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Windsor Castle

Type:Castle / Fort

Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 1NJ

TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 12883 reviews12883 reviews

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Windsor Castle's Round Tower (daytime) – photographer: John Freeman, Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

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About

No trip to Windsor could possibly be complete without a visit to amazing Windsor Castle, the family home to British kings and queens for over 1,000 years.

The size of the Castle (5.3 hectares/13 acres) is breathtaking, in fact it is the largest and oldest occupied Castle in the world and it’s where Her Majesty The Queen chooses to spend most of her private weekends..

You might even time your visit when she is in residence! Look at the flag flying from the Castle’s Round Tower; if it’s the Royal Standard The Queen will be there too.

Windsor Castle offers something for everyone, and with so many areas to explore please allow at least 2.5 to 3 hours to see it all.

Windsor Castle Future Programme

Over the past few years the Royal Collection Trust has been busy transforming the experience of visiting Windsor Castle, and in 2019 visitors will begin to enjoy the first of many improvements.

The Moat Room, a new introductory space, now tells the story of the Castle’s 1,000 years of history.  Windsor Castle’s Inner Hall, created by George IV in the 1820s as a space to receive official guests, has been restored and opened to the public. Now, for the first time since its closure by George’s niece, Queen Victoria, the Inner Hall serves its original purpose as a magnificent welcome area for visitors to the Castle.  

Step-free access will be introduced throughout the visitor route. In 2020, improvement works on the Admission Centre and visitor facilities are due to be completed, together with a new dedicated Learning Centre within the Castle’s precincts.  The medieval Undercroft will be transformed into the Castle’s first permanent café.

Find out more about the Royal Collection Trust's £27 million investment in the visitor experience at Windsor Castle

What to see and do at Windsor Castle (all included in your ticket price)

Visit the magnificent State Apartments furnished with some of the finest works of art from the Royal Collection, including paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens and Canaletto.

Take in the splendour of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, location of the wedding of Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle, the burial place of 10 monarchs including Henry VIII and Charles I, and one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in England. Please note, worshippers are welcome to attend the Sunday services at St George's Chapel but the chapel is closed to general visitors on Sundays.

See Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, a masterpiece in miniature built by Sir Edwin Lutyens.  Including contributions from over 1,500 of the finest artists, craftsmen and manufacturers of the early 20th century, it is safe to say that no detail was forgotten!

Join a free 30-minute Precinct Tour with one of the Castle’s wardens when you first arrive and get the most out of your visit to Windsor Castle.  Learn about the Castle's 1,000-year history as fortress, palace and official residence of The Queen.

Imagine being entertained by royalty in the Semi-State Rooms, the spectacular private apartments open to visitors during the winter months.  Richly decorated, they are used by The Queen for hosting her guests. The additional five rooms that make up the Semi-State Rooms will re-open on Tuesday 1 October 2019.  Please note that the Semi-State Rooms are closed when the State Apartments are closed.

Stand to attention whilst watching the Changing of the Guard!  A colourful spectacle of British Pageantry (see below for schedule).

Top Tips for visiting Windsor Castle

  • Book your tickets in advance and avoid the queues! Visit the official Royal Collection website then print your tickets at home before you arrive.  You can bypass the tickets queues by joining the ticketholders line in the Castle’s Admissions Centre. 
  • Check if your accommodation provider is part of RBWM’s Concierge Scheme and book your Windsor Castle ticket in advance courtesy of your hotel or guest accommodation.
  • Don’t forget to convert your Royal Collection ticket into a one-year pass so you can visit again within 12 months – there’s always something new to see (don’t forget to bring some ID with you).
  • Check which flag is flying from Windsor Castle’s round tower – if it’s the Royal Standard then The Queen is in residence when you’re visiting!
  • Windsor Castle is a working palace and can close fully or partly at short notice for any reason; always check the provisional closure dates below on a regular basis.
  • Consider the winter months as a great time to visit; you’ll see the Semi-State Rooms at no extra charge and the State Apartments are beautifully decorated for Christmas.
  • Visit the newly-opened Moat Room display which features three bronze models of how the Castle looked in 1080, 1216 and 1377 – moments in time when the development of the castle expanded considerably – and showcases Windsor Castle’s 1000-year history, from simple fort to one of the greatest medieval palaces in Europe. One length of the Moat Room features a timeline illustrated with reigning kings and queens.
  • If the State Apartments are busy on the day you visit, why not explore beautiful St George’s Chapel first?  The chapel is closed to visitors on Sundays (but open to worshippers).
  • Visiting with children? You’ll find a whole range of family activities taking place each month at Windsor Castle.
  • Don’t forget to pick up a brand new multimedia guide to help you get the most out of your visit to Windsor Castle – it's available in many different languages and there’s a family tour too, led by Scorch the dragon!  The new multimedia tours mean you can choose which route you take to discover the treasures of Windsor Castle.  The Ceremonial Route will guide you through the ornate rooms that The Queen uses for official entertaining.  Opt for the Historic Route to see the suite of rooms created by Charles II, featuring many of the greatest works of art in the Royal Collection.
  • Look out for special tours throughout the year including Conquer the Tower and private evening ‘behind the ropes’ tours (the latter must be booked in advance).
  • With so much to see and do in Windsor Castle, visitors wishing to leave the Castle for refreshments and shopping in the town centre may obtain re-entry permits from the Castle shops or the audio return point.


