Windsor Castle

With the Royal wedding still fairly fresh in our memories what better time is there than now to visit Windsor castle for yourself. Our visit was a little while ago now, when we went the Royal engagement and venue for the wedding had not long been announced which made it all seem just a little more special to finally be paying my own visit to this impressive castle.

My husband was working overseas at that point but had come back for meetings in London and for a long weekend. As a result of his visit I naturally travelled down to London to spend those few days with him. As we were staying in Richmond, our old haunt from our days of living in London and our usual ‘go to’ area whenever we are back that way, taking the train to Windsor was very easy. So our day trip was planned and with train tickets bought we were soon on our way.

So what can I tell you about Windsor castle? Firstly, as you'll very likely know, the castle is a Royal residence. Having been built in the 11th century after the Norman invasion by William the Conqueror it's been used by the reigning monarch since the time of Henry I. It's undeniably impressive and grand looking from the outside and just as much inside too. The state apartments are utterly stunning and sumptuous, which you'll have no doubt noticed for yourself if you saw the official wedding photos for Harry and Meghan even if you haven't actually visited. The original reason being that Charles II wanted to rival his cousin, Louis XIV at Versailles with their design. They have been significantly altered since but, regardless, they are still stunningly beautiful. Photography is not allowed inside most of the castle but many of the rooms are decorated to a colour theme and as we visited during the build up to Christmas nearly everyone had a huge tree with matching decorations. All of them looking absolutely beautiful. 

St George's chapel

If you watched the Royal wedding you'll be familiar with St George's chapel, teeming with history, filled with the graves of many royals and the location of several royal weddings. When I think of chapels I tend to think of a small little place but St George's chapel is anything but small, it's quite magnificent inside. It was established in the 14th century by King Edward III with extensive enlargement taking place in the 15th century. The chapel was an important place of pilgrimage during Medieval times with the chapel purported to contain several important relics. The chapel is also the spiritual home of the Order of the Garter the senior order of British chivalry established in 1348 by Edward III. 

After seeing the chapel no visit to the castle is complete without seeing Queen Mary's doll house. Obviously this part may not appeal to everyone but if, like me, you had your own dolls house growing up you'll most definitely want to see this exquisite example of one. Again no photography is allowed here but you'll see perfect miniature examples of everything a modern house from the 1920s should have all made by leading designers, artists and craftsmen of the day. In addition the house includes electricity, running hot and cold water, working lifts and flushing toilets(!) - it's beautiful. Inside the house the library is particularly notable as its full of unique specially written literary works by the top names of the day including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and M. R. James. Alongside this there's a fully stocked wine cellar and a beautifully designed garden.  My only slight complaint about this part of our visit was the number of people allowed in to this area all at the same time, all trying to see it and the obvious difficulties therefore in being able to spend any time enjoying its miniature immaculate details and seeing it properly. 

Once you've visited the castle and its grounds and revelled in its beauty a wander around the town is definitely something you should consider doing. With shops to explore, the river Thames to stroll along and plenty of restaurants to satisfy your hunger it's the perfect way to end your day.


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