Embark on a captivating journey through the heart of England, tracing the footsteps of royalty and immersing yourself in the rich tapestry of British history from Westminster Abbey to Windsor Castle. Let’s discover the wonders of Westminster Abbey to Windsor Castle, as we unravel the secrets and stories that have shaped the very essence of the British monarchy.
8 Popular Ways to Travel from Westminster Abbey to Windsor Castle
Westminster Abbey and Windsor Castle are situated 21 miles apart, with a road distance of 22.8 miles.
This immersive experience invites you to delve into the rich tapestry of British royalty, exploring the hallowed halls of Westminster Abbey and winding through the enchanting landscapes that connect these two historic landmarks.
Join us on a captivating journey through time, where each step unveils the grandeur and splendor of the royal heritage. And, below you can see 8 ways to travel from Westminster Abbey to Windsor Castle.
To seamlessly navigate between these two iconic landmarks, consider these eight convenient travel options:
The most popular and efficient mode of transportation, trains connect Westminster Station to Windsor Eton Central Station in under an hour. Sit back and relax as the British countryside whisks by your window.
2. River Cruise
Combine your journey with a picturesque sightseeing experience by opting for a leisurely Thames River cruise. Enjoy panoramic views of London’s landmarks as you glide towards Windsor. Popular cruise operators include City Cruises, French Brothers Boat Tour, and Salter Brothers Cruise.
3. Guided Tour
Immerse yourself in the historical context of your journey by joining a guided tour. These comprehensive excursions often include transportation, commentary from expert guides, and skip-the-line access to Windsor Castle. Look for half-day and full-day tours from operators like Evan Evans, Golden Tours, and Premium Tours.
4. Hop-On Hop-Off Bus
For a flexible and convenient option, consider a hop-on hop-off bus tour. These double-decker buses allow you to explore London’s attractions at your own pace, including Westminster Abbey and Windsor Castle. Key operators include Big Bus Tours, Golden Tours, The Original Tour.
Coach tours offer a cost-effective and comfortable way to travel between Westminster Abbey and Windsor Castle. Enjoy the convenience of direct transportation and knowledgeable commentary from your guide. Recommended coach tour companies include Anderson Tours, International Friends, and Premium Tours.
6. Taxi or Uber
For a personalized and hassle-free experience, consider hiring a taxi or Uber. This option provides direct door-to-door service and allows you to customize your itinerary. Simply book a ride through apps like Gett, FREE NOW, and Bolt.
7. Private Car
If you prefer the freedom of self-driving, renting a private car is a convenient choice. Enjoy the flexibility to explore at your own pace and make stops along the way. Look for rental options from companies like Enterprise, Hertz, Avis, and Europcar.
For a more active and eco-friendly option, consider cycling from Westminster Abbey to Windsor Castle. This mostly flat, picturesque route offers scenic views of the countryside and provides a unique way to experience the English landscape.
Westminster Abbey: Unveiling the Grandeur of a Historic Landmark
Before embarking on your journey from Westminster Abbey to Windsor Castle, take time to explore the magnificence of Westminster Abbey, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a symbol of British heritage. This awe-inspiring Gothic structure has witnessed the coronations of monarchs, the solemn remembrance of heroes, and the celebration of royal weddings.
A Medieval Architectural Masterpiece
As you step through the abbey’s grand portals, let your gaze wander upon the intricate vaulted ceilings, the ornately carved stonework, and the stained-glass windows that bathe the interior in a kaleidoscope of colors. Though construction began in the 11th century, the present church was built in the 13th century in the Gothic style, reflecting the medieval architectural aesthetic of the time.
The Coronation Chair
Within the abbey’s hallowed halls, stand before the Coronation Chair, a throne upon which British monarchs have been crowned since the 14th century. Its ancient stone seat was the Stone of Destiny, said to have been used for coronations since biblical times. Contemplate the weight of history that has unfolded upon this venerated seat.
Pay tribute to literary giants in Poet’s Corner, where the likes of Geoffrey Chaucer, Charles Dickens, and William Blake are commemorated. Immerse yourself in the poetic legacy that resonates within these hallowed walls, surrounded by the tombs and memorials of some of Britain’s greatest writers.
Windsor Castle: Exploring the Enchanting Home of British Royalty
Your royal adventure continues at Windsor Castle, the official residence of the British monarch. This majestic fortress, nestled amidst idyllic parklands, has served as a royal sanctuary for over 900 years. Today, it stands as the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world, rich with over 1,000 years of history.
