Travel Throwback #2: Windsor Castle

Thursday, 29 May 2014
Two weeks ago I shared a travel throwback from my first trip to London, England in 2004 to celebrate my sixteenth birthday. Located on the outskirts of London is Windsor Castle which you can travel to easily by rail from both Waterloo and Paddington station. The train ride takes anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour (depending on the train you get), making it the perfect day trip from London, which is precisely what my mom and I did.

Windsor Castle is Queen Elizabeth II's preferred weekend home and is often used for hosting state visits, as well as being a popular tourist attraction (when the Queen isn't in residence of course). However the original castle dates back to the 11th century after William the Conqueror (whom I've currently been reading about in Stephen Clarke's 1000 Years of Annoying the French).

The Round Tower of Windsor Castle
Round Tower of Windsor Castle, England
Round Tower of Windsor Castle, England
The Round Tower of Windsor Castle

The current reigning monarch isn't the only one to use Windsor Castle as one of her official royal residences. It has been occupied since the time of Henry I (1068-1135) making it the longest occupied castle in Europe! Famous residents include Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, the mad King George III, and Victoria.

During World War II, Windsor Castle served as the refuge of the royal family, perhaps explaining the Queen's attachment to the place.

Archway of Windsor Castle, England
Guards Polo Club in Windsor Great Park
Guards Polo Club in Windsor Great Park

The Guards Polo Club located in Windsor Great Park has been associated with the royal family since it's formation in 1955. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh is president of the club and Queen Elizabeth II its patron.

Princes William and Harry have often played here. In fact the day before we visited, both princes had been in Windsor for a polo match. I was livid when I discovered we missed it by a day!

St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle
St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle
St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle

As well as being Queen Elizabeth II's place of worship while in residence at Windsor Castle, St. George's Chapel has been the site of many royal weddings. It was particularly popular during Queen Victoria's era, hosting the weddings of her children Prince Albert Edward (Edward VII), Princess Helena, Princess Louise, Prince Arthur and Prince Leopold. In more recent years, Prince Charles and  Camilla Parker Bowles received a blessing from the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2005.

Besides royal weddings, St. George's Chapel has been the site of many royal burials including Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville of The White Queen fame. Other famous royals who call St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle their final resting place include:
  • Jane Seymour (one of Henry VIII's six wives)
  • Henry VIII
  • George III
  • George VI
  • Princess Margaret
  • Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (The Queen Mother)

Windsor High Street
Windsor High Street

Besides the castle, the town of Windsor boasts a wide selection of shops ranging from gift shops around the castle to high street favourites like Marks & Spencer and Boots.

Windsor is worth a visit whether you're a tourist in London looking for a day out or living in England and looking for a weekend break!

Q: Have you ever been to Windsor Castle? What did you think?

Erin x

Travel Throwback #1: London

Thursday, 15 May 2014
After recently moving house I uncovered a box of my old photographs from my junior high and early high school years, undoubtably taken on a hundred or so Kodak disposable cameras. Included amongst the photographs of friends, Disneyland and parties was a series from my trip to London in the autumn of 2004.

Throwback Thursday Travel Edition London, England 2004

This particular trip was special for three reasons:

  1. It was to celebrate my sweet sixteen
  2. It was my first trip to England. 
  3. It cemented me as an anglophile forever. 

Here are some of the gems I found starting with a jet-lagged sixteen-year-old me at our hotel, The Rubens At The Palace...

The Rubens At The Palace in London, England
The Rubens At The Palace in London, England

Funny story, we originally were in just a normal room but the toliet decided to turn into a fountain and we were promptly upgraded to the beautiful Clarence Suite.

Buckingham Palace in London, England
St. James' Park with view of Big Ben in London, England

I love the Autumnal colours in this photograph of St. James' Park. If you look closely you can see Big Ben in the background.

Big Ben and the London Eye (Millennium Wheel) in London, England
Tower Guard at Tower of London in London, England
Tower of London in London, England
Ravens of the Tower of London in London, England
"If the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it."
Houses of Parliament and Big Ben in London, England
Big Ben in London, EnglandHarry Potter's Platform 9 and 3/4 at King's Cross Station in London, England

For a Harry Potter fan, no trip to London would be complete without a trip to Platform 9 and 3/4 at King's Cross station!

And finally... one of the most cliché tourist photographs in all the world - posing with a red telephone box. I'd like the think the double decker bus in the background makes it slightly different. Does any tourist visiting London not have a photograph with a red telephone box? I think not!

Red Telephone Box and Double Decker Bus in London, England

Q: Have you ever travelled somewhere that made a big impact on your life?

Erin x
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