For tourists to London with any interest in the British royal family, there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t pay a visit to Windsor Castle, just beyond London city limits. Make no mistake, there’s countless things to do in London, but visiting Windsor Castle is bound to be a highlight of your trip if you enjoy royal extravagance.
The important thing to understand about adding Windsor Castle to your itinerary is that planning your visit ahead of time will definitely make the experience easier. Knowing how to get to the castle, when it’s best to go, and how tickets work will help prevent any hiccups that could ruin an otherwise fantastic experience. We’ve put together this detailed guide on how to buy tickets to Windsor Castle to make organizing your visit a breeze.
Quick Answer – How to Buy Tickets to Windsor Castle: Unless you like spending your vacation waiting in long lines, we highly recommended you book your admission ticket to Windsor Castle in advance here.
Best Ways to Get Tickets to Windsor Castle
If you’re wondering where to buy tickets for Windsor Castle, then don’t worry as we’re about to show you. Not only will we explain the different places you can get your Windsor Castle tickets, we’ll identify the pros and cons for each of the options. That way you can make the right decision for how you’d prefer to visit and know exactly what you’ll be getting.
1. Line Up in Person (Not Possible)
The bad news for people looking to leave buying tickets to Windsor Castle to the last minute is that you can no longer buy tickets in person when you arrive. Much like other royal sites around London, such as Buckingham Palace, the system for organizing tickets at the castle was changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to maintain social distancing among visitors.
2. Book Online (Recommended)
Fortunately for tourists, it’s quite easy to book tickets to Windsor Castle online before you visit. Even if it were possible to get tickets on arrival, we’d still recommend booking them online as it gives you peace of mind knowing you have your tickets sorted and allows you to plan your day around your visit.
Because all tickets must be booked online, there isn’t really such a thing as skip-the-line tickets for Windsor Castle. But since visits are now organized into scheduled time slots, visitors should find the lines at the entrance relatively quick and painless. Tickets can even be booked online the same day you want to visit, so last-minute visits are still possible with this system.
Tourists can book their tickets online through the official website of Windsor Castle. The only downside to that approach is that these tickets are nonrefundable, which can be a problem if your plans change. Should you want the peace of mind of being able to cancel up to 24 hours in advance and receive a full refund, we recommend booking through this link for basically the same price.
3. Book a Guided Tour
Visitors looking to get a guided tour of Windsor Castle may be disappointed to learn that there are actually limited options available. Tours can only be booked through the official website, on select days, and for private groups with a minimum of 15 guests. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these private tours are currently on hold and will recommence on August 1, 2022.
4. Book a Day Tour
A great way to make the most of your day touring Windsor Castle is to do it with a day trip from London. By booking a day tour, you no longer need to worry about working out transport to get to the castle and you also are able to fill the rest of your day with other attractions worth seeing.
The most common day tours to Windsor Castle combine a visit to the castle with a visit to Stonehenge, plus one other attraction. It’s for that reason that we recommend looking at the itineraries for both the Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Oxford tour and the Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Bath tour to see which one you prefer.
5. Purchase a Tourist Pass
If you are planning to do lots of sightseeing when you visit London, you may want to consider investing in a London Pass. Much like tourist passes found around the world, this city pass helps you save money by including entry to a huge selection of attractions at a lower price than you’d pay for each individually. You’ll not only get Windsor Castle tickets included in your pass but also tickets for other great attractions around London, including the Tower of London, the Shard, and Westminster Abbey, plus a day’s travel on the Hop-on Hop-off Bus.
Useful Information for Visiting Windsor Castle
What’s the Best Time to Visit Windsor Castle?
Since Windsor Castle is such a popular tourist attraction in England, it makes sense that there are certain times it is busier. If you know the best times to go and which times to avoid, it allows you to better plan your visit if you’d prefer a quieter experience.
