What’s there to see at Windsor Castle?Once you enter the State Apartments you have two choices of routes. The Ceremonial Route includes the rooms used by the Queen and Royal Family, including the Grand Reception Room, the Waterloo Chamber, and the Semi-State Rooms (including both the Green and Crimson Drawing Rooms). Alternatively, you can take the Historic Route, which focuses on the rooms built for Charles II and Queen Catherine of Braganza, which were intended to rival the palace of Versailles. Both routes include many fine works of art including pieces by Holbein, Rubens, and Van Dyck. 30-minute long free tours led by the castle’s Wardens are available. These leave at regular intervals from the Courtyard and offer a great introduction to the castle’s 900-year long history and its current importance to the Royal Family. You should also take the time to see St George’s Chapel, which was the venue for Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle in 2018 and is the spiritual home of the exclusive Order of the Garter. You can also watch the changing of the guard, a shorter and less elaborate form that the one at Buckingham Palace - just be aware that you’ll need to buy an admission ticket to watch the whole ceremony.
Will we see the Queen?Maybe? The queen often stays at the castle at weekends throughout the year, except in the summer months when she’s usually in Scotland. There are numerous stories of visitors who’ve seen her enjoying a walk in the gardens, or who have seen her coming and going between other events. Make sure to look at the flag post - when the flag is a Union Flag (the UK’s national red, white, and blue flag), that means that the Queen isn’t at home, but if it’s a Royal Standard (which has red, yellow, and blue quarters) then the Queen is at the castle that day.
Will children enjoy a trip to the castle?Children will enjoy seeing the castle, with its walls built to withstand sieges, and they’ll enjoy imagining the Queen and princes and princesses living in the State Apartments. They’ll be able to learn while enjoying the special family multimedia tour, which is designed for children aged 7 to 11 and is led by Scorch the dragon. There are also family activity trails available, suitable for children aged 5 to 11, which will help them discover some of the castle’s treasures. There are also opportunities to dress up and play! Parents should also watch out for special themed events for families, including arts and crafts and storytelling. Be aware that strollers can be used around the grounds but will need to be checked in near the entrance of the State Apartments before visiting. Baby carriers are available to borrow.
How long should I plan for my visit?In order to see everything inside the castle and the additional buildings such as St. George’s Chapel, you should allow at least 3 hours for your visit. There’s no time limit on your entry, so feel free to wander around at your own pace, and pause to rest your feet if needed.
Are there food options at the castle? Is there anywhere to have a picnic?At the moment there isn’t a café or restaurant on the grounds of the castle, though one is planned to open in the Undercroft at the end of 2019. For the time being, guests will have to collect a re-entry permit from the shop or multimedia guide return point before leaving to get food from the town center, where there are options to suit every budget. Water and edible gifts can be bought in the castle shop, but eating and drinking aren’t allowed inside the State Apartments or St. George’s Chapel.
Is there anything else to see nearby?You can head to Windsor Great Park for a stunning picnic location, though you’ll want to watch out for the deer which roam freely and apparently love to meet people! Cross the river to Eton and take a stroll around the historic streets of Eton College, where William and Harry went to school, along with many other historic British men. For those looking for an adrenaline rush, you can always take the short trip to Legoland Windsor to enjoy themed rides and shows!