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Is Westminster Abbey and Windsor Castle doable in one day?

Hello,
I will be visiting London August 1-7. I am planning a day to day itineray (my bit of OCD kicked in). I will be staying a couple of minutes from the Brisith Museum.
One of the days planned to is to visit Wesminster Abbey and Windsor Castle the same day. My plan is to be at Westminster at opening time (9:30) and allow to be here 1.5 hours. The plan is to then travel by train to Windsor Castle and spend the rest of the day there, including a restaurant reservation made at a local restaurant (at 1:30 pm). My concerns:
- That 1.5 hours is too much or too little at Westminster Abbey. Should I plan Westminster another day??
- I have read that there are 2 ways to get to Windser Castle (London Waterloo - Windsor & Eton) or the one where you make make a transfer at Slough. For time sake, which one is the fastest way to get there?? Are they on time??
- That I won't have enough time to see the Castle, the chapel or Queen Mary's Dolls' House as I hear the lines can be super long, regarless if I purchase the entrance ticket ahead of time. Which do I see first to make the best of my time? considering I am allowing myself only 1 hour for lunch and the last entry at the Castle is 4pm??
Thank you :-),
Vivien

Posted by
1624 posts

Hard to say. Many years ago (free entrance) we spent close to a full day at Westminster.

And Windsor is a full day if you want to walk around the town and Eton.

Posted by
11368 posts

You may be short cutting both of these incredible . Westminster Abbey is my favorite place to visit in the UK so would hate to short change it.

Posted by
517 posts

My short answer is no! Allow yourself to enjoy these special places.

Windsor Castle would be best enjoyed by arriving first thing in the morning, and allow yourself all the time you can to explore the castle, chapel, Queen Mary's Dolls' House; maybe Windsor Great Park and the surrounding town and even Eton. Whatever time you depart back for London, the rest of the day should be left for something that doesn't involve a time stamp.

Funny enough, last time we were there, there was a train at the Windsor & Eton train station, but we thought our train was the next train to come. So we missed our actual train and took the wrong train, and it took a more circuitous route. So, with your super tight schedule, you leave no room for spontaneity; a lunch that takes longer than expected; something of interest you'd like to spend more time on; or any unintended missteps.

Posted by
8642 posts

Yes, you could do this, but it will be a busy day. The key would be to get on the first vergers tour offered at Westminster. For that, you will need to be in line earlier than the opening time. You will be done by noon if you do this.

Posted by
122 posts

I think your plan is doable, but if you intend to see other sights in the Westminster area during your stay in London (Churchill War Rooms, Houses of Parliament, 

Buckingham Palace, St. James Park

, National Gallery, etc.) it would also make sense to limit yourself to this area for the day, working in some of these other sights, then see Windsor Castle on another.

Posted by
6816 posts

I don’t understand the need for the very tight schedule. If you get to the abbey and really like it you’re stuck leaving at 1.5 hours whether you’re ready too or not.

We allot an entire day to Windsor and the castle. By leaving London early one can see the castle and have some time to walk around the town. I will say we’ve always visited in November or December when lines are short. Going through security at the castle can take a while. Last December we went to the doll house first, then the rest of the palace, followed by the chapel. Which to visit first is dependent on which line is longer.

A few years ago while on the train to Windsor somebody had jumped from a bridge onto the tracks. It messed up the train schedule the remainder of the day. It took longer to get to Windsor since the trains were not moving and we had to take a taxi for a few miles. On the return, since the trains had not been running most of the day, the train was packed like a can of sardines. The point being, things outside of your control can affect your itinerary no matter how well planned out it is.