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
    March 13, 2018 / 10:17 pm

    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. Tracy K Nixon
    March 14, 2018 / 5:08 am

    I’d love to visit Winsor Castle – I bet it is gorgeous in the Summer!

  3. March 14, 2018 / 6:33 am

    We’ve never been to Windsor Castle but it really does look beautiful! I love the idea of an ABC of Castles too. #BloggerClubUK

  4. March 14, 2018 / 10:20 am

    Sounds silly but I didn’t realise it was so big! Looks like a great visit, will have to add it to the list. #bloggerclubUK

  5. March 14, 2018 / 12:05 pm

    What an amazing day out, so much history. Good to see that there were blue skies, makes it much more enjoyable when outside with kids X #bloggerclubuk

  6. March 14, 2018 / 1:03 pm

    This looks great – it’s my closest castle so I will have to go!

  7. March 14, 2018 / 3:31 pm

    I am literally GREEN with envy! I wish we had gems like this in the States. What an amazing treasure to be able to visit! #bloggerclubuk

  8. March 14, 2018 / 4:27 pm

    What a fun day out and the fact you can turn your ticket into an annual pass is amazing! #BloggerClubUK

  9. March 15, 2018 / 7:32 am

    Windsor castle has been on my list for ages. Looks like there is a lot to fit into one day! I really must go visit #bloggerclubuk

  10. paula cheadle
    March 16, 2018 / 12:53 pm

    beautiful place, went a few years ago

  11. March 17, 2018 / 9:43 am

    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

  12. March 17, 2018 / 10:38 am

    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

  13. March 17, 2018 / 4:20 pm

    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.

  14. March 17, 2018 / 9:00 pm

    I have never been to Windsor Castle. I’m now adding it to my places to go list. 🙂

  15. March 17, 2018 / 9:17 pm

    We live near Windsor but I haven’t been to the castle since I was a child. It is high on our to do list and I hope we can go this year. #bloggerclubuk

  16. Jenny
    March 18, 2018 / 9:21 am

    Oh I wanna go to see a castle now! You’re so lucky being in a country with such a long history in terms of buildings.

  17. March 18, 2018 / 10:00 am

    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.

  18. March 18, 2018 / 10:45 am

    Love the idea of the ABC of castles! Windsor looks like an awesome castle, pics look great and it sounds like you had fun!

  19. March 18, 2018 / 10:53 am

    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 !

  20. March 18, 2018 / 11:35 am

    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

  21. March 18, 2018 / 11:53 am

    I would love to visit. It looks lovely here. You got some beautiful shots 🙂

  22. March 18, 2018 / 3:44 pm

    Such a spectacular castle! Imagine watching the changing of the guards was amazing! Never got the chance to whwn I lived in London, but one day! Sim x

  23. March 18, 2018 / 5:46 pm

    So much to see at Windsor Castle – the dolls house is one of my favourites too! You packed in a lot on your visit. #CountryKids

  24. March 18, 2018 / 6:51 pm

    I’ve always wanted to visit Windsor Castle. It just looks so magnificent!

  25. March 18, 2018 / 7:00 pm

    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?

  26. March 18, 2018 / 7:48 pm

    Our family love Windsor Castle. The girls are always amazed by the dolls house and just walking around the grounds is lovely x

  27. March 18, 2018 / 9:44 pm

    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!

  28. March 19, 2018 / 8:10 am

    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.

  29. March 19, 2018 / 10:53 am

    I haven’t been to Windsor castle in years. It looks like such a fun day out!

  30. March 19, 2018 / 8:43 pm

    We visited last year and the kids loved it. So did I! I was surprised how much they catered for kids.

  31. March 19, 2018 / 8:53 pm

    I love castles and this one looks incredible, your photos are stunning!! Love the idea of an abc of castles challenge too!xx

  32. Lorna Ledger
    March 19, 2018 / 9:00 pm

    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

  33. March 20, 2018 / 7:46 am

    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?

  34. March 20, 2018 / 9:47 am

    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!

  35. March 20, 2018 / 10:58 am

    We’ve not been here in ages, your post has inspired me to try to get there this year

  36. March 20, 2018 / 12:31 pm

    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

  37. March 20, 2018 / 6:53 pm

    Amazing Architecture! What a lovely place to visit and explore. So many things to see there and the place is massive!! #countrykids

  38. March 20, 2018 / 8:19 pm

    This brought back happy memories for me. I used to visit here at least once a year as a child. I loved it there

  39. March 21, 2018 / 10:52 am

    I have never been to Windsor Castle but I do love castles. I must take the children there next time we go to LEGOLAND. #CountryKids

  40. March 22, 2018 / 8:30 am

    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

  41. Samantha Mann
    March 22, 2018 / 10:53 am

    Looks like a fab day out… We have never been but I do think my boys would enjoy it

  42. March 23, 2018 / 7:57 am

    Windsor is definitely on my list of places I’d like to visit at some point. Great to hear that it’s quite family-friendly too! Love the dressing up 👏😊x
    #CountryKids

  43. Susan B
    March 23, 2018 / 7:15 pm

    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.

  44. Simon C
    March 23, 2018 / 9:39 pm

    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.

  45. justine meyer
    March 25, 2018 / 4:52 pm

    We used to visit loads of castles when we were younger and I like to still visit them with the kids x

  46. Kelly Hirst
    March 30, 2018 / 7:22 am

    I’ve never been to Windsor Castle but it looks like somewhere I’d definitely like to visit

  47. Claire glace
    March 30, 2018 / 8:00 am

    Love that they offer a family option, I can imagine some of the stories are quite scary!

  48. Yolanda Davis
    March 30, 2018 / 2:40 pm

    I’ve been to Windsor Castle and it’s a beautiful place.

  49. Katy Malkin
    March 31, 2018 / 10:19 pm

    Never been here but we love visiting castles. There’s some great one in Cornwall.

  50. Lyndsey Cooksey
    April 2, 2018 / 10:48 am

    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!

  51. Stevie
    April 2, 2018 / 11:27 am

    I’d love to spend a day out at Windsor Castle.

  52. Rich Tyler
    April 5, 2018 / 3:18 pm

    Great for family memorys 🙂

  53. sandy ralph
    April 8, 2018 / 6:45 pm

    oh we do love to visit castles they are just fascinating

  54. MANDY DOHERTY
    April 9, 2018 / 6:49 pm

    The perfect place for all the family, you look as though you all had a fantastic day

  55. Anthea Holloway
    April 11, 2018 / 6:43 pm

    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.

  56. Jeanette Leighton
    April 13, 2018 / 1:58 pm

    I have not been here yet but hopefully will visit one day

  57. Tee Simpson
    April 13, 2018 / 9:37 pm

    We went last year. The kids enjoyed it. Its beautiful

  58. Natalie Crossan
    April 13, 2018 / 10:36 pm

    Windsor castle is on my bucket list! I absolutely think it’s stunning

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