Windsor Castle has been on my London travel list ever since I first moved to London. I never made it here the last time I lived abroad, but now that fall is in full swing and the leaves are more beautiful than ever, my roommates and I made the trip here a few weekends back and couldn’t recommend it enough — Especially if you live in or are visiting London, and looking for an easy day trip to escape the city, explore a centuries-old castle, and do a little shopping in a charming English town.
The trip itself from London to Windsor is actually quite easy. We would have loved to have taken a little road trip (it’s only about 50 minutes by car), but decided to take the train from Paddington Station which is also right around 50 minutes! Check Trainline.com or Google Maps ahead of time for appropriate departure times and to purchase advanced tickets. Train tickets run around 14 GBP and trains generally depart every 30 minutes. If you also plan to head to Windsor by train, I recommend taking this same route. We hopped on a GWR train departing from Paddington Station, switched trains upon arriving at Slough, and continued our journey to Windsor and Eaton in a total travel time of 56 minutes.
Upon arrival, I was surprised to find how close the station was to the actual castle itself. If you’re even the slightest bit hungry, grab a bite at a nearby tea house or cafe before you head to the castle. There isn’t a cafe within the actual castle grounds and you’ll need some fuel to make it through. Once you’re ready to tour, follow the cobblestoned footpath up the street towards the visitor center. If you can, I recommend buying tickets ahead of time HERE online, otherwise, with luck and a visit during low season, there should be tickets starting at £20.50 for adults sold at the door!
Be sure to get your tickets stamped at the exit for free re-admission throughout the entire year!
STANDARD TICKET PRICES: Adult £20.50 | Over 60 / Student (with valid ID) £18.70 | Under 17 /Disabled £12.00 | Under 5 Free | Family £53.00 (2 adults and 3 under 17s)
Windsor Castle itself is absolutely stunning. I loved touring Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace, but Windsor truly feels like the most beautiful and grand castle. From St. George’s Chapel to Queen Mary’s Doll House and, my favorite, the Staterooms, it is definitely worth a visit, even if you only have a few hours. Technically not allowed to take photos inside, I included a few of the iPhone photos that I snapped. The China was absolutely beautiful, the rooms beyond grand and the whole interior will be sure to instill a deep infatuation with the British monarchy. I definitely recommend the audio-guide, it gives ample history and knowledge about the key elements within the castle. Plus there aren’t any plaques or information inside, so without it, you might feel a bit overwhelmed, curious, or lost.
Overall, I’d say you could tour the entire castle in as little as 1.5 hours or up to 3 depending on your curiosity and the crowd. Keep in mind St. George’s Chapel is closed to visitors on Sunday’s, only open for church services, and the staterooms are closed select dates during December and January if you need to factor this into your visit.
As stunning as the castle itself is, the surrounding town of Windsor is equally as charming! After spending the perfect amount of time touring the castle grounds, we popped across the street for dinner at The Duchess of Cambridge pub, took a beautiful stroll down Peascod Street for some shopping, and followed the footpath to the River Thames for stunning evening views.
Whether you’re a London local or just in town for a visit, I definitely recommend adding a day trip or even a half day trip to Windsor Castle to your travel list!