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Visiting Windsor Castle

What to see at Windsor Castle, how long to stay, best time to visit, tickets and tours

Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is one of three official residences of The Queen and has been home to the Sovereign for over 900 years.

The Castle is the largest inhabited castle in the world and the oldest in continuous occupation. The imposing towers and battlements of the Castle loom large from every approach to the town, creating one of the world's most spectacular skylines.

What strikes many people used to visiting historic ruins or attractions with a 'preservation' or museum like atmosphere is that Windsor Castle is in pristine condition and fully working.

There are around 150 people for whom Windsor Castle is their home, the Queen herself is in residence many weekends.

Opening times   Location   Visit length & queues   Audio guides   Changing of the Guard   St George's Chapel   BOOK TICKETS   FAQ  

More recently in May 2018, Windsor Castle became the focus of the world, with the Royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in St George's Chapel. With their subsequent horse drawn carriage tour around Windsor and through Windsor Great Park, this Windsor Royal wedding made Windsor Castle a must see destination for a whole new generation.


Windsor Castle - opening times and when to visit

From March - October the doors open to the public at 10am every day, including Sunday, and close at 5.15pm.

From November to February opening time is 10am, closing 4.15pm. Last entrance is 90 minutes prior to closing time.

Changing of the Guard happens between 11am and 11.30am also adding to the morning rush. Many of the coach tours will commonly stay until around midday departing after the Changing of the Guard.

On Sundays St George's is closed for religious services.

It follows that if you're an independent visitor during the summer months, a good strategy is to visit the other attractions of Windsor & Eton during the morning and visit the castle after lunch. Visitor numbers are also much higher at weekends than during the week.

Lastly, the castle may close for state visits and special occasions so do consult the Windsor Castle official website. This also states the days during the winter when Changing of the Guard takes place and seasonable closing times.

Windsor Castle location

Windsor Castle is very easy to find. Coming out from Windsor and Eton Central Station, or Windsor and Eton Riverside Station, the castle walls can be seen in front of you. The main entrance to Windsor Castle is at the top of Castle Hill, on the right. The address of Windsor Castle is Castle Hill, Windsor, SL4 1PD. Check Windsor Castle map location.

How long your visit will take and queues

During the winter months when there are no queues, the average visitor will take 90 minutes to two hours in the Castle, although the official Windsor Castle website suggest three hours or more.

At peak times during the summer there are often long queues to the entrance of the State Apartments.

Windsor Castle


Windsor Castle

Book your ticket in advance to help reduce time in line

• Luxurious State Apartments • St. George's Chapel, burial place of Henry VIII • Queen Mary's ornate Dolls' House • Changing of the Guard ceremony in summer

Entrance, exits and security at Windsor Castle

Inside Windsor Castle
Inside Windsor Castle

On paying your admission you pass through airline style security where bags are put through an x-ray machine and you empty your pockets and pass through a detector door. Once through the security you pick up your audio phone at the kiosk opposite.

There is an information desk, toilets and gift shop here too. By the audio kiosk is a sign that details the times of the guided tours that day. It is from here these tours start.

Please note, the exit is from the main Windsor Castle Henry VII Gate, not the entrance with the ticket desks.

Audio Guides and photography at Windsor Castle

An audio tour is part of the admission price, available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Mandarin. You simply key in the number of the room or place you are in and a full commentary is given. There are many optional commentaries within some commentaries that go into great detail about individual items.

There are also classic guided tours that leave regularly from near the entrance on a schedule.

No photography or video recording is allowed within the State Apartments or St George's Chapel. Eating and drinking are not permitted in the State Apartments or St George's Chapel. You will be asked to place drinks and food in closed bags before being admitted to the Castle. You can purchase bottled water at the Courtyard Shop at the beginning of your visit.

Changing of the Guard at Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle Changing of the Guard
Windsor Castle Changing of the Guard

Many visitors like to time their visit so they can view the Changing of the Guard. This is very similar to that practiced in central London at Buckingham Palace or Horse Guards.

Changing of the Guard at Windsor usually takes place at 11am within the Castle grounds Mondays to Saturdays from April until the end of July and on alternate days for the rest of the year, weather permitting.

If you're not visiting the Castle you can still see the band marching through the town around 11am. The barracks is about 500m from the castle, the band passes the Guildhall and Old Town before turning into the castle at Queen Victoria's statue.

If you're in the Castle, congregate in the parade ground by the main exit in front of St George's Chapel.

The whole thing takes around thirty minutes here.

State Apartments, Windsor Castle

Most people after getting their introductions and briefings about the castle on their tour will make their way past the moat of the Round Tower (not open to the public) up to the north terrace. It is here that the entrance to the State Apartments is situated.

From the north terrace you gaze down to Windsor town below and get far reaching views of the surrounding countryside. Windsor town looks much smaller from up here.

2019 restoration and opening of the State Entrance Hall

In 2019 Windsor Castle went through an extended period of restoration of the inner Hall, formerly closed to the public. The Inner Hall (closed by Queen Victoria) leads visitors to the State Entrance Hall, where guests of Her Majesty The Queen are welcomed to Windsor, a magnificent welcoming area.

