April 5, 2016 – The Royal Collection Trust, the charity that makes the UK’s Royal Palaces available to the public, has just announced it will spend £37 million in the next two years on improvements to Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyrood House in Edinburgh. The plan, rather unimaginatively to be known as Future Programme, will:
- add more welcoming entrances and learning centers to the palaces,
- open up previously unseen and private areas of Windsor Castle,
- create themed pathways through the castle and palace, offering visitors more choice and
- create the first ever café for visitors in Windsor Castle….Hallellujah!
If I seem overly excited about the prospect of a café in the stony Undercroft of the castle, pictured above, it’s because it is about time this long overdue and much needed facility was added.
Starve, Die of Thirst or Just Leave
Windsor Castle is huge and fascinating; the sort of place most people can easily spend a whole day visiting. Unfortunately, it has never had any place to take a break, to relax, to look over your brochures or your pictures and to fuel up for your next foray into a gallery, exhibition or series of fabulous rooms.
The most the Queen ever offered members of the public was the chance to buy a bottle of water and, in winter, to stand outdoors on the windy castle hill to drink it. The alternative was to leave the castle at lunch time, try to find something besides a Big Mac in the unpromising retail precincts of Windsor town, and then return to the castle to continue your visit – permitted with your ticket but inconvenient and unrewarding. So the prospect of a casual café by 2018 is very encouraging.
Appropriately, the Undercroft, where the new cafe will be located, was used for centuries as the refectory where the royal household staff took meals. We hope there will also be some space for families and groups to bring their own packed lunches.
Works Getting Underway
Designs for Future Programme are getting underway now and construction is set to begin in 2017 with completion planned for 2018. Windsor Castle and Holyrood will both remain open to the public as normal during the works. Financing for the £37 million project is coming from admissions to the castles, palaces and houses in The Royal Collection as well as associated retail sales.
Find out More About Visiting Windsor at About.com United Kingdom Travel:
- Plan a Visit to Windsor Castle – The Queen’s Weekend Home
- How to Get to Windsor By Train, Bus or Car
- 10 Facts About Dinner With the Queen at Windsor Castle
- Windsor Great Park – The Royal Landscape Garden