Windsor Castle website
Windsor Castle is the largest inhabited castle in the world, and the oldest in continuous occupation (over 900 years). It is one of the Queen's three official residences, and is often said to be her favourite. The Royal Standard flies over the Round Tower of Windsor Castle when the Queen is in residence - at other times, the Union Jack flag flies in its place.
Samuel Pepys proclaimed the Castle to be "the most romantique castle that is in the world". That was in 1666, and the same is true today.
The origins of Windsor were in the 7th century Saxon settlement of Windlesora, where the present day village of Old Windsor is located. The town of Windsor is correctly known as "New Windsor" - the word "new" being used in a strictly relative sense!
Windsor Castle was first built by William the Conqueror, following his invasion of England in 1066. The original structure was built from timber with earth fortifications. The Castle held an obvious strategic position on a steep hill overlooking the River Thames, and was part of a ring of castles around London, with the Tower of London, one day's march away, at its heart. The Castle was later rebuilt in stone, and grew in importance over the years. Henry II constructed the Round Tower and the original stone outer wall. Following the English Civil War, the Castle's primary role became that of a royal palace. The Castle has remained largely unchanged since the early nineteenth century, apart from the restoration work following the fire (see below).Why not also visit Stone Henge
The Fire at Windsor Castle
The Fire of Windsor Castle took place on 20 November 1992 - ironically the 45th wedding anniversary of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. During work on some of the State Rooms in the castle, a fire broke out in the north-east part of the Castle and rapidly spread to engulf many rooms. Fortunately most treasures and works of art had been removed temporarily and so few items were lost, although over 100 rooms in the Castle were badly damaged or destroyed. The fire took 250 firefighters some 15 hours to extinguish. The Castle was renovated, the aim being to restore the damaged rooms to their former glory using authentic materials and craftsmanship, and was re-opened in 1997 after five years of work. The cost of the renovation was £37 million. More on Wikipedia.
Visiting Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle is much larger than most people realise (more than 12 acres), and it is worth allowing a good two hours for your visit. The Castle is open every day except Garter Day (One day in June every year), Easter, Christmas, and one or two other days during the year. Opening times and access may be restricted at certain times of the year due to state functions. For accurate information telephone +44 (0)1753 831118.
Admission Prices 2016 (taken from The Royal Collection)
Windsor Castle - opening times
Admission to the Castle is free to residents of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead with an Advantage Card.
The Castle is open during the following times this year:March to October Open daily 09:45-17:15
(last admission 16:00) November to February Open daily 09:45-16:15
(last admission 15:00)
A typical visit lasts 2-3 hours.
Timing your visit
A typical visit lasts between 2 and 3 hours.The Castle is closed The State Apartments are closed
The Semi-State Rooms
Please note that the Semi-State Rooms are only open during the winter months between 26 September 2015 to March 2016. Please be aware the Semi-State Rooms will not be open when the State Apartments are closed.
St George's Chapel closuresSt George's Chapel open for services St George's Chapel open between 14:00 and 16:00 St George's Chapel closed from 13:00 St George's Chapel closed until 10:30
St. George’s Chapel is closed to visitors on Sundays as services are held throughout the day. Worshippers are welcome to attend the services. These occur at the following times:
08:30 – Holy Communion
10:45 – Mattins and Sermon
12:00 – Sung Eucharist
17:15 – Evensong
As a working royal palace, the Castle is used frequently by The Queen for State ceremonies and official entertaining, and closures can occasionally occur at short notice. Please check opening arrangements by visiting this website or telephoning the Ticket Sales and Information Office on +44 (0)20 7766 7304.
Changing of the Guard(taken from windsor.gov.uk)
The Changing of the Guard is one of the highlights of a visit to Windsor. A band usually accompanies the Guards, although this is subject to weather conditions.