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Tours of Windsor Castle | Things to See and Do

Book A Guided Walking Tour

This post provides information about various tours of Windsor Castle, including both guided tours and a self-guided outing which points out the most notable sites and attractions.


Tours of Windsor Castle | From London

Should you decide to take a tour from London, you will have several options. You can go by bus, by train, for a half-day, and with or without a live tour guide.

The cost of your tour includes a general admission ticket to Windsor Castle.

Thus, you will have access to the same places as tickets purchased without a tour.

(See above for the list of what is included in your ticket).

Some tours include a guide. The guide, however, does not show you around the castle. 

Rather the guide is with you for your trip to the castle and any other activities included in that tour. 

TIP: You might like to consider a full-day bus tour that includes Windsor as well as other sights, such as Stonehenge and Bath. 

To find out about full-day bus tours, read our post on day trips from London.


Windsor Castle Afternoon Tour 

Includes:

  • Round-trip transportation from Central London by bus.
  • Entry to Windsor Castle
  • The State Apartments
  • St George’s Chapel
  • Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House
  • Audio guides available languages at Windsor Castle in several languages

Schedule:

  • Departs from central London 1:45 pm and arrives back in London at 6:30 pm
  • Schedule will be updated when the castle is once again open to the public after the pandemic gets under control.

Prices:

  • Adult £65
  • Senior £59
  • Student (with ID) £59
  • Children £55
  • Purchase here.

Windsor Castle Morning Tour 

Includes:

  • Round-trip transportation from Central London by bus.
  • Entry to Windsor Castle
  • The State Apartments
  • St George’s Chapel
  • Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House 
  • Changing of the Guard (subject to change and weather permitting)
  • Audio guides available languages at Windsor Castle in several languages

Schedule:

  • Mondays-Fridays
  • Departs from Central London 9:30 am and arrives back in London at 1:30 pm

Prices:

  • Adult £67
  • Children (under 16) £61
  • Infant -free
  • Purchase here.

Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tour

This is a hop-on/hop-off bus that circles continuously through the town of Windsor stopping at 11 locations, including Windsor Castle.

You can hop on and off the bus wherever you'd like. This makes it easier for you to see more of Windsor in a shorter amount of time.

Your ticket includes multilingual commentary about Windsor, available in 11 languages. Operating hours are between 10 am - 4 pm.

Prices:

Note: Your ticket does not include entry to Windsor Castle.

TIP:  If you are interested in taking a Hop-on, Hop-Off bus tour in London, see our post on the best London Hop-On, Hop-Off Buses.


Self-Guided Tour of Windsor Castle

Top Things to See and Do

This section will serve as a self-guided tour of Windsor Castle.

The route will be partly based upon our video tour of the castle, but we will also include other notable attractions you might want to see while you’re here.

A view of the Round Tower at Windsor Castle. Image source: Pixabay user Stevebidmead.

If you’ve got headphones, you might even want to play the video tour as you travel from the train station to the castle grounds, even if only to make sure you’re going the right way!


The Queen’s Train

After you get off the train, this will be one of the most notable sites to see in the station. 

This is a replica of the type of locomotive used to carry Queen Victoria back and forth from London to Windsor Castle.

The Queen's Train inside Windsor Station.

Although it was capable of traveling quite fast, she insisted the train engineer kept its speed at just 43 mph, because she feared it would negatively impact her health to go any quicker.

You’ll see a placard with more information about this historic train if you are interested, but otherwise we recommend heading past this attraction and into the rest of the Windsor railway station.


Windsor Town Centre

Just outside the walls of the Castle complex is the centre of Windsor itself.

Cobbled streets are lined with Georgian buildings, holding delightful pubs and authentic tea rooms.

The Guild Hall in Windsor Town Centre.
The Guild Hall in Windsor Town Centre.

Windsor Centre is worth exploring as it is a lovely place to take afternoon tea, go for a stroll in the park, grab some lunch, or just take photos of the quaint streets, on your visit.

Keep an eye out for plaques identifying houses of historical note, famous names, and statues that dot the neighbourhood.

There is also good shopping in the city centre, as well as at the rail station.


Middle Ward and Round Tower

The Middle Ward is in the centre of the Castle complex. The Middle Ward is based around an artificial hill.

On top of the man-made hill is the Round Tower – based on an original 12th-century building that stood here.

The Round Tower of Windsor Castle. Image source: Pixabay user Pexels.

The Round Tower is perhaps the most dominating feature of Windsor Castle and currently holds part of the Royal Archives.

Guided tours of the Round Tower are available and provide a stunning view towards Eton College and out over Windsor Great Park.