Interestingly, the busiest time to visit the castle is actually first thing in the morning, which normally is one of the best times to go to popular tourist attractions. The problem with arriving first thing at Windsor Castle is that many day trip tours start their itinerary there so that their passengers can catch the Changing the Guard that occurs around 11:00. Instead, it is recommended to come just after 11:00 to start with the Changing the Guard and then visit inside afterwards. Alternatively, you might plan your visit for the afternoon if you don’t mind missing the guard’s ceremony.
If you have the flexibility in timing your visit to London and Windsor Castle, you’ll find the castle at its quietest on weekdays and during the winter months.
Windsor Castle Hours of Operation
Windsor Castle is open every day of the week except for Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Because the castle is a working royal residence, it is closed at certain times of the year and occasionally with short notice. For 2022, Windsor Castle is closed on April 14–15, June 12–13, and December 24–26, and will open late (at 13:00) on April 17 and close early (at 13:00) on April 24.
Opening hours for visits inside Windsor Castle operate on a summer/winter schedule. From March 1 to October 31, the castle is open from 10:00 to 17:15, with last entry at 16:00. From November 1 to February 28, the castle is open from 10:00 to 16:15, with last entry at 15:00. Last admission to the State Apartments is 30 minutes after last entry to the castle.
St. George’s Chapel has its own opening hours. It is open on Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10:00 to 16:15, with last entry at 16:00.
For 2022, the Semi-State Rooms will be closed from March 29 until sometime in autumn; they typically remain open until the following spring.
How to Get to Windsor Castle
Because Windsor Castle is actually located outside the city of London, it’s only natural that you may be uncertain how to get there. While the easiest way to reach the castle is by car, it is also possible to get there by public transport.
To reach Windsor Castle by train from London, you can either travel from Paddington Station to Slough and then connect to Windsor & Eton Central station, or travel from Waterloo Station to Windsor & Eton Riverside station. Both train stations are a very short walk from Windsor Castle, and the journey from London takes roughly an hour.
An alternative approach when coming from London is to take the Green Line 702 coach service from the Greenline Coach Station at Victoria Station. Those looking to combine Windsor Castle with Hampton Court Palace will find that there’s a shuttle bus service operated by Surbiton Coaches between the two from spring to autumn.
How Do Windsor Castle Tickets Work?
The good news for tourists in England is that tickets to Windsor Castle are relatively straightforward. With one ticket, you can visit the different parts of the castle, from the State Apartments to Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House and St. George’s Chapel. But there are still some things worth knowing about Windsor Castle tickets to make sure everything goes smoothly.
When booking tickets online, you’ll need to select a 30 minute window for the time you’d like to start your visit. While it’s possible to book tickets the same day you wish to visit, it’s generally recommended to book at least 24 hours in advance to ensure tickets are still available, especially as capacity numbers have been reduced due to COVID-19 measures.
Once you have purchased your tickets, it’s best to print them off and bring them with you. It is also possible to collect your tickets from the on-site ticket office, but this will slow your visit down a little. Visitors are asked not to join the line at the entrance until the time on their ticket and can enter the castle up to 30 minutes after their scheduled entry.
How Much Do Tickets for Windsor Castle Cost?
The cost of tickets to Windsor Castle depends on two things, namely which day you visit and whether the State Apartments are open to the public on the day.
General admission tickets for adults cost £26.50 between Sunday and Friday, and £28.50 on Saturdays. The costs for youths aged 18 to 24 are £17.50 from Sunday to Friday and £18.50 on Saturdays, while the costs for those with a disability and children aged 5 to 17 are £14.50 from Sunday to Friday and £15.50 on Saturdays. Children under age five enter for free.
When the State Apartments are closed, the cost of entry to Windsor Castle is greatly reduced. Prices for adult tickets are £14.60 from Sunday to Friday and £15.60 on Saturdays. Tickets for youths cost £9.60 from Sunday to Friday, and £10.10 on Saturdays, while children’s tickets cost £8 from Sunday to Friday and £8.50 on Saturdays.
Families may also find that booking a family ticket is good value as it can save £22 off the price of individual tickets for a family of up to two adults and four children. Family tickets can only be booked through the official website.
