Windsor Castle, a shining jewel of British heritage, beckons you to uncover its captivating secrets. This all-encompassing guide, “Windsor Castle Tour: Everything You Need to Know,” serves as your passport to unlocking the wonders of this iconic landmark.

I. Planning Your Windsor Castle Tour

Now that you’ve delved into the captivating history and significance of Windsor Castle, let’s embark on the exciting journey of planning your visit.

A. Choosing the Ideal Time to Visit Windsor Castle

Here is a chart for the best time to visit Windsor Castle according to season:

SpringVibrant flowers, smaller crowdsModerate
SummerExtensive gardens, lively atmosphereLarge
AutumnGolden hues, tranquil ambienceModerate
WinterFestive magic, twinkling lightsModerate
WeekdaysMore peaceful, easier to exploreSmaller
Windsor Castle: A Seasonal Guide to Crowds and Highlights

Read our comprehensive guide to know about the weekdays for the opening of Windsor Castle.

1. Tailor Your Visit to Your Preferences

  • Vibrant hues of spring: Visit during the early spring months to see the castle grounds in full bloom.
  • Lively summer atmosphere: Visit during summer to experience the castle’s vibrant atmosphere and extensive gardens.
  • The tranquil beauty of autumn: Visit during autumn to enjoy the castle’s golden hues and tranquil ambience.
  • Festive magic of winter: Visit during winter to experience the castle’s festive magic and twinkling lights.

While the chart provides a general idea, crowd levels can vary depending on specific dates within each season. Public holidays and school breaks can be busier, even during weekdays.

2. Special Events and Royal Pageantry

  • Changing of the Guard ceremony
  • Royal weddings
  • Other special occasions

3. Winter Opening Hours

The chart says winter crowds are moderate, but it’s important to note that Windsor Castle has slightly earlier closing times during winter months (November to February). Check the official website for the latest opening hours before visiting the Windsor Castle website.

4. Weekday Openings

Windsor Castle is open to the public from Thursday to Monday throughout the year, excluding Tuesdays and a few other days for state events. Opening hours vary slightly depending on the season, so be sure to consult the official website for the most up-to-date information.

Plan your visit accordingly to create an unforgettable experience at Windsor Castle.

B. Ticket Options and Purchasing Guide

You must secure entry tickets to embark on your enchanting journey through Windsor Castle. The castle offers a variety of ticket options to suit your interests and budget. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you choose the right tickets and make purchasing seamless.

1. Understanding Ticket Options

Windsor Castle offers a range of ticket options to accommodate different visitors. Here’s an overview of the main ticket types:

  • Full-Day Admission: This ticket grants access to all castle areas, including the State Apartments, St. George’s Chapel, and the Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House.
  • Half-Day Admission: If you need more time, this ticket allows you to choose between either the morning or afternoon session to explore the castle’s highlights.
  • Garden Admission: This ticket provides access to the East Terrace and the South Lawn for those seeking a leisurely stroll through the castle’s picturesque gardens.
  • Group Discounts: Groups of 15 or more can enjoy discounted ticket rates.
  • Combined Tickets: If you plan to visit other attractions in the area, consider a combined ticket that includes entry to Windsor Castle and nearby attractions like Stonehenge or the Oxford University colleges.

2. Purchasing Your Tickets Prices and Discounts

There are two convenient ways to purchase your Windsor Castle tickets:

  • Online: The most convenient method is to purchase your tickets online through the Royal Collection Trust’s official website. You can select your desired date, time, and ticket type and pay securely using a credit or debit card.
  • Onsite: If you prefer to purchase tickets in person, you can do so at the castle’s ticket office upon arrival. However, keep in mind that peak seasons may experience longer queues.

