Windsor Castle Tickets and Discounts

This post is about Windsor Castle, including ticket prices, discounts, how to get here, guided tours, as well as things to see. 

 

 


TICKETS AND DISCOUNTS

Below we detail the price of a general admission ticket and what is included in that ticket.

We also list discounts and ways you can save money on your Windsor Castle tickets. 

General Admission Ticket Prices

  • Adult £22.50 (17-60 years old)
  • Senior £20.30 (61+ years old)
  • Children £13 (5 – 16 years old)
  • Disabled £13
  • Student (with ID) £20.30
  • Purchase tickets here.


What is included in your ticket

You will have access to:

  • the Middle Ward and Round Tower
  • the State Apartments
  • St. George’s Chapel (except on Sundays; you may attend services if you wish)
  • the Home Park
  • the Semi-State Rooms (open only from October to Mid-February)
  • the Changing of the Guard at 11 am on specific days (see the schedule below)
  • a free multimedia tour (available in several languages) 
  • an optional free 30-minute tour of the castle grounds called the Precincts Tour

See our section below with descriptions of each of these sights. 


DISCOUNTS AND DEALS 

This section provides information about several opportunities to save money on Windsor Castle tickets, including tourist passes, combo packages and more.


Tourist Discount Passes

Admission to Windsor Castle is included with more than one London tourist pass. If you’re planning to enjoy a lot of different attractions in London and the surrounding areas, this is a great way to save some money.

The London Pass is one of the most popular options, and it includes tickets to Windsor Castle in addition to more than 80+ activities.

 

 

This is an all-inclusive pass that covers admission to dozens of popular tours, museums, historic locations and more for a specific amount of time (1, 2, 3, 6, or 10 days).

Here are some of the other things you can do with a London tourist pass:

  • Tower of London | £27.50
  • Westminster Abbey | £23
  • Hop on Hop off Bus Tour | £34
  • Hampton Court Palace | £23.70
  • View From the Shard | £32
  • The Queen’s Gallery | £13.50
  • The Royal Mews | £12
  • Thames River Cruise | £19.25
  • LEGOLAND Windsor Resort | £60
  • And more!

Alternatively, you can also see Windsor Castle on a day trip which is included on the London City Pass for 20% off.

This is a prepackaged pass that includes a few specific services and a discount on dozens of additional activities.

Depending on how you use these passes, you should be able to save anywhere from 20% – 50% off general admission prices, and possibly much more than that.

To find out more, read our post comparing London Tourist Passes.


Combo Packages

While tourist passes can save you a lot of money, you usually have to use them for several different activities in order to save as much as possible. If you’d rather just enjoy a few attractions, a combo package might be better.

Here are a few combo deals which include Windsor Castle:

Westminster Walking Tour + Windsor Castle

  • Tickets: £58.25/Adults | £35.75/Children
  • Includes 3-hour walking tour of Westminster.
  • See the Changing of the Guard.
  • Includes entry to Windsor Castle.

Windsor Castle + London Eye Half-Day Tour

  • Tickets: £81/Adults | £78/Seniors, Students | £71/Kids
  • Includes transportation to London Eye and Windsor Castle.
  • Includes entrance to Windsor Castle.
  • Includes ticket to the London Eye.

Windsor Castle + Stonehenge + Roman Baths Day Trip

  • Tickets: £115/Adults | £112/Seniors, Students | £105/Kids
  • Includes transportation to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, Etc.
  • Includes entrance to Windsor Castle.
  • Includes entrance to Stonehenge.
  • Includes entrance to Roman Baths.

Windsor Castle + The London Dungeon

  • Tickets: £89/Adults | £86/Seniors, Students | £79/Kids
  • Includes transportation to Windsor Castle & The London Dungeon.
  • Includes entry to Windsor Castle.
  • Includes entry to The London Dungeon.

Family Tickets

If you’re planning to visit Windsor Castle as a family with at least 2 adults, you can save money on tickets for up to 3 kids by purchasing a family ticket.

This option will be £60.50 in 2020. To give you a sense of how much you’ll save, the total price would be £83.60 without a family ticket, which means you’ll receive a discount of over £20 off!


Get Free Admission for 1 Year

When you ask for your ticket purchase to be treated as a donation, you can enjoy re-admission to Windsor Castle for an entire year. All you have to do is ask a Warden to stamp your ticket at the end of your visit!

This is a great option if you live in London and plan to visit more than once during a calendar year.


Bring the Kids for Free

If you’ve got any young kids under the age of 5, you won’t have to pay for their tickets. Simply purchase an adult ticket for yourself and your children will also receive admission for free!

Tickets for youth from the age of 5-17 will be required, but they are heavily discounted at just £12.20 per child in 2020.


Use an Advantage Card

Residents of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead can receive a free advantage card which will grant them access to Windsor Castle at no charge.

All you have to do is show proof of your residence and you’ll have access to this card. In addition to providing free admission to the castle, this card also offers several additional discounts.


