Touring Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle England December 2018

On May 6th, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex welcomed their son Archie safely into the world.

Were you as excited as I was?? I was convinced it was a boy (no proof or scientific method involved) and I’m happy to see that it was!

And because it all happened at Windsor Castle (at the couple’s new home there), this seems like the perfect excuse to share photos from our family trip there in December.

My mother, sister, and I has always wanted to see Windsor Castle but when we found out Meghan Markle’s wedding dress would be on display at an exhibition** on their wedding, we HAD to see it.

**NOTE: The exhibition sadly finished in February. I was lucky enough to see Kate Middleton’s wedding dress at Buckingham Palace in August 2011 and can testify that if you ever have an opportunity to see a royal wedding exhibition, they’re always worth the trip!

Windsor Castle England December 2018

So we hopped on a train out to Windsor, eager to see Meghan’s dress and St. George’s Chapel where they’d married, buying the wrong train ticket in the process… #tourists.

Windsor Castle England December 2018

Once we made it to Windsor things were very simple.

The town of Windsor itself is quite small, especially if you’re coming in from the hustle and bustle of London.

Windsor Castle England December 2018

And is dwarfed by the massive castle which was originally built in the 11th century making it the oldest inhabited castle IN. THE. WORLD.

Windsor Castle England December 2018

The walk to the castle from the train station is short but completely uphill so be prepared!

Windsor Castle England December 2018

Luckily there are plenty of lovely spots to see as you hike up.

Windsor Castle England December 2018

And, as you get closer, you can start seeing all the different buildings that make up Windsor Castle itself.

Windsor Castle England December 2018

Despite visiting in December, the weather could not have been more perfect for our visit: plenty of sun and warmth to combat the chill.

Windsor Castle England December 2018

And the light was magical.

Windsor Castle England December 2018

It was so beautiful walking up the hillside, watching the light dance on those medieval stones.

Windsor Castle England December 2018

And I’m always so grateful for any opportunities I have to travel with these two!

Windsor Castle England December 2018

As we walked we passed by many lovely little shops and pubs (one of which we visited later!).

Windsor Castle England December 2018

The architecture of Windsor is an older, English style and absolutely lovely to shoot.

Windsor Castle England December 2018

Especially when the light makes the buildings SING.

Windsor Castle England December 2018

*SINGING*

Windsor Castle England December 2018

We eventually made it up the hillside to the entrance, being greeted first by this statue of Queen Victoria who called Windsor home for much of her life.

Windsor Castle England December 2018

And the imposing facade of Windsor Castle.

Windsor Castle England December 2018

Which — despite many people telling me this — still shocked me with how large it was. You can clearly see which additions to the castle are newer vs. older and it’s interesting to see the change in architectural styles as you walk past.

Windsor Castle England December 2018

I highly recommend purchasing tickets for Windsor Castle in advance, especially if you’re going for a particular exhibit. We were able to walk up to the counter and grab out tickets right away without waiting in the massive queue, saving us a lot of time!

Windsor Castle England December 2018

Which we naturally used up shooting around the grounds.

Windsor Castle England December 2018

(Can we talk about the light at Windsor Castle that morning again? Because everywhere I turned was a postcard perfect photo waiting to be shot.)

Windsor Castle England December 2018

We entered through the main archway…

Windsor Castle England December 2018

And walked around the Round Tower of the lower ward towards the exhibit.

Windsor Castle England December 2018

Catching our first glimpses of St. George’s Chapel (where Meghan and Harry married almost one year ago exactly).

Windsor Castle England December 2018

And snapping plenty of photos for good measure.

Windsor Castle England December 2018

Once inside the castle you are not permitted to take photos.

Naturally I understand this and yet am frustrated by it at the same time.

On one hand, I am constantly frustrated with how people take photos when they travel — people are so inconsiderate! And I say that as someone who is constantly staging and planning photoshoots when I travel. When Hubby and I were on a helicopter tour in Alaska, the man next to me literally BLOCKED my entire view taking photos on his iPad. I couldn’t believe he used an iPad as a camera to begin with but our pilot told us that happened multiple times every week. And don’t get me started on selfie sticks. Or the bloggers who bring a ballgown to shoot “on location” in a palace. Or the ones that hold up a whole line of people for “the shot”. Trust me — I do not blame anyone for keeping certain places “photo free” if only so everyone is sure to enjoy themselves.

But the worst offenders have ruined the opportunities for everyone! Because the inside of Windsor Castle is MAGICAL.

And, as a professional photographer, NOT shooting that space just about killed me. There’s one ceiling in particular that I so badly wanted to lay on the floor to shoot.

So, again, it’s probably best they don’t allow photographs, seeing as I’ve just admitted I would lay on the ground just to shoot a ceiling. But the shot would’ve been worth it! And undoubtedly one of my favorites in my portfolio.

Just note that you cannot take photos inside so be sure to go on a day with good weather if you want to shoot the castle itself!

Now, back to our visit…

Windsor Castle England December 2018

The exhibit itself was nice, albeit sparse. Having seeing Kate Middleton’s wedding dress exhibit at Buckingham Palace in 2011, I expected this exhibit to mimic that one. But this exhibit was far more humble and low-key, just like Meghan and Harry themselves, so at least it felt appropriate.

