Sunday, March 11, 2007

Off to Windsor to visit the Queen

Windsor Castle Entrance

Yesterday after a very lazy morning we decided enough is enough, its time to be tourists again especially since for the last week we have had the most lovely bright spring days. So we headed to Paddington Station and took a train out to Windsor.

Its only about 30 minutes out so it wasn't long cruising along before Windsor castle popped into view in the distance and the train practically drives up to the Queens front door.

Now there are no photos of the inside, as per usual you are not allowed to, but I do have a couple that I have from the following site..., to show how grand it is.

St Georges Hall & The Crimson Drawing Rooms

As soon as we arrived Mark said he'd be able to tell if the Queen was in, apparently she is there if the flag with her coat of arms is flying, and it was. Normally when she is not there the Union Jack is flying.

Windsor is quite a posh, quaint little town with the castle in the centre. It's noisy though as it is quite near Heathrow and planes fly over every few minutes - we now know why the queen wouldn't be too concerned about not being able to sit in the pretty gardens, complete with a waterfall, around the Round Tower. The Round Tower Gardens (note the plane)

It's the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world and has been occupied for around 1,000 years, but by various rulers starting with Sir William the Conqueror back in 1070.

We first visited the St George Chapel (the patron saint of the Order of the Garter), an amazing example of medieval architecture. It is the resting place of Ten British monarchs (including Henry VIII, Charles I, George VI). Princess Margaret's ashes are interred there too with her parents, so The Queen Mother.

Before we entered the state rooms, we went through to see Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, which is massive and takes up a room larger than my current living space, it has electric lights, cars and even a mini Hoover.
You then enter the State rooms via a Grand Vestibule, with treasures from then ancient lands, including a large golden tiger with crystal teeth. There is a grand hall dedicated to those who knew and fought Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 and another hall, called St Georges hall, where the Queen holds grand dinners. It is massive and the dining table for 160 people is set using a ruler to ensure its all perfect, it apparently looks awful if even a spoon is out of place!

We were lucky to have visited when the semi-state rooms were open (see the little pic of the Crimson drawing room above). These are closed for part of the year, at Easter time, as the Queen has guests to stay in these rooms. The occasions when the guests stay are known as "eat and sleeps" as they have dinner, stay over and leave following breakfast the next morning. It's good to see the Queen is against drink driving....

The castle was well worth the visit as its extremely well maintained and is fully restored to as it was in the 1700's.

It was good to finally get out and about again, and next weekend we hope to go away to the countryside...
Mark at Windsor
View to inside the Stateroom gardens

The Windsor Castle Mail box!

Lisa at Windsor
Residences of palace staff, with the Round Tower in the background.

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