Windsor Castle

Type:Castle / Fort

Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 1NJ

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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

Windsor Castle is temporarily closed to the public, reopening on 3 December 2020. For more information visit the Royal Collection's Frequently Asked Questions page.


Tickets must be booked in advance.  Tickets for Royal Borough Advantage Card holders are available on the day (subject to availability) or can be prebooked by telephone only (transaction fee payable); see details below.

The safety and wellbeing of visitors and staff are the priority. Therefore, in line with Government guidance, Royal Collection Trust has introduced a number of measures to ensure that Windsor Castle can reopen safely and visitors can return with confidence. These include: 

•    The introduction of timed tickets in order to manage visitor numbers. Visitors must book tickets in advance through www.rct.uk/tickets as capacities will be limited.  Tickets for Royal Borough Advantage Card holders are available on the day but are subject to availability; find out more.  Advantage Card holders can pre-book an admission timeslot by phoning the Ticket Sales and Information Office on 0303 123 7304.  There is a £2 fee for telephone transactions but this will guarantee entry for Advantage Card holders.
•    Markers and signs to help visitors maintain social distancing, with staff on hand to manage the flow of visitors in queuing areas and indoor spaces. 
•    The introduction of one-way routes in some areas.
•    Hand sanitiser stations along the visitor routes.
•    Enhanced cleaning regimes. 
•    Perspex screens at all till points, with payment by card only. 
•    All front-of-house staff fully trained in COVID-secure procedures.

With these measures in place, Royal Collection Trust has acquired the ‘We’re Good to Go’ Industry Standard mark, recognised by VisitEngland. 

Please note the safety and wellbeing of visitors and staff are Royal Collection Trust's priority. In order to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit, they have closed the following rooms where social distancing cannot be easily maintained: Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, The Moat Room, The King’s Closet, The King’s Dressing Room, The King’s Bedroom, and The King’s Drawing Room. Precinct Tours will not be available in the short term. They hope to reopen these spaces soon and when it is safe to do so.


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.

Winter 2020 at Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle’s wartime ‘pantomime pictures’ revealed in Waterloo Chamber

Visitors to Windsor Castle will see some unique pictures as they walk through the castle’s historic Waterloo Chamber.

During World War II, Her Majesty The Queen (then Princess Elizabeth) and her sister Princess Margaret took part in a series of pantomimes in the Waterloo Chamber to raise money for the Royal Household Wool Fund, which supplied yarn to make comforters for soldiers fighting at the Front.

At the start of the war, the portraits by Sir Thomas Lawrence that usually line the walls of the Waterloo Chamber were removed from their frames for safety reasons. To make the space more festive, 16 ‘pantomime pictures’ were commissioned to cover the bare walls.

Teenage evacuee and part-time art student Claude Whatham was asked to recreate fairy-tale characters on rolls of wallpaper. He shared a temporary painting studio in the Garter Throne Room with Sir Gerald Kelly, who was working on King George VI and Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation portraits.

After the war, the portraits by Sir Thomas Lawrence were returned to their frames in the Waterloo Chamber, and the pantomime pictures remained hidden beneath them. The only other time they have been revealed since the war was following the Windsor Castle fire of 1992.

The portraits by Sir Thomas Lawrence were removed to facilitate essential maintenance work during the recent closure of the Castle. 

Christmas at Windsor Castle

Explore the Christmas display at Windsor Castle, including the magnificent 20-foot-high Nordmann Fir tree in St George's Hall, taken from Windsor Great Park and dressed with hundreds of iridescent glass and mirrored ornaments.  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. While in the Waterloo Chamber the pantomime pictures are still on display.  On Saturdays in December there will be a mixture of festive storytelling and craft activities for the kids.  Read more about things to do with children at the Castle.

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

[Please note that in order to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit, Windsor Castle has closed the following rooms where social distancing cannot be easily maintained: Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, The Moat Room, The King’s Closet, The King’s Dressing Room, The King’s Bedroom, and The King’s Drawing Room.  Precinct Tours are also unavailable in the short term.]

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 are included in the visitor route from autumn to spring each year.  They will open from September 2020 to March 2021.  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 private evening ‘behind the ropes’ tours (these must be booked in advance).
  • With so much to see and do in Windsor Castle, visitors wishing to leave the Castle to go into Windsor 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.

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.

Windsor Castle Future Programme

Over the past few years the Royal Collection Trust has been busy transforming the experience of visiting Windsor Castle, and visitors are already enjoying many improvements to the visitor experience.

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.  

The medieval Undercroft has now been transformed into the Castle's first permanent café.

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.

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

Undercroft Café

The first café for visitors to Windsor Castle has opened in Edward III’s medieval Undercroft, which for centuries served as the Castle’s main wine cellar and is one of the oldest surviving spaces in the 1,000-year-old royal residence.

