Windsor Castle, built by William the Conqueror in Berkshire County, is a worthy place to visit during a Europe tour. Since the reign of Henry I, it has been used as a residence by almost every English monarch. Its architecture combines features of the Victorian, Georgian and Gothic styles. The Thames river flows besides the complex, which occupies a total area of around 13 acres. Three sections namely the Upper, Lower and Middle Wards form the complex, and various structures are located in each section.
It is in the shape of a rectangle, with a high and protective wall encircling a central park and many structures. The George IV Gate and royal apartments are in the south while the Edward III Tower is in the southwest of it. Adjoining the area are the North and the East terraces, facing the river and gardens, respectively. The majority of the area in this sector is occupied by the state apartments. Cellars and service chambers are on the ground floor while the first floor is the main part. Also, on the lower level is a storage space, divided into 13 bays by pillars of brick and stone.
The walls of the Great Hall of Edward III are decorated with intricate French tapestries and resplendent gold leaves. Inside the White, Green and Crimson drawing rooms are trophies and gilded wooden-panels, which depict weapons and battle scenes. The Presence and Audience chambers of the queen and the dining room of the king are gilded and have paintings in floral patterns. A lantern lights the State Dining Room, which has an ornate staircase. The roof of the Saint George Hall is decorated with bright shields. Columns of oak, inside the Lantern Lobby, form a vaulted ceiling looking like a lily.
Middle and Lower Wards
In the centre of the castle is the Middle Ward, built on the top of an artificial hill. The 9 metres high Round Tower, built in the 12th century, stands in the middle. Inside the tower is a room housing the Royal Archives, which are records kept by the monarchs. Below the round tower is a statue of Charles II, riding a horse. The Norman Gatehouse to the east of this sector was constructed in the 14th century and is heavily vaulted and decorated with lion masks and fine carvings. Facing the river and to the west of the middle section is the Lower Ward. In the northern part of this sector is the Saint George Chapel, built in the Perpendicular style of English Gothic architecture. The pillars where they meet the ceiling are decorated with various flags. On the western face is a huge Victorian-era door and a staircase.
An outwards projecting window, constructed by Henry III, and a Victorian stained-glass window are on its eastern face. To the east is the Lady Chapel, constructed by Henry III, with marble, bronze and glass artworks. In the western part of the ward is the Horseshoe Cloister, where officials of the chapel live. The Curfew Tower housing dungeons and bells is behind the cloister. Travellers availing international tour packages and coming here can also walk or relax in the Home and Windsor Great Parks.