Windsor Castle is one of the grandest royal residences in the UK. Today, it’s one of the Queen’s favourite homes. Even though it is still a functioning royal residence, it’s usually open to the public for tours. And trust us – you can spend all day exploring this spectacular abode and its 14,000 acres of surrounding greenspaces. Interesting Facts about Windsor Castle
You can discover over 1,000 years of history by visiting Windsor Castle, which boasts its own chapels, a library and rooms for its 150-strong staff. But what are some of the most interesting and lesser-known facts about Windsor Castle?
Windsor Castle is a fortress
Windsor Castle wasn’t just built to be a great place to live. It was strategically built to be an indestructible fortress. Given its long lifespan, it has certainly scored top marks for endurance so far. During its history, Windsor Castle has survived multiple attacks, including a two-month siege in the late 1200s during the Barons War. Keep your eyes peeled for the murder holes when visiting the Norman Gate archway. Attacking soldiers could be shot or bombarded with stones and boiling water through these windows.
It’s been a royal favourite for hundreds of years
Most people know that Windsor Castle is a hit with the Queen. But it’s been adored by monarchs throughout the past 1,000 years, including Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth I, and King George III, who famously took a lot of interest in the welfare of his nearby subjects.
Other monarchs have been more interested in sprucing up the house itself than paying attention to their neighbours. Henry VIII purportedly spent the equivalent of nearly £300 million on a revamp, and George IV later followed suit by spending over £800 million.
The castle served as inspiration for a royal name change
Up until WWI, our royal family’s surname was Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, which is a German dynasty. Suspecting that the British public might not be too fond of this surname at the outbreak of war with Germany, King George V decided to adopt the new name, Windsor, after our favourite royal residence, Windsor Castle.
Windsor Castle has seen its fair share of fires
Most buildings don’t survive a millennium without setting on fire once or twice, and Windsor Castle is no exception. It endured serious blazes in 1296 and 1853. However, the most damaging fire occurred in 1992, thought to have been caused by a spotlight setting a curtain alight. It took 15 hours, 200 firefighters and 1.5 million gallons of water to get the fire under control.
The royals used Windsor Castle as a safehouse during WWII
When Britain was being bombed during WWII, most people took refuge in underground shelters. The royals, however, chose Windsor Castle as their shelter throughout the bombing campaigns. It’s said that Hitler intended to make Windsor Castle his British home after conquering the island, making it the perfect place for the royals to hide out. Rumour has it that Elizabeth II and her sister Margaret would occasionally sleep in the old dungeon.
Interested in seeing this remarkable royal abode for yourself? Check out our Windsor Castle tours.