Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world.
William, the Conqueror, built 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.
Table of contents
- How to reach Windsor Castle
- Windsor Castle hours
- Best time to visit Windsor Castle
- How long does Windsor Castle take
- Windsor Castle tickets
- Windsor Castle guided tours
- Windsor Castle’s Changing of Guard
- Windsor Castle map
- Windsor Castle FAQs
How to reach Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle is in Berkshire, on the River Thames about 32 km (20 miles) west of London. Get directions
Oxford is about 65 km (40 miles) NorthEast of Windsor Castle.
The fastest and most popular option to get to Windsor Castle is a train from Paddington Station.
You can also take a train from Waterloo Station, but the journey takes 10 minutes longer.
Since there is no reserved seating and the ticket is not specific to a train schedule, you don’t need to pre-book your train tickets.
Trains run very late into the evening and at suitable frequencies.
If you have plenty of time and want to save on some money, the next best option is the Green Line Bus, which starts from the Green Line Coach Station in Victoria.
It is slower and cheaper than the train.
The Green Line bus trip doubles as a sightseeing tour because it passes through numerous hotels in the Kensington area and the Legoland in Windsor.
If you want to keep it simple, book a tour of Windsor Castle from London, which includes transport.
Windsor Castle parking
It takes around 45 minutes to drive from London to Windsor, and the driving distance is approximately 37 km (23 miles).
There is plenty of car parking in Windsor Castle.
Since you will be spending time exploring, it is better to opt for the long-stay car parks.
These recommended car parks are less than a 10-minute walk to Windsor Castle.
Windsor Castle hours
From March to October, Windsor Castle opens at 10 am and closes at 5.15 pm, and from November to February, the attraction opens at 10 am and closes at 4.15 pm.
The last entry is always one hour and 15 minutes before closure.
Entrance to the State Apartments and Queen Mary’s Doll House close 30 minutes after the last admission.
Windsor Castle remains closed on four days in a year – 11 & 12 October and 25 & 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 inside Windsor Castle closes for exploration 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 continue throughout the day.
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Best time to visit Windsor Castle
The best time to visit Windsor Castle is between 11 am, and 11.30 am.
As soon as Windsor Castle opens at 10 am, coach tours from London start arriving.
These groups leave after the Change of Guard, which happens between 11, and 11.30 am, after which the crowd thins down drastically.
If you arrive at the attraction just after 11 am, you can catch up on the Change of Guard ceremony and then explore the rest of Windsor Castle at peace.
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, most of the places within the attraction have queues because of which the Windsor Castle tour ends up taking around 3 hours.
When you buy Windsor Castle tickets online, you save on waiting time.
Windsor Castle tickets
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.
You can cancel these tickets 24 hours before your visit for a full refund.
Where to buy tickets
You can get your Windsor Castle entry tickets at the venue or buy them online, much in advance.
If you plan to get them at the attraction, you must get in the ticketing window queue.
Depending on the time of the day (and month), you may have to wait in the ticket counter line for 10 to 30 minutes to buy your ticket.
The second and better option is to book tickets to Windsor Castle online.
When you buy them in advance, you save yourself a lot of waiting time by skipping the ticket counter queue.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: As a safety precaution, ticket counters at Windsor Castle are temporarily suspended, and visitors can only purchase the tickets online. The Royal residence has reduced ticket capacity to ensure that everyone can enjoy their visit while maintaining social distancing, so booking in advance is an absolute must.
How online tickets work
When you buy Windsor Castle tickets, you select your preferred time of visit.
Immediately after purchase, your tickets get emailed to you.
Now all you must do is, reach the castle 15 minutes before the time mentioned on your ticket.
If you have a ticket printout, you can show it and walk into the royal residence.
Otherwise, you can collect a physical copy of your ticket from a ticket counter and then enter the royal residence. It is a quick process.
You can enter Windsor Castle till about 30 minutes after the time printed on your ticket.
Windsor Castle ticket prices
Windsor Castle’s tickets cost £23.50 for visitors 17 years and above and £13.50 for kids between five to 16 years.
Seniors 60 years and above and students with an educational ID pay the discounted ticket price of £21.20.
Kids under five years and below join in for free.
When the State Apartments are closed* to the public, the ticket prices are reduced by more than 30%.
