While walking through the woods along a canal east of Windsor, I suddenly saw the contours of the castle I was heading for. Windsor Castle is an extensive castle, and its towers form a skyline in itself. Unfortunately, the path skirted the canal, but there was no way to cross. Even if there would have been, it would not have been possible since most of the grounds surrounding the castle are not open to the public. When I finally reached the castle, I saw that I was not the only one as long queues were waiting for a ticket. I entered Windsor Castle through one of the many gates, and after a short walk during which I saw the well kept gardens, I saw St. George Chapel slightly below me on the left. I also saw a crowd gathering right next to the Chapel, and I decided to have a look.
I happened to arrive at the changing of the guards. In true British tradition, this was done with a lot of ceremony and tradition, already visible in the uniforms of the soldiers and the musicians, but also in their movements, the shouts of the leaders, the formation in which they marched. I decided to leave the ceremony when it was almost over, and went into St. George Chapel. Construction of the Chapel started in 1475 and was completed fifty years later. This is the chapel of the most noble order of the Garter, the highest order of chivalry in Britain. Members include foreign monarchs and previous Prime Ministers. You will find ten monarchs buried in the chapel.
Windsor Castle has been home to the head of state for more than 900 years, and is the largest inhabited castle in the world. It is also the oldest one on continuous occupation. This is one of three residences of the Queen. The castle looks enormous from the outside, but actually quite simple in design. It is only when you step inside that you will see the wealth, in enormous halls, richly decorated walls and ceilings, many paintings by famous artists like Rubens and Van Dyck. There was a more than one hour queue for the doll house of Queen Mary, which I decided to skip. Instead, I decided to walk the Long Mile, a straight footpath running down the castle grounds, starting inside the castle area, going through a closed gate, from where visitors can walk it for a long, straight walk. As planes were in their final landing path for Heathrow, screaming jets low over the grounds of Windsor Castle, I realized that even the Queen must have some noise pollution in her royal residence.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Windsor Castle (United Kingdom). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Windsor Castle. Read more about this site.