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A suburban town to the west of London with a world famous Royal Castle

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Just a short distance to the west of central London lies a suburban town called Windsor. Its houses are some of the most expensive in the country, and they're often inhabited by world-famous celebrities like the actor Michael Caine, or Led Zeppelin's guitarist, Jimmy Page.
The settlement originally sprung up four kilometres to the south, back in ancient civilisation. All sorts of primitive tools and artefacts have been found, such as hand axes, and rudimentary swords. When the town eventually moved to its current location, it was for one reason: the castle.
This huge building spreads out over nearly 45,000 square metres, and so it is officially the largest inhabited castle in the world. Its current residents are even more well-known than the neighbours - as this is one of the homes of the Queen of England, and her family.
It was originally built at the command of William the Conqueror, shortly after his triumph at the Battle of Hastings, and it wasn't long before the Royal family moved in. The castle quickly grew in importance, hosting various official events and functions, including King Henry I's second marriage. In the following years, it was the scene of near-constant building work, as each new monarch wanted to add more and more to his residence. The huge scale of the construction required a steady stream of skilled craftsmen, who set up their homes around the castle. Windsor became an affluent area, full of rich goldsmiths, stonemasons, and other specialists.
Of course, the work couldn't go on forever and, after several centuries, its finish was eventually agreed. Through the entire construction period, it always hosted dozens of residents, making it the oldest continuously-inhabited castle in the world.
Ever since the Middle Ages, Windsor castle has been the scene of a constant flow of tourists, who come to gaze at one of the most impressive buildings in the country, and Europe. In fact, they don't have to be content with just looking, as several areas of the castle are open to the public, including St. George's Chapel - which houses the remains of Henry VIII - and the state apartments, which displays famous artworks from masters such as Rembrandt. Another popular sight is the traditional "changing of the guard", at around 11am most mornings.
Over the years, the town of Windsor itself has also become a popular destination, featuring old streets, filled with dozens of interesting, high-quality shops. Many of these boutiques are specialist or independent, lending the town a unique atmosphere. Visitors are also frequently found in one of the many restaurants and pubs, which range from merely good, to absolutely spectacular.
But of course, Windsor Castle remains the reason to visit, and it's as breath-taking a sight as anyone could wish for. Just remember to keep an eye on the royal standard, on top of the central tower. It's only ever raised when the Queen herself is inside the building.
Visitor Information
Windsor Castle is open daily, 9:45am to 5:15pm (4:15pm in winter). Entry costs around £8.50 for adults, £5.50 children. Windsor Castle, Windsor, SL4 1NJ. Tel: 020 7766 7300

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