Windsor Castle is a historic fortress, royal palace, and family home that welcomes over a million visitors every year. It’s one of the official residences of the British monarchy and the longest-inhabited castle in the world. The 2022 Platinum Jubilee, the year Queen Elizabeth II celebrated 70 years on the throne, was the first in history. In this article, find out how to visit Windsor Castle.
Pro Tip: Planning what to do on your trip to London? Bookmark this post in your browser so you can easily find it when you’re in the city. Check out our guide to London for more planning resources, our top London and Windsor Castle tours for a memorable trip, and the top things to do in London.
Visiting Windsor Castle: What We’ll Cover
If you’re planning a trip to London, you won’t want to miss Windsor Castle. You don’t have to love royalty to appreciate it. Any lover of art, history, or architecture will enjoy exploring this magnificent castle.
The state apartments have been open since 1848 when Queen Victoria opened them to the public. Various rooms are filled with priceless works of art by the old masters. St George’s chapel is one of the finest examples of the English Gothic Perpendicular style. The castle itself is also a testament to 11th-century Norman military strategy.
There’s a fascinating display of the different gifts to Her Majesty The Queen. This collection of foreign artifacts comes from the far reaches of the globe. Also, there are few places in the world where you can be surrounded by that many Holbeins, Van Dycks, and Reubens in just one room. Convinced? Here’s what you need to know about how to visit Windsor Castle.
- Opening hours and tickets
- How much time to budget for your visit
- How to get there
- What to see at Windsor Castle
- Guided tour options
- Facts and history of Windsor Castle
- Where to eat nearby
Windsor Castle Opening Hours and Tickets
Opening Hours of Windsor Castle
Hours: Thursday – Monday, 10 am to 5:15 pm, last admission 4 pm (closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays). From November 1 to February 28: 10 am to 4:15 pm, last admission 3 pm. Check the website for seasonal variations in opening hours.
The Castle is also closed on December 25 and 26. Many State occasions take place at Windsor Castle, so the castle could be closed to the public on short notice.
Opening Hours of St George’s Chapel
St. George’s Chapel is a working church with a different schedule. For the most up-to-date information, and for times of worship or services, check the website.
Hours: The Chapel is open to ticketed visitors of the Castle Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. St George’s Chapel also closes early on December 23 and 24 at 1 pm.
Pro Tip: One of the best ways to experience the chapel is to attend a service. If you’re visiting on a Sunday, it’s the only way to see the chapel. You don’t have to be religious to enjoy the service. If you do attend a service in the chapel, line up 30 minutes before the service along with Castle Hill on the side of the Castle.
I was there recently on a Sunday and attended a Mattins service, which was mainly organ music and a capella singing. The music was divine and it made the Gothic architecture come alive. To see what my visit was like, check out the stories on my Instagram.
You can buy tickets either at the ticket offices on-site or online. We recommend booking tickets well in advance.
Admission: £23.50 per adult | £13.50 Children 5-16 | Free >5
Family Pricing: £60.50 for 2 Adults and 3 Children.
Pro Tip: Skip the line by booking your ticket online ahead of time or by joining one of our small group tours of London and Windsor—you’ll get more out of your visit.
Not ready to book a tour? Find out if a Windsor Castle tour is worth it.
How Long To Spend at Windsor Castle
Short Answer: 2 hours.
You’ll need a minimum of 2 hours at Windsor Castle, but 3 hours is best. There’s a lot of ground to cover and it’s a lovely trip out of London. In fact, it would be a good idea to spend a whole morning at Windsor Castle if you have the time, so you can see it without rushing.
Pro Tip: The best way to approach the top things to see at Windsor Castle is to divide the castle into two geographical sections, the upper and lower wards. I like to see the State Apartments inside the castle first, then see St George’s Chapel in the lower ward afterward.
How To Get To Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle is about an hour and twenty minutes west of London near Heathrow Airport. The small town around the castle is also called Windsor. You can easily get there by car, train, or bus (called a motor coach in the UK).