Discount Sites

Aside from tourist passes and combo packages, this is one of the best ways to save money on admission to Windsor Castle. 

Sites such as Discount London and Groupon frequently offer deals on day trips and other services in and around Windsor. 

 


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PLAN YOUR VISIT

There are two ways to visit Windsor Castle. You can buy tickets and travel to the castle on your own. (See below for how to get to Windsor Castle)

 

Windsor Castle Gardens

 

Alternatively, you can join a tour, which provides your ticket to the castle, round-trip transportation (via coach or train), and, depending on the tour company, other activities, and amenities.

We explain them below in the Tours section.


Windsor Castle Hours

The Castle is open year-round. 

  • March-Oct, daily 10:00 am-5:15 pm (last admission 4:00 pm)
  • Nov-Feb, daily 10:00 am-4:15 pm (last admission 3:00 pm)

Note: Some parts of the castle close slightly earlier than others or are closed altogether on certain days. 

  • Entrance to the State Apartments closes 30 minutes after the last admission time.
  • St. George’s Chapel closes at 4:00 pm, although visitors may attend the evensong service at 5:15 pm.
  • St. George’s Chapel is closed to visitors all day on Sundays as services are held all day. Worshippers may attend services, however.

Windsor Castle Closures 

All of Windsor Castle may be closed on certain dates, or in some instances only specific parts of the castle will be closed.


How long does it take to visit?

With so much to see at Windsor Castle, we recommend that you set aside 2½ and 3 hours to tour the Castle and the grounds. 

Add into that the train rides (an hour each way) and your visit to Windsor will be at least 5 hours.  

Give yourself some additional time if you choose to visit Windsor Town Centre and spend some time walking around, or getting some food. 

TIP: Take a look at our post on visiting other Royal Palaces.


Best Times to Visit

The castle is busiest from opening and throughout the morning. The best time to go is after midday. If you can, buy your tickets in advance to save yourself time.

Of course, you can expect that there will be more visitors during peak season, and in the months of June and July, you have more opportunities to see the Changing of the Guard. 

The advantage of visiting in the winter months is that it will be less crowded and the Semi-State Rooms will be accessible.

The disadvantage is that the Changing of the Guard occurs less frequently and only when the weather permits.


Getting There

We recommend that you use Google Maps to plan your trip.

By Train

The closest train station to Windsor Castle is Windsor and Eton Riverside. Trains depart from both London Waterloo and London Paddington stations.

It is about an hour train ride if you want a direct train or surprisingly, it’s faster if you’re willing to change at Slough. 

Once you arrive at Windsor and Eton Riverside, the castle is an easy walk from the station.  

It is about  7 minutes and you can follow the signs directing you to the castle. You should be able to see the castle as you exit the station.


By Coach

Green Line 702

Bus service operates several times daily from Victoria Station. The trip takes approximately one hour and 10 minutes.

Fares before midday are £19 (or £15 if ticket purchased via their app). Fares after midday are £10 (or £9 if ticket purchased via their app.)

Surbiton Coaches

This is a shuttle bus service Hampton Court Palace and between Windsor Castle. It runs 7 days a week (except 24, 25, & 26 December).

If you have an Oyster card, you can use this to get to Hampton Court station and take the shuttle bus from there.


By Car

There is no visitor car parking at the Castle, so we recommend you use public car parks in the town centre. Details about parking can be found here.

Keep in mind that you might have to pay the Central London congestion fee depending on your route.

 


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TOURS OF WINDSOR CASTLE

Should you decide to go with a tour company, 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
  • Every day from April- Sept. 2019
  • Wed/Fri/Sun from October 2019 – March 2020

Prices:

  • Adult £53
  • Senior £50
  • Student (with ID) £50
  • Children £48
  • 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 £61
  • Children (under 16) £55
  • Infant -free
  • Purchase here.

Small Group Windsor Castle Express Tour by Train

Includes:

  • Round-trip transportation from Central London by train.
  • Guided visit of the town of Windsor
  • 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
  • Note: No more than 15 people per group

Schedule:

  • Thursdays and Saturdays
  • Departs from Central London at 1:15 pm. Return ticket open-ended. You decide when to return to London.

Prices:

  • Adult £80
  • Children (4-14) £75
  • Children 3 and under – 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:

  • Adult £15
  • Senior (60+) £13
  • Children (5-15) £8
  • Student (with ID) £13
  • Purchase here.

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.

 


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WHAT TO EXPECT AT WINDSOR CASTLE

 

 


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 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.


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 Queen entertains high profile guests throughout the years and includes reception and dining rooms.

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.

Note: Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House is currently closed while renovations are underway at the castle. 


St. George’s Chapel

Here the Queen invests new members of the Knights of the Garter, a tradition that still continues, and it is in that chapel that the Queen’s son, Charles, Prince of Wales, married the Duchess of Cornwall.

