Tower of London
Steeped in history, Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress stands proudly in East London along the River Thames. Though the Tower of London was founded in 1066, the castle now stands against a backdrop of modern London against the glass skyscrapers, not letting anyone forget about the city’s vast history that stretches far back into medieval times.
Heading into the grounds, you can almost feel the history surrounding you. As you explore the enormous stone buildings and walk down the cobbled paths, you will discover more about the history of the monarchy and what went on inside these castle walls.
You can take a map upon entry, but the grounds are well signposted and there are many friendly Yeomen Warders around to give guided tours, answer any questions and tell you as much as you would like to know about the Tower. If you aren’t sure who the Yeomen Warders are, just look out for the Beefeaters.
Each exhibition, such as The Museum of Fusiliers and the Royal Mint, has its own history and story to tell about the Tower’s heritage. The Bloody Tower introduces you to some of its most famous prisoners, while the exhibition in the bottom of Wakefield Tower shows you the types of torture devices that used to be used.
Found in the middle of the Tower of London, standing tallest and proudest, is the White Tower. Inside the castle, armour and weapons of the Royal Armouries are on display where, side by side, the armours belonging to past kings stand. By taking a look up close, you can see the incredible craftsmanship that has gone into these elaborate and detailed metal masterpieces.
The crown jewels of the Tower of London are, in fact, the Crown Jewels. The spectacular exhibition houses some of the most spectacular jewellery and crowns from the medieval times, along with some more indulgent and peculiar items (for example, an 800 year old gold spoon).
It was once announced that fate of the kingdom lay in the hands of ravens, and this is a tradition still upheld. At the Tower, you will find at least six resident ravens around the grounds. In homage to the Royal Menagerie that once resided at the Tower of London, wire sculptures of the animals can be spotted around the grounds.
The sights are vast. We recommend joining a Yeomen Warder guided tour, as this can help you explore the Tower to the fullest and can even gain you access to some areas not completely open to the public, such as The Chapel Royal of St Peter and Vincula which is only open to everyone during the last hour of the day.
Don’t forget to look around and appreciate the incredible architecture of the spectacular buildings around you. A couple gift shops and a delicious restaurant can offer you a complete day of sightseeing at the Tower of London.