Posted by: mdmusingsie | March 10, 2015

Windsor – WOW

I guess I haven’t lived in Ireland long enough for the phrase ‘I went to London for the weekend’ to sound anything other than exotic.

A friend of mine had moved back to England to be near her family after she had her baby and I wanted to visit them so I took a long weekend and headed across the Irish Sea on my 50 minute flight to Heathrow. (Note: spent more time in the airport than the flight!)

So on a glorious sunny Saturday, we headed to Windsor Castle. I thought I’d been there before, having taken several trips to the UK over the decades, but if I had, I certainly would have remembered it. The complex is absolutely massive.

This is the entrance to use when you come to meet the Queen

This is the entrance to use when you come to meet the Queen

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View of the main entrance and state apartments from inner courtyard

View of the main entrance and state apartments from inner courtyard

Portcullis and murder holes

Portcullis and murder holes

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Round tower and moat garden

Round tower and moat garden

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By the way, this isn’t Ireland – keep off the grass!

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This is the place the Queen goes for the weekend (and special occasions). She wasn’t in residence this particular weekend but had been there the day before to confer honors on some of her subjects.

Windsor is also the place where the Queen hosts visiting dignitaries (other monarchs, presidents, etc.). It’s also the place you go to be knighted (or damseled, though that’s not technically a real word). The dining table that seats 160 makes King Arthur’s round version look like a pub table.

We toured the state apartments, gallery, dining area and also saw Queen Mary’s doll house (supposedly you aren’t supposed to take photos, but there were no signs and no one mentioned it until we had already seen the whole thing). Built in the early 1920’s it has hot and cold running water, electricity, a fully stocked (miniature) wine cellar, and a massive garage in addition to the completely furnished rooms. ()

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Can’t have too many Rolls Royces

Windsor_Doll1_sm Windsor_Doll4_sm

Begun around 1070, the castle has grown and morphed from a single fortress into a complex of massive buildings. The round(ish – actually more D shaped) tower at the center is where the original keep once stood. To the right are the royal apartments, state residence, and great hall equivalent. To the left is the chapel (and by chapel, I think they really mean cathedral, based on the size of the place), along with other apartments where members of the military are allowed to live out their days. There’s also a little Tudor-like village off to the side of the chapel which appeared to be residences. The chapel is home of the Order of the Garter – the oldest chivalric order in the world.

Windsor Chapel/Cathedral

Windsor Chapel/Cathedral

Tudor-like village beside the chapel

Tudor-like village beside the chapel

Not the cheapest place to visit (roughly £19 or $30), it is quite impressive and you can attend a guided tour free or get a headset which gives you more details about the different areas. You can re-use your ticket for as many visits as you want for a whole year, so that makes it a bit more palatable, assuming you live in at least some reasonable distance.

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