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Where is the Princess Margaret Cottage?

The Princess Margaret Cottage is a historic royal residence located on the grounds of Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park in Berkshire, England. It was originally built in the early 19th century as a retreat for members of the British royal family. The cottage is most closely associated with Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, who used it as a weekend country home from the 1960s until her death in 2002.

History of the Princess Margaret Cottage

The cottage was originally constructed in the early 1800s as one of several lodges located in Windsor Great Park. It was built in the Gothic Revival architectural style with pointed arches and ornate detailing. The lodge was used by members of the royal family and their guests as a hunting retreat and weekend getaway from Windsor Castle.

In the 1930s, the cottage was granted to Princess Margaret Rose, the younger daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Princess Margaret used the home infrequently as a child. After she married Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960, becoming Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, she began using the cottage more regularly as a weekend country estate.

Princess Margaret undertook extensive renovations in the 1960s to transform the cottage into a stylish and modern home. She installed up-to-date kitchen appliances, bathrooms, and new furnishings in a contemporary style. The interiors featured simple lines, neutral colors, and luxury textiles. Princess Margaret also had a swimming pool installed on the grounds.

The Princess spent weekends at the cottage entertaining guests, holding small dinner parties, and relaxing away from her official duties in London. Even after her divorce from Lord Snowdon in 1978, she continued to use the cottage frequently. It remained her country residence until her death in 2002 at the age of 71.

Location of Princess Margaret Cottage

The Princess Margaret Cottage is located on the grounds of Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park. Windsor Great Park encompasses nearly 5,000 acres of forests, gardens, and parkland surrounding Windsor Castle. It is located in the English county of Berkshire.

Royal Lodge was originally built in the 17th century as a hunting lodge for King Charles II. It later became the official country residence of the monarch’s private secretary. In the 1930s, King George VI granted use of Royal Lodge to his younger brother Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester. The Duke and his wife Alice, Duchess of Gloucester made substantial improvements to Royal Lodge.

After the Duke’s death in 1974, Queen Elizabeth II granted Royal Lodge to Princess Margaret as a permanent home. Margaret split her time between her apartment at Kensington Palace in London and the Royal Lodge estate. The Princess Margaret Cottage, located on the grounds of Royal Lodge, provided a smaller, cozier retreat for the Princess.

Directions to Princess Margaret Cottage

To reach Princess Margaret’s Cottage at Royal Lodge, one would take the following route:

By Car:

– Take the M4 motorway heading west out of London
– Exit the M4 at Junction 6 for Windsor/Slough
– Take the A332 into Windsor and follow signs for Windsor Great Park
– Enter Windsor Great Park through Cumberland Gate
– Follow the B470 road through the park for approximately 3 miles
– Turn right onto the B470/Windsor Great Park Road and travel for 1 mile
– Turn left at the entrance gates for Royal Lodge to reach the cottage

The drive from central London takes approximately 1 hour depending on traffic. Parking is available at Royal Lodge for cottage visitors.

By Train:

– Take a train from London Waterloo or Paddington Station to Windsor & Eton Riverside station
– From the station, take a taxi or car service for the approximately 5 mile drive to Royal Lodge
– Enter through the gates as directed above

The train journey takes around 1 hour from London Waterloo/Paddington to Windsor.

On Foot:

– The cottage is located around 5 miles from Windsor town center
– Take the Long Walk trail from Windsor Castle and follow it for 2.5 miles through the park
– At the end of the Long Walk, take Bishopsgate Drive toward Royal Lodge
– Follow signs for the entrance drive to Royal Lodge Cottage

The entire walk takes around 1.5-2 hours from Windsor town center on foot. Please note visitors require permits to access Windsor Great Park on foot.

So in summary, the Princess Margaret Cottage is located on the grounds of Royal Lodge estate, in the southern part of Windsor Great Park. While cars and taxis can access Royal Lodge, the most scenic approach is via the Long Walk on foot.

Royal Residents of the Cottage

While Princess Margaret is the royal most closely associated with the cottage, other members of the royal family have also used it over the years:

King George VI

– King George VI acquired Royal Lodge in the 1930s as a country home for his family
– He granted use of the lodge and cottage to his daughters Princess Elizabeth (future Queen Elizabeth II) and Princess Margaret when they were children
– It is believed young Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret would spend weekends and holidays at the cottage with their family

Princess Elizabeth

– Prior to becoming Queen, the young Princess Elizabeth would visit the cottage with her parents and sister
– She likely spent time there as a child and young adult relaxing and as a retreat from Windsor Castle

Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother

– After King George VI’s death in 1952, the Queen Mother continued to use Royal Lodge and the cottage
– She was known to entertain guests, hold small family gatherings, and go on picnics at the cottage

Today’s Royal Family

– Since Princess Margaret’s death in 2002, the cottage has been used infrequently
– Prince Andrew, Duke of York now resides at Royal Lodge, so the cottage is available for other royal family members to visit and use
– It’s possible Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge may use the cottage for a visit or short family holiday

So while Princess Margaret is the most famous resident, the cottage has served as a relaxing royal retreat for over a century. The private royal residence continues the tradition today.

Interior and Architecture of Princess Margaret’s Cottage

The Princess Margaret Cottage features architecture and interiors reflective of both its history and Princess Margaret’s tastes:


– Built in Gothic Revival style in the early 1800s as a royal hunting lodge
– Features pointed arches, vaulted ceilings, and intricate stonework
– Smaller and more intimate than neighboring Royal Lodge
– Includes an attached garage, walled garden, and swimming pool

Interior Design

– Margaret carried out extensive interior renovations in the 1960s
– She opted for a sleek, modern, and minimalist design over ornate period decor
– Finishes and textiles leaned neutral and casual rather than formal
– Floors were marble, walls painted white or neutral colors
– Furniture featured simple lines, lighter woods, upholstered seating
– Artwork reflected Margaret’s taste – modern art, portraits, equestrian art
– Open floor plan main living areas with few private rooms
– Master bedroom, small spare room, kitchen, few staff rooms

The architecture retains a sense of the cottage’s history, while the interiors reflected Margaret’s contemporary, elegant, but unfussy style. The cottage provided her with an escape from the formality of royal life.

