Windsor Castle Tower Reopens!
After four decades, Windsor Castle tower has reopened for tours
Visitors to the landmark, which has dominated the Berkshire skyline for more than 800 years, will be able to walk up its 200 steps to the top of the structure.
The doors of the tower closed to visitors in 1975 for major construction work.
The building was underpinned to prevent subsidence and later converted into office space for the Royal Archives.
The tower is part of a complex of buildings that make up the historic Windsor Castle site.
The first stop on the 'Conquer the Tower' tour is a visit to the external 'gallery' at the base of the tower's drum.
If an attacking army had breached the Castle's walls, bowmen would be stationed here to supplement those behind the arrow slits in the keep.
Now known as the 'cannonade', the gallery is equipped with 16 18th-century bronze field guns mounted on cast-iron carriages.
When visitors reach the top of the tower they will be 40 metres above the town of Windsor, giving them views of the castle and historic parkland, the Thames Valley, the London skyline and across several counties.
They will also have a close-up view of the castle's 15-metre flagpole, which flies the Royal Standard when the Queen is in residence and the Union Flag when she is not at Windsor.
When the current flagpole was first raised in 1892, workmen buried a box containing one shilling and five pence in pennies and half pennies beneath it.
They followed the naval tradition of 'mast stepping', when coins were placed below the main mast of a ship.
Any sailor who lost his life could use the money as payment to Charon, the ferryman of Hades in Greek mythology, who would row him across the River Styx into the world of the dead.
The Queen usually spends her weekends at the castle and carries out formal duties, including hosting state visits by presidents, or presiding over investiture ceremonies.
During Easter the monarch takes up official residence at the tourist attraction and hosts occasional overnight events for guests, including politicians and public figures.
Henry II had the round tower built in 1170 with heath stone from nearby Bagshot.
It replaced a wooden Norman keep which was part of the Windsor Castle constructed by William the Conqueror from 1070-86.
The tower sits on an artificial chalk mound (motte) made from the spoil thrown up when a ditch was dug around the fortress.
Its appearance dates from George IV's major remodelling of Windsor in the 1820s.
In line with the King's romantic notion of castle architecture, the tower was heightened by nine metres and given gothic-style battlements.The Telegraph
Conquer the Tower tours last 45 minutes.
Still the best time to visit London is in the late winter or fall when there are less tourists. See more of London here.