ABC of Castles – Windsor

If you are regular readers of Mudpie Fridays then you will know what as a family challenge this year we are trying to visit an ABC of Castles. As part of this we were lucky enough to visit Windsor Castle two weekends ago. Having worked locally for a little while I would drive past the Castle in ore of its beauty. The tree lined path that leads from the grounds is visible from the road and extremely inviting and I knew that Monkey would love it.

When we visited we decided to park in the Riverside & Eton Station carpark since its only £4 compared to  other car parks which are a tiny bit closer this is significantly cheaper. Its also only a short walk up the hill to the castle itself. When we arrived around 10.30 we caught the beginning of the changing of the guard. Having never seen the changing of the guard in London Monkey thought this was amazing! There was something very patriarchal watching the new guards walk up the hill and round the corner, hearing the drums and seeing the bear skin hats appearing. It was the perfect start to our visit.

Windsor Castle is extremely popular with tourists. There was a short queue when we visited, but plenty on staff on hand to help move you through the process as quickly as possible. With two young kids in tow I was very impressed by this. The other point worth noting is that you can book tickets to the castle online. If you already have tickets then you get the opportunity to enter via a different queue which when we visited was significantly shorter. After this you got though security – just like you would when boarding a plane. Again the staff made this as quick and simple as possible. Once through we had the option of picking up an electronic audio guide.

Monkey like many children his age really wanted to have one of his own. I was a little hesitant, having visited other places where these are available – sometimes the stories are not that appropriate. Thankfully the gentleman handing them out took the time to show us how to access the family option which has stories suitable for little ears. From the entrance we wandered up and round into the castle grounds. The first thing we noticed was that the Royal flag was flying which meant that someone important was at home. The yellow stone which flanked either side of the pathway made it a very pretty walk. Outside one of  the side buildings was a big sign that said Children’s Activities. As we walked past we were welcomed inside to try out some of their craft activities. Entering we found a large room with lots of things for the children to do including making your very own castle! There is also some photo opportunities in the room. I think he looks great dressed up.

Monkey decided he was happy to explore with some activity sheets rather than sit and make the castle. We walked around to the State Appartments where you can go inside. They are use to having families and there is a secure drop for buggies, which meant we could leave the bags as well. Another big tick from us. Our first stop was Queen Mary’s Dollhouse. As a girl I had a dolls house that my dad made me. It had four rooms and was my pride and joy. I think you could have probably have fitted it into Queen Mary’s one over fifty times. The detail was amazing.

From there we went into the chamber rooms. Its possible to take photos inside unfortunately but it was beautiful. Monkey was really interested in the Great Hall with all the armour and weaponry. Its quite something to think that so much has had to be rebuilt and renovated after the fire. Out of all the amazing things we saw the door handles of the Great Hall have stayed with me. The big round silver coloured door nobs were actually mouldings of George and the Dragon. But the attention to detail was fantastic.

From the Great Hall we passed into some of the living quarters. Normally Monkey would get a little bored of walking around these sorts of rooms. The headset really worked to keep him entertained. As each room had a number which he then popped into the hand held and he would listen away while we explored. It worked really well. On the way out of the inside rooms you have the opportunity to get your ticket stamped for a return visit. I would definitely do this if we were local. As the Castle runs lots of activities throughout the year for the kids so you could do something different each time. Plus we never got a chance to explore the gardens, something we will be back for.

Before leaving we visited St George’s Chapel and Monkey also had his photo taken with a century near the exit. He wasn’t sure at first and initially said that he didn’t want a photo. But then changed his mind although he was a little nervous standing next to him.

Things we really like:

  • Windsor Castle give you the opportunity to turn your ticket into an annual entry by getting it stamped and signed.
  • There are lots of activities to keep the children amused
  • The family option on the audio guide is fantastic
  • All the staff were so friendly and really helpful. Everyone we met seemed really happy to be doing that job and it definitely showed in their interactions.
  • All of the outside is buggy friendly, inside there is a secure place to leave buggies and bags
  • Its got a feeling about it which is difficult to describe.. all I can suggest is to visit and see for yourself!

I was quote surprised by the fact that there didn’t appear to be anywhere to sit and get a coffee. In Windsor itself there are half a dozen coffee shops and pubs a stones throw from the entrance. None the less we had a great time visiting Windsor Castle and its gone straight to the top of our ‘Best Castles List’. I think it will take some going to knock it off that spot now. Have you ever visited Windsor Castle? If so I would love to hear about it in the comments below.

Things you need to know:

  • Address: Windsor Castle, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 1NJ
  • Opening Times: Vary depending on the time of year. Over Winter 1st November to 28th Feb opens at 9.45am, last entry 3.00pm closing at 4.15pm. The rest of the year it opens at 9.30am, last entry is at 4.00pm and closing at 5.15pm. As it is a palace there are days when the castle is shut. You can find out details of these closures on their website
  • Prices: Adult £21.20, children (5-17 yrs) £12.30, family ticket of two adults and three children £54.70, under 5s free.

