I’m sure I have written a variation of this before in this space, but the absolute best travel days are the ones that take you by surprise with just how wonderful they are. For me, my trip to Windsor was one of those days. I don’t know what I expected going into that day, but Windsor exceeded all expectations: the town was lovely, the weather was perfect, and the castle was simply stunning.
I took the train from London (an hour long, super easy trip from Waterloo station) and arrived in Windsor to the bluest of skies. Yes, it was early January and therefore super chilly, but it was also so beautiful! As I wandered the grounds, I couldn’t help but smile at how lovely the castle looked against the sunny winter sky.
After picking up my audioguide, I made my way into the castle itself. Sadly, no photos are allowed inside – a shame, because the interior is as gorgeous as you would expect. The first part of the castle I visited was Queen Mary’s dollhouse. The dollhouse is the size of small room and is incredibly detailed. Each room is filled with intricate miniature pieces, all accurate down to the smallest detail. The tiny plates on the dining room table are even made with solid silver! Another thing I noticed? The maid’s room was actually quite nice. It looked more spacious than my current bedroom in NYC!
Next, it was on to the state apartments. The first room you hit on the tour is the china room and, suffice it to say, the royal china collection is breathtaking. There are thousands of priceless pieces, and each china set is exquisite. The Rockingham dessert set is the star of the show, with stems made of pineapples and plates covered in flowers. The set was so costly to make that it subsequently bankrupted its creators. Ooops!
As for the state rooms themselves, they too were marvelous. As I walked up the grand staircase, I was literally grinning ear to ear, cheesy though it may be to admit. The staircase was draped in beautiful Christmas garlands, and with its grand high ceiling and chandeliers, it was a real wow moment. Each apartment after that was just as incredible. It felt almost like Versailles to me, in terms of the quality of the treasures, but with one key difference: I could actually breathe and take time to appreciate everything without being trampled by tourists.
After exiting the castle, I headed downhill to St. George’s Chapel. The chapel has been home to many royal weddings and burials, and it’s just as fabulous as the palace (and, like the palace, prohibits all photos inside). I was in awe of the super high ceilings. What a treasure.
Before exiting the castle grounds, I hit the gift shop and stocked up on an absurd amount of corgi-themed merchandise. The royal marketing department really knows how to get me. Laden with corgi ornaments and stuffed animals, I wandered through town for a bit – Windsor itself is super cute – before hopping back on the train to London.
The Bottom Line: I’m so glad I made the effort to get out of London and see Windsor. If you’re a fan of royal regalia generally (or if you’ve been binging The Crown lately), it’s a must-see.