Not long ago, I found myself with a full day layover in London. About three weeks previously, we had spent the best part of the week in London. Knowing we’d have a full day back in London at the end of our trip, we mused over how to spend the day. While I can always find things to do in London, I suggested we explore the option of spending the day at Windsor Castle which is less than an hour from central London and even less distance from Heathrow International Airport where we were spending the night in one of the airport hotels before returning home to Canada.
The hotel consierge was very helpful, pointing out the travel options to Windsor – private car hire, taxi, bus, etc. Since we were not in a rush, we opted to take a public bus out to Windsor. We often like to do this in places we visit if we are not in a hurry as it lets us see parts of cities and places we would not otherwise see. As we traveled through, and made stops in, small communities along the way, I almost felt like I was on Coronation Street! I half expected Sally or Gail to step outside one of the houses we passed by! If you are a Coronation Street fan, you’ll know who Sally and Gail are.
It had been 29 years since our last visit to Windsor and I have to admit I did not remember Windsor Castle at all though I vividly, for some reason, remembered High Street.
Of course, at the time of writing, just the day before the May 19, 2018 royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Windsor Castle is very much in the news. The couple will wed in St. George’s Chapel seen in the photos below.
One could easily spend a couple of days exploring the grounds and state apartments of Windsor Castle. We took a self-guided tour through the castle grounds and inside the state apartments and marveled at the opulence and the lavish artifacts, furnishings, and works of art by master painters. Photography is not permitted inside the state apartments or in St. George’s Chapel. One of the great things about a self-guided tour is that you can spend as much, or as little, time as you like in certain areas of the castle as you are on your own and not being hurried along by a tour guide anxious to move on to the next point of interest.
Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. It is said to be one of Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite palaces and a castle in which she spends considerable time. The Royal Standard flies above the Round Tower at Windsor Castle when Her Majesty is in residence. The flag in the photo below is the one that was flying on the day we visited Windsor Castle.
The Round Tower is one of the most iconic and photographed structures at Windsor Castle.
Established in the 11th Century, Windsor Castle has been home to 39 monarchs. Because it is a royal residence, it is guarded by ceremonial guards in dashing red tunics and bearskin hats.
I can’t imagine the weight and heat of one of these hats on a hot summer day!
We were blessed with beautiful weather during our day visit to Windsor Castle.
Look for lots of turrets and other architectural elements on the grounds of Windsor Castle.
Because of its close proximity to Heathrow International Airport, be prepared to see and hear lots of airplanes during a visit to Windsor Castle.
The Castle is laid off in wards. The gray gothic quadrangle in the photo below is in the south wing of the upper ward, the area in which the official entrance (to the left outside the photo range) to the state apartments is located.
The bronze statute in the photo below is of Charles II.
Windsor Castle is steeped in history. If these walls could talk, I am sure they would have quite the stories to tell!
There are about 500 residents who live and work at Windsor Castle. This colorful floral display outside a window of one of the private apartments caught my eye. The bright cherry flowers are in stark contrast to the austere gray stone walls.
The weather threatened rain during our visit but, fortunately, it did not materialize. The formidable cloud formations and lighting added mood to the archaic buildings.
The small town of Windsor, itself, is very charming and I hope to return one day, spending more time exploring the town and the castle as well.
The bronze statute of Queen Victoria is an iconic visual of the royal ambiance that is Windsor Castle.
Windsor, in the English county of Berkshire, has some lovely shopping areas.
And, of course, it’s always fun to check out the fascinators and unique hats!
You’ll be amazed at how much of Windsor Castle you can see in a one-day visit. However, I am hoping my next visit will be a bit longer as Windsor itself is a lovely town and there is a lot to see.
But, alas, it is time to head home and start planning a return visit to England!
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