Windsor, Hampton Court and Oxford

The oldest and largest continuously occupied castle in the world, Windsor Castle has been home to 39 kings and queens since it was built in the 11th century.  The beautiful late Gothic St George’s Chapel has been the site of Royal burials since 1760.  The State Apartments, full of priceless furniture and artworks, show how the Royal Family once lived, and is where they entertain visitors even today.  Known to be the Queen’s favourite residence, Windsor Castle is home to over 150 residents who live and work inside its massive walls.

Castles were built for security, but palaces were built for comfort, pleasure and good taste.  Hampton Court Palace is a perfect example.  Originally built by Cardinal Wolsey to impress his important European friends, it was seized by Henry VIII and expanded to accommodate his court, numbering 1200 people.  To feed them, he built the largest kitchens in medieval Europe, which prepared meals served in the Great Hall.  Later extended by Sir Christopher Wren, Hampton Court has been expertly preserved. Extensive and carefully maintained gardens, including the famous hedge maze, complement the Palace perfectly.

The handsome city of Oxford is home to Britain’s oldest university.  Its 20,000 students are  spread across 38 individual colleges which make up the city centre.  The oldest of these date back to the 13th century and many are open to the public.  The largest college campus is that of Christchurch, with its  magnificent dining hall, on which the dining hall of Hogwart’s School in the Harry Potter films was based.   Among the top 5 universities in the world, Oxford has educated scholars, writers, scientists and statesmen for the last 800 years.