Windsor Castle

Type:Castle / Fort

Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 1NJ

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TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 13370 reviews13370 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

Windsor Castle is open to the public five days a week, remaining closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. 

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).  Visit Windsor Castle's Practical Information page to find out more.


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.

Covid 19 information

The safety and wellbeing of visitors and staff are the priority and the Royal Collection Trust has introduced a number of measures to ensure that Windsor Castle can open 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.  
•    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 a small number of rooms where social distancing cannot be easily maintained (including Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House) are currently closed and Precinct Tours are temporarily unavailable.  It is hoped they will reopen soon and when it is safe to do so.

Prince Philip: A Celebration

A special display at Windsor Castle this summer (24 June to 20 September) will commemorate the life and legacy of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Britain’s longest-serving consort.  Find out more about Prince Philip: A Celebration.

East Terrace Garden at Windsor Castle

The East Terrace Garden at Windsor Castle is open to visitors at weekends this summer for only the second time in decades. You can explore the garden and enjoy the view across the surrounding Windsor parkland.  Open weekends until Sunday 12 September.  Find out more.

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. 

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.

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 September 2021 to March 2022.  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 explores 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).


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

Royal Collection Trust recently transformed the visitor experience of Windsor Castle. The works are complete and visitors can enjoy many improvements, including newly opened spaces and a cafe.

The Moat Room, a new introductory space, tells the story of the Castle’s 1,000 years of history.  It features a bronze model of Windsor Castle in 1377, drawing on the most recent research of how the Castle looked in the past.  A timeline illustrated with reigning monarchs along the length of the room provides context for the history of the Castle.

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. Visitors can enjoy sandwiches, salads and sweet treats, alongside a selection of specialty teas in one of the few surviving areas of Edward III’s magnificent Gothic palace.

The works also introduced step-free access has been introduced throughout the visitor route, an expanded Admissions Centre, new visitor facilities and a dedicated Learning Centre. 

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.

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 by visiting https://www.rct.uk/visit/windsor-castle or by telephoning the Ticket Sales and Information Office on +44 (0)30 3123 7304.

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

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE CASTLE CLOSES 1 HOUR 15 MINUTES AFTER LAST ENTRY TIME SHOWN UNDER OPENING TIMES.

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 which include Holy Communion, Mattins and Sermon, Sung Eucharist and Evensong.  You can find out more about attending a service at St George's Chapel by visiting the St George's Chapel Diary.

Special tours for pre-booked groups at Windsor Castle

There is a range of tours available for pre-booked groups to Windsor Castle including ‘behind-the-ropes’ private evening tours of the State Apartments and themed talks such as ‘Royal Weddings at Windsor’ and ‘Restoring Windsor: The Castle after the fire’.  Find out more by contacting the Ticket Sales and Information Office at Buckingham Palace on +44 (0)30 3123 7322.

Book Tickets

Guide Prices

Ticket TypeTicket Tariff
Adult£23.50 per ticket
Adult (during closure of State Apartments)£12.90 per ticket
Disabled£13.50 per ticket
Disabled (during closure of State Apartments)£7.40 per ticket
Family: 2 adults & 3 under 17s£60.50 per ticket
Senior/Student£21.20 per ticket
Senior/Student (during closure of State Apartments)£11.70 per ticket
Under 17£13.50 per ticket
Under 17 (during closure of State Apartments)£7.40 per ticket
Under 5Free

Groups: reduced admission charges apply to groups of 15 people or more.

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

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

Children & Infants

  • Family Friendly, Children Welcome

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 2021
  • Excellent
    9410
  • Very Good
    3051
  • Average
    629
  • Poor
    179
  • Terrible
    101

Recent Reviews:

  • AndyK907
    Loughborough, United Kingdom
    Planned trip
    5 of 5 stars
    Tuesday, 14th September 2021
    Very worthwhile visit and saw a lot of the Queens rooms and pictures. Guide gave you a description of each room and what it was used for. St Georges Chapel was awesome to see. Read full review
  • David T
    Whitley Bay, United Kingdom
    Mind blowing historical venue
    5 of 5 stars
    Wednesday, 15th September 2021
    Whilst in Windsor we felt we must visit this royal home. Numbers where being limited due to Covid and the controls where excellent. We used the guides and headphones provided and gleaned a lot of... Read full review
  • Mademu
    Norwich, United Kingdom
    Great day
    5 of 5 stars
    Friday, 17th September 2021
    Lovely day walking around Windsor Castle, accompanied by the audio guide, which is very informative but not overpowering. Lovely cakes in the cafe, bit overpriced, but I think we come to expect this... Read full review

Map & Directions

Awards

  • Visit BritainWe're Good to Go We're Good to Go 2021
  • Regional and Miscellaneous -WTTC Safe Travels WTTC Safe Travels 2021

Opening Times

Open New Year
Open March to October (1 Mar 2021 - 31 Oct 2021)
DayTimes
Monday10:00 - 17:15
Tuesday - WednesdayClosed
Thursday - Sunday10:00 - 17:15
Open November to February (1 Nov 2021 - 28 Feb 2022)
DayTimes
Monday10:00 - 16:15
Tuesday - WednesdayClosed
Thursday - Sunday10:00 - 16:15

* Last admission 75 minutes before closing. Please check the 'provisional closure' dates listed on the Royal Collection website. Castle completely closed 25-26 December.

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