Royal Residence Since William the Conqueror
Windsor Castle was originally built in the 11th century by William the Conqueror, who chose the site for its strategic position overlooking the River Thames. Since then, it has been home to 40 monarchs, including Queen Elizabeth II. Every British sovereign since the 12th century has spent time dwelling behind the castle’s imposing walls.
Grand State Apartments
Enter the lavishly decorated Grand State Apartments, which house some of the most significant and magnificent rooms in the castle. Here you can find opulent staterooms, chambers, and galleries that give a glimpse into the splendid lifestyle of British royalty over the centuries.
St. George’s Chapel
Within the castle grounds lies the elegant Gothic St. George’s Chapel, where royal weddings and funerals have been conducted for centuries. Most recently, it hosted the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in 2018. Step inside to see the choir stalls installed by Henry VIII and the intricately carved walls and ceiling.
Buckingham Palace: A Glimpse into the Opulence of the Royal Residence
As the official London residence of the British monarch, Buckingham Palace provides a captivating look into the splendor and pageantry of the royal family. Though you cannot enter the lavish State Rooms without a ticketed tour, simply standing outside the palace reveals its grand facade and gives you a taste of its riches.
Changing of the Guard
Time your visit right to witness the ceremonial Changing of the Guard, held regularly outside Buckingham Palace. Clad in red tunics and bearskin hats, the soldiers participate in a carefully choreographed ritual accompanied by music from a military band. It’s a time-honored tradition not to be missed.
The Royal Mews
Get an up-close look at the royal family’s working horses and opulent carriages by visiting the Royal Mews. Highlights include the enormous Gold State Coach that has transported monarchs to their coronation for over 200 years. Walking through the Mews provides fascinating insight into equestrian life behind palace walls.
For a taste of the royal art collection, visit the Queen’s Gallery, which showcases rotating exhibitions of works from the Royal Collection. Pieces range from opulent old master paintings to exquisite porcelain wares to manuscripts from the royal archives. It’s a cultural treat for art lovers visiting London.
Unveiling the Differences between Windsor Castle and Kensington Palace: Two Palaces, Two Stories
Though both stand as iconic royal residences, Windsor Castle and Kensington Palace each tell a distinct story shaped by their contrasting histories and architectures:
Size and Location
Sprawling Windsor Castle is situated in the countryside village of Windsor, while Kensington Palace rests amid London’s bustling streets. At over 500,000 square feet, Windsor dwarfs Kensington in size and scale.
Kensington began as a country home for royalty, while fortified Windsor Castle was built for defensive purposes. Today, Kensington functions mostly as office and ceremonial spaces for royals, while Windsor remains an official residence of the Queen.
Windsor evokes medieval Gothic grandeur, from its towering battlements to its ornate interiors. Kensington combines classical Baroque and later Italianate elements, showcasing a lighter, more refined aesthetic.
Windsor Castle has centuries more history, housing 40 monarchs since William the Conqueror. In contrast, royalty only acquired Kensington in the 17th century, and it rose to prominence during the reign of William and Mary.
Both offer fascinating journeys into royal life, but Windsor remains the true jewel in the monarch’s crown as the oldest occupied royal palace.
Exploring Windsor Castle’s Public Areas: A Journey through History and Splendor
Beyond its regal State Apartments, Windsor Castle offers many historically rich public areas for visitors to discover. Though independently owned by the Queen, significant portions of the castle grounds and interiors are open for you to uncover centuries of royal heritage and culture.
Begin your explorations in the Lower Ward, home to the mighty Round Tower built by Henry II in the 12th century. Stroll along the Ward’s lively streets lined with souvenir shops and restaurants providing sustenance for visitors.
St. George’s Chapel
This exquisite 15th-century church is considered a pinnacle of medieval Gothic architecture. Step inside to admire the intricate stained-glass windows and elaborately carved choir stalls commissioned by Henry VIII. Don’t miss the chapel’s underground chamber housing tombs of monarchs including Henry VIII.
Venture through the Grand Hall and up the grand staircase to enter the luxurious State Apartments open to the public. Highlights include the stately Drawings Rooms, the portraits of the Royal Collection, and the Throne Room where monarchs are photographed with dignitaries.
St. George’s Hall
Feast your eyes upon this cavernous hall with colorful coats of arms adorning the walls. Used for state banquets, it offers a sense of the grand scale of royal receptions over the centuries.
For splendid 17th-century interiors, explore the Semi-State Rooms like the Garter Throne Room, home to the historic Knights of the Garter. Their ornate decoration hints at centuries of purpose and heritage.
