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Windsor, Bath and Stonehenge Tour from RailEurope

Stop by the Queen’s Country House for Tea

Windsor Castle round tower tphotoWindsor Castle is the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world with Queen Elizabeth Winsdor Regina is principal resident. The original fortified castle was first built by William the Conquerer in the 11th Century, but the castle has gone through some serious redecorating and has grown considerably in floor space since then. The Queen spends most of her weekends at the castle and her presence can be noted by whether the royal standard is flying above the round tower.

Windsor Park photoThe Long Walk approach through Windsor Park provides one of the most spectacular castle views. Visiting the royal House of Windsor family home provides an opportunity to see how the other half lives. Explore the castle grounds or take an audio tour. The areas of the castle that can be visited will change depending on whether the queen is home or if special activities are going on.

Royal Apartments Windsor Castle photoThe State Apartments are suitably furnished in lavish royal style with the selections from the English Royal Art Collection on display with masterpieces by Rubens, Van Dyck, Holbein along witrh magnificent English and French period furniture, silver and porcelain. The personal Windsor collection is one of the world’s richest and the castle is a living museum. The Semi-State rooms the private living rooms added by King George IV are some of the most richly (perhaps gaudily) decorated interiors in the castle. They are only open in the fall to the spring, being rather in use during the summer.

St. George’s Chapel is one of the most opulent church buildings in England with the burial plots of ten kings including Henry VIII and the beheaded Charles I, though I wonder if he needs two separate boxes. King Henry VIII’s armor can also be found at Windsor, notable for both the XL size and for the extended steel codpiece intended to guard the family jewels.

And for a royal house in miniature, Queen Mary’s Dolls House is one of the most famous in the world. Children are not allowed to play with it, but 1,500 craftsmen built this miniature lavish house for royal dolls with electric lights, hot and cold running showers and even flushing toilets. I bet even Ken and Barbie suffer from royal envy.

Conquer The Tower

A new guided tour is being offered at Windsor Castle, starting in August to September. The ‘Conquer the Tower’ tour takes visitors inside the famous Round Tower up 200 steps to the top of the iconic landmark, 215 feet above the Thames River with views across several counties to London. The tour takes about 45 minutes and will be in addition to the castle tour with additional admission. You have to take the castle tour to take the Round Tower tour and should be pre-booked due to expected popularity.

Visiting Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is about an hour from London by car on the M4. By rail from London Waterloo Station and Paddington Station check with Britrail. A bus leaves daily from Victoria Station. Take the Green Line. Prices for Windsor Castle are £14.50 for adults, under 17 is £8. A Family ticket (including 2 adults and 3 kids under 17) can be had for £36.50. Combined Windsor Castle and Conquer the Tower tickets prices are adults £23, concession £20, under 17 £13.25, with Family Ticket £60.00

Or get a Great British Heritage Pass if you plan on visiting other historic sites outside of London. Admission prices for the castle tour will be reduced if the State Apartments are closed, which can happen on short notice. And your first admission allows you to register for unlimited returns throughout the year. The Castle is open from 9:45am to 5:15pm March to October and 9:45am to 4:15pm November to February with the last admissions an hour fifteen before closing.

If you want to see the mausoleum of Queen Victory and Prince Albert, you’ll have visit Frogmore House near Windsor, but that’s a separate bus tour with no access for private cars. Check with the Windsor ticket office. © Bargain Travel Europe

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Windsor Royal Collection

These articles are copyrighted and the sole property of Bargain Travel Europe and WLPV, LLC. and may not be copied or reprinted without permission. Photos Courtesy Royal Collection Mark Fiennes.

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