3. Ticket Prices and Discounts

Ticket prices vary depending on the type of ticket, the time of year, and any applicable discounts. Here’s a general overview of ticket prices:

  • Full Day Admission: Adult: £28.00, Young Person (18-24): £18.00, Child (5-17): £15.50, Disabled: £15.50, Under 5 Free
  • Half-Day Admission: Adult: £22.00, Young Person (18-24): £14.00, Child (5-17): £11.50, Disabled: £11.50, Under 5 Free
  • Garden Admission: Adult: £16.00, Young Person (18-24): £12.00, Child (5-17): £9.00, Disabled: £9.00, Under 5 Free

4. Windsor Castle Tour Prices

TypeAdultYoung person (18-24)Child (5-17)DisabledUnder 5
Advance price£28.00£18.00£15.50£15.50Free
On-the-day price£30.00£19.50£16.50£16.50Free
Group prices£26.00 per person£17.00 per person£14.50 per person£14.50 per personFree
Windsor Castle Tour Prices Chart

5. Discounts and Concessionary Rates

Several discounts are available for specific groups, such as:

  • Royal Borough Advantage Card Holders: Residents of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead can enjoy discounted ticket prices upon presentation of their valid card.
  • Disabled Visitors: Disabled visitors can purchase tickets at a reduced rate and may be eligible for companion admission.
  • Family Tickets: Families with children can save money by purchasing a family ticket covering two adults and two children.

6. Additional Information on Windsor Castle Tickets

  • Ticket Validity: Tickets are only valid for the selected date and time slot.
  • Re-entry: Once you have entered the castle, you can re-enter on the same day by presenting your valid ticket.
  • Audio Guides: Audio guides are available for rent in English and other languages.
  • Photography: Photography is permitted within the castle grounds, but some areas may have restrictions.
  • Souvenirs and Gifts: The castle shop offers a wide selection of souvenirs, gifts, and books related to Windsor Castle and royal history.

By carefully considering your preferences, selecting the appropriate ticket type, and following these purchasing guidelines, you’ll ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience as you embark on your journey through the enchanting world of Windsor Castle.

C. Windsor Castle Transportation Options and Parking

Windsor Castle, a magnificent landmark steeped in history, lies just outside London, inviting visitors from far and wide to explore its grandeur. Whether you are a seasoned traveller or a first-time visitor, planning your transportation to and from the castle is essential for a seamless and enjoyable experience.

1. Convenient Rail Connections

The train is the most convenient option for those seeking a comfortable and efficient journey to Windsor Castle from London. Direct trains depart from London Paddington Station, offering a scenic ride through the English countryside. Depending on your chosen service, the journey takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour.

Upon arrival at Windsor & Eton Riverside Station, you’ll be a 10-minute walk from the castle gates. The station offers a range of amenities, including ticket machines, luggage storage, and cafés, ensuring a smooth transition from train to castle exploration.

2. Bus Options for Budget-Conscious Travelers

Buses provide budget-conscious travellers with an affordable alternative to Windsor Castle from London. The National Express offers direct bus services from Victoria Coach Station in London to Windsor Castle. The journey takes approximately 2 hours, but the lower fares can make it an attractive option.

Once you arrive in Windsor, you can take the local bus service, the 8 or 95, to drop you off right outside the castle gates. These local buses operate regularly, providing a convenient connection to the castle from the bus station.

3. Driving to Windsor Castle: A Scenic Route with Parking Considerations

If you prefer the flexibility of driving to Windsor Castle, you’ll find the journey from London both scenic and convenient. The castle is easily accessible via the M4 motorway, which offers a direct route from the city centre.

Upon reaching Windsor, follow the signs for Windsor Castle, which will guide you to the castle’s parking facilities. Several pay-and-display car parks are located near the castle, offering both short-term and long-term parking options.

Please note that parking fees apply, and arriving early during peak seasons is advisable to secure a spot. Additionally, consider using public transportation or taxis if you’re staying in Windsor town, as parking in the castle area can be limited and expensive.

