Originally built by William the Conqueror following the Norman conquest of England, Windsor Castle is renowned for its stunning architecture and its association with the Royal Family.
The castle offers a unique insight into the lives of Britain’s rulers, as it has been the home of 39 monarchs and is currently the preferred weekend residence of Queen Elizabeth II.
The State Apartments
The State Apartments were the brainchild of Charles II, who set out to rival the achievements of his cousin, Louis XIV, at Versailles in France.
Each room was designed to illustrate a particular architectural style, including Classical, Gothic and Rococo, along with elements of Jacobethan.
They contain some of the finest works of art from the Royal Collection, including paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens and Canaletto, and are still used to host events by members of the Royal Family.
Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House
One of the castle’s most magical features is Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House – the largest, most beautiful and most famous dolls’ house in the world.
Leading British architect Sir Edward Lutyens built the house for Queen Mary between 1921 and 1924. It is a perfect miniature replica of an aristocratic home, with nearly all of the objects on the tiny scale of 1:12.
The Semi-State Rooms
Created for George IV, the Semi-State Rooms are among the most richly decorated interiors in the castle and are used by The Queen for official entertaining.
George IV had a love of fine objects and a taste for the theatrical. Along with his architect Sir Jeffry Wyatville, he created one of the most lavish and costly interior decoration schemes ever carried out in England.
Unfortunately, many of the rooms were destroyed by a large fire that engulfed the castle in 1992. However, a large number of items were saved and the rooms were restored to their 19th-century appearance using the original designs supplied to George IV.
St George’s Chapel
One of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in England, St George’s Chapel is particularly noted for its magnificent stone fan vaulting.
The chapel contains the tombs of ten sovereigns, including Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour, and Charles I. It is the Mother Church of the Order of the Garter, the order of chivalry.
How to get to Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle is situated close to London and can be easily reached by train, with services running from London Waterloo or London Paddington to Windsor & Eton Central or Windsor & Eton Riverside.
If you plan to travel by coach, Green Line operates daily services from Victoria Coach Station, London, while many companies operate excursions from the capital’s hotels.