Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world.
William, the Conqueror, founded the Castle in the 11th century, and since then it has been the home for 39 Monarchs.
The British Queen prefers to spend her weekend at this castle.
Every year more than 1.5 Million tourists visit this Royal residence.
The topics covered are –
1. Opening hours
2. How to reach
3. Best time to vist
4. Duration of tour
5. Windsor Castle tickets
6. Guided tours
7. Changing of Guard
8. Windsor Castle Vs Buckingham Palace
9. Windsor Castle FAQs
10. Windsor Castle Map
11. Car Parking
Windsor Castle location
Windsor Castle is in the county of Berkshire, England, UK.
It is located on river Thames about 32 Kms (20 Miles) west of London. Oxford is about 65 Kms (40 Miles) NorthEast.
Windsor Castle hours
Windsor Castle is open to visitors all year around. However, the timings vary through the months.
Nov 1- Feb 28: 10 am to 4.15 pm
The last ticket is sold at 3 pm
Mar 1- Oct 31: 10 am to 5.15 pm
The last ticket is sold at 4 pm
Entrance to the State Apartments and Queen Mary’s Doll’s House close 30 minutes after the last admission.
On some days, Windsor Castle remains closed (or the timings are altered). The days are –
– 11 October
– 12 October
– 25 December
– 26 December
The State Apartments remain closed on 2 Nov, and between 7 Jan to 18 Jan.
St. George’s Chapel timings
St. George’s Chapel closes at 4 pm but visitors can attend the EvenSong service at 5.15 pm.
The Chapel is usually closed for visitors on Sundays as services are held throughout the day.
The services lined up for Sunday are –
8.30 am: Holy Communion
10.45 am: Mattins and Sermon
12 pm: Sung Eucharist
5.15 pm: Evensong
How far is Windsor Castle from London?
Windsor Castle is a short journey from Central London. It takes around 44 minutes to drive from London to Windsor and the driving distance is around 37 KMs or 23 Miles.
One can also take a bus or train to reach Windsor Castle.
Since the Castle is close to Heathrow Airport, there are many local buses one can choose from.
The fastest and most popular option to reach Windsor Castle is to take a train from Paddington.
You can also take a train from Waterloo to Windsor Castle. This journey may take 10 minutes more.
There is no need to pre-book your train tickets. There is no reserved seating and ticket is not specific to a train schedule. Trains run very late into the evening at good frequencies.
If you have plenty of time but want to save on some money, the next best option is the Green Line Bus from Victoria. It is slower and cheaper than the train.
The Green Line bus passes through numerous hotels in the Kensington area and the Legoland in Windsor. So it ends up being a sightseeing tour as well.
Best time to visit Windsor Castle
The best time to reach Windsor Castle is between 11 and 11.30 am.
Even though the Windsor Castle opens at 10 am, we don’t recommend you land up early because that’s when most of the coach tours arrive.
By delaying your trip by an hour, you can avoid a big crowd.
Most of the tourists who opt for the coach tour leave after the change of guard, which happens between 11 and 11.30 am.
While the change of guard is happening, nobody can exit the Castle. That’s why when it ends, there is an avalanche of tourists heading towards their buses.
How long does Windsor Castle take?
In winters, since the queues aren’t long, a tour of Windsor Castle takes around two hours.
In summers, the queues are slightly long at most of the places. Therefore, the Windsor Castle tour ends up being 3 hours long in summer.
Windsor Castle ticket price
Windsor Castle admission ticket prices are reasonable and the experience is also memorable.
The highest price is reserved for the adult tourists 17 years and above, who end up paying 21.20 Pounds. Kids under 17 years of age pay only 12.30 Pounds per head.
Kids below 5 years of age walk in free.
As mentioned above, the State Apartments remain closed on 2 Nov, and between 7 Jan to 18 Jan. During these days, the ticket prices are reduced.
When the State Apartments are closed to the public, the ticket prices are reduced by more than 30%. To check price list click here.
Windsor Castle tickets
If you like to travel at your own pace, you have two options while booking your tickets for Windsor Castle.
You can buy only the Windsor Castle admission tickets and manage the transport (from London to the Castle) on your own. Or you can book a tour which includes both the Windsor Castle entry and the transport from London and back.
We describe both the ticket options below.
Both the Windsor Castle online tickets provided below are delivered to your inbox within five minutes of the purchase. Which means you can show the ticket in your email on your smartphone and enter the Castle. Yes, no printouts needed!
These tickets can be canceled 24 hours before your visit for a full refund.
1. Windsor Castle entry ticket
This ticket provides admission to the Windsor Castle.
With this ticket, you can also visit the State Apartments, and St. George’s Chapel.
The Windsor Castle audio guide is very useful for tourists without a guide. It is available in Spanish, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Russian.
Since a lot of walking is involved, we recommend comfortable shoes.
Adult ticket (17+ years): 21.20 Pounds
Seniors ticket (61+ years): 19.30 Pounds
Child ticket (5 to 16 years): 12.30 Pounds
Student ticket (with ID): 19.30 Pounds
2. Windsor Castle tickets + Transport from London
This ticket gets you everything that’s mentioned in the previous ticket (explained above) plus the transport from London and back.
Many tourists prefer this because Windsor Castle is 35 Kms (22 Miles) from central London.
