Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour, and Charles I.
Among the highlights of a visit to Windsor is Queen Mary's Dolls' House, the most famous dolls' house in the world.
St George's Chapel is the place of worship at Windsor Castle in England. It is both a royal peculiar and the chapel of the Order of the Garter. The chapel is governed by the Dean and Canons of Windsor.
The chapel is located in the Lower Ward of the castle, which is currently one of the principal residences of Queen Elizabeth II.
The day to day running of the chapel is the responsibility of the religious College of St George, which is directed by a chapter of the dean and four canons, assisted by a clerk, virger (traditional spelling of verger) and other staffers. The Society of the Friends of St George's and Descendants of the Knights of the Garter, a registered charity, was established in 1931 to assist the College in maintaining the chapel.
Just across the Thames from Windsor is the old town and college of Eton. This wasn't much more than the settlement on the road to London until the 15th Century when Henry VI decided to establish a college here for 70 poor boys to prepare them for Kings College Cambridge which he also founded. What a change has taken place since, as the cost of a year of school here is now about $55,000. Many famous Englishmen attended here, among the more recent being both Prince William and Prince Harry. Eton is a charming place even today and the day we strolled the length of the High Street it still had the feel of a charming English village. From the famous swans in large flocks on the Thames as you cross the river to the golden sundial mounted on one building to the beautiful red brick with black stone designs of Eton College buildings, everything seems to exude a beauty and tranquilty that is rare anymore. The chapel at the college is a lovely bit as well but we could not gain access to the interior. If you can, I suspect you would find a fine example of 15th Century beauty. A most pleasant way to spend a couple of hours.
Legoland is a huge 150 acre collection of entertainment for kids. Some 50 rides, shows, workshops, etc. will keep most any kid busy all day and then some. The only downside is that there can be long waits for some of the more popular rides. To remedy this you can rent a Q Bot for 10 GBP per person and reserve times. Maybe it is just me, but the costs seem rather high. Attractions such as Six Flags Over Georgia are currently offering tickets good for 6 days for $40 which is the normal cost of a day ticket. We were there for only about a half day and the grandchildren had a great time so I shouldn't complain. On a more positive note, the place is really attractive and they seem to have built most of the landmarks of London from Legos. They even have Mount Rushmore as well as the stone statues of Easter Island.
Hours are generally from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm with later closings on the weekends and in late July and August. Prices are a whopping 35 GBP at the gate but you get a 3 GBP discount for ordering on line. Children 3-15 tickets are 26 GBP. You can also get group rates for 7 or more. For details of all this it is best to check their website.
This is about as close to a mandatory sight as anywhere you can go, but where to begin writing about Windsor Castle is not the question. The question is where to stop. This is such a rich, historic, lovely, opulent and enchanting place, it is hard to describe. If you want a definition of opulent beauty, this is it. Having stood for almost a thousand years here, it is still a working castle, the largest in the world. A tribute to its place in the Queen's heart was that, in 1997, after the 1992 fire, she and Prince Philip hosted a reception here to honor the restorers and then a few days later held a ball to celebrate their 50 years of marriage. Of the many things to see here are the famous Queen Mary's dollhouse, a marvel of minature with working plumbing, electricity, gramophone and a tiny library of tiny real books. And of course, the 14th Century St. George's Chapel is one the finest examples of Gothic architecture in England and is home to the oldest order of British chivalry, the Order of the Garter, and houses the tomb of Henry VIII as well as his third wife, Jane Seymour and 9 other monarchs. Throughout the castle is a veritable who's who of art with paintings by Rubens, Holbein, Van Dyck and a cornucopia of sculpture, armour, tapestries, porcelain and china.
Open daily 9:45-17:15 (16:15 Nov-Feb) Closed Nov 11, Dec 25 and 26
Admission (GBP) Standard Adult14.80
Students & over 60 13.30
Under 17 8.50, under 5 free
Family 38.10 (2 adults & 3 under 17)
These are standard prices and will be lower if part of the castle is not open to the public. Also the London Pass includes admission here and the London Transport Card includes rail service from London Paddington to the Royal Windsor Station.
If you have children or you fancy theme parks for some other reasons, consider visiting Legoland in Windsor. Located conveniently near London (one hour with train, departing every half an hour from Paddington and Waterloo stations), the park provides fun for the whole family for at least a day. Take a taxi or bus from the Windsor stations, see more information on Legoland's pages.
There are three main attractions, at least for me, in the park. The Lego Miniland is of course one of the biggest perks. A huge amount of Lego bricks has been used to recreate famous sites around the globe. You can see river Thames and famous buildings in London in the picture, and there are many many more.
The second attraction is the theme park itself; there are a lot of different rides to please all age groups. Most of the attractions are free, some have extra charges. There are surprisingly many rides that will get you wet, so prepare with proper clothing. And thirdly, Legoland has the biggest Lego store in the UK.
The park is a bit pricey, and the food is not that good -- I felt like being in a cheap American mall when eating bad and expensive pizza. As park is located in the UK and people there like to toughen themselves with the elements, most of the restaurants have either doors open or all tables outside. In colder or wetter season, remember to bring warm enough clothes.
Watch footie with some of the noisiest supporters in the league.A great welcome to everyone who turns up.I used to work behind the bar there and can vouch for that.
Limited parking available.
SOUTHERN FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Guided walks, talks and workshops, on everything nature.
Berkshire office is in Maidenhead, +44(0)1628 829 574
Guided historical walks around the old heart of Windsor.
Some on Sundays, some Saturdays.
Looking at everything from Bricks to Booze.
Times and prices vary.
Other dates HERE