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Windsor Castle

Top things to see and do at Windsor Castle

Reading time: 5 minutes

Enjoy the ultimate royal experience at the historic home of the British monarchy. The Castle is open to the public all year round and we can’t wait to welcome you in and make some magical memories together.

The Castle includes the State Apartments that are used today by the Royal Family, the historical rooms that were built for Charles II and private apartments created for George IV. There are many famous, must-see moments within these spectacular rooms, like the colossal Waterloo Chamber, magnificent Crimson Drawing Room and impressive Grand Staircase. With so much royal history and splendour it is possible to walk straight past some amazing treasures, so here are a few to look out for.

1. Gaze at the gold

The Grand Reception Room©

Well it wouldn't be a royal residence without some gold! The magnificent ceremonial rooms which were used by Queen Elizabeth II to entertain guests are luxurious. The most striking is the Grand Reception Room, decorated with real gold and chandeliers. It was once used as the main ballroom in the Castle. Perhaps the most striking piece on display is the large urn, presented to Queen Victoria by Tsar Nicholas I in 1839, and one of the largest examples outside Russia.

2. View a Van Dyck

Portrait of Charles I by Anthony van Dyck on display in Windsor Castle. Royal Collection Trust/© His Majesty King Charles III 2022. Photographer: Paul Highnam

Come for the majesty, stay for the masters. A visit to the Castle is a chance to see among the world’s greatest collection of paintings including artists such as Hans Holbein, Van Dyck and Rubens. A highlight has to be the remarkable portrait of King Charles I by Anthony Van Dyck. This huge painting of Charles I on horseback portrays as him as ruler, warrior and knight. The Castle is packed with other extraordinary treasures including incredible furniture, vases, and sculpture.

3. Marvel at mythical paintings

Ceiling painting by Antonio Verrio©

What's grander than kings and queens? Gods of course. Make your way through the historic rooms built for Charles II and his Queen, Catherine of Braganza. If you look up you will see wonderful mythical ceiling paintings by Antonio Verrio. With kings, queens, chariots, cherubs, and a banquet of the gods they are a sight to behold.

4. Be delighted by a dolls' house

Curator with Queen Mary's Dolls' House©

Don’t miss the chance to experience life in miniature with the famous Queen Mary's Dolls' House which is on permanent display at Windsor Castle. An unexpected find at the Castle, the Dolls' house was designed for Queen Mary in 1924 by Sir Edwin Lutyens to showcase the finest artists and craftspeople of the time. You can peek inside the rooms filled with tiny furniture, art, and books, and even electricity and running water. What a childhood dream!

Throughout 2024, we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House. As well as the chance to see the House, you can also enjoy a special centenary display in the Waterloo Chamber included as part of your visit to Windsor Castle.

5. Keep the kids keen

Child enjoying a visit to Windsor Castle©

What would a castle be without a dragon?! Our free multimedia guides have a children’s version, where Scorch the dragon helps to guide you around the Castle. However that's not the only helping hand for parents, be sure to visit the Moat Room to learn about the Castle's history, and the Pug Yard Learning Centre in the castle grounds. The Centre is open for families during UK school holidays. The Centre is a great base for families to use during their visit:-

  • changing programme of free activities for children and families to enjoy including crafts, storytelling and 'make and takes'. Trails are also available during the holidays. 
  • Families can picnic within the yard itself or, if the weather is inclement, in the indoor lunch hall. No need to change your plans if the weather changes!
  • The Learning Centre is breastfeeding friendly, and has a designated family bathroom with changing table. 
  • Toddlers can take time in the Chill Out Zone, with train set, Duplo, books and lots of beanbags. Take time and reconnect.
  • Caught Short Box for families - a spares box with nappies, wipes,  cutlery and clothes etc in case you’re 'caught short' during your visit.

6. Savour something sweet

Need to recharge after an exciting day at the Castle? Relax with a refreshing drink or treat at the Undercroft Café. You can enjoy fresh salads and home-made soups, barista-made coffee and freshly-baked cakes. Our sandwich range varies from bloomers, baguettes, open sandwiches and wraps, all filled with fresh locally sourced ingredients.

7. Relive a royal wedding

Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank outside St George's Chapel©

Have you ever wanted to attend a royal wedding? In the grounds of Windsor Castle you can find St George’s Chapel, a 500-year-old medieval marvel. Step inside the Chapel and you can glimpse where many royal weddings have taken place including HRH Princess Eugenie and Mr Jack Brooksbank.

It is also where many monarchs are buried including Henry VIII, Charles I and Queen Elizabeth II.

St George’s Chapel is open for visitors on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and for worshippers only on Sundays. More details are available on the Chapel's website. 

8. Greet the guards

The guards at Windsor Castle©

Grab your chance to witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony where the new guard replaces the old in a colourful spectacle. The ceremony can be watched by Castle visitors on Thursdays and Saturdays. The guards arrive at the Castle just before 11:00, but the schedule can change, so please check the British Army website for details.

So what are you waiting for......

The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.