The luxury coach departs from London between 9.30-10 am and returns around 1.30 pm.
Adult ticket (17+ years): 46 Pounds
Child ticket (0 to 16 years): 41 Pounds
Windsor Castle guided tours
Guided tours of Windsor Castle are popular for three reasons –
1) Guided tours of Windsor Castle tend to be combo tours. As a result, one gets to see more attractions
2) Guided tours to Windsor include transportation by luxury coach
3) The tour guides take you on the shortest route, show you the must-sees, narrate stories and anecdotes thus making the tour memorable
Check out the three best guided tours involving Windsor Castle.
1. Windsor, Oxford and Stonehenge tour
If you book this tour, you will visit three of the best tourist spots just outside of London – Windsor, Oxford, and Stonehenge.
You are expected to report for this 10-hour-long tour at 8 am in Central London. The departure is at 8.30 am.
Windsor Castle is the first stop, where you explore the Castle, the State Apartments, Queen Mary’s Doll’s House and St. George’s Chapel.
The next stop is Stonehenge, after which the group stops for lunch (which is part of the package).
The final stop is the University town of Oxford. You get to explore the mesmerizing college courtyards and beautiful lanes of this historic university town.
The tour finishes in London around 7.15 pm.
2. Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, Bath and Lacock tour
This tour lasts 12 hours and 30 minutes.
We won’t recommend this tour if you are traveling with kids below 10 years or if you are traveling with seniors.
The tour departs at 7.45 am from Victoria Coach Station on Buckingham Palace Road.
The first stop is Windsor Castle, which is followed by a visit to Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain.
Next, the group stops for lunch at a small village called Lacock. This village is known for its exotic beauty which is why it features in many Movies, including the Harry Potter series.
The last stop for the day is yet another town called Bath. In Bath, you will visit Bath Abbey and romantic Pulteney Bridge over the river Avon.
3. Windsor Castle, Bath, and Stonehenge tour
This is a 12-hour tour, and one of the best ways to see the famed English countryside.
The first stop is the Windsor Castle, the English Queen’s favorite residence.
The next stop is Bath, where besides roaming the city you will also see Bath Abbey and Pulteney Bridge. When in Bath, you also explore the Roman Baths.
The next stop is Stonehenge, a topic of long-standing public debate.
Windsor Castle Changing of Guard
The highlights of Windsor Castle include the ‘Changing of Guard’.
The Changing of Guard takes place in the morning from 10.30 am to 11.30 am. The guards march back to Windsor Castle from Victoria Barracks.
This ceremony takes place in the lower ward of the Castle, outside the Guard Room.
You need to have plenty of time and a Windsor Castle ticket if you wish to see the proper ‘changing of the guards’.
If you really want to witness the change of guards, don’t plan your visit to Windsor Castle on a Sunday. The march does not take place on Sunday.
The British Army sets the schedule for this activity and it is subject to change.
During the ceremony, Traffic Wardens and Police control traffic so movement is restricted. Windsor Castle Map
Windsor Castle Vs Buckingham Palace
Notable for its long association with British Royal family, Windsor Castle marks the royal residence in English county of Berkshire.
Located in the city of Westminster, Buckingham Palace is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the monarch of the United Kingdom.
Windsor Castle is open throughout the year except on a few occasions. Buckingham Palace is not open to the public throughout the year and even when it is open, only a small number of rooms are accessible.
In Windsor Castle, the private chambers of the Queen are not accessible to the public but you can visit the State Apartments and St. George’s Chapel.
In Buckingham Palace, a view of Queen’s guards in their red tunics and bearskin hats can be seen from the North gates and is worth a watch.
Changing of guards in both the royal palaces is an amazing spectacle to watch.
Both the palaces are equally wonderful and if you are in London, missing one for the other isn’t advisable.
Unfortunately, there isn’t any good combo tour ticket for visiting both Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.
We recommend you book their tickets, individually.
*Both these tickets include the Change of Guards ceremony.
Windsor Castle FAQs
Tourists visiting Windsor Castle have a lot of questions. However, these are the most asked questions on Windsor Castle.
1. Who built the Windsor castle?
William, the Conqueror built the Windsor Castle. He chose the site because it was easily accessible from London. It took 16 years to build.
Henry II included Special Royal Apartments and upgraded the walls from Timber to Stone which took 60 years. Edward III also renovated it by spending around £50,000.
2. When was the Windsor Castle Built?
It was built in the 11th century and has been in use since then.
3. Who owns Windsor Castle?
Reigning Monarch owns the Windsor Castle, which is currently Queen Elizabeth II. She prefers to spend her private weekends at the Windsor Castle.
Windsor Castle map
Since Windsor Castle is a massive tour, it is important to have a map to avoid any inconvenience.
You don’t need to buy one if you have booked a Windsor Castle guided tour for it will then be your guide’s responsibility to provide you a map.
However, if you haven’t booked a guided tour, you can check out the Windsor Castle map here.
Windsor Castle parking
There are many car parking slots in Windsor Castle.
Car parks on the Datchet Road, near Windsor and Eton Riverside Station, Alma Road are cheaper as compared to other parking areas.
There is a free park and ride available from Home Park between 07:00 am and 09:00 pm, from Monday to Friday.
Please note that parking is free of charge in any borough car park for blue badge holders.
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