Fancy a rendezvous with tales of beheadings, priceless gems, and royal drama? Well, buckle up, because the Tower of London isn’t just another brick-and-mortar old castle; it’s a whirlwind of history with a pinch of scandal, a touch of ghostly vibes, and a whole lot of shiny bling!
1. Once Upon a Time… Or Several Times, Actually!
The Tower’s story begins almost a millennium ago. William the Conqueror built it in 1066 to show off – “Look at me, I’m the boss now!” Since then, the Tower has worn many hats: a royal palace, prison, zoo, and mint. It’s the OG multi-purpose space.
2. Tower Green: Instagram Goals with a Grisly Past
Looking for that perfect Instagram shot? Tower Green is it! Lush green lawn, historic architecture – oh, and it was also the execution site for some of the Tower’s most notable guests, like Anne Boleyn. Maybe throw on a black-and-white filter for that one, #NoHardFeelingsAnne.
3. Bling Bling
If you are into shiny things the Crown Jewels are your jam. These bad boys sparkle, shine and scream “royalty’. You’ll see crowns, sceptres and the biggest diamond you’ve ever laid your eyes on.
4. Ghosts, or Just a Draft?
Feeling a chill? Is it the English weather, or the spirits of those who met their fate here? From the Princes in the Tower to Lady Jane Grey, there’s a roster of potential apparitions who might want to say “hello”. Whether you’re a believer or a skeptic, wandering the grounds at dusk adds an extra layer of spooky allure.
5. Yeoman Wardens: The Tower’s Real Stars
These aren’t your typical tour guides. Resplendent in their red and black uniforms the Yeoman Guards, also known as “Beefeaters”, are part-guard, part-storyteller, and ALL charisma. They’ll regale you with tales that textbooks skip – the juicy bits. Their tours are a must, and guess what? They’re included with your ticket!
6. The Menagerie: Lions, and Bears, and Elephants
Before the London Zoo, the Tower housed its own wild kingdom. Kings and queens received exotic animals as gifts, turning the Tower into a makeshift zoo. Imagine a polar bear fishing in the Thames! While the critters have long moved out, you can still explore delightful animal sculptures scattered around, capturing the Tower’s beastly history
7. White Tower: The Granddaddy of Them All
In the heart of it all stands the White Tower, the oldest part of the complex. It’s got armor, weapons, and that ancient castle smell – yes, it’s a thing. Scale the narrow staircases and explore rooms that have seen more drama than a reality TV show.
8. Meet the Ravens
“Quoth the raven, ‘Nevermore’.” No, you’re not in an Edgar Allan Poe poem, but you are about to meet the Tower’s most famous feathery residents. Legend says the kingdom and the Tower will fall if the six resident ravens ever leave. Just to be safe, seven ravens are kept. Meet them, but maybe don’t share your lunch.
9. Munch & Shop
All this history-making you peckish? Dive into the New Armouries Café for a Tudor-inspired treat. And don’t leave without snagging a souvenir! The gift shop offers everything from plush ravens to regal replicas. Because who doesn’t need a mini crown?
So, to wrap it up: If you’re yearning for a side of sassy with your historical deep-dive, the Tower of London is your spot. From its shimmering jewels to its haunting hallways, it’s a captivating concoction of Britain’s past, served with a splash of intrigue.
Tower of London Opening Times: Mon-Fri 9am-5.30pm, Weekends 10am-5.30pm
Is Tower of London free to visit? Unfortunately it is not free. Tickets can be bought in advance here.
Location: Tower of London, London EC3N 4AB
Nearest Underground station: Tower Hill