Best Hotels for Windsor Castle
Typically, people will stay in London and just travel to Windsor Castle on the day they want to visit. Other places near the castle that you could stay in and travel from include Oxford and Reading, with both enjoying easy train connections to Windsor. However, it’s also possible to stay close to Windsor Castle if you’d prefer. We’ve assembled some of the best options to help you out.
Sir Christopher Wren Hotel is a perfect choice if you want an elegant setting for your visit to Windsor Castle. This four-star hotel is located by the river in Windsor and features traditional charm mixed with modern comforts, such as an award-winning restaurant and a spa.
A great choice for those seeking a combination of location, space, and value is the inviting three-star hotel Goswell House. A short walk from the castle, this hotel offers generous rooms, a continental breakfast, and all the usual amenities guests might need.
There isn’t a great supply of budget accommodation in the area. One of the best options is the AJ Lodge in Slough four kilometers (2.6 miles) from Windsor Castle. Rooms at this guesthouse come with breakfast and either shared or private bathrooms.
For more affordable accommodation, we recommend taking a look at this guide to the best hostels in London and taking public transport out on the day of your visit.
Ongoing Exhibitions at Windsor Castle
Throughout the year, Windsor Castle hosts a variety of events and special exhibitions that visitors may want to visit. Not all exhibitions and events held at Windsor Castle are automatically included in the regular tickets, so if you’re interested in a particular event, it’s best to check whether it requires a special ticket.
Special exhibitions taking place in 2022 are:
- A Jubilee Jamboree (April 9 to April 24, 2022)
- Platinum Jubilee: The Queen’s Coronation (July 7 to Sep 26, 2022)
Security Process at Windsor Castle
All visitors to Windsor Castle must go through an airport-style security check before entering the royal residence. As such, it’s worth knowing what the rules are to ensure it goes smoothly.
The security screening involves going through a metal detector and having belongings and bags scanned. Restricted items include large bags, backpacks, scooters, footballs, and sharp items like scissors and knives.
While pushchairs are permitted on the castle grounds, they need to be checked at the cloakroom for your visit inside. Backpacks and other unsuitable items can also be checked at the secure cloakroom.
Photography and filming for noncommercial purposes are only permitted on the castle grounds, not in the State Apartments or St. George’s Chapel.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, visitors are strongly encouraged to wear face masks when inside the castle.
Visiting Windsor Castle With a Disability
Windsor Castle has introduced measures to make the site more accessible for visitors with disabilities and mobility concerns. It is important to mention, though, that the castle is located at the top of a steep hill and that visits involve traveling significant distances. Visitors with a recognized disability are eligible for reduced price tickets, and one companion can visit with them free of charge.
Lift access to the State Apartments is available for visitors with mobility issues and manual wheelchairs, and rollators are available for loan should they be needed. Motorized wheelchairs and mobility scooters are permitted inside so long as they are compatible with the elevators.
The ticket desk and counters are equipped with induction loops to assist visitors with hearing impairments. Multimedia tours and a British sign language video tour are also available. For visitors with visual impairments, a descriptive audio tour is available. All registered assistance dogs are welcome throughout the castle, while other service animals are allowed on a case-by-case basis.
FAQ – Facts About Windsor Castle
What Is Windsor Castle?
Windsor Castle is an important royal residence for the English and, later, the British royal family.
When Was Windsor Castle Built?
Construction on Windsor Castle began around 1070 and took roughly 16 years to complete.
How Old Is Windsor Castle?
The castle has been renovated many times over the centuries, but its foundation is almost 1,000 years old.
Who Built Windsor Castle?
William the Conqueror began the project for the construction of Windsor Castle and chose its location.
Why Was Windsor Castle Built?
Windsor Castle was one of many defensive castles built outside of London, each a day’s march away so that they could be easily reached.
Where Is Windsor Castle Located?
Windsor Castle is located in the town of Windsor on the River Thames to the west of London, England.
You should now be well prepared to visit this fantastic castle and experience all it has to offer. Hopefully you see how important it is to work out how you’re going to get your tickets to Windsor Castle because some options definitely suit particular travelers more than others.