Windsor SL4 1NJ
Windsor’s greatest attraction is an imposing, impressive and historically fascinating millennium-old vault for the nation’s past, yet still a working building, home to hundreds of staff and, more often than not, The Queen.
A self-guided tour takes 2–3 hours, and begins with a short walk up Castle Hill and through the massive outer defences into the Middle Ward, where a tranquil ornamental garden fills the Round Tower’s old moat. From here you skirt along the North Terrace (great views down over Windsor) to visit the ingenious 1920s Queen Mary’s Dolls House (complete with 5-inch working vacuum cleaner), and then enter the dazzlingly ornate State Apartments. These grand staircases and no-expense-spared chambers really do feel like the inner sanctum of Empire, decked out with mounted suits of armour, solid gold tiger’s heads and masterpieces by Breughel, Holbein, Canaletto, Van Dyck and many more.
After gorging on this finery, a visit to the lofty, serene St George’s Chapel feels like a detox. If you plan ahead, you can attend evensong or a concert here – a magical experience.