If you follow along on my instagram, you’ll know that this past weekend my husband and I went to Windsor Castle! As another building operated by the Royal Collection Trust, it is open to the public on certain dates each year, and since it is a short train ride away from the heart of London, we were eager to get out there and take a look at it!
We purchased tickets in advance – which I highly recommend doing – and arrived at the Windsor & Eton train station, which was less than a 5 minute walk away from Windsor Castle. The line to get in was immense – longer than some of the lines at Disneyland. We had the unfortunate incident of speaking with an il-informed member of staff who was herding the line, and they told us that although we had purchased tickets in advance, we needed to go to the back of the queue, and then wait for someone to call for us. We waited two hours in line, only to be told once we were closer to the front that we were now to move into a different line for people who had pre-purchased tickets, which was shorter, but still another long wait. In total we waited about 3 hours in line, which we were entirely unimpressed with. For those who intend to visit, we recommend purchasing tickets online, arriving earlier than necessary, and immediately upon arrival going into the shorter line on the right-hand side of the main line. You’ll likely wait around 45 minutes or less in this line, depending on your timing, and can avoid our unfortunate mishap happening to you.
Aside from the line, once we were inside we were very happy to be there! The castle is very historical, initially built in the 1100s, and previously had a moat around it. There are multiple gates around and within it, and it has thick and sturdy walls around it on every end, with a multitude of smaller buildings within the grounds.
There is, of course, the infamous tower, which is perched atop a hill and surrounded by greenery. We didn’t go into it this time around, but viewed from the garden area instead! We entered into the state rooms which were absolutely unbelievable. There were relics from all of the wars that England fought in over the many years of her existence, ornate ceilings, and chandeliers hanging in every room. We saw the Kings bed chamber, dressing room, closet, drawing room and private dining room – all of which were adorned with art work, primarily of Italian origin, and the most beautiful tapestries which took up entire walls. The ceilings were painted in Italian style, similar to works that you may find on the ceiling of Italian Chapels, and it was quite evident that King Henry I had quite the affinity for Italian art and style. We also saw the ballroom, the Queen’s reception room, and a few of the other rooms of the Queen.
One of my favourite things that we saw was St George’s Chapel. This is a Royal chapel, and the one in which Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were married. We were able to look around inside, and stood where they stood when they spoke their vows to each other! They even had the wedding video playing in the background, so we could determine the exact place they both stood, and where Her Majesty the Queen sat! There are many different rooms and passages within the Chapel, and one thing that was amazing to behold was the tomb of Elizabeth I. She was buried within St George’s Chapel, along with many other royals whose tombstones we saw, and the intricacy of the chapel architecture was absolutely breathtaking.
We purchased some of the Windsor Castle Jam from the gift shop, which we tasted when we got home, and absolutely love. The tour that we did was well worth the wait, and if you get your ticket stamped at the end of your visit, you can return for free for a year! Overall, we are so happy that we got to visit Windsor Castle and walk through the site where the Royal Wedding took place so recently! I would highly recommend visiting if you have the chance!