I lived in London for 10 years before I moved back to the sticks, but never did any of the touristy things while I was there. I would occasionally go to galleries or events, but mostly it was just normal life. Because of this I realized that I hadn’t been to the Tower of London since I was about Theo’s age!
The thing I remembered most from my trip 30 or so years ago was the Crown Jewels, and I think that was the thing I was most excited by before we went, but WOW was there a lot else to see! I can honestly say that I learned so much from the day, and I’m confident I could go again another dozen times and still learn new things each time!
It was a bitterly cold day when we went, but still extremely busy. It’s one of the top London tourist attractions (with good reason) and so it’s probably always busy. My advice? Try not to go in the school holidays if you can help it (so helpful I know!).
I can’t even begin to tell you all the things we saw, did and learned but here are a few of my favourite bits:
- Traitors gate (the watergate where prisoners were brought into the tower from the Thames), although you don’t actually have to go into the Tower to see this.
- The wire sculptures of animals which used to be housed in the menagerie (people used to give the King gifts of exotic animals and he kept them in the tower of London, until London Zoo was eventually created). They had a polar bear who they used to let fish in the Thames!
- The crown jewels. I can’t tell you how impressive these were. I could have stayed in there all day if I hadn’t been with 2 boys who get bored quickly by diamonds. No photography allowed in this bit and you have to look at them via a travellator (so no pressing your nose against the glass) but still brilliant. Literally.
- The site of the block, where lots of famous people were given the privilege of being beheaded to a small private audience instead of in public at Tyburn.
- The White Tower, which is packed full of armour and information about the Royal Mint (which used to be at the Tower of London). Also meant to be one of the most haunted buildings in the world but we were out of luck ghost-wise on the day we went.
- The dungeons – which were handled really well. There was an exhibition about torture but not in a disturbing house-of-horrors way, which I didn’t like when we went to Warwick castle. This you can take children into without worrying they will have nightmares!
- And of course, the Yeoman warders. Who are wonderful! Entertaining, friendly and the best tourist attraction there, just don’t call them Beefeaters!
There was so much more we saw there, after all the tower is packed with 1,000 years of history. I’d just like to go and do it all over again!