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

During this time period, the Queen 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 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 Queen’s parents, King George VI and Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, are buried. 


Changing of the Guard

This ceremony takes place on the Quadrangle inside the Windsor Castle grounds. It takes place throughout the year, but days will vary based on the season.  

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.

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.

Schedule released so far:  

May 2019: Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Friday, May 31.

June 2019: June 4, 6, 7, then starting June 10 through June 30, daily.  

Check the Household Division website for later months as they only post two to three months at a time as they update the schedule when they are posted.


The Home Park

The Home Park is 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 is a favourite location of the Queen who used to frequently ride her horses here.


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.

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 to 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.

 


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HISTORY

Built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, Windsor Castle has been a primary seat of the royal family ever since.

In the 12th century, the Castle complex was expanded and improved by King Henry II and became a base for King John when he was forced to hide from the population before the eventual signing of Magna Carta – at Runnymede, just near the castle.

 

 

King Henry III heavily altered and invested into the Castle and he transformed the royal accommodation rooms into the luxurious and opulent rooms that we would today expect to exist inside a royal castle.

Much of the layout of the Castle today is because of Henry’s updates in the mid-13th century.

King Edward III was born at Windsor Castle and used it primarily as his base for the rest of his reign. He is the king who established the Order of the Garter and declared Windsor as its headquarters.

Edward spent £51,000 on his renovations – the largest amount spent by any medieval monarch on a single building operation.

When you consider that Edward’s annual income was around £30,000, it’s easy to see the sheer value he placed on the buildings!

Centuries later, King Henry VI was born at Windsor (and declared Henry of Windsor) and his wife was later held hostage here by King Edward IV during the tumultuous Wars of the Roses.

It was this Edward who began the construction of the present St. George’s Chapel in 1475. King Henry VII, the eventual and ultimate victor of the Wars of the Roses, completed the Chapel and began using Windsor Castle to host diplomatic events.

Ultimately his son, King Henry VIII, who continue additions to the Castle and would eventually come to rest at St. George’s Chapel.

The youngest daughter of King Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I, used Windsor Castle as a safe haven for crises as it was considered the most secure of royal strongholds.

She often used Windsor to entertain but by the end of her reign, Windsor was considered too small and improvements were required.

William Shakespeare makes light of the constant flow of foreign visitors in his work ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor.’

King James I held a drinking session with the Danish King Christian of Denmark IV in 1606 that became known throughout Europe for the scandalous behaviour of the two Kings and James’s son, King Charles I was the one who finally turned an artistic eye to the Castle and added the much-needed expansions to the complex.

However, all his work was to be undone during the Civil War when the complex was seized by the Parliamentarians and totally ransacked. It is estimated that a total of 3,580oz – or 101kg – of gold and silver was taken from the Castle at this time. Charles himself would end up buried in the Chapel here – after his public execution in 1649.

After the years of the Commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell, King Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660 and Windsor was the only royal residence he modernized during his 25-year reign – showing the importance of the complex at the time.

It was Charles who initially brought in the idea of French design, mimicking the grand palace of his cousin King Louis XIV of France.

The castle fell out of royal favour during the early Hanoverian reigns but was brought back to the forefront of the royal court by King George III in the mid-18th century.

George spent over £150,000 to modernize and redesign the complex – equal to over £100 million today – and he is to be credited with the park and gardens there today. Near the end of his reign, when the King descended into madness, Windsor Castle became his prison.

His son, King George IV picked up the work his father had done, managing to spend double what his father did to bring the interiors of the Castle to a modern 19th-century luxury design and it is a lot of his work that visitors still see today.

George’s niece, Queen Victoria, initially found Windsor to be ‘prison-like’ but she lived here with her husband and it was here that he died in 1861.

Both Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert, were eventually buried in the Home Park here.

Our current queen, Elizabeth II, spent the majority of her childhood here with her sister and the rooms the princesses lived in were specially reinforced during the Blitz and Windsor was considered the best place for them to stay during the bombings.

Since the beginning of her reign, Queen Elizabeth has used Windsor as her principal weekend home.

Windsor was the primary home for the Queen’s children when they were growing up and today it is where she spends the majority of her time.

Windsor Castle hosts just as many banquets and state events as Buckingham Palace does, although the latter is far more famous.

It is thanks to Queen Elizabeth II that Windsor is such an accessible location for tourists – she has pushed significantly for the building to be maintained and available for the public to enjoy.

Royal Weddings

St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle is one of the many locations where you can find celebrations of royal weddings.

Other locations are Westminster Abbey (William and Kate) and St. Paul’s Cathedral (Charles and Diana).

For his second marriage, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles had their Prayer and Dedication Ceremony at St. George’s Chapel.

On May 19, 2018, Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle wed at Windsor Castle in St. George’s Chapel. If you love Royal Weddings as we do, check out our post the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

 


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About the author

An American simply by accident of birth, Margaret moved to London over 15 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.