Checking Out The Storied Tower Of London

Dating back to its initial construction in 1078, the Tower Of London has always been the subject of public fascination.  Its walls hold a varied and unusual history.  The tower has been everything from a royal palace, prison, treasure vault, observatory, and even a private zoo.  Today that history brings millions of tourists each year to learn about its historic past and view its grand treasures. 

It all began when William the Conquerer and the Normans took England.  He needed a place to stay and protect himself from those he conquered.  He began with what became know as the White Tower for color of stones that line the exterior.  This fortified keep now houses the Line of Kings.  The amor on display in the Line of Kings is truly impressive and one of the best public displays of medieval armor in the world.

The complex quicker expanded from the White Tower.  Several other towers surrounded the White tower and formed a fortified inner wall.  The stronghold grew with the construction of an outer wall and a moat surrounded the complex.  Inside the walls there was everything from living quarters, workshop, hospital, and a chapel.    

The Bloody Tower is the best example of its time as a prison and place of execution.  Enemies of the state were held here and many ended up being executed.  Prisoners entered through what became known as traitors gate.  Detainees were held at the tower as early as the 1100’s with the busiest time being during the 16th and 17 century.  The last person to be executed here was a German spy during World War II.

Perhaps the most popular reason to visit the Tower is to view the Crown Jewels.  St. Edwards crown includes more than 2,800 precious stones and diamonds.  The first to wear it was Queen Victoria at her coronation in 1837 and is still used today for special occasions.  There is also an impressive display of coins symbolizing its time as a royal mint. 

No visit is complete without a tour of the castle with the Yeomen known as the Beefeaters.  They have a long history of guarding the tower.  Today they serve as tourists guides, but members are all retired military officers.

It’s no wonder the the Tower of London attracts so much attention from toursits.  It has told the story of London for nearly 1,000 years.  There is no better place to get a grasp of London’s past with our visiting and learning from the Tower of London.      

Visiting the Tower of London

The Tower of London is located on the bank of the River Thames next to the Tower Bridge.   The Tower Bridge Tube station is across the street from the entrance.  The Fenchurch overground train station is about a five minute walk away.  It is open every day of the week although hours do vary and there are numerous special events so be sure to check the schedule in advance.  Tickets are cheaper and easier if you buy in advance online.  Admission is included for those who purchase the London Pass.


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