We visited in July and purchased our tickets online (note: you must choose the date of your visit when buying tickets online). We were able to skip the ticket line up which was great. We saw the last part of the changing of the guards, and even saw a lunch break changing of the guards up close. Crowds are much smaller than Buckingham Palace. The audio guides are informative and engaging for adults and kids alike (they have a specific audio guide for children with interesting stories). The highlight of the castle was the armour, large dining hall, knights’ shields and the chapel. It was a 30 minute train from Paddington Station with a change at Slough. Make sure you check the boards at Slough to get on the right train. On our way back to London, we mistakenly took a train from Slough to Reading instead of to Paddington.
Shopping was good at Windsor train station. Many of the same shops as London but less crowds.
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