Windsor CastleView map
The largest and oldest occupied castle in the world
he numbers alone give you an indication of what’s in store at Queen Elizabeth II’s favourite royal retreat. There’s a priceless collection of over 300,000 books, prints and drawings, 300 fireplaces, 450 clocks, a dolls’ house that took 1,500 craftsmen to complete, and the Great Kitchen that’s been in constant use for over 750 years.
All the famous royals have made their mark on the interior and you can take in 1,000 years of history by exploring much of the castle and 13-acre grounds. Take a guided tour around the medieval Great Kitchen with its many gleaming pots and pans during the summer months and climb to the top of the Round Tower for views over Windsor Great Park.
The best place to begin though, has to be at St George’s Chapel in the castle’s Lower Ward, the final resting place of 10 British monarchs including Henry VIII and Charles I. Then move on to the Semi-State Rooms – the lavish private apartments created by George IV. Finish off with a nose around the art collection, which would put many a national gallery to shame. Among others, you’ll see works by Rembrandt, Rubens, Canaletto, Holbein, Van Dyck and Gainsborough alongside rare and delicate English and French furniture. Thomas Crown would have a field day.
The vast park that surrounds the castle is also fit for royalty and there’s no better way to experience it than clip-clopping along in a horse-drawn carriage past ancient oak trees and frolicking deer.