Day trip to Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle is where the Queen stays on most weekends and impresses foreign dignitaries. Well, impress it does. Outside, it looks like a typical medieval castle to a non-historian, but the inside is the hidden gem with walls and ceilings done with the most ornate details.
Although it may be raining in the fall, all the leaves on the castle grounds burst in color! I think it may be the most beautiful time to go, even though I've only been there once so far...
After walking around the grounds, you will enter the castle to see Queen Mary's dollhouse. You may think "oh, it's just a dollhouse", but in reality, it will probably be the coolest dollhouse you'll ever see. If it were life-size, it would be as grand as Windsor Castle itself - even the silverware in the dining room is made of real gold!!! But the next section of actual dolls and their clothing is a bit creepy...
Additionally, you will see what I thought was one of the largest collections of porcelain dishware in the world! Every single piece is hand-painted, and each set has a unique story behind it.
In the State Apartments, your jaw will probably be hanging open the entire time. The halls of gold, paintings and shields will blow you away, and each room will elicit a different feeling of glamour. In case you are a weapon aficionado, there is also a guard room that is filled with service weapons displayed in an artistic way. If I could live in a castle, this is the one I would want to live in.
Make sure you don't skip St. George's Chapel, which looks a bit more like a cathedral inside. There's a mirror placed in the middle to allow you to look closely at the buttresses without straining your neck (how thoughtful!).
Windsor Castle really is mind-blowingly gorgeous, and I can see why the Queen favors it as a residence. If you have time during your trip to London, make sure you take a day trip (or even 1/2 or 2/3 day trip to Windsor)!
- As you walk around, you get an audioguide (which comes with your ticket), which is pretty detailed, and you'll learn a ton about the castle and its history, including the fire that seems to have burned down about 1/3 of it in 1992.
- If you have additional questions, feel free to ask the people working at the castle - they are extremely friendly and know quite a bit!
- If you are planning to come back, make sure you get your ticket stamped so you get 1 year of free entry!
- If you are a student, tell them! There's a discount (although it's only like 1 pound...).
- To get to Windsor, the most efficient (and cheapest) way is to go by train (National Rail) from Paddington Station. 2-3 trains leave per hour (it will take you a total of 30-40 minutes to get there), and you need to do a very simple change at Slough. Just ask when you purchase your ticket, and they'll explain it to you.