From 1 December until 6 January, Windsor Castle will be transformed inside and out as the magnificent State Apartments and Castle precincts are dressed for the festive season.
Visitors will be treated to an array of decorations,from seasonal garlands lining the Grand Staircase to bedecked Christmas trees, including a Nordman Fir from the Windsor Great Park which will stand at six metres tall in St George’s Hall.
In the State Dining Room the table will be set with glittering silver-gilt, including items from the spectacular Grand Service commissioned by George IV and still used by The Queen and her guests at State Banquets today.
Evoking a sense of how the royal family celebrated Christmases past, the display also features a silver-gilt centrepiece designed by Prince Albert in 1842-3. Measuring nearly 80cm in height, it is decorated with sculptures of four of Queen Victoria and
Prince Albert’s favourite pets – Eos, the Prince’s devoted greyhound, the dachshund Waldmann, and the Highland terriers Cairnach and Islay. Queen Victoria and her family spent many Christmases at Windsor Castle, and are known to have popularised the tradition of Christmas trees in Britain.
On Saturday 6, Saturday 13 and Saturday 20 December, families can join a professional storyteller by the fireside in St George’s Hall. Listen to tales of glorious feasts, the arrival of the first Christmas trees at the Castle, horse-drawn sleigh rides and much more.
These sessions for families will run at 11:30, 13:30 and 14:30 and places will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. On Saturday 27 December, children can join a festive art workshop and make angel peg dolls, mini wreaths, Christmas cards and baubles to take home. All activities and materials are included in the standard admission price.
Exclusive Evening Tours
Exclusive Evening Tours will take place on selected dates in December, offering visitors a special opportunity to experience the festivity of Windsor Castle after daytime visiting hours. Led by expert guides, the tours take visitors ‘behind the ropes’ in the magnificent State Apartments, and conclude with a glass of champagne, a copy of the Official Souvenir Guide, and a 20% discount in the Royal Collection Trust shop.
Windsor Castle Shops
If you are in need of Christmas gift inspiration, Windsor Castle has several Royal Collection Trust shops within its precincts. From an embellished Queen Victoria Christmas tree decoration (£12.95), to a pair of glittering Swarovski Crystal Teardrop Earrings(£50.00), handmade chinaware, children’s toys and pyjamas, and homeware, the shops offer an array of ideas for presents for all the family.
Tickets and visitor information: www.royalcollection.org.uk or +44 (0)20 7766 7304.