*State Apartments remain closed on 2 Nov, and from 7 Jan to 18 Jan.
Skip the line Windsor Castle tickets
This ticket provides access to all areas of Windsor Castle and is the cheapest and most popular way to see the royal residence.
With this ticket, you can also visit the State Apartments, and St. George’s Chapel. Image: Charlieandjo.wordpress.com
The Windsor Castle audio guide is handy for tourists who decide not to book a guided tour.
Since a lot of walking is involved, we recommend comfortable shoes.
Adult ticket (17+ years): £23.50
Seniors ticket (60+ years): £21.20
Child ticket (5 to 16 years): £13.50
Student ticket (with ID): £21.20
Windsor Castle entry + Transport from London
This roundtrip ticket lets you access everything inside Windsor Castle and includes transport in an air-conditioned luxury coach 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’s Victoria Coach Station at 7.45 am and returns around 1.30 pm.
This tour is available only on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday.
Adult ticket (17 to 64 years): £64
Seniors ticket (65+ years): £61
Child ticket (3 to 16 years): £54
Student’s ticket (with valid ID): £61
Windsor Castle guided tours
These guided tours are popular with tourists for three reasons –
1) Guided tours of Windsor Castle tend to be combo tours. As a result, one gets to see more attractions at a discounted price
2) They 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.
Windsor Castle, Bath, and Stonehenge tour
This 11-hour tour is one of the best ways to see the famed English countryside.
Boarding starts at 7.30 am from 164, Buckingham Palace Road, and the first stop is Windsor Castle, the English Queen’s favorite residence.
You also get to visit St George’s Chapel.
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 last stop is Stonehenge, a topic of long-standing public debate.
Cancellations are possible up to 24 hours before your visit date.
Adult ticket (17 to 59 years): £109
Seniors ticket (60+ years): £106
Child ticket (5 to 16 years): £99
Student ticket (with valid ID): £99
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 must report for this 10-hour-long tour at 8 am in Central London, and the tour departs 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.
The tour finishes in London around 7.15 pm.
Adult ticket (17 to 59 years): £102
Seniors ticket (60+ years): £97
Student ticket (18 to 25 years): £97
Child ticket (3 to 16 years): £92
Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, Bath and Lacock tour
This tour lasts 12 hours and 30 minutes and starts from Gate No. 19-20, Victoria Coach Station.
We won’t recommend this tour if you travel with kids below ten years or travel with seniors.
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 the romantic Pulteney Bridge over the River Avon.
Adult ticket (17 to 59 years): £112
Seniors ticket (60+ years): £109
Child ticket (3 to 16 years): £102
Students ticket (with Valid ID): £109
Windsor Castle’s Changing of Guard
‘Changing of Guard’ is one of the highlights of visiting Windsor Castle.
The ceremony takes place in the morning from 10.30 am to 11.30 am, wherein the guards march back to Windsor Castle from Victoria Barracks.
The guards start their march from Victoria Barracks on Sheet Street, up the High Street, and into Windsor Castle.
This ceremony takes place in the lower ward of the Castle, outside the Guard Room.
You must be on Windsor High Street or the Corn Exchange under Windsor Guildhall for the best view.
During the ceremony, Traffic Wardens and Police control traffic, so movement gets restricted.
Windsor Castle’s Change of Guards doesn’t take place on a Sunday.
Windsor Castle vs. Buckingham Palace
Both are equally wonderful and if you are in London, missing one for the other isn’t advisable. We recommend the Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle combo tour. If you aren’t sure, find out which attraction is better – Windsor Castle or Buckingham Palace.
Windsor Castle map
Since Windsor Castle is a massive tour, it is essential 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, we recommend you take a printout of the map below. Or bookmark this page for later.
Windsor Castle FAQs
Tourists visiting Windsor Castle have a lot of questions.
However, these are the most asked questions on Windsor Castle.
Who built Windsor castle?
William, the Conqueror, built the Windsor Castle.
He chose the site because it was easily accessible from London.
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.
When was the Windsor Castle Built?
It was built in the 11th century and took 16 years to build.
Who owns Windsor Castle?
Reigning Monarch owns Windsor Castle, which is currently Queen Elizabeth II.
She prefers to spend her private weekends at Windsor Castle.
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