A guide to the Tower of London

| January 10, 2013 | 0 Comments

London is bursting with historical attractions, but one of the most famous has to be the Tower of London. The building is steeped in history and is associated with many stories from various periods of the UK’s past.

I think it’s one of the must-visit sights in the capital as there is so much to see and do here. If you really want to make the most of the Tower of London, you can search for a cheap hotel in London that is close to the attraction or within easy reach on public transport.

Tower of London

Tower of London

Here are a few of the things that I believe make the Tower of London such an iconic place to explore.

History

The Tower of London was constructed during the reign of William the Conqueror, with work on the fortress beginning shortly after his victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Construction on the White Tower started in 1080 and the distinctive structure with its four turrets has changed little since this time.

Various monarchs added to the Tower of London and its royal palace over the years, with Henry III and Edward I among the kings to expand the complex. Among the main reasons why the Tower is so famous are its use as a prison and place for executions, as well as being the home of the Crown Jewels.

Among the best known prisoners to be held at the Tower were Edward IV’s two sons – Edward and Richard who were aged 12 and nine when they were incarcerated – Ann Askew (a protestant martyr) and explorer Sir Walter Ralegh. He actually had three stays in the Tower, including a 13-year stint for plotting against James I.

Exhibitions

There are various exhibitions on display at the Tower of London that cover every aspect of the building’s past. Among the best if you’re visiting with children is Hands On History, where there are a host of interactive displays that allow you to handle items like swords, armour and other weapons.

Another fascinating exhibition at the attraction is Royal Beasts. This focuses on the animals that were kept at the Tower as part of the royal menagerie. Among the creatures that used to be on display were lions, polar bears, elephants, ostriches and kangaroos.

Fit for a King is another of the installations you can discover on a visit here, where you’ll find a selection of royal armour on show that was once worn by some of the country’s monarchs.

Of course, a highlight of any trip to the Tower of London will be seeing the glistening Crown Jewels, which are kept in the Jewel House and still used for state occasions by the queen.

Special events

If you time your stay in London carefully, you can participate in one of the special events being held at the Tower. From January 2nd to March 27th 2013, one of the best things to do is book a spot on a twilight tour of the fortress. This will see you led around the complex by one of the Yeoman Warders, who can tell you all about some of the amazing stories associated with the Tower’s past.

You’ll hear tales of ghosts and former prisoners, as well as see a few of the most iconic landmarks at the Tower, including Traitor’s Gate and the Scaffold Site. Tickets for one of these tours cost £20.90, but it’s well worth it to get to see the fort when it’s uncrowded.

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