Windsor Castle history

Windsor Castle as it appears today is the result of almost a thousand years of development but four monarchs in particular have left their mark: William the Conqueror, who founded the castle and established its outline plan and extent; Edward III (r.1327-77), who rebuilt it in a magnificent Gothic style and established the royal apartments in the Upper Ward; Charles II (r.1660-85), who transformed the Upper Ward of the medieval castle into a baroque palace; and George IV (r. 1820-30) who restored the exterior to conform with romantic ideals of castle architecture and created sumptuous and richly furnished palace interiors within the ancient fabric of the building.

Changing the Guard at Windsor Castle

The privilege of guarding the Sovereign has been carried out since 1660. Weather permitting, the ceremony begins at 11am and lasts approximately 30 minutes.  Please check the Royal Collection Trust website for latest information.  There is a link to the British Army website from here too with confirmation of the full schedule.

December 2019: Changing the Guard will take place at 11:00, weather permitting, on the following dates: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 3 to 24 December inclusive, then Friday 27, Saturday 28 and Tuesday 31 December 2019.
January 2020: Changing the Guard will take place at 11:00, weather permitting, on the following dates in January: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
February 2020: Changing the Guard will take place at 11:00, weather permitting, on the following dates in February: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
 

Family activities at Windsor Castle

• Free family multimedia tour (for children aged 7-11)
• Free family Activity Trail
• Family Saturdays and school holiday events and activities.

Windsor Castle offers an exciting family programme every Saturday throughout the year, linked to the amazing history of the Castle, the magnificent art on display and the royal residents past and present who have lived here.

The programme includes storytelling and dressing up in replica historic costume and armour, and art and craft workshops where families can get creative together.

Family Activities in December – Christmas at Windsor Castle

On Saturday 7 December, bring the little ones to Windsor Castle for our special festive day ‘A Victorian Yuletide’. Listen to stories about Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s Christmas traditions, make Christmas decorations and dress up in Victorian Costumes. On the 14 and 21 December, families can enjoy Christmas-themed arts and crafts workshops, as well as festive storytelling in the State Apartments.

Celebrate Christmas 2019 at Windsor Castle

Enjoy Christmas at Windsor Castle.  Between 30 November 2019 and 5 January 2020 visitors to the Castle will see the State Apartments decked with twinkling lights, garlands and shimmering Christmas trees to celebrate the festive season. 

The highlight of Windsor Castle’s display will be the magnificent 20-foot-high Nordmann Fir Christmas tree in St George’s Hall, taken from Windsor Great Park and dressed with hundreds of iridescent glass and mirrored ornaments. 

Festive decorations will be spread throughout the State Apartments and Semi-State Apartments, the private rooms of George IV that are only open to visitors during the winter months. 

2019 celebrates the 200th anniversary of the births of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 2019.  The Octagon Dining Room will feature a special display of gifts exchanged between the royal couple during the many Christmases they spent together at Windsor Castle. In the State Dining Room, the table will be laid with silver-gilt pieces from the spectacular Grand Service, commissioned by George IV and still used today by The Queen and her guests at State Banquets.

