Climb to the top of Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is of Queen Elizabeth II’s official London residences and she is often there when not staying at Buckingham Palace, and is the world’s largest and oldest occupied castle, having been a Royal residence for 900 years.

This August and September, visitors to Windsor Castle will be able to climb to the top of the castle’s world-famous Round Tower.

Conquer the Tower guided tours will take visitors to the height of 65 metres (215ft) above the River Thames, where they will be able to see the Castle and Windsor Great Park, the Thames Valley and the London skyline.

William the Conqueror established Windsor Castle in 1070–86 as one of a chain of fortifications around London. In 1170 Henry II replaced the Norman keep with the Round Tower. It was remodelled by George IV in the 1820s.

At the base of the tower is an external cannonade with 16 18th-century bronze guns mounted on cast-iron carriages. The flagpole at the top of the Round Tower was first raised in 1892 when workmen buried one shilling and five pence in pennies and ha’pennies beneath the pole. This was a naval tradition of ‘mast-stepping’, burying coins beneath the mast of a ship. It was believed that dead sailors could use the money to be rowed across the mythical River Styx into the underworld.

Every year the Queen takes up official residence in Windsor Castle for a month over Easter when she hosts occasional ‘dine and sleep’ events for guests, including politicians and public figures. The Queen is also in residence for a week in June, when she attends the service of the Order of the Garter and the Royal Ascot race meeting. The castle is also used by the Queen to host state visits from overseas monarchs and presidents.

Windsor Castle is open to the public daily 9.45am–5.15pm Mar–Oct, 9.45am–4.15pm Nov–Feb. The Conquer the Tower tour will run daily from 1 August to 30 September. It takes approximately 45 minutes and involves climbing 200 steps. Admission to the Castle and a Conquer the Tower tour costs £23 adults, £20.80 over-60s and students, £13.25 under-17s and £60 family ticket.

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