On our return from the Harry Potter Studio Tour on Tuesday night, we learned that there was likely going to be a Tube strike taking place beginning Wednesday evening and lasting through Friday morning. While we had always intended to take at least two day trips while staying in London (Windsor & Oxford) a strike would almost certainly impact our plans (spoiler alert: it did, big time). Knowing this, we made our way out to visit the town of Windsor and its famous castle.
Windsor is approximately 25 miles west of London and easily accessible by train. From our hotel in East London, we picked up our train at Waterloo Station. Perhaps a sign of things to come that day, our train was delayed for nearly an hour, giving us a shorter window to enjoy Windsor. With the impending Tube strike scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. that night, we set out to make the most of our day.
Once you depart the train, the castle is pretty easy to find. Follow the main street and it’s massive structure will soon be in clear view. Before our visit, we opted for a quick lunch to fill our empty stomachs. There is no shortage of dining options as you make your way to the castle. Swiping some free wi-fi from a local pub, we opted for a well reviewed Italian restaurant, Viva L’Italia.
It was definitely a welcome change of pace to enjoy some good Italian food!
After lunch, we made our way up to the castle entrance and bought our tickets for admission. Tickets are just under $30.00 per person, which seems in line with many of the tourist attractions we came across in London. If you are planning a trip heavy with tourist activities, it’s worth looking into a City Pass which can save you money. For us, we ended up doing more free things than paid, but might consider a City Pass the next time we visit London.
With the admission ticket to the castle, you receive an audio tour as well as a short, but highly recommended docent tour. My audio guide ended up not working well, so it was nice to hear some of the great history of the castle from our wonderful guide.
The castle, which was originally constructed during the time of William the Conquerer, has continuously housed the monarch of England for over 1,000 years. Much of the castle as it can be seen today is due to the expansions done by King George IV who added significant luster to the castle after it had been neglected for several centuries.
Following the short, guided tour, you get to go inside the castle and continue along with the audio guide. Unfortunately, they do not allow photos inside the castle :(, so the beautiful rooms and decor remain only in our minds. I moved a bit more quickly through the rooms as my audio guide would regularly stop midway through a particular room. Julie, on the other hand, was quite immersed with her working audio guide :).
Motivated by the impending tube strike, we finished our tour and headed back to catch the next train back to London. In doing so, we completely forgot to head to The Long Walk, an iconic photo opportunity at the castle. Something to look forward to for next time!
As always, for even better photos and a sneak peak of our time in Oxford, check out Julie’s post over on here site.