On selected dates in December, visitors can enjoy a Private Evening Tour of Windsor Castle.   Tours are led by an expert guide and offer a special behind-the-ropes experience.  All tickets include a glass of champagne, a copy of the Official Souvenir Guide and a 20% discount at Royal Collection Trust shops.

Every Saturday in December, families can enjoy Christmas-themed arts and crafts workshops, as well as festive storytelling in the State Apartments on selected Saturdays.

Opening arrangements for Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is a working royal palace so opening arrangements may change at short notice.

St George's Chapel closes at 16:00, although visitors are welcome to attend the evensong service at 17:15.

To avoid the disappointment of finding part or all of Windsor Castle closed, please check before planning a visit by checking the Provisional Closure Dates below, by visiting https://www.rct.uk/visit/windsor-castle or by telephoning the Ticket Sales and Information Office on +44 (0)30 3123 7304.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE CASTLE CLOSES 1 HOUR 15 MINUTES AFTER LAST ENTRY TIME SHOWN BELOW:

March to October Open daily, 09:30-17:15 (last admission 16:00). November to February Open daily, 09:45-16:15 (last admission 15:00).

Provisional closure dates at Windsor Castle 2019/20

DECEMBER 2019
13 December - The Semi-State Rooms are closed.
16 December 2019 - Castle closing early (Last admission 14:00. Last admission to the State Apartments 14:30. Castle closes 15:00).
16 December - The Semi-State Rooms are closed until 13:00 today.
25-26 December 2019 - Castle completely closed

JANUARY 2020
6-17 January 2020 - Castle completely closed 
18-24 January 2020 - The historic route within the State Apartments is closed. All other rooms in the State Apartments and Semi State Rooms are open as usual. 

APRIL 2020
9 April 2020 - Castle completely closed
10 April 2020 - Castle completely closed

DECEMBER 2020
25-26 December 2020 - Castle completely closed

Attending a service in St George's Chapel

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

Special tours for pre-booked groups at Windsor Castle

Private Evening Tours – In the company of an expert guide, guests will enjoy an exclusive ‘behind-the-ropes’ experience in the magnificent State Apartments.  The tour ends with a glass of champagne.

Restoring Windsor: The Castle after the fire – This special visit begins in the Castle's Winchester Tower with refreshments and an expert talk recounting the dramatic story of the battle to stop the flames and save irreplaceable works of art from the Royal Collection.  The visit continues with a self-guided multimedia tour around the State Apartments. Dates from March – October 2020.

Royal Weddings at Windsor – This special talk will show how royal weddings at Windsor Castle have evolved into the moving ceremonies followed by magnificent celebrations that have been shared throughout the country and across the world. The visit continues with a self-guided multimedia tour of the State Apartments. Dates from March – October 2020.  

The above tours are available to pre-booked groups on selected dates only by appointment with the Ticket Sales and Information Office at Buckingham Palace on +44 (0)30 3123 7322.

Guide Prices

Ticket TypeTicket Tariff
2019 Adult£22.50 per ticket
2019 Adult (during closure of State Apartments)£12.40 per ticket
2019 Disabled£13.00 per ticket
2019 Disabled (during closure of State Apartments)£7.30 per ticket
2019 Family: 2 adults & 3 under 17s£58.00 per ticket
2019 Family: 2 adults & 3 under 17s (during closure of State Apartments)£32.00 per ticket
2019 Senior/Student£20.30 per ticket
2019 Senior/Student (during closure of State Apartments)£11.20 per ticket
2019 Under 17£13.00 per ticket
2019 Under 17 (during closure of State Apartments)£7.30 per ticket

2019 ticket prices are valid 19 January to 31 December 2019. Groups: reduced admission charges apply to groups of 15 people or more.