You can see the other castles we have visited as part of this challenge below:

Bodiam Castle, Urquhart, Our A to Z of Castles Challenge, A to Z of Castles, Pevensey Castle.

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59 Comments

  1. Hayley Colburn

    We visited here too I was actually surprised how excited my kids were about it, they are usually all about funfairs and games zones so it was nice to see them enjoy something more cultured

  2. Sonia Cave

    This is such a fun challenge! Windsor castle looks so lovely in the sunny photos, and my three would be fascinated by the soldier’s headress. We are trying to get to see more castles this summer where we live but they are spaced more further from home (like everything in Sweden!) So I am not sure we’d be able to complete such an extensive list, but can’t wait to go and see some here #countrykids

  3. Kara

    I really want to visit Windsor Castle. Such a shame you were not allowed to take photo’s inside. We visited Glamis and it wasn’t allowed there either

  4. Coombe Mill

    Windsor castle looks like such a wonderful place to explore with the kids, Monkey looks like he loved discovering all the interesting points there is to see. I love those headsets they have to offer, they really help kids get more involved in the area they’re exploring, although it’s great that there was a family friendly version for little ears. It’s a shame there were no restaurants or cafe’s on site, but overall it looks like a lovely place.

    Thanks for linking up with me on #CountryKids.

  5. Ondo Lady

    Oh I do love a castle and I heard that Windsor is a pretty nice one. We have a castle in Rochester but it is more a ruins than an actual one. It’s nice to look at though and you get some great views.

  6. Ger ( It's Me & Ethan)

    I’ve never been but it does look pretty. It’s not something that comes up when we go to England but perhaps it is something we should look into !

  7. Cardiff Mummy Says - Cathryn

    I love the ABC of Castles idea! I’ve never been to Windsor Castle but it looks fantastic – that doll’s house is incredible. You should plan a trip to South Wales – we have soooo many castles here you’d be able to tick a few off the alphabet

  8. Cal at Family Makes

    What a fabulous challenge! We love visiting castles, whether grand and inhabited or old ruins. We’ve never been to Windsor castle though, it looks really special. Your family are very lucky to be involved in such a great adventure. Is it just UK castles or do castles abroad count too?

  9. Laura Dove

    Ooh Windsor castle has been on our list of places to visit for a while now! It looks like such a great castle and so much to see and do too! Bit surprised about the coffee, Gaz would NOT be happy with that part!

  10. Rachael

    Windsor Castle is such a beautiful place and it’s not even the car from us. I can’t believe I still haven’t been. It’s great that they have kids versions of the audio tours – great idea.

  11. Lorna Ledger

    Windsor Castle is amazing, really interactive and a full day out, you could make a weekend of it and go to Lego Land too xx

  12. Elizabeth

    I absolutely love visiting castles. They hold so much magic, mystery and history – such great places to explore! Can you imagine the stories the walls would tell if they could talk?

  13. Emily Leary

    I read that Windsor Castle is the Queen’s favourite weekend home! As the flag was flying I wonder if she was ‘home’ that day! This beautiful castle should definitely go on our ‘must visit’ list. I’m sure that the kids would love it and the family option on the audio guide is a brilliant idea. Thank you for such an informative post!

  14. Mum OverRun. Sarah Aslett

    Loved reading this – I’m a sucker for British Royal history and I have never been to Windsor! We’re heading to Dover Castle this Easter – you should definitely go there, its brilliant (get English heritage passes if you haven’t already – so ,many castles!) #BloggerClubUK

  15. Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love)

    We live fairly close to Windsor Castle and I drive past it regularly but we’ve never yet visited. I thought perhaps the girls were probably still a little young to enjoy it but it sounds like there is plenty for them to do and see. I also didn’t know that your ticket can turn into an annual pass – that alone would make a visit worth it as it would be very easy for us to visit multiple times in a year. Queen Mary’s dollhouse looks amazing and the castle itself is beautiful. #countrykids

  16. Susan B

    I am enjoying dipping into your reviews of castles and appreciate the detailed information you provide in addition to the pics and review.

    I like that the ticket can be stamped for a year’s pass as repeat visits are often just as enjoyable as the first. Many thanks.

  17. Simon C

    Its not just the castle; the whole of Windsor town centre is a good place to visit. We really like the old train station that’s been converted into a trendy shopping centre (I still remember before they did that; it was quite eerie having such a large station almost completely deserted and only a single tiny little corner of it in use). And if you like old buildings, Eton College is just over the river and opens to the public for visiting. Similar experience to some of the tours you can do of Oxford university colleges.

  18. Lyndsey Cooksey

    Love photos! I love taking my family to visit castles. When I was a child, I hated it! I used to find them boring but thankfully, it never rubbed off on my girls because they enjoy it!

  19. Anthea Holloway

    You obviously had a wonderful time and your pictures are wonderful. Well done for explaining it so well and making us all want to go there too.

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