4. Transportation Costs and Fees

Here’s a general overview of transportation costs and fees for your journey to Windsor Castle:

  • Train: Adult return ticket from London Paddington Station to Windsor & Eton Riverside Station: £25-£35 (prices may vary depending on the time of travel)
  • Bus: National Express single ticket from London Victoria Coach Station to Windsor: £10-£15 (prices may vary depending on the time of travel)
  • Parking: Pay-and-display car park charges vary depending on the car park and duration of stay. Expect to pay around £5-£10 for a few hours of parking.

Please also read for several parking options with free parking options at Windsor Castle.

By carefully considering your budget, travel preferences, and time constraints, you can select the most suitable transportation option for your journey to Windsor Castle. Whether you choose the convenience of the train, the budget-friendly bus, or the flexibility of driving, you’ll find that reaching this magnificent landmark is a breeze.

II. A Journey through Time and Architectural Splendor

Windsor Castle is a captivating blend of historical significance, architectural marvel, and enduring legacy as a royal residence.

From its strategic beginnings as a Norman stronghold to its transformation into a grand palace, Windsor Castle has witnessed pivotal moments in British history. The castle’s architectural tapestry reflects centuries of refinement, from medieval foundations to Gothic splendour, Tudor refinements, Georgian elegance, and Victorian additions.

Beyond its grandeur, Windsor Castle houses priceless artefacts, artworks, and historical treasures, including the exquisite State Apartments, St. George’s Chapel, and Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House. Today, Windsor Castle remains a vibrant royal residence, serving as a backdrop for state occasions, royal weddings, and public engagements.

Embrace the grandeur of Windsor Castle, a testament to British heritage and the enduring legacy of the monarchy.

III. Unveiling the Captivating Highlights of Windsor Castle

  1. St. George’s Chapel: Explore a Gothic masterpiece and witness its role in royal ceremonies.
  2. State Apartments: Marvel at opulent interiors, including the Crimson Drawing Room, the Oak Room, and the Grand Corridor.
  3. Changing of the Guard Ceremony: Witness the captivating ceremony and soak in the atmosphere of military precision and symbolism.
  4. Windsor Great Park: Embark on nature’s embrace and stroll through rolling hills, tranquil lakes, and serene forests.
  5. Eton College: Step back in time and explore the esteemed institution founded by King Henry VI.
  6. Frogmore House: Frogmore House, a 17th-century royal retreat near Windsor Castle, boasts beautiful gardens and has hosted royals for centuries.
  7. The Long Walk: Take a scenic journey along three miles of an avenue stretching from the castle to the Copper Horse statue.
  8. Windsor Guildhall: Admire the captivating medieval architecture and envision the town meetings and social gatherings within its walls.
  9. Windsor Castle Stables: Gain insights into the Household Cavalry and witness the working stables where the horses for the Changing of the Guard are cared for.
  10. Royal Collection Trust: Embark on a captivating journey through the vast collection of art, furniture, and artefacts.
  11. Stables of Windsor Great Park: Immerse yourself in the equestrian traditions of the British royal family at the Royal Mews.
  12. The Savill Garden: Discover a horticultural masterpiece and stroll through vibrant flower beds, a serene lake, and hidden follies.
  13. The Windsor & Eton Brewery: Unleash your inner brewmaster and embark on a guided tour to learn about the brewing process and sample delectable beers.
  14. The Old Court House: Unveil the fascinating past of Windsor by visiting a Grade II listed building that served as the town’s administrative centre.
  15. Windsor and Royal Borough Museum: Embark on a captivating journey through the annals of time and explore an extensive collection of artefacts.

IV. Additional Information and Tips for Your Visit

Here are some additional tips and information to ensure a smooth and enjoyable visit to Windsor Castle.

A. Accessibility and Facilities

Windsor Castle welcomes visitors with diverse needs, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the historical landmark. The castle is designed to accommodate individuals with mobility challenges, providing ramps and accessible routes throughout the premises. Restrooms and baby-changing facilities are also conveniently located for added comfort. This commitment to accessibility ensures that everyone can experience the castle’s grandeur and immerse themselves in its rich history.

