Windsor Castle has a Victorian and Georgian design based on a medieval structure, with Gothic characteristics reinvented in a modern style. This castle’s grounds cover 13 acres (52,609 square meters) and it has 1,000 rooms.
Queens and Kings for over 1,000 years have called this castle their home. Currently, over 500 people work and live in Windsor, hence, making it the largest inhabited castle in the world.
Here are the top interesting facts about Windsor Castle:
#1 Around 1070, William the Conqueror (1066-1087) began building this castle and 16 years later it was complete. The castle was originally built to secure the western approach to London, however, proximity to a royal hunting forest and easy access from the capital recommended it early on as a royal residence.
#2 Henry II (5 March 1133 – 6 July 1189) built stone Round Tower and stone curtain wall around the castle.
#3 On November 13, 1312, King Edward III was born in the castle and he was usually called “Edward of Windsor”. Beginning in 1350, King Edward III initiated a 24-year rebuilding program by demolishing the existing castle, with the exception of some minor outworks and the Curfew Tower.
#4 Elizabeth I (Queen of Ireland and England from 17 November 1558 until her death) spent a great deal of time at this place. Elizabeth I liked the fact that it was a safe place which would be able to withstand a siege.
#5 Henry VIII (King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death) built a new gate for the lower yard, now known as the Henry VIII gate, and is the exit for tourist visitors.
#6 St. George’s Chapel (completed in 1528), designed to be the chapel of the Order of the Garter, was started by Edward IV (the eldest surviving son of Cecily Neville and Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York) and is one of the best examples of Perpendicular Gothic style architecture.
#7 During the English Civil War (which took place in the British Isles between supporters of the monarchy of Charles I and opposing groups), the castle was used as a prison for Charles I (who was monarch of the 3 kingdoms of Scotland, England, and Ireland) and a military headquarters for Parliamentary forces.
#8 In 1649, there was a bill in the English parliament to demolish this castle and was defeated by just 1 vote.
#9 King George III (1714-1830) went blind and then completely mad. After, he was kept locked up in this castle for a decade, until he died there.
#10 During the reign of King George IV ( the eldest son of George III and Queen Charlotte), the castle was to undergo the greatest, single transformation in its history.
#11 Prince Albert (born in the Saxon Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld) died at Windsor in 1861, and to commemorate her husband Queen Victoria converted Henry III’s chapel into the current Albert memorial chapel.
#12 By the outbreak of World War I, this castle had become the main residence of the British monarchy.
#13 During World War 2, numerous of the most valuable works of art were moved away, the windows of this castle were blacked out, and the royal bedrooms were strengthened in case the castle was bombed during The Blitz (a term used to describe the heavy bombing of London and other British cities during World War II).
#14 Furthermore, during World War II, the Royal Family were secret residents in this place. Interestingly, the general public believed they were staying in Buckingham Palace, nevertheless, Windsor was where they were really positioned.
#15 There was a massive fire that took place at Windsor Castle in 1992. More than 100 rooms were damaged by either the water used to extinguish the fire or the fire itself. It had taken almost 220 firemen more than 8 hours to gain control of the blaze. The total cost of the castle’s restoration was approximately £36 million.
#16 In 2008, £100 million were spent by George III on Gothic restyling work, that actually was a small sum in comparison to the £817 million spent by his son and successor George IV.
For an admission fee, you can see some of the interior and yards inside the walls. Moreover, you can see the Great Kitchen (that has remained in constant use for nearly 750 years) and witness the real workaday life of the castle.
In addition, you can step inside the stunning St. George’s Chapel, burial place of numerous aristocrats and ten monarchs, including Henry VIII and his 3rd wife Jane Seymour. However, during the winter months, an additional 5 rooms (better known as the Semi-State Rooms) are included in the visitor route.
The price of a ticket is:
- Adult (17 to 59) £20.50
- Over 60/Student (with valid ID) £18.70
- Under 17/Disabled £12.00
- Infant (under 5) Free
- Family (2 adults, 3 under 17s) £53.00
- November to February – 09:45-16:15 (last admission 15:00)
- March to October – 09:45-17:15 (last admission 16:00)
This medieval castle is open every day except for Christmas, Easter, Garter Day (one day in June), and 1 or 2 other days during the year.
Changing of the guard happens between 11:00 and 11:30. Many of the tourists usually stay until around midday departing after the changing of the guard.