Visiting the Tower of London
One of the most quintessential attractions in London. On many a visit to the UK, I always ask the locals (including very proper Englishmen) what is the must-see London attraction that they would recommend. By far, at the top of the list is the Tower of London. At over 1,000 years old, you can see years of history from the Normans, Tudors to present day royalty.
Official Website Information: Click here
Time: At least 2 hours, preferably 4 hours
Top Items to See and Learn
- Yeoman Warder (BeefEater) tours – Take a tour from one of the BeefEaters. It’s free with the price of your admission to the Tower of London! All of the BeefEaters have at least 22 years of military experience and most claim another prerequisite to obtaining the post is their roguish charm. They will tell you lots of interesting facts about the Tower that you would not know otherwise with cheeky humor. They also take you into the chapel to see where Anne Boleyn and others are buried. Tours last 1 hour.
- Anne Boleyn – The Tower of London courtyard is where the second wife of Henry VIII and the first to be beheaded. The block is exhibited in the White Tower (Center building of the Tower of London and the oldest).
- Princes of the Tower: Another aspect of English history that most remember is the two young princes who disappeared at the hand of their evil uncle, Richard III. It was suspected that they tied at the Tower of London. Hundreds of years later, bones were found that were confirmed to be of the boys. They are now interred at Westminster Abbey.
- Medieval Graffiti – The Tower of London was a royal residence, small city (Up to 10,000 people lived here at one time) and a prison. In many of the towers, you will see carvings in the hard stone which prisoners made years ago to while away their time and leave messages for those that came after them.
- Hitler: Churchill had a 1940’s toilet installed in the Byward Tower as this is where they planned to keep Hitler should he be captured.
- Executions: Executions have occurred here for centuries. Only royalty or hire ranking people were executed in the courtyard. Most were killed on Tower Hill which is near the tube station. The last execution in the Tower of London took place on 1941, when Josef Jakobs (a German spy) was shot by a firing squad.
- Crown Jewels – Had enough of the death and grimness. Head over to the see the Crown Jewels in the Jewel tower. Where else are you going to see $32Billion in jewels?
- White Tower – Make sure you see the Line of Kings. The Armor of Knights mounted on horses is exhibited in the White Tower. It will remind you of Disney’s Bedknobs and Broomsticks.
- What’s with the Ravens?: There is an old superstition that “If the ravens leave the Tower, the White Tower will crumble to dust and England will fall”. As most superstitions and history goes… no one knows where this actually came from, but the ravens are loving it. There is a royal order to keep 6 ravens at the Tower of London (They clip one wing to keep them around, but they also look really well fed) and then keep another 2 in reserve.
- Want to visit the tower at night and participate in the longest continuous military ceremony? Read about how at the Ceremony of the Keys
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