B. Dining Options

  • The Undercroft Café: Located within the castle, this café offers a variety of sandwiches, wraps, salads, and sweet treats. Enjoy a light bite or a refreshing drink in the café’s medieval setting.
  • The State Dining Room Restaurant: Immerse yourself in the grandeur of the State Dining Room, transformed into a stunning restaurant for the evening. Indulge in a gourmet three-course meal accompanied by live music.
  • The Savill Garden Restaurant: Nestled within the picturesque Savill Garden, this restaurant offers a seasonal menu featuring locally sourced ingredients. Savour a delicious meal while overlooking the tranquil gardens.

C. Accommodations

  • The Castle Hotel: Located just steps from the castle gates, this elegant hotel offers a range of luxurious accommodations, from charming rooms to spacious suites. Enjoy traditional British cuisine in the hotel’s restaurant.
  • The Runnymede on Thames Hotel: Situated on the banks of the River Thames, this hotel provides a tranquil escape with stunning river views. Choose from various rooms and suites, and dine at the hotel’s award-winning restaurant.
  • The Beaumont Hotel: Located in the heart of Windsor, this boutique hotel exudes a blend of Victorian charm and contemporary elegance. Relax in their stylish rooms and indulge in fine dining at the hotel’s restaurant.

D. Photography Guidelines and Restrictions

Photography is permitted in most castle areas, except for some specific sections. However, the use of flash is not allowed. Be sure to respect any posted restrictions to preserve delicate historical artefacts.

  • Photography is generally permitted in most areas of the castle.
  • Flash photography is strictly prohibited within the castle.
  • Adhere to any posted signage and instructions regarding photography restrictions.
  • Respect the preservation of historical artefacts by refraining from using flash or touching exhibits.

E. Other Restrictions and Guidelines on the Windsor Castle Tour

Here are some additional restrictions and guidelines for your Windsor Castle visit:

  1. Bags: Large bags, backpacks, and suitcases are prohibited inside the castle. Smaller bags are allowed, but they will be searched.
  2. Food and Drink: Food and drink are prohibited inside the State Apartments, Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, or the Changing of the Guard. You can bring your food and drink outside these areas but must consume it outside the castle grounds.
  3. Noise Levels: Please respect other visitors and staff by modifying your voice.
  4. Dress Code: There is no formal dress code for visiting Windsor Castle, but visitors are expected to dress appropriately for the occasion. This means avoiding revealing or offensive clothing.
  5. Proper Conduct: Avoid smoking, spitting, or littering within the castle grounds.
  6. Respect for Property: Treat the castle’s property respectfully and avoid touching or damaging exhibits.
  7. Stay on Designated Paths: Please stay on the designated paths throughout the castle and surrounding grounds to avoid damaging vegetation and archaeological remains.
  8. Following Instructions: Please follow the instructions of staff and volunteers to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all visitors.

By adhering to these guidelines, you can ensure a pleasant and respectful experience for yourself and others during your visit to Windsor Castle.

F. Souvenirs and Gift Shops

Commemorate your unforgettable visit to Windsor Castle by selecting a unique souvenir from one of the castle’s gift shops. Two main shops offer a curated collection of royal memorabilia, historical artefacts, and handcrafted items, each whispering tales of the castle’s rich heritage.

1. The Castle Shop

Located within the castle grounds, The Castle Shop is your one-stop destination for a wide range of souvenirs, gifts, and collectables. Browse through an extensive selection of royal memorabilia, including items inspired by the State Apartments, St. George’s Chapel, and the Changing of the Guard. Find books on Windsor Castle’s history, architecture, and royal connections. Discover unique gifts, such as handcrafted jewellery, homeware, and toys, all inspired by the castle’s rich heritage.

