When I was planning my itinerary for my trip to London, I wanted to visit places here and around that I’ve never been before. I had afternoon tea at The Berkeley Hotel – a place I’ve never been. I went to the Courthauld Art Gallery, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the Tate Modern and Boroughs Market. Another place I have not been before is Windsor Castle so I’ve decided to allot one day of this trip to this part of the country.
Getting to Windsor was actually easier than I thought. The best way to get there from London is to hop on a train. I took a train from Paddington Station with a connection in Slough from Slough, take the train to Windsor. The train ends at Windsor and Eton Central station. The entire train trip less than 30 minutes. This station is just across to street from the visitor’s entrance to Windsor Castle just a five minute walk past the retail shops and cafes, pastry shops from the platform of the station. The station at this part of Windsor is very commercialized reminding me of the shops at Stanford Shopping Center – an outdoor shopping center filled with popular retail chain stores, cafes and restaurants. I would not drive to Windsor. I did not see a lot of parking lots close to the castle.
But the reason why people go to Windsor is not to go shopping. The reason why people go to Windsor is to see an old medieval castle which serves as the big star in town. I have a feeling that the town surrounding the castle today was build around this castle slowly growing and serving it over the centuries.
This medieval castle is one of the best preserved of them all in the United Kingdom. It was originally built by William, the Conqueror in 1066 yet most of the State Apartments are now decorated in the Regency style. It has a great collection of items from China, portraits, antique furniture, rugs with histories you could not have imagine. It had gone through various dynasties of monarchs most of them had colorful yet important histories themselves. If only these walls could talk. In the state apartments, you will find rooms where the royal family had hosted state dinners welcoming various world leaders and dignitaries. This amidst all the history of various nobleman and aristocrats displayed in different rooms most especially at St. George’s Hall.
The portraits of kings, queens and aristocrats are not the only art hanging with the castle walls. Centuries old tapestries and paintings by Rubens, Renoir and Canaletto hangs here too. All of this mostly collected by King George III and his son, King George IV.
The highlight for me was my visit to St. George Chapel. One of the oldest churches in the country, it is still a working church doing Sunday services for the people who lives and works at Windsor under the most magnificently designed ceiling of this house of worship. This is also the final resting place of British monarchs some in recent history – King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret. Photography is not allowed inside the castle and St. George’s Chapel.
Did you know that Queen Mary (the present queen’s grandmother) kept a doll house during her lifetime. This impressively large doll house is on display at Windsor Castle just off the main entrance of the state apartments. This doll house has about four levels complete with a formal English garden and garage. The doll house was made to look like a miniature palace.
At the end of my tour of the castle including Queen Mary’s doll house, I heard music playing coming from the direction of St. George’s Chapel. It was that hour of the day – the changing of the guards but this one included a marching band as part of the ceremony. The guards here wear a grey uniform instead of the usual red of those at the Buckingham Palace.
I found my trip to Windsor Castle worthwhile. It was an easy trip from London’s Paddington Station to one of Windsor’s train station just steps away from the castle. You can even do this trip as a half-a-day trip if you do not mind not spending anymore time in the town that surrounded it. It would be best however to book your tickets in advance as the castle can get crowded with tourists. Come early if you want less crowds.Google+