Windsor Castle :: England, Berkshire
The largest occupied palace in the world, Windsor Castle in Berkshire, England sits on land that has housed royalty since the 800s. Currently it is one of several places Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip call home, and on April 29th 2011, will be used as the venue for the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. This residence, fortress, and palace is a grand way to spend an afternoon in merry ol’ England. Covering 484,000 square feet, this massive castle boasts extravagant staterooms, an art gallery, a dollhouse replete with many remarkable antique treasures, a chapel, and vast gardens just begging to be explored. It is hard to see how the Queen spends only about six or seven weeks a year here when you see the splendors Windsor Castle has to offer.
St. George’s Chapel has played to host to many celebrated weddings (King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra among them) along with several funerals. Some of the notable royals entombed here are King Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth (aka The Queen Mother), and King George VI. Even without its fabled history, the grand gothic architecture is enough of a draw on its own. There are plenty of opportunities to pick up souvenirs and even little snacks at the end of your tour. Make sure you check ahead prior to your visit to see if the castle is open as the Queen does make unexpected stopovers effectively closing down the palace to tourists. Also, October to March will afford you the full castle tour (as major portions of the grounds are closed off during the summer months). A trip to Windsor Castle is both whimsical and romantic, capturing the breadth and depth of the truly amazing past of the English royal family.
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