The Middle Ward is guarded by a Norman Gatehouse dating from the 14th century.


The Lower Ward/Changing of the Guard

Whenever the King is not in residence, the changing of the guard takes place in the Lower Ward near the Henry VIII Gateway.

This is the gate you’ll exit through when leaving, and it’s just opposite St. George’s Chapel.

For most of the year, the ceremony occurs 3 days a week at Windsor Castle (subject to change and weather permitting).

The remaining days of the week are at Buckingham Palace.

The Lower Ward of Windsor Castle

Read our post on the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace for more information.

During part of June and most of July, you can see the ceremony daily (again, subject to change and weather permitting)

Regardless of the day, the ceremony always happens at 11 am inside the Castle grounds. 

Note: It is always best to check in advance at the Household Division website to see if the ceremony will occur on the day you plan to visit.


Horseshoe Cloister

This area of Windsor Castle was built for the priest vicars serving St. George’s Chapel in the late 1400s. Nowadays, the Cloister serves as housing for the Lay Clerks, who are gentlemen of the choir.

The Horseshoe Cloister has been renovated in more modern times, which is why it still looks great all these years later.

The Horseshoe Cloisters

This is also where you’ll find the ceremonial entrance of St. George’s Chapel, which is where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were married.

While this is a noteworthy entrance to the chapel, it is not the main entrance, and you’ll have to go around the side of the building to get in.


St. George’s Chapel

Here the King invests new members of the Knights of the Garter, a tradition that still continues, and it is in that chapel that King Charles III, married Queen Camilla.

Every year from March/April the Queen takes up official residence here at Windsor Castle known as ‘Easter Court.’

During this time period, the Sovereign has ‘Dine and Sleeps’ where guests, including politicians and public figures, are invited to enjoy a banquet and stay the night.

St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. Image source: Pixabay user Carl S.

St. George’s Chapel dates from the 15th century.  Henry VIII is buried here alongside his third wife, Jane Seymour. 

King Charles I is also interred here as well as medieval war-time king, Edward IV.  

Closer to the present day, this is also where the King’s grandparents, King George VI and Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, are buried. This is also where Queen Elizabeth II will be laid to rest.


State Apartments

The State Apartments follow the floor plan of the original medieval foundations dating from the time of King Edward III. 

These are the rooms where the Monarch entertains high-profile guests throughout the years and includes reception and dining rooms.

The State Apartments at Windsor Castle. Image source: Pixabay user Falco.

Most of the interior dates from the Victorian era but comprises architectural styles spanning over the centuries, including the Rococo Louis XV styled rooms, holding classic works of art and tapestries.

For many, the highlight of the State Apartments is Queen Mary’s dollhouse, an incredible 1920s creation filled with an astounding collection of miniature items that all actually work.

The house is done to a 1:12 scale and is furnished by the same companies that provided goods for the actual State Apartments themselves.


The Quadrangle

This is where the Changing of the Guards takes place whenever the King is in residence, and at that time the area will be closed off to the public.

The Quadrangle at Windsor Castle. Image source: Pixabay user Alexandria.

The State Apartments stretch around the Quadrangle, and if you look on the far side of them, you’ll see the Edward III Tower, which is close to the room where foreign dignitaries usually stay when they are at Windsor Castle.

This room overlooks the Long Walk, a 4km walking path lined with trees which leads all the way to Windsor Great Park.


The Long Walk

If you feel up to it, you can make the 4k walk yourself! Visitors are usually free to walk in this area, so consider getting some exercise on one of the longest pathways in Windsor!

Every major processional route takes place along this path, one recent example being the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

The Long Walk from Windsor Castle. Image source: Pixabay user Roman Grac.

Since the royal family will use the Long Walk every now and then, it might not always be open to the public.

When it is in use by the King, it’s highly likely that he will use a carriage or other means to get from one end to another.


The Home Park

For anyone who actually decides to make the trek, you’ll find this location on the edge of Windsor Great Park which spans over 4,800 acres.

It borders the prestigious Eton College and holds some of the oldest broadleaved woodlands in all of Europe.

Two working farms are contained in the parkland and it was a favourite location of the Queen who used to frequently ride her horses here.


About The Author

Margaret

An American simply by accident of birth, Margaret moved to London over 16 years ago and hasn’t looked back since! With a keen interest in History – and a BA degree to match – Margaret prides herself on her knowledge of the amazing city she calls home and she's been guiding here now for nearly a decade. Social history is her real expertise, with sound understanding of the day-to-day lives of Londoners over the past centuries.
Updated: November 30th, 2022
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