2. The Queen Mary Dolls’ House Shop

Step into the enchanting world of Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House and its miniature treasures. The dedicated Queen Mary Dolls’ House Shop offers a delightful selection of souvenirs inspired by this exquisite masterpiece. Find miniature replicas of furniture and furnishings, delicate porcelain figurines, and charming dolls, all reminiscent of the dolls’ house’s exquisite craftsmanship. Take home a piece of this miniature world to cherish the memories of your visit.

3. Additional Shopping Options

In addition to these two main shops, you may also find souvenir stalls and pop-up shops throughout the castle grounds, offering a variety of items to suit your interests.

Comparing Shops Near Windsor Castle

G. Contact Information and Further Resources

For the latest information, ticket prices, and any queries, visit the official Windsor Castle website or contact their information desk. They can provide you with up-to-date information and answer any questions.

V. Conclusion

Windsor Castle is a journey through time, architecture, and royal heritage. Immerse yourself in its rich history, admire its architectural beauty, and witness the grandeur of royal life. Plan your tour today.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an architecture buff, or simply someone who appreciates the grandeur of royal palaces, Windsor Castle has something to offer everyone.

VI. Key Takeaways

  1. Windsor Castle is open to the public from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, seven days a week, with the last admission at 4:00 PM.
  2. Windsor Castle offers a variety of guided tours, including the State Apartments Tour, the Changing of the Guard Tour, and the Long Walk Tour. These tours provide in-depth insights into the castle’s history and architecture.
  3. The best time to visit Windsor Castle is spring and fall when the weather is mild. Avoid visiting during the summer peak season when crowds can be large.
  4. Admission fees to Windsor Castle vary depending on the type of tour and whether you choose to include an audio guide rental. Adult admission starts at around £25. Discounts are available for children, seniors, students, and groups. Family tickets are also available.
  5. Several parking options are available near Windsor Castle, including pay-and-display street parking and car parks. The car parks closest to the castle are Castle Hill Car Park and Home Park Car Park.
  6. Windsor Castle is easily accessible by train from London Paddington station. The journey takes about an hour and costs around £20 for a return ticket.
  7. Photography is permitted in most castle areas, except for some specific sections. Flash photography is not allowed.
  8. There are a few restrictions for visitors to Windsor Castle, such as no smoking, no eating or drinking in certain areas, and no touching or damaging exhibits.
  9. Windsor Castle is accessible to visitors with mobility challenges. Ramps, accessible routes, and accessible restrooms are available throughout the castle.
  10. The duration of a Windsor Castle tour varies depending on the type of tour, but most tours last around two to three hours.
  11. Visitors can also explore Windsor Castle at their own pace with self-guided tours. Audio guides are available in multiple languages, providing commentary on the castle’s highlights. Self-guided tours allow visitors to explore the castle at their own pace and focus on the areas that interest them most.
  12. Windsor Castle hosts various special events throughout the year, including the Royal Windsor Horse Show in May, the Windsor Tattoo in August, and the Windsor Castle Christmas Festival in December.

While Windsor Castle generally opens seven days a week from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, with last admission at 4:00 PM, it’s always best to check their official website for the latest hours as they vary depending on the season or special events. They offer guided tours like State Apartments, Changing of the Guard, and Long Walk, but explore their website for a complete list.

Consider spring, fall, or even winter for a festive atmosphere (with shorter opening hours) to avoid peak summer crowds. Check the website for current admission fees (adult starts around £25) and discounts. Use the official website or parking apps for parking near the castle (Castle Hill or Home Park options) and real-time availability. The castle hosts various events throughout the year beyond the Royal Windsor Horse Show, Windsor Tattoo, and Christmas Festival – so check their website for a full calendar.

J. Shaw

Joseph Shaw is a renowned expert with two decades of experience in historic travel, and tourism in the United Kingdom. His multifaceted expertise and commitment to excellence have made him a highly respected professional in U.K. tourism.

J. Shaw has 90 posts and counting. See all posts by J. Shaw

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