Events

Saturday, 30th November 2019 - Sunday, 5th January 2020

Saturday, 14th December 2019 - Saturday, 21st December 2019

Christmas at Windsor Castle: Christmas tree in St George's HallChristmas at Windsor Castle
more info

Wednesday, 18th December 2019 - Wednesday, 18th December 2019

Friday, 20th December 2019 - Friday, 20th December 2019

Friday, 27th December 2019 - Friday, 27th December 2019

Visitors enjoying an Exclusive Evening Tour of Windsor CastleExclusive Evening Tours of Windsor CastleThis Christmas, enjoy a special Exclusive Evening Tour which offers a 'behind-the-ropes' experience in Windsor Castle's State Apartments. 
more info

Facilities

Accessibility

  • Accessible Lift - gives access to State Apartments and Semi-State Rooms.
  • All Areas Accessible to Disabled Visitors
  • Facilities for Hearing Impaired Visitors - Induction loop on audio tour.
  • Facilities for Visually Impaired Visitors
  • Facility for service dogs - water available on request
  • Guide Dogs Permitted
  • Ramp/Level Access
  • Toilets for Disabled Visitors
  • Wheelchair user accessible

Audio Commentary in Foreign Languages

  • French audio guide
  • German audio guide
  • Italian audio guide
  • Japanese audio guide
  • Mandarin audio guide
  • Portuguese audio guide - Brazilian Portuguese
  • Russian audio guide
  • Spanish audio guide

Establishment Features

  • Audio Commentary in Foreign Languages
  • Printed Material in Foreign Languages
  • Toilets

Parking & Transport

  • Green Transport - Green Line from London. Buses and coaches from Slough, Staines, Heathrow and Bracknell.
  • Parking (charge) - No car parking on site but follow the signs for LONG STAY PARKING in Windsor town centre; these car parks are better value if you are visiting the castle.

Payment Methods

  • American Express accepted
  • Approx length of visit - A typical visit lasts between 2 and 3 hours.
  • Blue Badge Guides admitted free
  • Delta accepted
  • Groups Accepted - Only Blue Bage Guides accredited to Windsor Castle are permitted to guide within the precincts of the Castle.
  • Maestro Accepted
  • MasterCard accepted
  • Max group size - 9999
  • Min group size - 15
  • Special group rates - Reduced admission charges apply to groups of 15 or more visitors
  • Sterling Travellers Cheques accepted
  • Visa accepted

Printed Material in Foreign Languages

  • French printed material
  • German printed material
  • Italian printed material
  • Japanese printed material
  • Mandarin printed material
  • Portuguese printed material - Brazilian Portuguese
  • Russian printed material
  • Spanish printed material

Provider Preferences

  • In town/city centre
  • No Smoking Attraction

Specialist Features

  • Family Fun - In addition to trails and a children's audio guide we now offer an exciting family programme every Saturday throughout the year, linked to the amazing history of Windsor Castle, the magnificent art works on display and the royal residents past and present who have lived here.

Tours and Demonstrations

  • Educational Visits Accepted
  • Guided Tours Available for Groups
  • Guided Tours Available for Individuals

Travel & Trade

  • Group discounts available

TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor Traveller Rating:

4.5 of 5 stars
  • Certificate of Excellence 2019
  • Excellent
    9075
  • Very Good
    2952
  • Average
    595
  • Poor
    168
  • Terrible
    93

Recent Reviews:

  • Jshermanphoto
    Pearland, Texas
    Trip Type:
    Solo travel
    Not worth the visit
    2 of 5 stars
    Sunday, 8th December 2019
    I found Windsor castle to be very disappointing. Since it is used as the Queens residence a good portion of it was closed off. The state apartments we were able to see were rather boring in my... Read full review
  • tweedledumdedum
    Taplow, United Kingdom
    Very good day out
    5 of 5 stars
    Monday, 9th December 2019
    There is so much to see here and it is all done extremely well. The staff are friendly and the volunteers outstanding. There is something for everyone and you can easily spend a good part of the day... Read full review
  • holidayhoney65
    Chessington, United Kingdom
    Thoroughly enjoyed an afternoon exploring the castle and grounds
    4 of 5 stars
    Wednesday, 11th December 2019
    We were staying in Windsor overnight so a visit to the castle was an absolute must. Yes, it’s a little pricey to get in but the fact you can use your ticket again within a 12 month period is a plus... Read full review

Map & Directions

Opening Times

Open New Year
Open (1 Nov 2019 - 28 Feb 2020)
DayTimes
Monday - Sunday09:45 - 16:15*
Open (1 Mar 2020 - 31 Oct 2020)
DayTimes
Monday - Sunday09:30 - 17:15*

* Last admission 75 minutes before closing. Please check the 'provisional closure' dates contained within 'About'.

Dates and times marked with a '*' are provisional and may be subject to change

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