A Trip To Windsor
|View of Windsor Castle from the River Thames|
Despite pre-buying our tickets we still had to queue to collect the physical copies and our guidebook. Having done that we then snaked our way through security, having our bags checked and walking through metal detectors, and, despite my braces I failed to set off any alarms. After the very formal security checks we eventually entered into the actual grounds.
I started off by looking in St George's Chapel first, made quite famous by Prince Harry and Megan Markle's wedding about a year ago in June. It was considerably bigger than I had been expecting and from the outside was so beautiful especially with the sun shining on its warm, creamy bricks. Inside was no less lovely with some marvellous stained glass windows which provided flecks of colour across the diamond marble floor. Whilst the chapel itself was quite graceful and elegant, and as i walked through I was able to picture the different parts f the royal wedding, the history was also remarkable too. Buried in St George's Chapel are Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour, as well as the beheaded Charles I (after initially being given a traitors execution his intact body was laid to rest in a vault). Henry VII and Edward IV are buried in the chapel along with more recent monarchs including the Queen's father George VI and the Queen Mother. The chapel is really steeped in history- as it ought to be there having been a castle on the sight since William I's conquering of England in 1066.
|View of The Round Tower|
After the chapel I set off down the hill, the whole sight is on a slight incline, before realising I was about to miss the royal apartments so I retraced my steps and entered a somewhat unassuming door into the rich decor of the royal rooms. Unfortunately, due to considerable restoration works, some elements of the normal tourist route were blocked off and so what I saw was actually only a part of the whole complex. Nevertheless I thoroughly enjoyed the rooms which were opulently decorated. However the main thing that I noticed was the fine art hung on the walls. masters of the Northern European Renaissance such as Van Dyck and Cranach the Elder. There were some sublime paintings and I wish I could have stayed longer to look at them! The castle rooms are also steeped in history having been a royal residence since approximately the 12th century, however the castle was actually refurbished in 1992 following a devastating fire and so quite a number of the state and semi state rooms have been re-done to the standard and design pre-fire so it looks very new and sparkly indeed.
|St George's Chapel|
After finishing the castle rooms I popped out back in the grounds and had a look at the beautiful moat garden complete with little trickling fountain, as well as some of the original Tudor houses which are still lived in! I was able to take loads of photos of the castle and grounds from the outside but photography in the castle and chapel was strictly forbidden and my viewing and gasps of awe were punctuated by the cries of "No photograph please!". Despite the poor level of art reproductions in the gift shops me and my mum did snatch up a couple of jolly fridge magnets, so all was not lost!
I enjoyed Windsor. I thought the grounds were pretty and the architecture beautiful but when me and my family arrived we had expected there to be, well... more. For such a large footprint there wasn't a huge amount to see. On the other hand, a few of the rooms were closed off and the famous Queen Mary's Doll's House was also under restoration- a crying shame because it really is magnificent apparently- it's even got running water and electricity, all in miniature. I think it's certainly worth a visit, if nothing else but for the artwork but it doesn't require a whole day to look around.
After we had finished we wandered around Windsor the town which was so pretty and quaint with lots of hanging flower baskets and since it was such a lovely day we decided to sit outside in a cafe and have a cream tea. The cafe we chose was down a little cobble street and turned out to be situated in none other then Nell Gwyn, Charles II's mistress's, own house! The cream tea was delicious and most welcome and after basking in the sun for a little, we had another wander around, stopping in an impressive tartan shop before meandering back to the car and making our way home.
Have you guys been to Windsor or any other royal palaces? What did you think, let me know in the comments below!