What could be better than having a nose around someone else’s house? Well, how about having a nose around the home of the Queen herself – and better yet, a part of it that’s not been open to the public for 40 years?
This summer, in a move hoped to reinvigorate tourism in light of the ongoing pandemic, the royal family is opening up the stunning East Terrace Garden at Windsor Castle for the first time in four decades.
From Saturday 8 August, you’ll be able to stroll through the picturesque gardens and enjoy the view from its terraces across the surrounding parkland.
‘The large formal garden, created by George IV in the 1820s, is overlooked by Windsor Castle’s famous east façade and features clipped domes of yew and beds of roses planted in a geometric pattern around a central fountain,’ the Royal Collection Trust website details. ‘In 1971 The Duke of Edinburgh redesigned the flowerbeds and commissioned the bronze lotus fountain based on his own design for the centre of garden.’
But there’s even more to the history of Windsor Castle’s East Terrace Garden than meets the eye now. It was first designed for George IV by the architect Sir Jeffry Wyatville between 1824 and 1826, on the site of an old bowling green made for Charles II, and has been enjoyed by royal families past and present ever since.
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were woken every New Year’s morning by a band playing from the East Terrace beneath the royal apartments, and during the second world war, Queen Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret were each assigned a small plot on the site to grow vegetables. It’s also served as the backdrop for many royal portraits, including the iconic picture taken of the Queen by Annie Leibovitz in 2016.
If you fancy immersing yourself in the grounds for a day, it’ll be open every Saturday and Sunday until Sunday 27 September, with tickets included in your Windsor Castle booking.
But while you’ll get to soak up plenty of beautiful sights and surroundings, one thing you probably won’t spot is Her Majesty herself, as she and Prince Philip are currently at Balmoral, another royal residence where they traditionally decamp for the summer.