It’s been a long time since I took a day trip to Windsor Castle. A decade, in fact. But given there will be no less than two royal weddings at St George’s Chapel this year, I figured it was time to go back again.
Day Trip to Windsor Castle
With Prince Harry and Princess Eugenie both saying their marriage vows at Windsor Castle in 2018, I wanted to get ahead of the crowds and explore the royal residence and surrounding area. Now that I’m here, I’m rediscovering why I fell in love with this place last time I visited.
After a quick train ride from London, I start my day trip at the castle itself. It’s right in the middle of town and dominates the landscape. Guards in bearskin hats and purple coats patrol the area, lending an official feel from the moment I walk in.
The audio tour guides me through the entrance and grounds, then into the castle itself. The State Apartments are as grand as I would expect from such a place, and their 17th-century furnishings and layers of more recent history tell the story of the monarchs that have called this castle home.
Outside, I walk over to St George’s Chapel. Built in the 15th and 16th centuries, the beauty of its Gothic architecture endures. Indoors, the stunning fan vaulted ceiling, chapels, and tombs of monarchs keep me busy exploring and admiring for longer than I anticipate.
But there’s more to this place than just the royal residence, even if I have spent hours within its walls. My day trip to Windsor Castle ends up being just as much about the rest of the area as it is about the fortress itself.
And I’m thankful for it. Windsor is a market town with beautiful streets and heritage architecture. From cobbled lanes to the famous Crooked House of Windsor, there’s a lot to discover.
The Windsor Royal Shopping with Queen Victoria’s Royal Waiting Room and Jubilee Arch are some of the first things I see when I arrive. Situated in the historic Victorian Railway Station, it’s full of shops, restaurants, and vintage details.
Along the High Street are pubs like the Duchess of Cambridge, which is named for Kate Middleton. Down a little set of steps nearby I find myself in a green space called The Goswells with the Royal Windsor Maze and Diamond Jubilee Fountain. Next to it is the peaceful Alexandra Park, alongside of which runs the River Thames.
I cross the river into Eton, Windsor’s neighbor and home to the famous college of the same name. The streets are charming and the college full of architectural gems.
I can’t get enough of the High Street, the college chapel, or the fact that there are students in black gowns running around everywhere I look. I feel like I’m in some kind of Harry Potter world.
But I’m still in the real world, and that means I have to make my way back home soon. I retrace my steps to catch my train to London, soaking up all the details as I go.
And as my train pulls away and my day trip to Windsor Castle ends, I catch one last glimpse of the Queen’s residence dominating the skyline. The next time I see it, it will probably be on TV for the royal weddings, and it will be all the more enjoyable for having been here in person recently.
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