Windsor Castle: 4 Things to Know Before You Go

By Kaitlyn Webster, ISA Marketing Associate

Missed the Royal Wedding? Here’s your chance to walk a mile in Meghan Markle’s shoes…

Windsor Castle

While Buckingham Palace may be the iconic London residence and administrative headquarters of the British royal family, its counterpart in Windsor is considered the primary residence of Her Majesty the Queen. Just recently, it was the location of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s historic wedding, which took place on May 19, 2018. If you’re studying abroad in London or Reading, you have the opportunity to join ISA on an excursion to Windsor, the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. Here are some helpful tips for making the most out of your day trip to Windsor.

Tip #1: Find Out Who’s Home

It’s no secret that Windsor Castle is the preferred weekend home of Queen Elizabeth II, so don’t be surprised if the Queen has chosen to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and is at the castle when you arrive. How will you know if she’s home? The best way is to check and see which flag is flying above the Round Tower. If the British Flag (the Union Jack) has been replaced by the Royal Standard (a red, yellow, and blue flag), then you know the Queen is “in residence.”

(Photo: Dayna Kurzrok)

Tip #2: Witness the Changing of the Guard

Like Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle has its own ceremony for the changing of the guard with all the pomp and circumstance you’d expect of the time-honored tradition. Tourists and locals will line High Street to watch the Regimental Band lead a parade of guards as they march to and from the castle grounds. The new guards will relieve the current regiment, which has been on active duty for 24 to 48 hours. Remember: These are not actors, but highly trained infantry soldiers who are there to perform ceremonial duties. This Instagram-worthy event takes place at 11 a.m., but be sure to get there early for a prime viewing spot.

Tip #3: Visit St. George’s Chapel

Didn’t get an invite to the royal wedding? Here’s your chance to follow in Meghan Markle’s footsteps as you enter St. George’s Chapel, the historic church located in Windsor Castle. Unlike Westminster Abbey, the wedding site of Prince William and Kate Middleton, St. George’s Chapel is much smaller, but it’s no less important to the British royal family. In fact, the church houses the royal tombs of 10 monarchs, including the infamous Henry VIII. It’s a must-see stop on your tour of Windsor Castle.

Tip #4: Explore Eton College

Just across the bridge from Windsor Castle is Eton College, one of the most prestigious boarding schools in the UK. Eton is the alma mater of many royals, including Prince Harry and William, as well as actors Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie. It’s a short walk to this iconic all-boys school from the castle via Windsor Bridge. On your way, check out some of the shops on High Street or maybe pop into a local teahouse for some afternoon tea. It’s the perfect end to your day at Windsor.

Click here to learn more about ISA’s study abroad programs in England.

Author: International Studies Abroad (ISA)

Since 1987, International Studies Abroad (ISA) has provided college students in the United States and Canada the opportunity to explore the world. ISA offers a wide variety of study abroad programs at accredited schools and universities in 73 program locations throughout the world.

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