From the Inner Hall Visitors can visit the State Apartments, Semi-State Rooms and Queen Mary's Dolls' House. The Dolls' House is precisely what you'd expect, a single miniature dolls' house suitable for royalty complete with miniature crown jewels.

Much of the southern part of the State Apartments was destroyed by fire in 1992 and has been restored. Arguably your experience is much the better for it; some of the rooms that were beginning to look faded and antique now really do bring alive what the original rooms would have looked like on completion.

Such are the treasures that you can perhaps look at an obscure painting only to realise that your are inches from an original Rubens when looking at the information on it.

St George's Chapel

St George's Chapel Windsor Castle
St George's Chapel

St George's Chapel is a working church with services every day. St. George's Chapel is open daily but closed to visitors on Sundays as services are held throughout the day. Worshippers are welcome to attend the services. The church also closes earlier than the rest of the castle to prepare for the evening service.

If you're entering the castle from early afternoon onwards it is worth making St George's your first port of call.

More recently, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal wedding was held in St George's Chapel. Another Royal wedding at Windsor followed shortly afterwards when Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank tied the knot in St George's Chapel.

Also within the chapel are the tombs of ten sovereigns, including Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour, and Charles I. The Gothic architecture is particularly impressive, particularly the roof.

Perhaps most fascinating and differentiating the chapel from similar churches and abbeys is the Order of the Garter, the world's oldest national order of knighthood in continuous existence, with a history stretching back to King Edward III in medieval times.

Membership of the Order is extremely limited and includes the monarch of the United Kingdom, the Prince of Wales and not more than twenty-four companion members. St George's is home to the Order, as St. George is patron saint and also patron saint of soldiers and also of England. Members are each assigned a stall in the chapel choir above which his or her heraldic devices are displayed.

Windsor Castle - tickets

Windsor Castle has straight forward ticketing with concessions for children and seniors as well as family tickets.

We are not aware of any discounted tickets available to visitors priced below that of the walk up price.

However it is very worth your while purchasing advance tickets on-line for the summer months. At peak times you can wait in line to buy a ticket for up to an hour. Some tickets (like the one below) can require you to exchange your e-voucher at the ticket desk which could result in you needing to queue, so do check how the ticket works.

Those with pre-purchased, heritage tickets and the London Pass by-pass the queues and have their own fast track entrance within the ticket hall building.

Windsor Castle


Windsor Castle

Book your ticket in advance to help reduce time in line

• Luxurious State Apartments • St. George's Chapel, burial place of Henry VIII • Queen Mary's ornate Dolls' House • Changing of the Guard ceremony in summer

Windsor Castle & London's attraction passes

Railways 2 for 1 Promotion - The railways 2 for 1 entrance promotion is not valid at Windsor Castle.

The London Pass - Windsor Castle is supported by London's most popular attraction pass, for full details follow the banner link below.

The London Pass


The Londpon Pass

The more you visit, the more you save

• Access 80+ London attractions including the Tower of London, a hop-on, hop off bus tour, Thames river boat cruise, Tower Bridge, Wesminster Abbey, London Zoo, View from the Shard and many more...
• 1, 2, 3, 6 and 10 day passes available.

Windsor Castle tours

There are many different tours visiting Windsor Castle, just a couple of them are half day tours only to the castle, not including another attraction. However, because Windsor is relatively close to London many tours have Windsor Castle as part of a day long tour, including other attractions such as Hampton Court or further afield, Stonehenge.

Windsor Tours

Hampton Court & Windsor Castle Shuttle

Hampton Court & Windsor Castle are only 19 miles (30 km) apart but there is no convenient public transport option connecting them.

Both Windsor Castle and Hampton Court have train links from Central London and a shuttle service has started connecting both together allowing you to spend half a day at each.

Windsor Castle


Windsor Castle & Hampton Court

Enjoy both in one day by taking a shuttle between two attractions!

• Lunch time shuttle bus between Windsor Castle and Hampton Court Palace • Approx 35-min journey each way • Excellent value for money at

£10.18pp each way

• Available March - October

FAQs on Windsor Castle

Q. Where is Windsor Castle?

A. Windsor Castle is situated in Berkshire in the South of England. It is in the town of Windsor which is twinned with Eton by the River Thames. The average journey times from London are around 60-90 minutes by coach and around an hour by train.


Q. How to get to Windsor Castle?

A. You can use one of the many tour operators from London and have all your travel needs taken care of for you. You can also travel independently from London by train using either Paddington or Waterloo main line stations to Windsor.


Q. How old is Windsor Castle?

A. Windsor Castle can be traced back to the 11th century with building work starting on the Castle around 1070.


Q. Who lives in Windsor Castle?

A. Windsor Castle is a working palace. The Queen uses the castle as a private home where she will usually spend the weekend and as an official Royal residence. There are also the staff living at Windsor Castle which includes the titular head of the Castle community, the Constable and Governor of Windsor Castle; the Dean of Windsor, Military Knights of Windsor, housekeepers and soldiers. There are roughly 150 people living at the Castle itself.


Q. Who owns Windsor Castle?

A. Windsor Castle is owned by the state/crown and belongs to the reigning monarch by virtue of their position.



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