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Windsor Castle

This 11th century castle, set in 5,000 acres of deer park, has been home to monarchs for 900 years and has 500 staff, 1,000 rooms and more gilt, velvet and Old Masters than you can shake a tiara at. If you saw last year’s TV drama The White Queen you’ll know there was a Queen Elizabeth before Elizabeth the First. Well, she’s buried in St George’s Chapel, along with 6 other queens and 11 kings. The castle once contained a siege catapult called Lady Gunhilda, which is thought to be the origin of the word ‘gun’. There are lots of state rooms and state apartments to visit, plus a special exhibition entitled Treasures from the Royal Archives, of which many are being displayed in public for the first time. There is also an astonishing doll’s house here, built by Britain’s premier architect Sir Edwin Lutyens as a present for Queen Mary. It’s a 4 storey Edwardian mansion, beautifully furnished, with electric chandeliers, lifts, running water and flushable toilets, a secret garden, a wine cellar with genuine vintages, real oil paintings and a library with 200 printed volumes specially written for it by Hardy, Kipling, JM Barrie, Somerset Maugham and Conan Doyle (not all artists were enthusiastic about this project - Bernard Shaw and Sir Edward Elgar both rebelliously refused to contribute volumes for ‘such nonsense’).

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