Visitors can now enjoy freshly prepared meals, including sandwiches, wraps and salads, served alongside an exclusive selection of teas. Sweet treats range from vanilla mille-feuille and vegan chocolate cake to fruit scones and Victoria sponge. During the summer, the Café will serve ice cream produced using milk from the Jersey herd at the Royal Farms, Windsor.

The Undercroft is on the ground floor of the Castle beneath St George’s Hall, where State Banquets take place, and dates back to Edward III’s major renovations during the 1350s and 1360s. 

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:

Please note Windsor Castle is open 3 December – 16 December 2020 and 5 January – 28 February 2021 Thursday to Monday, 10:00-16:15 (last admission 15:00).  17 December 2020 – 4 January 2021 Open daily, 10:00–16:15 (last admission 15:00).  Last admission 75 minutes before closing. 

Provisional closure dates at Windsor Castle 2020

Please note Windsor Castle reopens on 3 December 2020.

​DECEMBER 2020
23 December 2020 - St George's Chapel closed from 13:00
24 December 2020 - St George's Chapel closed from 13:00
24-26 December 2020 - CASTLE 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
2020 Adult£23.50 per ticket
2020 Adult (during closure of State Apartments)£12.90 per ticket
2020 Disabled£13.50 per ticket
2020 Disabled (during closure of State Apartments)£7.40 per ticket
2020 Family: 2 adults & 3 under 17s£60.50 per ticket
2020 Senior/Student£21.20 per ticket
2020 Senior/Student (during closure of State Apartments)£11.70 per ticket
2020 Under 17£13.50 per ticket
2020 Under 17 (during closure of State Apartments)£7.40 per ticket

2020 tickets prices valid 18 January to 31 December 2020. Groups: reduced admission charges apply to groups of 15 people or more.

Events

Thursday, 3rd December 2020 - Wednesday, 16th December 2020

Thursday, 17th December 2020 - Monday, 4th January 2021

Christmas tree at Windsor Castle.  Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2020Christmas at Windsor CastleExplore the Christmas display at Windsor Castle, including the magnificent 20-foot-high Nordmann Fir tree in St George's Hall, taken from Windsor Great Park and dressed with hundreds of iridescent glass and mirrored ornaments.
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

Catering

  • On-Site cafe/restaurant - Undercroft Café serving freshly prepared meals, including sandwiches, wraps, salads and sweet treats and an exclusive selection of teas

COVID-19 Response

  • Capacity limit - Visitors must book tickets in advance through www.rct.uk/tickets as capacities will be limited
  • Clear signage
  • Contactless payment only - Payment by card only
  • COVID-19 measures in place
  • COVID-19 staff training completed - All front-of-house staff fully trained in COVID-secure procedures
  • Deep cleaning between visitors - Enhanced cleaning regimes
  • Hand sanitizer available to visitors & staff - Hand sanitiser stations along the visitor routes
  • Hygiene screens in place - Perspex screens at all till points
  • One way system - Introduction of one-way routes in some areas
  • Online booking possible

Establishment Features

  • Audio Commentary in Foreign Languages
  • Gift shop - Step into the Windsor Castle shops and experience a world of exclusive gifts and royal souvenirs, including commemorative chinaware, glittering jewellery, sumptuous homeware, delicious food and drink and charming gifts for children.
  • 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
  • Travelers Choice 2020
  • Excellent
    9322
  • Very Good
    3032
  • Average
    620
  • Poor
    178
  • Terrible
    99

Recent Reviews:

  • georgechrisp
    Leicester
    Book online
    5 of 5 stars
    Wednesday, 4th November 2020
    Excellent. Caring and helpful, staff provided direction and assistance for me and my mobility scooter. It was the last day before lockdown and it would have been easy for everyone to be down but... Read full review
  • Tim S
    Wetherby, United Kingdom
    Trip Type:
    Couples
    South Holiday
    5 of 5 stars
    Monday, 9th November 2020
    We came to Windsor purely to visit the Castle at the end of our Southern Sojourn. We were not diappointed an enjoyable morning wandering around. Great historical building and grounds. Well worth the... Read full review
  • Chelsea B
    Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
    Lovely stroll around
    5 of 5 stars
    Wednesday, 11th November 2020
    I visited the castle during lockdown, meaning I couldn't enter it, but strolling around Windsor itself is wonderful, walking around this historical monument the whole time. Hope to revisit and be... Read full review

Map & Directions

Awards

  • Visit BritainWe're Good to Go We're Good to Go 2020

Opening Times

Open New Year
Open (3 Dec 2020 - 16 Dec 2020)
DayTimes
Monday10:00 - 16:15*
Tuesday - WednesdayClosed*
Thursday - Sunday10:00 - 16:15*
Open (17 Dec 2020 - 4 Jan 2021)
DayTimes
Monday - Sunday10:00 - 16:15
Open (5 Jan 2021 - 28 Feb 2021)
DayTimes
Monday10:00 - 16:15*
Tuesday - WednesdayClosed*
Thursday - Sunday10:00 - 16:15*

* 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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