Windsor Castle is a royal residence at Windsor. It is located in the English county of Berkshire and is notable for its long association with the English and later British royal family. It is also well known for its remarkable architecture.
It occupies a large site of more than five hectares, and combines the features of a fortification, a palace, and a small town. The present-day castle was created during a sequence of phased building projects, culminating in the reconstruction work after a fire in 1992.
The original castle was built in the 11th century after the Norman invasion by William the Conqueror. It was meant to protect Norman dominance around the outskirts of London, and to oversee a strategically important part of the River Thames.
Since the time of Henry I, it has been used by succeeding monarchs and is the longest-occupied palace in Europe. More than five hundred people live and work in Windsor Castle.
Nowadays, the castle includes the 15th-century St George’s Chapel, considered to be one of the supreme achievements of English Gothic design. Its early 19th-century State Apartments are also architecturally significant, described as the finest and most complete expression of later Georgian taste.
Windsor Castle is surrounded by extensive parkland. The castle gardens stretch east from the Upper Ward across a 20th-century terrace. The immediate area stretching to the east of the castle is a 19th-century creation known as the Home Park.
There is also a spot called the Long Walk, a double lined avenue of trees that runs for 5 km south of the castle. The Home Park adjoins the northern edge of the more extensive Windsor Great Park, occupying some 1,900 ha and including some of the oldest broadleaved woodlands in Europe.