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Windsor Castle

Listed under Castles & Palaces in London, United Kingdom.

  • Photo of Windsor Castle
  • Photo of Windsor Castle
  • Photo of Windsor Castle
  • Photo of Windsor Castle
Photo of Windsor Castle
Photo by ronlyons
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Windsor Castle has been home to the Kings and Queens of England for over 900 years. It is the largest inhabited castle in the world and the oldest in continuous occupation. Windsor Castle began as a motte and bailey castle just after the Norman invasion of 1066 by William the Conqueror. Instead of a single bailey, the castle has an upper ward and a lower ward with the motte in the center of the castle.

Today the large Round Tower is built on top the original motte. The castle has evolved over the past thousand years with each Monarch adding their touch to the castles development. In 1824 the castle underwent its greatest transformation when King George IV commissioned restoration work on the castle. It was at this time that the castle evolved from a collection of buildings dating from different periods to a single symmetrical castle. This was accomplished by refacing the upper ward and royal apartments in a gothic style to match St. George’s Cathedral in the lower ward, and by raising certain towers to the same height as other towers. The central Round Tower also added another 33 feet to its height.

In 1992, a fire started in the Queen’s private chapel, which raged for over 15 hours, completely destroying 9 rooms and damaging over 100 rooms. Although still a royal residence, Windsor Castle is open to the public. Only certain rooms can be visited but those are well worth the visit. The castle walls and Round Tower are very impressive, but the interior of the castle is what sticks with you when you visit Windsor Castle. The Grand Staircase is flanked on both sides by suits of armor on horseback. St. George’s Hall is lined with suits of armor with the King’s Champion at one end of the hall on horseback. There is simply no other room in any castle that can rival to St. George’s Hall in terms of majesty and awe inspiring grandeur. In the lower ward, St. George’s Chapel is the spiritual home of the Order of the Garter and the final resting place for ten Sovereigns including Henry VIII.

Written by  Ron Lyons Jr..

Other expert and press reviews

“Splendid Royal Apartments”

Much of the splendid royal apartments in the upper ward date from the reigns of George III and George IV, with recent rebuilding after a fire, but parts of the outer walls and several square towers go back to the time of Henry II in the 1160s, as does t… Read more...

Written by  Mike Salter.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

Is it true there are plans to increase the height of the Round Tower?

wonderful castle

This castle is what every old castle should look like on the outside, and everything a person thinks a queen should have on the inside. The rough exterior contrasts beautifully to the posh interior. Walking through the same entrance room and waiting room as Her Royal Majesty and heads of state was an incredible feeling. When I went there was a beautiful exhibit of royal weddings, dating from Queen Victoria to the marriage of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh. It had pictures of the weddings, drawings, even pieces of the wedding gowns. The tour is much better than the tour of the White House. The audio guide is a bit tedious, but tells you important information-focusing a lot on the fire in 1992. Windsor Castle was one of my favorite excursions in England.

Windsor Castle

An official residence of the Queen, Windsor Castle is the world's largest occupied castle. The royals have called this place home for over 900 years now, and visitors can catch a glimpse of the State Apartments, with paintings by Holbein, Rubens and Van Dyck, plus enjoy a more leisurely tour of the Drawings Gallery and the St George chapel.

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