From Paddington station in Central London, take any GWR train (GWR) headed to Slough. Purchase tickets from a machine at the station or on the GWR train app. From Slough, take the next train to Windsor & Eton Central, a 10-minute train ride.
Exit the train station through a gallery of shops, and you’ll see Windsor Castle in front of you across the street. It is an easy 3-minute walk from the train station.
By Car or Bus (Coach)
It could take anywhere from 50 minutes to 2 hours by car, depending on London traffic and how long it takes to get out of the city center. If you’re driving from London to Oxford, Blenheim Palace, Stonehenge, or Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey), Windsor Castle is on the way, just on the other side of Heathrow Airport.
Pro Tip: If you do drive, get there early to find nearby parking. Parking fills up by noon.
Address: Windsor SL4 1NJ, United Kingdom
Check Out Our Best Day Trips from London
Not ready to book a tour? Check out our article on the best London tours to take and why.
What To See At Windsor Castle
When you get to Windsor Castle, be sure to see these famous monuments, artworks, and rooms. For a more detailed list with in-depth descriptions and images, check out our article on the top things to see at Windsor Castle.
- Statue of Queen Victoria
- The Round Tower
- The Equestrian Statue of Charles II
- The Waterloo Chamber
- The Garter Throne Room
- St. George’s Hall
- Queen Catherine of Braganza fresco by Verrio
- Charles I by Van Dyck
- Elizabeth I by William Scrots
- Henry VIII by Holbein
Windsor Castle Tour Options
If you are planning a trip to London, or a visit to Windsor Castle, you should highly consider a guided tour. The line-skipping benefits are fantastic, but there is much more value than that. Our professional guides will not only sort out all of the logistics but also inspire and inform to make history come to life. Our experts will discuss the essential points of British history and culture to help you make your trip fun.
On this day trip from London, sit back and relax as you are transported to England’s most iconic sites. You’ll have a 2-hour stop at the magnificent Windsor Castle, visit the over 4,000-year-old Stonehenge, and enjoy free time to explore the once-important Roman city of Bath.
In just one day, you’ll enjoy a journey through thousands of years of British history. This tour takes all the stress out of the logistics that go into visiting these bucket-list sites, ending back in London after an action-packed day.
Not ready to book a tour? Find out if a Windsor Castle tour is worth it.
Facts and History Of Windsor Castle
- William the Conqueror built Windsor Castle shortly after his invasion in 1066.
- The location is a strategic military position overlooking the Thames Valley, defending the West.
- It is positioned 23 miles west of London, or a day’s march from the Tower of London in the days of William the Conqueror.
- Windsor Castle is the oldest inhabited castle in the world.
- King Henry I was the first to live in the castle in 1110, and it has been home to 39 Monarchs.
- 10 Monarchs are buried in St. George’s Chapel, with more Royals underneath the Royal Vault.
- Major renovations happened in the 14th century under Edward III, the 17th century under Charles II, and the 19th century under George IV.
- St. George’s Chapel is a Royal Peculiar, meaning it’s under the direct jurisdiction of the Queen.
- Windsor Castle is the location for Royal Weddings, with the first taking place in 1121.
- Windsor Castle and St. George’s Chapel is the home of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the older order of chivalry in England.
Where To Eat Nearby
A trip to Windsor Castle will take you outside London’s city limits, so you’ll want to grab a bite to eat before you keep exploring. Here are a few of our top picks. For more options, see our guide to the best restaurants near Windsor Castle.
Cinnamon Café: £ | Coffee Shop—Located inside the Windsor Royal Station, it’s a great place to start your day that serves some of the best brunch and afternoon tea in the area.
The Boatman: ££ | Riverside Terrace—One of the most historical restaurants near Windsor Castle, this gastropub offers visitors a beautiful view of the River Thames. Their riverside terrace is a relaxing place to unwind after a long day of sightseeing.
The Duchess Of Cambridge Pub: ££ | English Pub Food—Open late and serving from an all-day menu, enjoy the feeling of an old-time pub, despite the modern decor. For a traditional English pub meal, order the Steak and McMullen’s Ale pie.