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Windsor Castle: a ‘must-see’ in England

    By Taylor Lopez. October 13, 2013 - 6:15 pm

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After a week of settling in, my parents and I were able to finally play tourist and take a trip to Windsor Castle, the oldest inhabited castle in England, which was built in 1086.

It was approximately an hour and half away from my school by car.

Driving there was an experience in itself because unlike the United States they drive on the left side of the road and have the steering wheel on the right side of the car.

Windsor Castle is in Berkshire County in the town of Windsor. From the freeway signs it appears that Windsor Castle is not far from the exit but we learned otherwise when we had to journey down a road that ran through a forest similar to that in a Robin Hood movie.

It took another hour to find it because the signs kept taking us to Legoland.

We were lucky enough to have good weather (around 60°F) but with little to no wind.

Since the weather was clear we could see the castle from all angles of the town.

Unfortunately, like most tourist attractions, we had to stand in line that rounded the corner of the castle wall for nearly 30 minutes.

The inside of the castle was open with multiple gates that led to other sections of the castle, but there were certain parts that were blocked off because they were under construction.

If you ever plan on visiting give yourself two or three hours to view the grounds because there is much to see including the garden moat, the state apartments, Queen Mary’s Dollhouse, the tower, St. Georges Chapel and a view that overlooks the town.

We first strolled through the garden that was originally a moat.

On the opposite side of the moat was a stone wall four-meters thick with inverted triangles with crosses in the middle of them.

They were spread out along the wall so guards could shoot arrows through them without getting hit by their enemies.

This Castle was also built on a hillside for optimal strategic outlook and placement.

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In medieval times, it was used as a fortress because the guards could see out into the fields for miles, making it easy to see any oncoming threats.

From the edge of the wall we could see out and onto the town below. From there we ventured to the state apartments and Queen Mary’s Dollhouse.

The inside of the castle had intricate wall and ceiling décor, painted with gold leaves because gold was too heavy to use as building material.

At the entrance we were given free audio tours and were able to listen at numbered stations in each of the rooms.

Some of the rooms are still used today in ceremonies and dinners, including the knighthood ceremony, while others have collections of art and armory collections from different wars.

People who are more adventurous (and less lazy then myself) have the option to “conquer the tower” – a challenge that includes walking up 200 steps to the top of the tower residing in the center of the castle.

Originally this tower was a retreat point because there was a well filled with water in the center of it, in case they were ever overrun.

If you conquer the tower, you can see the view that overlooks the castle and the town.

Near the end of the tour we had ice cream that was made on the grounds of the castle from their cows’ milk.

They had three flavors: strawberry, chocolate and vanilla.

We also were able to take a picture with a famous foot guard and the very end of the tour.

Since we were hungry after walking for a couple hours we decided to go to a fancy McDonald’s.

In the UK, the menu is different and has healthier options.

The best part of all was that there were two foot guard statues in the center of the McDonald’s overlooking the customers.

 

Kalamalama staffer Taylor Lopez is studying and writing abroad in England this Fall semester.