George IV’s entrance hall at Windsor Castle opens to public for the first time

George IV's Entrance Hall at Windsor opens to the public for the first time
George IV's Entrance Hall at Windsor opens to the public for the first time

Windsor Castle has announced the Inner Hall, created by George IV in the 1820s as a space to welcome official guests, has been restored and opened to the public for the first time since its closure by George’s niece, Queen Victoria.

The Inner Hall serves its original purpose as a magnificent welcome area for visitors to the Castle and reinstates the sequence of spaces linking the visitor entrance on the North Terrace with the State Entrance on the south side and the view across the ground floor of the Castle. From the Inner Hall, visitors can explore the State Apartments and Semi-State Rooms, Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House and the State Entrance hall, which is also a new addition to the visitor route.

For the first time, visitors can see the State Entrance, where guests of Her Majesty The Queen are welcomed to Windsor and enjoy the view of the two-and-a-half-mile Long Walk, created by Charles II in the 1680s. In 1866, Queen Victoria instructed her architect Anthony Salvin to close it off and build a new, smaller State Entrance hall running east to west. At the same time, the direction of the Grand Staircase was reversed so that the stair could be reached from the State Entrance hall.

To restore the architectural details of the Inner Hall, layers of paint were removed to reveal the intricate design of the ceiling bosses. These are the work of Francis Bernasconi, one of the fashionable stuccoist of the Regency period, who worked at Windsor during the reigns of both George III and George IV. The Inner Hall is within an area of the Castle that dates back to the mid-14th century when Edward III turned Windsor from a military fortification into a Gothic palace. Adjacent to the Inner Hall is a new display of architectural fragments, found by architect Jeffry Wyatville during his renovations at Windsor in the 1820s. The pieces of stone are believed to be remnants of the buildings constructed around 1110 by Henry I, who established the Castle as a royal residence.

To further enhance visitor’s experience, visitors will also, for the first time, be able to take a new route through the State Entrance hall which is a part of Future Programme, a series of projects funded by Royal Collection Trust at Windsor Castle. Another recent addition to the visitor route is a display telling the story of the Castle’s 1,000-year history.

In 2020, visitors will also see the opening of a dedicated Learning Centre and the Castle’s first permanent café in the medieval Undercroft.

For more information, please visit the Royal Collection Trust website or contact the Press Office on 030 7839 1377.