Travelogue: Day 13 - Windsor Castle
We had an early 7:30 breakfast with a nice business man who has 350 million pounds of sales per year. Their biggest seller: a stand shaped like a nose that holds people's glasses. Go figure.
The video above gives you an idea of our breakfast and the wonderful St. Mary's Hall. Here is one I did of the rest of the house:
And here is our wonderful host, Joan with George:
Joan said she did not want us to go. So she must have liked us. It was a lovely time there. We left by 8 am and had an easy journey to Windsor Castle. We kept seeing that there was traffic congestion ahead, but we got off two exits before they said it was going to start. YAY!
We parked in the Alma Road (formerly Alexandra Gardens) Car Park and went through the train station up to the castle. We were about 20th in line for pre-paid tickets whereas the line for people who had not prepaid went around the block! I had purchased them at 6:30 that morning off of my iPhone and glad I did! When we actually go inside, the lines diverged, and we got into the fast track (maybe the people in front of us had not pre-paid and the line around the block was a line for groups, not sure). So, we ended up being third in line to get in. It was really quick as I just gave my confirmation number, and we were off!
It was virtually empty. The State Apartment did not open until 10 am so we sneaked inside the St. George Chapel for our customary quiet in a church at the start of our day (although we had already slept in a church the night before. HAHAHAHA). We were able to see King Henry VIII and Jane Seymour's graves (she was his favorite wife and died soon after child birth). We also saw mad King George's grave. It was a lovely church.
After this, we enjoyed the State Apartments of Windsor (skipped the doll house at Rick Steves' suggestion because there was no line for just the State Apartments)! We loved the Waterloo Room! Amazing. We asked the workers about what was damaged in the fire of 1992, and they had pictures of what it looked like. It is amazing that they could reconstruct this all so well.
Then, we came out of the State Apartments to watch the Changing of the Guard which is much more intimate than at Buckingham Palace:
They played the song by Tom Jones, "It's Not Unusual" and was lovely! So glad we came to Windsor.
We walked around a bit and went to the "Long Walk" for a great picture of the Palace from that perspective. Since the Queen was not in to have us for tea, we decided to have our own at the cute Clarence Tea Room off the beaten path and had a full tea (first of our time there):
It was funny because we could see the people in line through the alley way out of the restaurant, and we were really glad we got there early. It is a very popular place. Again, I recommend getting there early and buy your tickets ahead of time!
We got back to the Heathrow Lodge. We knew it was cheap but didn't realize it was a Hostel so it was a big change from St. Mary's Hall, but it was clean with a good firm bed, and you could not beat the price.
We dropped off our rental car at 1:26 (due 1:30), and they gave the car a clean bill of health. It was stressful to drive a rental in England. They held only 200 pounds on our card for damages and not the full value of the card that I had been led to believe they might possibly do. We got our deposit back, and we were sort of glad to not have to drive on the English roads again! The actual roads are really well paved, but those roundabout and smaller "B" roads are really stressful!
We walked back to the Heathrow Lodge and decided to just be chill for the whole afternoon. So, I journaled about the remaining days, and George read his book. After being on the go for thirteen days, it was nice to do so! We also repacked our luggage.
We went and ate at the pub next door, and their Steak and Ale Pie was really like the other one I had. The sauce and meat were good, but it wasn't in a pie crust. It just had a pie crust stuck on top! George had Indian food (that ended up making him sick the next day).
We fell asleep really early in preparation for our big travel day.