Spring marks a perfect time for weekend gateways. Although, no discussion that London has a lot to offer, it is well worth looking at what can be seen in a close proximity of it too. One of these places is Windsor.
Windsor can be conveniently reached from London by road or by train. The town itself is picturesque and full of history but its main highlight is of course Windsor Castle.
Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world. It has been a home to British royal families over years, and close to 100 decades later, it is Her Majesty the Queen’s official residence.
The Queen spends a month over Easter, a week in June and her private weekends in this historic place. Her presence is marked by her standard flying from the Round Tower. Windsor is still used to host State and ceremonial occasions. This includes visits from political leaders, Heads of Commonwealth Nations and Ambassadors among others.
What to expect
The architecture of Windsor Castle is breathtaking just by itself and one could spend hours admiring the castle’s grounds. There is, however, also the opportunity to get small insight into what the life inside the castle is like. The two permanent expositions are the Queen Marry’s Dolls’ House and the State Apartments.
Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House. The size and the intricate design of the dolls’ house is truly striking. This is the biggest dolls’ house in the world and one designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1920s with a help of more than 1500 artisans. Over several floors, its rooms are fully decorated and furnished with miniature items. The house also has running water and electricity.
Two dolls with their wardrobe from top Parisian houses, presented by the French government to King George IV and Queen Elizabeth, for their daughters, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret Rose are on display here too.
State Apartments. State Apartments tell the story of the castle with rooms full of antique furniture, weaponry and pieces of art. One can admire there some of the finest paintings from the likes of Rembrandt, Rubens and Canaletto. Many of the previous occupants left a print of their presence. Charles II, for example, largely changed the interiors to rival those of Versailles, whereas George IV paid particular attention to the stairs and the grand entrance.
Other notable places to visits at Windsor Castle are, St. Georges Chapel and the Semi-State Rooms, however their opening times should be checked in advance. In addition to this, Windsor Castle often hosts special events and exhibitions.
The charm of Windsor spreads beyond the castle and one should leave a bit of time to explore the town with its historic architecture, picturesque shops and riverside restaurants.