Delving into the State Apartments of Windsor Castle: A Glimpse into Royal Life
The magnificent State Apartments give perhaps the best glimpse into the opulence and heritage of royalty who have occupied Windsor Castle. As you walk their gilded halls, imagine the monarchs and dignitaries who have gathered within these storied spaces throughout the centuries.
The Grand Reception Room
Step into the enormous Grand Reception Room, vividly painted with scenes from the Bible. Its display of trompe l’oeil painting, marble columns, and Ovidian imagery evoke the majestic tastes of King Charles II, who oversaw its decoration in 1677.
The State Dining Room
Fit for lavish royal banquets is the oak-paneled State Dining Room. Light floods through its lofty windows as you visualize the kings and queens who have shared memorable meals here surrounded by gleaming silverware and sparkling chandeliers.
The White Drawing Room
The richly ornamented White Drawing Room invites you to relax and imagine the conversations shared between royals over tea and cakes. Admire the room’s display of Italian Renaissance paintings and lyre-backed seating, which speak to the refined interiors favored by 19th-century monarchs.
St. George’s Chapel: A Majestic Sanctuary within Windsor Castle
Resting within the Lower Ward of Windsor Castle is the awe-inspiring St. George’s Chapel, England’s finest example of Gothic architecture. As you explore its grand interior and historic royal tombs, appreciate its significance as a place of worship for the Order of the Garter and a venue for royal weddings.
Splendor of the Nave
Enter the chapel and raise your eyes to the ornately carved stone vaulting of the ceiling. Bathed in celestial light from stained glass windows, the nave creates a majestic passage leading towards the intricately worked Quire.
The Quire’s exquisitely detailed carvings took over 70 years to complete, depicting biblical scenes, medieval monarchs, and the Order’s patron saint. Beneath your feet lie tombs of Henry VIII and Charles I, reminding you of the chapel’s long-held regal importance.
Descend into the royal tombs below the chapel to find the Royal Vault, final resting place of monarchs including George III and Henry VIII. Standing amidst the vaulted arches, reflect on the chapel’s unbroken line of royal burials spanning centuries.
The Long Walk: A Scenic Promenade Leading to Windsor Castle
For a refreshing walk towards Windsor Castle, journey along the tree-lined splendor of the Long Walk. Flanked by rows of stately elms, this 2.6-mile avenue provides picture-perfect views leading up to the castle.
Planting by Charles II
The straight promenade was laid out in the 1680s under the direction of King Charles II. He envisioned the lane as a ceremonial route between Windsor Castle and Windsor Great Park, eventually lined with elms.
Majestic Approach to Windsor
Strolling the Long Walk gives a taste of the majestic arrival monarchs made by carriage towards Windsor Castle over centuries. On special occasions, the walk still serves as the route for ceremonial processions.
Keep your eyes peeled for the diverse wildlife that calls the Long Walk home, from red kites circling overhead to deer grazing beneath the elms. The scenic habitat is also home to hedgehogs, woodpeckers, squirrels and other charming creatures.
Planning Your Visit to Windsor Castle: Essential Tips for a Memorable Experience
To make the most of your day visiting Windsor Castle, keep these planning tips in mind:
Book Tickets in Advance
Purchase your date-specific ticket online ahead of time to secure entry. You can select either a one-way tour of the magnificent State Apartments or a return “Windsor Castle with Gardens” ticket. Avoid the queues by printing your ticket at home or downloading it onto your mobile device.
Aim to arrive first thing in the morning right when the castle opens at 10 AM. The earlier you reach the castle, the more you can see before crowds accumulate. Popular highlights like the State Apartments can become quite congested.
Adhere to Windsor Castle’s formal dress code by avoiding shorts, ripped jeans, or flip-flops. Photography and large bags are not permitted inside the apartments. Leave bigger items at nearby storage lockers to pick up later.
Consider purchasing a tour for access to a knowledgeable guide providing context to enhance your visit. Opt for private tours for a fully personalized experience tailored to your interests.
Photograph the Exterior
Don’t miss capturing iconic photos of Windsor’s imposing exterior along the Long Walk and from the Quadrangle. You can return later for photographs within the State Apartments.
From Westminster Abbey to Windsor Castle’s sprawling grandeur, a journey between these 2 landmarks offers an unforgettable dive into Britain’s living history and heritage. As you walk the halls of kings and queens, contemplate the stories etched in stone around you. Let Windsor’s majestic walls and Westminster’s poetic corners stir your imagination, whispering tales of rulers, artists, and heroes who colored the rich canvas of this nation’s past.