At about a half an hour drive or train ride away from West London, a visit to Windsor Castle makes a great day trip from London. It was a breeze to plan, thanks to all the information the Royal Collection Trust and local borough have on their websites. In this post, I’ll share our experience on a day trip to Windsor Castle.
We arrived in front of Windsor Castle in the late morning just in time to watch the beginning of the changing of the guards ceremony. Little T perked up at the sound of the band making their way down the street and was enthralled watching the guards march past us in perfect unison.
It all happened within a few minutes and while the ceremony continued inside the castle gates, we went to the entrance to pick up the ticket and souvenir guide I purchased in advance – again well worth it when planning a day trip to Windsor Castle since I went straight to the front of the queue. Once we passed through a quick security check, we made our way into the castle grounds…
First, peering over the wall to admire the tranquil garden that sits at the foot of the Round Tower…
Then we were off to the Windsor Castle courtyard in front of St George’s Chapel for the rest of the changing of the guards ceremony.
It was interesting to watch and Little T thoroughly enjoyed this part of our day trip to Windsor Castle. We made our way back up towards the Round Tower to have a look at the State Apartments. It was still a hazy morning at that point. Hopefully next time we visit on a clear day to enjoy a spectacular view of the countryside.
Pushchairs are not allowed in the State Apartments, so I checked in ours at the cloakroom, located at the entrance of the State Apartments, which is free of charge.
Once inside the State Apartments, our first stop was the Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House. This spectacular dollhouse was made in 1924 by the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, with the intention of creating an accurate record of an aristocratic London house of the time, including running water and electricity and working lifts. Thousands of objects were made by over 1500 leading artists, designers and craftsmen on the tiny scale of 1 to 12. On your way out of this area, there is also an exhibit of children’s clothing and toys which could be interesting for children to compare to what they wear and play with today.
Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House [Photo Credit: Historic Interiors]
We entered the State Apartments again, passed by the bone china displays and walked through the sequence of rooms that were built for Charles II and his Queen, Catherine of Braganza, between 1675 and 1678. Featuring elaborate painted ceilings, panelled walls and stunning carvings, these rooms were the grandest sequence of baroque State Apartments in England.
The rooms you see include the King’s Drawing Room, King’s Bedchamber (pictured below), King’s Dressing Room, King’s Closet, Queen’s Drawing Room, King’s Dining Room (which lies between the King’s and Queen’s apartments so they can both eat there), Queen’s Ballroom, Queen’s Guard Chamber, Grand Reception Room, the State Dining Room and many more. There is truly a lot to see and take in during the visit.
The Bedchamber of the King [Photo Credit: The British Monarchy]
The Grand Reception Room [Photo Credit: The British Monarchy]
We made it back to the cloakroom where I could also have my ticket stamped so I could continue to visit Windsor Castle over the next year for free. Once Little T was back in his stroller, we had a nice walk through the castle grounds to the exit…
Little T reluctantly handed the audio tour device back to the staff on the way out and with clear skies ahead of us, we made our way through Windsor to the riverside where swans, geese and ducks swarmed the promenade.
Day Trip to Windsor Castle
We enjoyed our day trip to Windsor Castle with the highlights being watching the changing of the guards, seeing the large horse sculptures at the State Apartments and being surrounded by flocks of birds at the riverside. I would recommend visiting if you’re looking for a new place to spend a morning or afternoon exploring with your little one, while taking in some of the country’s history and heritage.
Windsor Castle, Windsor, Berkshire SL4 1NJ
Opening hours: March to October, open daily 0945 – 1715 (last admission 1600). November to February, open daily 0945 – 1615 (last admission 1500)
Parking: There are plenty of open air car parks to choose from when planning a day trip to Windsor Castle. The car parks are helpfully mapped out, with their prices, on the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead website. When I planned the trip, I chose the River Street parking lot which was just down the road from the castle entrance and paid £8.00 for between 2 to 3 hours using the ParkMobile Pay by Mobile service.
Tickets: Adult tickets are £19.20, children aged 5 to 17 are £11.30, under 5s go for free and souvenir guides cost £4.95. Skip the queues and purchase your tickets (and souvenir guide if you want one) ahead of time from the Royal Collection Trust website – you can then pick up your tickets and souvenir guide at the entrance and whiz on through to security. Have your ticket stamped before you leave (I had mine stamped at the State Apartments cloakroom when I was picking up the stroller) to make it a 1-Year pass, which gives you 12 months of complimentary admission at Windsor Castle.
More tips for planning a day trip to Windsor Castle:
- Pushchairs are not allowed in the State Apartments and must be checked in and reclaimed at the exit. Note that there are at least two sets of stairs to get to the entrance of the State Apartments to check in the pushchair. Baby carriers and hip seats can be borrowed free of charge from the coatroom, subject to availability.
- There is a family bathroom on the way to the State Apartments on the North Terrace. It will be on your right and has a pretty small sign so you’ll need to keep an eye out for it. There’s a long padded bench with a bottle warmer, a room with a changing table and a separate room with a toilet. Another baby care facility is located in the Courtyard at the start of your visit.
- Be sure to have a look at the Royal Collection website for the latest top tips and things to look out for when visiting Windsor Castle with children.
- There are cash machines on the main street across from the entrance of the castle, along with just about every chain restaurant you can imagine (e.g. Pizza Express, Nando’s), pubs, shops and plenty of other facilities.