Windsor Castle has the distinction of being the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. There has been a castle on this site for more than 900 years. The present castle and grounds cover an area of about 26 acres and, as well as the castle, the site houses a royal palace, a chapel and the homes of a large number of people. It is an Official Residence of Her Majesty The Queen.
The castle is very well preserved and there is much for the visitor to see.
Most people will want to see the State Apartments with their fine furnishings and containing some of the finest works of art from the Royal Collection. Among the exhibits are paintings by Gainsborough, Rubens, Rembrandt and Canaletto. Pushchairs are not allowed within the State Apartments.
Open only from October to March, visitors can also see George IV's private apartments, known as the Semi-State Rooms, the interiors of which are richly decorated.
Within the castle grounds is one of the most well-known examples of Gothic architecture in England, St George’s Chapel. This building is the home of the Order of the Garter, the senior order of British Chivalry established in 1348 by Edward III. Also within the chapel are the tombs of ten British sovereigns.
Young and not so young girls will find a visit to Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House worthwhile. The Dolls’ House, which is now a permanent display at Windsor Castle, was a gift to Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth II's grandmother. The four-storey mansion, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, was never intended to be played with. The dining table is set with real silver plates, the Queen's bathroom has an alabaster tub with golden taps and there is even a strongroom with tiny copies of the Crown Jewels.
A note of caution. Because of its popularity, viewing of the Dolls’ House is controlled so there can be a long wait to see the display.
The sheer size and complexity of Windsor Castle can be managed with a guided tour. These are available at all times on an individual basis and for groups. Audio tours in many languages can also be borrowed.
A Windsor Castle tour should include a walk through Windsor Great Park, a beautifully landscaped garden in what used to be a royal hunting forest.
For an additional cost there are also special guided tours of the Great Kitchens and evening tours which allow the visitor to see areas which are not normally viewable.
All areas of the castle are accessible to disabled visitors.
Tel: (+44) (0)20 7766 7304