Windsor Castle England December 2018

But the grounds themselves are absolutely stunning.

Windsor Castle England December 2018

And are worth the trip, even if you just plan on walking around.

Windsor Castle England December 2018

Or taking a selfie at the Round Tower!

Windsor Castle England December 2018

Since the Queen visits Windsor so often, you can always tell if she’s in residence by the flag flown above. If it’s the union jack, then she’s not in residence, if it’s the royal standard, then she is!

Windsor Castle England December 2018

After the exhibit we continued to wander the grounds,

Windsor Castle England December 2018

Which were incredibly photogenic, even in the middle of winter!

Windsor Castle England December 2018

And made our way down to St. George’s Chapel, where Harry and Meghan married last May.

Windsor Castle England December 2018

The detail work on the chapel itself was exceptional, especially in that magical morning light.

Windsor Castle England December 2018

You cannot take photos inside (surprise, surprise) but you CAN shoot outside to your heart’s content.

Windsor Castle England December 2018

So we did!

Windsor Castle England December 2018

I’m a sucker for older, gothic facades like this one and ran through half of my sd card shooting the chapel in just one hour.

Windsor Castle England December 2018

Can you blame me?

Windsor Castle England December 2018

The lighting… the architecture… the company… it was all perfect.

Windsor Castle England December 2018

But it was hard to get shots of St. George’s Chapel without swarms of crowds around, even first thing in the morning.

I would certainly recommend doing what we did and arriving as early as possible. By mid-morning the grounds were PACKED. On a Wednesday in December.

So plan accordingly!

Windsor Castle England December 2018

SHOP THE LOOK:

Coat – Vintage via Etsy (similar) || Sweater – French Connection || Jeans – c/o AG Jeans || Boots – Hush Puppies || Scarf – Old

Photos courtesy of my sister Emily

Certainly save some time to walk around inside the chapel. The stained glass windows are incredible from the inside, as are all of the graves and famous artifacts inside.

Windsor Castle England December 2018

Naturally after seeing the inside, we had to stop at the famous entrance to see the steps.

Windsor Castle England December 2018

All I could do was think of Harry and Meghan’s wedding day and how beautiful this facade was then.

Windsor Castle England December 2018

(My Meghan Markle moment pretending to ascend the steps to marry Prince Harry, all while conveniently hiding the “do not climb” sign in front… someday, they’ll let me climb them. I’m convinced!)

Windsor Castle England December 2018

But regardless of the fact that I was not climbing these steps in a bespoke wedding dress to marry a prince, the magic was not lost. The front of this chapel is truly breath-taking.

Windsor Castle England December 2018

AND frequently ignored by other tourists so it’s one of the only spots on the grounds you can have to yourself.

Windsor Castle England December 2018

Afterwards we continued to wander through the castle property.

Windsor Castle England December 2018

Past all the medieval stones.

Windsor Castle England December 2018

And through one of the side gates.

Windsor Castle England December 2018

And out for…

Duchess of Cambridge Windsor Castle England December 2018

LUNCH!

Duchess of Cambridge Pub Windsor Castle England December 2018

My sister and I had done our research on where to eat in Windsor and had agreed on the Duchess of Cambridge Pub partly because of the name and partly because of the great reviews.

Duchess of Cambridge Pub Windsor Castle England December 2018

Not only is this spot just across the street from Windsor Castle (convenient!) but it’s absolutely adorable inside too.

And the food is totally worth the trip!

Duchess of Cambridge Pub Windsor Castle England December 2018

Most pubs in London are run by the same companies, so the menus are almost always THE SAME.

Delicious to be sure. But the same. exact. dishes. EVERYWHERE.

Duchess of Cambridge Pub Windsor Castle England December 2018

The Duchess of Cambridge Pub menu was unique, offering quite a few dishes you can’t typically find in London pubs.

Starting with mulled wine…

Duchess of Cambridge Pub Windsor Castle England December 2018

and halloumi fries with spicy sauce.

Duchess of Cambridge Pub Windsor Castle England December 2018

For our meals, my Mother opted for a delicious steak and ale pie,

Duchess of Cambridge Pub Windsor Castle England December 2018

While my sister opted for the traditional fish and chips with cider.

Duchess of Cambridge Pub Windsor Castle England December 2018

Both of which were delicious but I was biased towards my fish pie which was creamy and filling — so perfect for a chilly, December day!

And not something you’ll find on a lot of pub menus, despite fish pie’s popularity in the U.K.

Duchess of Cambridge Pub Windsor Castle England December 2018

We finished off our meal with another novelty: our first treacle tart!

None of us had ever tried this traditional British dessert but now we’re smitten. Just be prepared for the amount of sweetness in this dessert — it’s a sugar bomb!

But in that delectable, sinful sort-of way!

Duchess of Cambridge Pub Windsor Castle England December 2018

Our trip to Windsor Castle is one I’ll cherish for years. And getting to see Meghan Markle’s wedding dress in person was just the icing on the [wedding] cake.

The next time you’re in London and looking for a lovely day trip, I highly recommend visiting Windsor Castle and stopping at the Duchess of Cambridge Pub for a snack after! It’s nice to leave the crowds of London behind and spend sometime in the Queen’s favorite residence.

Official Sed Bona Signature
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