No visit to Windsor is complete without stepping inside the breathtaking fortress of Windsor Castle. Originally built by William the Conqueror, Windsor Castle is now the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world, it’s iconic tower and imposing stone façade sitting proudly beside the River Thames for almost a thousand years. Home to stunning views, gardens, state apartments, the magnificent St George’s chapel and the legendary Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, it’s easy to see why Windsor Castle has remained the favoured home of monarchs for centuries. Beyond royal receptions, the castle also offers a warm welcome to tourists, with an exciting schedule of exhibitions, family days and theatre performances seeing visitors returning to the castle year-on-year.
Timing is everything. Don’t miss the castle’s Changing of the Guards at 11am on Monday - Saturday each week. Each day like clockwork, the new guard will arrive with a regimental band in tow to begin this 45-minute royal ritual.
Home sweet home. Don’t forget to look for the flag that flies from the castle’s round tower on your Windsor Castle tour. If the Royal Standard flag is flying, it means the Queen is home!
Skip the line. Windsor Castle is a very popular attraction, with 3 million guests visiting the site in 2014 alone. To avoid lengthy queues, book your Windsor Castle tickets in advance.
Good to know
Best time to visit
Although Windsor Castle tours are always busy, visitor numbers peak during school holidays and weekends, so try to avoid these times if you can. Be sure to be around at 11am from Monday – Saturday to see the Changing of the Guard, and we recommend you allow about 3 hours to see everything that the castle has to offer.
Windsor Castle is nearby to two rail stations, both Windsor and Eton Central, and Windsor and Eton Riverside. The castle is also well serviced by buses, with the 71 bus and the 77 bus stopping right outside the castle gates. If you don't fancy public transport, we offer a range of great-value, comfortable coach tours to Windsor Castle.
Money saving tips
Avoid pricey food and drink stalls inside the castle grounds, and bring your own food. If you’re not one for a packed lunch, why not take a break and head to a food outlet that is less busy – and less expensive – nearby. If you’re taking a short break from the castle, simply obtain a re-entry permit from the castle shops or the audio-return point.
Did you know?
Impress your fellow travellers with these interesting titbits about Windsor Castle…
During WWII’s blitz bombing raids, the windows of the castle were blacked out and the bedrooms fortified to protect the site.
In 1992, a colossal fire in the castle caused damage to more than 100 rooms. It took 15hrs and 1.5 million gallons of water to extinguish the flames.
William Shakespeare’s play, “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” was performed for the first time in Windsor Castle’s library for Queen Elizabeth I.
Henry VIII is buried in Windsor Castle’s Lady Chapel.