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Published March 17th 2013
Explore one of the most picturesque and historic castles in the UK
All year round thousands of tourists visit Windsor Castle, one of the most historic and fascinating castles in the UK. The castle has been home to British Kings and Queens for almost 1,000 years and The Queen even stays here nearly every weekend. Windsor Castle is used regularly by the Royal family for ceremonial and State occasions throughout the year.
Arriving at the castle you will immediately be shocked at the shire size of this marvellous structure and the brilliant condition it is still in today. Around the castle you may even see many photographers taking professional photographs of the castle as the exterior is beautiful just to stop, stare and picture. The area surrounding the castle has many coffee shops, restaurants, bakeries, fudge shops and souvenir shops for visitors to browse and purchase some last minute gifts. There are also horse carriage rides outside the castle if you have time to explore Windsor for the day.
Although there is plenty to do outside of the castle, it is definitely worth buying a ticket to explore the inside. The entry prices at first may seem a little overpriced at £17.75, but I strongly recommend you to go and discover what the castle has to offer. After your visit you will have the option to have your ticket stamped so you can return for free for a year. With your ticket you also get an audio tour, so that you can listen to the history of the castle whilst you walk around. The audio tour is extremely informative and full of interesting facts. As you walk round each room in the castle there will be a number for you to press on your device, which will tell you everything you need to know about the item or room.
When entering the grounds of the castle, you will firstly notice it is more like a small village inside. There are beautiful gardens, roads, a chapel and other small buildings within the walls of the castle. You should also make time to walk around the top of the castle walls and admire the views of Windsor and the surrounding area.
The audio tour firstly guides you to view Queen Mary's Dolls' House, which is the most famous dolls' house in the world. This precious gift was built for Queen Mary by the British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens between 1921 and 1924. The detail and design of each room and miniature item is stunning and is the perfect replica of an aristocratic home. This is like no other dolls' house as it even has electricity, running hot and cold water, working lifts and flushing toilets. You can also view the dolls on display along with their clothes and accessories, which were designed and made by famous fashion brands such as Worth, Lanvin, Cartier, Hermès and Vuitton.
The next part of the castle you will be guided to is the Semi-State Rooms, which were created for George IV and are still used by The Queen today for official entertaining. These luxurious rooms were redesigned in the 1820's and were one of the most costly interior decoration schemes ever carried out in England. Here you will view some of the finest 18th-century English and French works of art from Carlton House. The Semi-State Rooms however are only open between October and March.
Continuing the tour you will then go into the State Apartments where you can marvel at the amazing painted ceilings by painter Antonio and carvings by Grinling Gibbons. Walking though each room is like walking through a palace with its luxurious items and paintings in each room. Most of the furnishings are from the Royal Collection from the Kings and Queens who have once lived in the castle. These rooms are where The Queen regularly holds state visits from overseas monarchs and presidents. The Queen also hosts a 'dine and sleep', where political leaders have dinner at the Castle, before viewing the display of items from the Royal Library.
Once you have visited the inside of the castle take a look inside St Georges Chapel, which is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture. If you would like to visit the Chapel please note that it is not open on Sundays as there are ongoing services, but guests are free to attend if they wish to. The chapel is immersed in history with the tombs of Henry VIII, Jane Seymour and Charles I.
If you would like to know more about Windsor Castle you can take a guided tour to learn more about Windsor Castle as a working royal palace. The Precincts tours are led by the Wardens who are dressed in their striking red and black Windsor livery and who have brilliant knowledge about the Castle's 900-year history. Guided tours in the castle kitchen are also available, which is the oldest working kitchen in the country.
Before you leave, ensure that you watch the changing of the guard at 11:00am from April until the end of July. The guards have carried out this duty since 1660 and I recommend that you take a few pictures with the guards if possible, as it makes the perfect souvenir.
Why? Because it is immersed in history and beauty.
When:January to February Open daily 09:45-16:15 (last admission 15:00). March to October Open daily 09:45-17:15 (last admission 16:00). November to December Open daily 09:45-16:15 (last admission 15:00). A typical visit lasts 2-3 hours.