TripAdvisor Windsor Castle
With its iconic round tower and massive walls, Windsor Castle has been home to the Royal Family for almost 1, 000 years. Built by William the Conqueror in the decade after his Norman conquest of 1066, it is the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world, covering thirteen acres. It is a venue for State visits, a major tourist attraction, and the Queen's preferred weekend home.
Windsor Castle is open daily to the public March through October from 9:45-5:15, (last admission 4:00); and November through February from 9:45-4:15, (last admission 3:00). Audio guides are available as part of the admission price and are available in eight languages.
Please note: if you are arriving in the morning, when coach tours arrive for tours of Windsor, do *not* get into the group queue on St. Albans Street. As you approach Windsor, walk past the statue of Queen Victoria, going straight up to the Castle on Castle Hill; do not turn to the left or right. The ticket office for Windsor is at the top of the hill. If you have any doubt whether you are in the right line, ask a staff member at the top of the hill, near the barbican (gate).
All visitors must pass through airport style security, and any bags brought into the Castle grounds must be carry-on size in order to pass through the security scanners. Visitors must keep hand luggage with them throughout the majority of their visit; however, a complimentary cloakroom facility is available at the entrance to the State Apartments. Push chairs (strollers) will have to be left with staff, and reclaimed after your visit.
A typical visit to the Castle lasts 2-3 hours. There is usually no food served on the premises, but in warmer months bottled water and ice cream are available. Visitors wanting to break for lunch may have their tickets stamped before they leave through the King Henry VIII gate in the Lower Ward for re-entry.There are three gift shops within the Castle grounds.
The Castle is divided into three main areas; the Lower Ward, the Middle Ward, and the Upper Ward.
The Upper Ward contains the very popular Queen Mary's Dolls' House, the most famous dolls' house in the world. 1, 500 craftsmen, artists and authors helped to craft this doll’s house with electric lighting, hot and cold running water, and even flushing lavatories.
Visitors then have a chance to see over 500 years worth of royal art in the Drawings Gallery which contains masters reaching back to Leonardo da Vinci.
Next is the China museum, featuring state gifts and china services used by the Royal family.
The State apartments show the visitor the magnificent rooms of Windsor Castle, from the Grand Vestibule with its vast show of arms, armour and relics, to St. George’s Hall, where State dinners are held with a table measuring 53 meters, or 175 feet long.
The Middle Ward is dominated by the Round Tower, whose current height was realized during the reign of George IV.