Located only 20 miles from London, Windsor Castle is the official residence of the Queen of England. It is also the castle that gave its name to the Royal family as the house of Windsor.
Not only is it the Queen of England’s favourite castle, but it is the oldest and largest inhabited castle to be found anywhere in the world! Although Buckingham Palace in London can be seen as her office, Windsor Castle is her private retreat and favoured place to entertain.
From its construction by William The Conqueror after the Norman Conquest in 1066, the castle has played host to every monarch since.
It’s scenic cliff-side position meant it was of strategic importance providing a “ring of stone” around London and standing guard over the Thames and Windsor forest.
To this day it houses around 500 people, and serves as an important retreat and host for the modern monarchy’s ceremonial duties.
Don’t be surprised if you see the Queen driving down the Long Walk, or even catching Prince Philip inside one of Windsor’s local pubs enjoying a quiet drink. Prince William even hosted a huge party to celebrate his 18th birthday here.
It is the royal’s favourite weekend escape from London, and it is a privilege to enjoy a tour behind the scenes of a present day working castle.
Our bike ride allows us to approach the castle from a rarely enjoyed perspective.
"A superb and unrivalled sequence of rooms widely regarded as the finest and most complete expression of later Georgian taste"
Designed to impress on official occasions, these rooms are probably amongst the most magnificent in London, if not the world.
Windsor Castle’s ornate ceilings and woodwork are treasures in their own right, but the walls also play host to a fine selection of Canaletto, Holbein, Leonard da Vinci, Rembrandt, Rubens & Van Dyck!
On your tour you can even see a suit of armour made from etched gold!
After a famous fire in 1992, that damaged over 100 rooms, the State Apartments were reconstructed to their former glory for the princely sum of £37 million. It is also the reason why the Queen opened Buckingham Palace to allow tours, to help pay for repairs, as the building was not insured.
At certain periods during the year, the State Apartments of Windsor Castle may be closed for official duties. The good news is that often the East Terrace, Round Tower or kitchens may also be available to tour dependent upon season.
Often a highlight of the tour, taking 3 years to complete, and with over 1500 craftsmen working on this extravagance for Queen Mary…
Sir Edwin Lutyen’s designed the doll’s house to serve as an historical document on how a royal family might have lived during that period in England.
It even has running working lifts, hot water and electricity on a 1:12 miniature scale. Queen Mary was an avid collector of miniature objects such as Faberge animals. Princess Marie Louise thus decided to commission the most opulent example of “tiny craft” as a present for the Queen.
Well-known writers wrote special books which were written and bound in scale size. Sir Arthur Conan Doylecontributed the short story How Watson Learned the Trick. Other authors were J. M. Barrie, Thomas Hardy, Rudyard Kipling and W. Somerset Maugham. (George Bernard Shaw rebuffed her requests for a tiny volume of his work). Painters also provided miniature pictures. Even the bottles in the wine cellar were filled with the appropriate wines and spirits
If you would like to see the garden for the doll’s house, you will find it in a pullout drawer.