Grounds and Gardens

– The cottage is surrounded by 5 acres of private walled gardens
– Lime tree walkways, rose gardens, flower cutting beds
– Large swimming pool, pool house, and tennis courts added by Margaret
– Adjacent to Royal Lodge’s larger grounds designed by Capability Brown
– Windsor Great Park surrounds the estate with forests, lakes, and nature trails
– Provides a scenic, peaceful setting away from urban life

Life at the Cottage for Princess Margaret

Princess Margaret used the cottage as her primary weekend home during the last 40 years of her life. A typical weekend at the cottage for Margaret would involve:

Leisure and Relaxation

– Reading novels and catching up on the news in the sitting room
– Gardening, cutting fresh flowers, walking the grounds
– Swimming laps in the pool or playing tennis
– Riding horses or bicycles around Windsor Great Park
– Picnics, outdoor lunches, country walks
– Watching TV and classic films in the evenings
– Having drinks, casual dinners, playing games and cards with guests

Socializing and Entertaining

– Small dinner parties for 8-10 guests
– Luncheons and outdoor cocktails with friends
– Occasional formal outdoor receptions for charity events
– Visits from celebrity friends like Mick Jagger, Peter Sellers
– Family gatherings with Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth II, children

Solitude and Privacy

– Chance to get away from busy London social life
– Peace and quiet, no full-time royal engagements or duties
– Time alone to reflect, read, and enjoy her own company
– Freedom from constant media attention and public scrutiny

For Princess Margaret, the cottage provided a relaxing retreat from the pomp and pressures of her public royal life. At the cottage she enjoyed country pursuits, time with close friends and family, and the chance to relax in private.

Where to Stay Nearby

Windsor Accomodations

Visitors to the Princess Margaret Cottage at Royal Lodge have several options for nearby accommodations:

Name Location Distance from Cottage
Macdonald Windsor Hotel Windsor Town Center 3 miles
Castle Hotel Windsor Windsor Town Center 2.5 miles
Oakley Court Hotel Water Oakley 3.5 miles
The Christopher Hotel Eton 4 miles
Windsor Beaumont Estate Old Windsor 5 miles

These luxury hotels, inns, and bed & breakfasts provide easy access to Windsor Great Park and Royal Lodge. Most offer shuttle service for guests wishing to tour historic Windsor Castle and other area attractions.

Some lodging options are also available in neighboring towns like Slough, Maidenhead, and Reading if extended stays are required. But Windsor offers the most charming English village atmosphere and closest proximity.

Rental Cottages

For longer visits, renting a self-catering cottage offers greater privacy:

– Royal Windsor Cottages – Charming cottages and apartments in central Windsor, some with views of Windsor Castle.

– Stay in Windsor – Historic Georgian home and cottages near Windsor Park, 5 minute drive to town.

– Walnut Cottage at Hall Place – Handsome 17th century manor house with 5 self-catering apartments. Located on edge of Windsor Great Park.

– Sheephouse Manor Cottages – Set of luxury cottages on the border of Windsor Great Park, on Bishopsgate Road leading to Royal Lodge.

These cottages provide the experience of living like a local in the tranquil English countryside surrounding Princess Margaret’s home.

Visiting Princess Margaret’s Cottage

Unfortunately, Princess Margaret’s country cottage is not open to the public. As it sits on the private grounds of Royal Lodge estate, only guests of the royal family may visit. However, travelers can still enjoy Windsor Great Park and the sights of nearby Windsor.

Top Attractions Near the Cottage

– Windsor Castle – The Queen’s official residence and oldest occupied castle in the world dating back to William the Conqueror. Don’t miss St. George’s Chapel.

– The Long Walk – Scenic 2.5 mile tree-lined avenue connecting Windsor Castle to Snow Hill where the cottage is located. Enjoy a stroll or carriage ride.

– Savill Garden – 35-acre garden with tropical plants, roses, woodlands, and an idyllic tea room. Located in Windsor Great Park near the cottage.

– The Thames Path – Trail along the River Thames passing Eton, Windsor, and Runnymede. Offers views of green meadows and villages.

– Legoland Windsor – Just 3 miles from cottage, this 150-acre family theme park brings Lego bricks to life with rides, shows, and building activities.

Cottage Views from Outside

While you can’t go inside, the cottage grounds can be partially viewed from:

– Bishopsgate Road – Public road leading into the Royal Lodge estate. Glimpses of the cottage’s exterior through the trees.

– Windsor Great Park – Many scenic trails like the Long Walk skirt past the border of the private grounds.

– Tea at Savill Garden – Have a classic English tea with picturesque views over the park and cottage area.

Getting a small peek at the cottage from outside the gates is the best most visitors can hope for today. Spending time exploring Windsor offers insights into the history and lifestyle Princess Margaret enjoyed at the charming royal hideaway.


The Princess Margaret Cottage remains a treasured royal retreat full of history. Set within the sprawling natural beauty of Windsor Great Park, the cottage served as Margaret’s country escape for over 40 years. While the private home is not open for tours, visiting Windsor and admiring the cottage grounds from afar provides a glimpse into Margaret’s life there. With stately architecture and interiors reflecting Margaret’s stylish tastes, the cottage gave her the seclusion and peace she craved. Though Margaret passed away in 2002, the romantic royal hideaway lives on in Windsor lore.