The Great Kitchen Tour, Windsor Castle, Windsor, Berkshire
Take the Windsor Castle Kitchen Tour and you’ll be stepping into the oldest working kitchen in Britain. The castle’s Great Kitchen has been in constant use for over 750 years.
The Windsor Castle kitchen tour is only available for a couple of months in the summer and for a short period in winter. If you get the chance, it’s well worth doing to gain a unique behind-the-scenes view of a working castle kitchen. If not, tour the magnificent State Apartments and then go for Afternoon Tea in Windsor.The Foodie Travel Guide
- Take the Windsor Castle Kitchen Tour
- Visit the State Apartments
- Walk in Windsor Great Park
- Buy estate produce at the Windsor Farm Shop nearby
Tour The Great Kitchen at Windsor Castle
The Great Kitchen has been serving up dishes for royalty since the days of Edward III, around 1360. Many of the tables, workbenches and shelves still date back some two hundred years. Probably most striking is the display of ‘batterie de cuisine’ with the ciphers of George IV and Queen Victoria branded into the copper pans and kettles. The kitchen’s first gas range was brought in by Prince Albert in 1890. Visitors to the Geffrye Museum and the Museum of Brands, Packaging & Advertising, will be familiar with the new inventions that changed life in the Victorian kitchen. Nowadays, centuries-old utensils sit alongside cutting-edge appliances such as a giant mixer that can mix 250 eggs in one go.
See Where State Banquets Are Held
After you’ve seen the Great Kitchen, tour the State Apartments at Windsor Castle and you’ll see St. George’s Hall where the State Banquets are hosted. Each one requires six months of detailed planning. The dining table can seat 162 guests. It takes two days to lay, a task which is carried out with almost military precision using a ruler. With over 2000 pieces of silver gilt cutlery and 1000 glasses, washing up is also a military operation as each piece is washed by hand in a rubber sink. As you leave the Hall, take a sideways glance at Henry VIII’s suit of armour. He was clearly a portly man who enjoyed his food. You can find out more about his culinary tastes by visiting the kitchens at Hampton Court Palace.
See The Queen’s China
Don’t miss the China Museum in the State Apartments. It houses extracts from 10 of the 48 Porcelain dinner services often given as presents from visiting heads of state. Look out for the Rockingham service which was made in Yorkshire. It was first used at Queen Victoria’s coronation. Sadly, for the two brothers who owned the factory, it took so long to make that it bankrupted them.
Taste Royal Produce
Royal chefs source beef, pork, lamb and game from the Royal Estates, along with a wide-variety of home-grown fruits and vegetables. Windsor Home Park to the south of the Castle has a long history of food production. George III, ‘Farmer George’ enthusiastically promoted agriculture in the Park. Prince Albert helped design the hothouses that would supply the Household with exotic fruit for over 100 years. At the end of the nineteenth century, they produced over 239 pineapples and 400 melons in a single year. Today, you can buy royal produce from the Windsor Farm Shop nearby.
- You can buy souvenirs such as Buckingham Palace Champagne, bottles of Port, ‘God Save the Queen’ aprons, tea towels and tea caddies
- Visit the Savill Garden in Windsor Great Park and enjoy Afternoon Tea on the terrace
WHERE TO STAY NEAR WINDSOR
The Winning Post
An 18th-century pub with wonderful original features, a creative restaurant and leafy gardens.
Rooms from £84 a night.
The Castle Hotel
This 4-star luxury hotel is in the town centre, only 2 minutes’ walk from the main gate of Windsor Castle.
Rooms from £108 a night.
Unlike the royal corgis, I’m not allowed in the Castle but Assistance dogs are welcome. You can take me for a walk though in Windsor Great Park.