This weekend was my mama’s last of her month-long visit to the U.K. and Europe, so we made the most of it and headed out to the spectacular Windsor Castle to take a gander.
The rather magnificent view that greets visitors as soon as they step outside the Riverside train station.
Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world and has been the family home of British kings and queens for almost 1,000 years. As well as being an official residence of Her Majesty The Queen, Windsor Castle is still every bit the working royal palace today, and is home to around 150 people, some of whom – I kid you not – we saw walking their elderly dogs before strolling casually back inside what I must say is one of the coolest homes on the planet.
The changing of the Queen's Guards at Windsor Castle. Strange to see these guys anywhere other than Buckingham Palace.
LET'S TALK COSTS
A perfect nice-weather day trip option, Windsor is about a 40 minute train ride from London (£10 return) and entry to the Castle is £20 if the State Apartments are open, and £10 if they aren’t. Bonus, you can opt to have your ticket validated for one year, meaning you can come back as much as you like without re-paying for entry.
This would be me jumping for joy that I get to come back here free of charge for 12 months (loser... who, me?)
INSIDE THE CASTLE
Unfortunately, no photos can be taken inside, but it is well worth a look. Being the Tudor-history geek I am, my favourite part of the experience indoors was seeing the original of a very famous portrait of Queen Elizabeth I as a teenager (see left); this image graced the cover of one of my books growing up and is how I first became familiarised with one of the country’s most successful monarchs. Seeing it hanging on the drawing room wall when I didn’t know to expect it was beyond exciting. There’s a load of other amazing things to see though, including Henry VIII’s suit of armour (he was a mighty big man), St. George’s Chapel where many monarchs – including Henry VIII, Jane Seymour and George VI – are buried, and lavish state rooms with drapes, ceilings and walls unlike anything I have ever seen or could begin to describe. Can I just live here please?
THE LONG WALK
As stunning as the interior of the Castle is, I think the most stunning vista you will enjoy here in the area is that from The Long Walk which is exactly as it sounds.... friggen long. We only went halfway but the view you get looking back up towards the Castle is pretty breathtaking, even when you are sharing it with so many other tourists. Early autumn colours and late afternoon sun made this scene a pretty special one for me; having had a bit of a Google though, this site looks spectacular no matter the season. The seemingly endless avenue of trees is enough to make anybody give a little sigh of delight.
Early autumn colours glow in late afternoon sun looking down The Long Walk to Windsor Castle
The Long Walk as seen from the Castle gate... you can't even see the end!
Lastly, the village of Windsor is itself well worth a visit, even if the Castle is closed. The streets here are like something right out of a picture book, with cobblestone streets, ancient wobbly taverns and cosy pubs with flowers spilling out the windows, plus you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a place to eat. We loved it so much, we stayed far longer than planned and settled in to watch the Rugby World Cup match of the night... not a bad way to spend one of mum’s last in England!
One of many adorable Windsor locales, with flowers dangling from every nook and cranny
Just because it is customary to end with me doing some sort of stupid pose... voila!