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Visiting Windsor Castle During a Layover at Heathrow
(Seven hours time between flights)
Many travelers with a layover at Heathrow, think about visiting nearby Windsor Castle, only 20 minutes from Heathrow by cab.
Visiting Windsor Castle:
But first, make sure this is a viable option for you.
1) Time: If there are five hours from wheels down to wheels up, this is not the same as 5 hours of time in Windsor, and in all likelihood, not sufficient time to leave the airport. Deplaning, and going through passport control takes about an hour (and can take more). Time is needed for transport to and from Windsor (roundtrip journey 40 minutes by cab, two hours by bus). The average visit at Windsor Castle is 2-3 hours. Travelers will need to leave Windsor in order to be back at the airport a full 3 hours before an international flight—remember to allow enough time to claim any left luggage and pass through security again.
Seven hours is the minimum time needed between flights in order to have time to go to Windsor.
2) Luggage: Luggage that is not checked through must be left at Heathrow, (for a fee) as there is no luggage storage in or near Windsor, and luggage is not allowed on Castle grounds. Small carry-on bags, small enough to fit through a security style scanner, are allowed.
3) Arrival time: Windsor Castle opens at 9:45, and last entry is 4:00, March-October; from November-February, the last entry is 3:00.
An afternoon flight (arrival) would still allow for a visit to Windsor and Eton, but not the Castle.
from Windsor at or around 11-11:30: be aware that the street in front of
the Castle will be closed for the Changing of the Guard if it is happening on
that day, between 11:00 and 11:30. In
summer months Changing of the Guard is every day, in the fall winter and spring
it follows an odd or even day schedule.
There is no Changing of the Guard on Sundays.
If Windsor Castle is doable, here is the transport information.
Getting to Windsor from Heathrow:
--black cab from the rank; the journey will take about 20 minutes, and cost about 50 pounds.
--a pre-booked local cab from Windsor; again, the journey will be about 20 minutes, but this will cost about half the price of a black cab.
Cab Companies that operate in Windsor:
--local bus from Terminal 5.
Bus information correct at 24th September 2016.
First Berkshire route 8 runs between Terminal 5 and Windsor via Staines and Egham, and is now the only direct bus between Heathrow Airport and Windsor. Buses run every 30 minutes (hourly on Sundays) and the journey takes around an hour.
Bus 8 departs from stop 9, directly outside Terminal 5. To get there from Terminals 2 and 3 use the Heathrow Express train between the Terminals 1,2,3 station and Terminal 5. The train runs every 15 minutes and is free for journeys within the Airport. From Terminal 4, use the frequent red bus routes 482 and 490 to transfer to Terminal 5; again these buses are free for travel between the Terminals. Allow 30 minutes to transfer from other Terminals to Terminal 5 and vice-versa.
Another alternative is to use First Berkshire bus 7 from Heathrow Airport, Central Bus Station (linked by walkway to Terminals 2 & 3) to Slough Bus Station, and change there for buses 2, 8 or 702 to Windsor Castle. Note that on the return, bus 7 towards Heathrow stops just outside Slough Bus Station, in Wellington Street.
Fares: an all-day ticket costs £6.50 adult, £4.50 child (5-15; under 5s go free) and can be used on any of the buses mentioned above. Simply buy from the driver of the first bus you board; cash (GBP ££) only.
Coming back from Windsor, bus 8 to Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 picks up at stop J outside the Parish Church - this is on the same side of the road as Windsor Castle. If you are taking the 2, 8 or 702 to Slough to pick up route 7 to Heathrow Airport Central, these pick up at stop A on the other side of the road.
Returning from Windsor to Heathrow:
The taxi rank is just outside the exit to the Castle. Turn right out of the Henry VIII gate, and go downhill, take another right, following the Castle walls until you see the cab rank. These are all local cabs.
Bus 8 back to Terminal 5 picks up in High Street, outside the Parish Church, stop letter 'J' - on the same side as the Castle.
If you are catching buses 2, 8 or 702 to Slough to connect with the 7 to Heathrow Airport Central, these pick up in High Street, opposite the Parish Church, stop letter 'A', on the opposite side of the road to the Castle.