Friday, April 12, 2013

K is for Kings, Queens, and Castles

Better late than never today...
One of our favorite places in England to visit and to take visiting guests was Windsor Castle. It was about a 20 minute drive from our house and the perfect day outing. The castle is set in the middle of a perfectly normal English town. You walk up a hill and pass by Boots and H&M and tons of other shops and restaurants and all the time, looming up ahead is the most impressive castle!
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It was built in 1070 by William the Conqueror and this massive fortress is still the oldest, continuously inhabited royal residence in England. The Queen stays there most weekends and in the summer season. You can always tell when she is home because they fly the Royal Standard-not to be confused with the Union Jack. 

My family has been so many times we could probably give the tour. The above picture was our Christmas card from our first Christmas overseas. I tried to convince people that everyone in England lives in a castle and that this was ours...if only. I'd happily move in to the historic state apartments, enjoy my meals in the great dining room, and spend my time staring at up at the ceiling in St. George's hall (below).
One of my other favorite parts of visiting Windsor castle is seeing Queen Mary's dollhouse. It is over 3 ft tall and decorated with 1/12 replicas of actual items from Windsor. Famous authors like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle contributed stories to fill the miniature books in the doll's library. Plus it has electricity, and working plumbing.

(Standing in front of the South Wing above was the last time I was taller than my younger sister.)

Outside the castle, the town of Windsor is a really fun place to go shopping and it has really cute cobble stone streets and adorable restaurants like the Crooked Tea House. Plus the grounds surrounding Windsor Castle are equally beautiful. The Great Walk in particular is one of my favorite places to view the castle from or to take the dog for a stroll with a picnic.
You truly feel like you get to see so much of this humongous castle when you visit. But as you're walking through you start notice doors hidden in the paneled walls and staircases that twist up to places out of sight and you just know there are some good places to play hide and seek. Man do I just want to hop the velvet rope and explore, and get lost...and maybe stumble across Prince Harry and have him offer to show me around...

4 comments :

  1. I've never been to Windsor castle before. I'd love to visit! One of my friends lived outside of London for 6 months and tried to take a trip every week while her husband was working. She loved walking the grounds. :)

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  2. This is what i picture when i think of England. I would have loved to visit!

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  3. We didn't go to Windsor Castle when we were there last year, but definitely next time!

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  4. My friend grew up in Royal Windsor, and so got married in the church next door to the castle, had her pictures taken on the Great Walk, and reception at a cricket club (?) in the grounds of the park, where in the hall you could see the sign of 'GR' for King George above the stage. Almost everyone in Windsor has a royal family story!

    Windsor Castle is also where King George, Queen Elizabeth and their daughters (one now being current Queen!) lived most of the time during WW2. They refused to leave the country despite urgings to move to Canada - or at least for the children to go there.

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