20 Oct Windsor Castle Trip – the Experience with Multiple Colours – A Day to Be Remembered
by Scarlett and Keerthana –Year 7 student reporters, edited by Mrs Nguyen
On the 19th of July we went on a trip to Windsor Castle! Yes, we know you might wonder how we got this amazing opportunity to go to Windsor Castle!
It was our reward trip for working hard all year, and being the best we could be. There were 60 students from Year 7 and 6 teachers. It was even more special as it was the Monday of the last week before our summer holiday and it was the date the Covid-19 restrictions in England were eased.
At exactly 7:30am; after a short reminder of the school’s expectations from Mrs Jones and Mrs Nguyen, we boarded the yellow and blue coach of Johnson’s. Inside the coach it was vastly spacious and accommodated all of us.
Before we could get onto the coach and settle down on the comfortable dark blue seats, we all were requested to hand-sanitise and wear facial masks. It was the ‘new normal’ and we respected the rules. The Covid-19 pandemic has been going on and we were lucky to be able to go on our first school trip after all!
Half way through the two-and-a-half hour journey, we stopped at Oxford Service Station off the M40 motorway. We were allowed 30 minutes to refresh ourselves. You could easily see the excitement on all our faces, dashing in and out of some shops of our favourites such as Starbucks and Subway, to name but a few.
At around 10:20am, we finally arrived at Windsor Castle and quickly tip-toed onto the cobbles of St. Albans Street where the brand-new Windsor Castle Learning Centre gate was located!
Our first glance at the Castle: it looked spectacularly magnificent! There were huge stone walls glistening in the sun, embraced by many trees around the Castle. We saw the Queen’s guards marching wearing bear skin hats (we wondered how they managed their standing position throughout in the blistering heat). And towers larger than trees! We all were stunned by this marvellous donjon.
We were then separated into two groups of 30: Group A and Group B. Unlike Group B who was on a self-guided tour first before their turn to be in the workshop, Group A was directed to the Learning Centre. Ms Sophie Jones from the Learning Centre delivered the workshop ‘After 1066, What Happened Next?’ We all listened intensively and learnt so much from the session, like where castles originated and the feudal system.
Some fact break…
900 years ago the Windsor Castle was built on top of the Castle Hill, made from wood and it took 5 days to build!
On top of the Round Tower when the Royal Standard flag is flying it means that The Queen is in the Castle. And when the other flag (Union Jack or Union Flag) is raised, The Queen is not in the Castle.
After a quick lunch, we started our self-guided tour for the remaining part of the day. Outside the mist of sunlight from the luminescent blue sky was the perfect weather for exploring the Castle. The soft breeze from the warm winds made the flag on top of the Castle ripple, announcing that the Queen was in residence. We didn’t see her but waved to the windows in case she was watching.
We stopped at the very thick walls on the left hand-side and looked at the medieval features on display for hundreds of years, including the ‘arrow loops’ windows, which kept the archers safe from their enemies.
We went to the St. George’s Chapel, where many royals from the past were buried. It was very fascinating, especially for people who are into History like us! We also learned that the Chapel was where Prince Charles and Camila got married, and where Prince Philip is currently buried!
We then learned that the Chapel was built 500 years ago and has been the place of worship for the Order of the Garter – a band of knights that began at Windsor Castle more than 600 years ago. Every June, the members of the Order meet at Windsor Castle for their annual Garter Service. Wow!
Did you know…
– that William the Conqueror was a French nobleman, Duke of Normandy. He built the Castles for lots of safe spaces to live.
– King Henry VIII (d. 1547) and his 3rd wife Jane Seymour (d. 1537) were buried inside the Chapel.
– Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest inhabited Castle in the world!
The next step was the visit to the State Apartments. This is where the Queen lives, but of course, that end of the apartments are protected against the visitors. As soon as we walked up the grand staircase leading to the main area, we were at awe at all the colours on display in front of our eyes (obviously the dominating colour was gold). There were so many historical artefacts on display, beyond anything we ever imagined! It had armours of old knights, the Queen’s Drawing Room, paintings, expensive gifts from international diplomats and so many more!
In the long and spacious St George’s Hall there was an exhibition about Prince Philip who sadly passed away in April 2021. This exhibition showed the story of Prince Philip’s life and his utmost contribution to the Royal family and The Queen. There were many artefacts that looked magnificent and amazing! We felt how lucky we were being able to stroll along the Displays as it was this exact location that the famous 1992 fire ravaged, and it was Prince Philip who oversaw the restoration work. This special display lasted to the end of September 2021.
Some of the reflection of our trip-mates…
Jack: “I thought Windsor Castle would be small but when I got here I saw that it was one of the biggest Castles I have ever seen. I think it has a lot of history behind it!”
Sana: “I thought it wouldn’t be very fun but, I was wrong it is really fun! I think it is a really nice place too!”
There were so many places to look at, the Castle was huge! And it was the best experience we had ever had, and we got it for free too! We want to that Mrs Nguyen, for putting so much effort to get us these tickets, we can’t thank you enough for doing this for us and giving us this amazing experience.
Thanks to all who spend time reading this blog.
“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity”
Whitley Academy September-October 2021