Windsor Castle is a royal residence located in the English county of Berkshire. It is recorded as the oldest and largest royal inhabited castle in the world. Built over than 900 years ago, the castle is still a private home to the Queen and serving as a famous site of attraction for local and international tourists housing many art world’s finest works.
History of Windsor Castle
The Windsor Castle was built originally right after the Norman invasion in the 11th century by William the Conqueror. Since the British throne fell into Henry I, the castle has been used as the residence of monarchs until today, making it the longest-occupied palace in Europe.
The original Windsor Castle was built as a motte and bailey to serve its initial purpose to protect Norman dominance. However, it is later replaced by stone fortifications.
Henry III then tried to rebuild the castle but it was Edward III who built the Castle to be recognized as the most expensive building. Through the years, Windsor Castle kept itself as the favourite monarch getaway. In 1901, Edward VII modernized the Castle with “zest and enthusiasm” of its day.
Windsor Castle Today
Windsor Castle was built on a thirteen acres land. Its style is basically Georgian and Victorian with a hint of medieval structure, Gothic, as well as modern style. There are many parts in Windsor Castle which are Middle ward, Upper Ward, Lower Ward, and Park and landscape.
In the upper ward, the State Apartments are located. The building was built by Edward III and designed by Hugh May and Jeffry Wyattville. Due to its artistic layout, art historian Hugh Roberts praises it.
Windsor Castle is the Queen’s favorite to host state guests from monarchs and presidents overseas. A traditional state banquet is then held in St. George’s Hall which has the capacity to host 160 guests at a time. Several notable visitors of Windsor Castle over the time are King Abdullah and Queen Rania of Jordan (2001), President Mbeki and Mrs. Mbeki of South Africa (2001), and President Chirac and Madame Chirac of France in 2004.
The St George’s Chapel in the Windsor Castle area has also hosted some royal weddings and funerals. Prince Edward and Miss Sophie Rhys-Jones’s wedding was the most recent wedding to be held at the Chapel. Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, King George VI, and Princess Margaret has their bodies buried in the Chapel.
As a tourism site, many parts of Windsor Castle are open to public such as the State Apartments, the precincts, St George’s Chapel, Queen Mary’s famous doll’s house, and the Albert Memorial Chapter. Various and changing exhibitions are shown in the Castle’s Drawing Gallery from time to time from old manuscripts to the precious drawings and prints. These items belong to the Print Room and Royal Library.
Map of Windsor Castle
Key: A: The Round Tower, B: The Upper Ward, The Quadrangle, C: The State Apartments, D: Private Apartments, E: South Wing, F: Lower Ward, G: St George’s Chapel, H: Horseshoe Cloister, K: King Henry VIII Gate, L: The Long Walk, M: Norman Gate, N: North Terrace, O: Edward III Tower, T: The Curfew Tower
Visiting Windsor Castle
Opening times :
March to October : 09.45 to 17.15
November to February : 09.45 to 16.15
Closing date : 18 April 2014, 20 April 2014, and 16 June 2014
Adult : £16.75
Under 17 y.o. : £11.00
Under 5 y.o. : free of charge
Student : £16.75
Over 60 y.o. : £16.75
Family : £48.00 (for 2 adults and 3 under 17s)
How to get to Windsor Castle
There are several ways to access Windsor Castle. You can go by train and stop at London Waterloo or London Paddington station. There are also coaches available from Victoria Coach Station.
There is no parking lot available at Windsor Castle, therefore road access are limited only to pedestrians. Visitors are advised to walk to the Castle from the nearest public car parks in the town center.
There are also tours arranged by tour companies in coordination with hotels in London. You can look into one of the programs to see whether there is any that suits your need.
Windsor Castle Address
Windsor, Windsor and Maidenhead SL4 1NJ, United Kingdom