The first time I visited Windsor Castle over 10 years ago, it was a cold, blustery January day. I don’t remember much from that visit, but it didn’t leave a lasting impression on me. I recall thinking the town of Windsor was adorable, but when I visited Versailles in France a few years later, I remember being blown away by the opulence and grandeur.
I’ll blame the British weather for my first impressions of Windsor, because revisiting the castle and town with my sister during early August exceeded all of my expectations, and left a lasting impression on me as Versailles did.
As the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world, Windsor is a must-see for all royal family fans. It’s the Queens official residence, and she’s known to spend time there when she isn’t working.
If you’ve ever wondered what a royal palace looks like in person, Windsor is the place to see it. Castle tours are offered via multimedia, don’t forget to grab a headset on your way in. If you listen to all of the prompts in the State Rooms, Queen Mary’s Dollhouse, St. George’s Chapel, and surrounding grounds, the tour could easily take a few hours to complete.
Do the State Room tour in full- at one point, there’s an option to skip a few rooms, opt to go the whole way through. Trust me, the rooms are incredible.
Windsor Castle is open daily, check the Royal Collection Trust’s website for up-to-date info. I’d recommend buying your tickets ahead of time- we got ours via a discount after touring the Buckingham Palace State Rooms. Our tickets allowed us to skip the line wrapping around the castle and walk right in.
The castle may be the highlight of Windsor, but there’s much more to do if you’re visiting for a full day or even weekend.
The town itself is full of restaurants, shops, tea shops and plenty of souvenir stands.
Post-castle tour, we walked around town for a bit before settling at The Two Brewers for a pint. Talk about a quintessential British pub, quirky charm everywhere.
We only went to Windsor for a half day, so after the pint, we headed back to London, but if you go for a whole day or weekend, there are plenty of other activities to keep you busy- including walking tours, afternoon tea, and boat trips along the Thames.
Windsor is easy to get to from London- you can catch a train from Paddington or Waterloo. We went from Paddington, which took ~40 minutes, and dropped us right in front of the castle. If you venture there from Paddington, you’ll make a transfer when you’re near the castle, at Slough, where you’ll exit the train and cross the platform to get on another train for one stop.
Have you ever visited Windsor? What was your favorite part?