Windsor Castle has been a British royal residence for 39 monarchs, including Queen Elizabeth. She frequently spends her weekends at the castle. You will know she’s there by the flag flying atop the castle. My day at Windsor Castle was something out of a fairytale. I now see why Meghan and Harry chose to marry there… I find the Royal family to be fascinating, so our day at Windsor came with much anticipation. Windsor Castle is a short 30 minute train ride from London. We enjoyed a leisurely Sunday morning in London before leaving for Windsor around 1pm. I truly think this is the best way to do it, regardless of how many reviews say to get their as soon as it opens. Trains depart frequently from Paddington Station and you will change at Slough before arriving in Windsor. Make sure to look up on your train ride to catch the best first views of the castle. The castle is not hard to find from the train station. It is massive. After a brief security check, you are inside Windsor and ready to explore the grounds!
I was in amazement at the beauty and size of Windsor. It is beaming with history and took me a minute to take it all in. We soaked it in by meandering through the gardens and admiring the exterior architecture.
There are two opportunities to venture inside of the castle – the State Apartments and Queen Mary’s Dollhouse (the 2018 exhibit). The State Apartments contain a wealth of history. You are first greeted by the porcelain collection. Dinner parties back in the day were quite a production. Each piece of china had a specific function from salt holders, wine coolers and compote jars. You were only permitted to eat what was directly in front of you, so there needed to be multiples of every piece. It would absolutely do me in if the mac and cheese wasn’t directly in front of me… In the State Apartments you will see the King’s Dining Room, Queen’s Audience Chamber, Queen’s Ballroom, St. George’s Hall, Crimson Drawing Room, Grand Reception Room, Waterloo Chamber, and Garter Throne Room. Each of these rooms contains an extraordinary amount of history and it feels powerful to be able to experience it up close.
Queen Mary’s Dollhouse is displayed adjacent to the State Apartments. It resembles a miniature Buckingham Palace with the most incredible attention to detail. It features the King and Queen rooms, maids room, kitchen, breakfast rooms, nursery, wine cellar and a precious little garden. The design of this dollhouse is unbelievably intricate. It apparently includes electricity, running hot and cold water, working elevators and lavatories. I can only imagine playing with this as a child.
St. George’s Chapel is also on the grounds of Windsor Castle. It is a stunning depiction of Gothic architecture. If you have the time, I would highly recommend a service at St. George’s. We attended the 6pm Evensong service. I found it so beautiful to worship in a holy place of such history. (Not to mention the royal wedding that happened 5 days later). The service features hymns and scripture readings paired with the beautiful voices of the boys choir.
Bonus tip: The last admission to the Castle is at 4pm, so if you attend the Evensong Service at 5:00pm, you get time to roam the castle sans crowds!
To end your day at Windsor, venture to the Long Walk. Don’t worry it’s not a long walk to get there (pun intended?) The Long Walk is a 3 mile path from the front gates of Windsor Castle. The path spans as far as the eye can see, with the most well-manicured green space on either side. As you walk down the Long Walk, turn around frequently to catch glimpses of Windsor Castle. Bring your walking shoes and traverse the entire path or pack a picnic and enjoy the scenery.
Windsor Castle is simply stunning and you must add it to your London bucket list!
You can also visit other Royal Residences, such as Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace to get the full Royal experience in London.