Windsor Castle, England: Walking around the royal grounds

The only glimpses of the Queen I got was on postcards, stamps and books in the gift shop.

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle

With the latest rumblings around the “virtual” water cooler about Michelle Obama’s hug with Queen Elizabeth breaking royal protocol, I thought I would share my last visit to one of the Queen’s stomping grounds, Windsor Castle.

My visit, unfortunately, was hug-less. In fact, the only glimpses of the Queen I got was on postcards, stamps and books in the gift shop. I did also get to tour the residence and about 30+ rooms in it, all intricately decorated, each with its own history.

There were several highlights of the tour after one got past the grandness of the castle itself.

Firstly, I spotted a royal ice cream truck on the grounds and thought it was the cutest thing. Unfortunately there was no driver and they were not serving ice cream. I have a weak spot for ice cream, especially if it is served from a royal ice cream truck, I am sure it would have been delicious.

Secondly, Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House. The official Windsor Castle website claims it to be the most famous dolls’ house and if you’ve seen it, you would agree this probably is no exaggeration. No cameras were allowed so if you want to see it, you will need to visit the Queen’s residence yourself. I also don’t think seeing it in photos would do it justice as part of the marvel is the miniature size of everything.

Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1924, every piece in the house was specially commissioned and made to to scale (12:1) Different pieces of furniture were created by the well-known designers of the time. All the plates are porcelain, and even the royal treasures are made of real gems and gold. However, the absolute astounding discovery was that all the mechanical and electrical equipment in the doll house actually works. When it was first created, you could actually flush a toilet. I was never one to find doll houses interesting, but I never had a doll house quite like Queen Mary’s.

Thirdly, the art collection on display was very impressive. There were several sketches by Leonardo Da Vinci.

Finally, just as I was about to leave, I passed by a guard that was standing in an area specifically so tourists could take photos with him. There was a bunch of tourists standing next to him and trying to make him laugh. If Clint was with me, I think we would have a fun time trying to do this as well. Unfortunately he wasn’t so I just took this photo of him.

Explore. Create. Live. Follow Stark Insider on Twitter and Facebook. Join our 9,000 subscribers who read SI on tablets and smartphones on Google Newsstand. Prefer video? Subscribe to 
Stark Insider on YouTube, the largest arts & travel channel in San Francisco.
Share with your friends










Submit
Previous articleThursday in Loreto
Next articleFriday in Loreto – End of the week? Not so….
Loni Stark
Loni Stark is a self-professed foodie, and adventure travel seeker, and yet is also passionate about technology’s impact on business and creativity. She's the host of our Stark Insider video features. It’s been said her laugh can be heard from San Jose all the way up to the Golden Gate Bridge. She makes no claims to super powers, although sushi is definitely her Kryptonite. Loni's story...
  • Bob Kopolow

    Loni,<br />
    Great report! What's different in the photo of the palace guard? Could it be the automatic assult rifle? I remember when they didn't need one…

  • Loni Kao Stark

    Hmmm… I thought it was a prop. I think the tourists that were at one point surrounding him making funny faces to see if he would laugh thought so too. <br />
    <br />
    Now that you brought it up Bob, don't think there would have been so much monkeying around.<br />
    <br />
    However, a gentleman dressed all in red with a big flurry black hat and a rifle seems so much less scary than a man in army camouflage gear bearing a rifle. <br />
    <br />
    Either way, next time I'll just tiptoe past…

  • Bob Kopolow

    Loni,
    Great report! What’s different in the photo of the palace guard? Could it be the automatic assult rifle? I remember when they didn’t need one…

    • Hmmm… I thought it was a prop. I think the tourists that were at one point surrounding him making funny faces to see if he would laugh thought so too.

      Now that you brought it up Bob, don’t think there would have been so much monkeying around.

      However, a gentleman dressed all in red with a big flurry black hat and a rifle seems so much less scary than a man in army camouflage gear bearing a rifle.

      Either way, next time I’ll just tiptoe past…

  • Bob Kopolow

    Loni,
    Great report! What’s different in the photo of the palace guard? Could it be the automatic assult rifle? I remember when they didn’t need one…

    • Hmmm… I thought it was a prop. I think the tourists that were at one point surrounding him making funny faces to see if he would laugh thought so too.

      Now that you brought it up Bob, don’t think there would have been so much monkeying around.

      However, a gentleman dressed all in red with a big flurry black hat and a rifle seems so much less scary than a man in army camouflage gear bearing a rifle.

      Either way, next time I’ll just tiptoe past…

      • Kate Bampton

        Loni,

        Always enjoy reading about your’s and Clint’s many and varied experiences. I just felt that I had to “chip-in” with my best Windsor Castle memory.

        In “another life” Cliff and I lived in a little village in Buckinghamshire, not too far from Windsor. June 1977 was the “Silver Jubilee of the Queen’s Accession to the Throne.”
        It was an excuse for a big party attended by all the members of the Royal Family in the grounds of Windsor Castle and purely on a whim Cliff and I decided to go. We were young, it was Saturday night and why not? We somehow fought our way through crowds of people along the Long Walk (three miles long, actually) to get right in front of the Royal Family. I could have practically touched Princess Anne. If I had been Michelle Obama I probably would have!
        It was a magical night, magnificent fireworks and enthusiastic company, a great memory.

        Kate Bampton
        FN 549

  • Al Graichen

    Boy, does this bring back memories. I hadn’t realized how long it’s been since I’ve been across the pond. It made me think back to my first trip over in 1970. I was trying to get a photo of Cantebury Cathedral without people. I was not paying attention to the commotion going on outside and had apparently missed a sign stating the Cathedral would be closed to the public earlier than normal.

    I go a couple of shots and just as I was lining up for yet another, two of the Queen’s Guard came up and unceramoniously walked me out. It turns out the Queen Mum was present to attend church and we tourist types were kindly requested to not be present.

    At least I got the photo….

  • Baja Barry

    I lived not far from Windsor in 1977. My Silicon Valley computer company was launching its European operation. I remember visiting Windsor with my boss as we searched for a suitable office. I’m glad we didn’t choose Windsor because of the tourist factor. We decided on a charming small town on the Thames, which on my last visit in 2002 had hardly changed at all. I don’t remember touring the Castle, but must have, as my daughter was 8 at the time. I do remember getting ice cream in Windsor and thinking it was not very good – strange what one remembers. My memory of the Silver Jubilee was of a major celebration in London. I know I’ve got photos somewhere.