Monday, May 21, 2012

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is an official residence of The Queen and the largest occupied castle in the world. A Royal home and fortress for over 900 years, the Castle remains a working palace today. 

Venturing Further from Central London

Continuing our series on What to do in London, if you are only there for two days, we'll head out by train to Windsor Royal Station for a visit to one of the queen's residences, Windsor Castle. 

Working Royal Residence

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The Queen uses the Castle both as a private home, where she usually spends the weekend, and as a Royal residence at which she undertakes certain formal duties.  In the springtime, she takes up residence for the entire month around Easter (March - April).  This is known as the Easter Court during which she holds several 'dine and sleeps' events for guests, including politicians and public figures.

Windsor Castle is often used by The Queen to host State Visits from overseas monarchs and presidents. Foreign Heads of State enter the Castle in horse-drawn carriages through the George IV Gateway into the quadrangle in the Upper Ward, where a military guard of honour is drawn up.

Many Royal weddings have been celebrated in St George's Chapel, as well as funerals such as those of Princess Margaret and Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, have also taken place there. Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother lies buried in the Chapel with her husband, King George VI, and Princess Margaret, her younger daughter.

Visitor Information

Many parts of the Castle are open to the public, including the precincts, the State Apartments, Queen Mary's famous dolls' house, St George's Chapel, and the Albert Memorial Chapel.

When The Queen is in official residence, Changing the Guard provides a colourful spectacle in the quadrangle.  At Horse Guards Arch, Changing the Guard takes place daily at 11.00 am (10.00 am on Sundays) and lasts about half an hour; it is normally held on Horse Guards Parade by the arch of Horse Guards Building.   The Guard Mounting is held daily May - July.

How to get there

By train: To Windsor from London Waterloo or London Paddington (National Rail Enquiries Service 08457 484950 (UK)).
By coach: Green Line operates daily services from Victoria Coach Station, London.
Tour companies operate excursions to Windsor Castle from many London hotels. For details, please ask your hotel concierge.
By road: M4 to Exit 6. M3 to Exit 3.
For more information about Windsor and parking, please visit

Special Series on London 
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