Explore The Tower Of London And Get Your Hands On History

The Tower of London has many attractions including The Crown Jewels

The Tower of London was built by William the Conquerer who defeated and killed King Harold II at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. To conquer England, William and the Normans built castles at strategic sites, and one of the most important was the Tower of London.

Although not completed until after his death, the credit for the White Tower and the choice of site belong to William the Conquerer.

The tower's primary function was a fortress, a royal palace, and a prison (particularly for high status and royal prisoners). It has also served as a place of execution and torture, an armoury, a treasury, a zoo, the Royal Mint, a public records office, an observatory, and since 1303, the home of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.

This is a fun attraction with lots of things to see and do. Highlights of the visit include:

  • A visit to the White Tower.

    The White Tower was built to strike fear and submission into the unruly citizens of London and to deter foreign invaders. Visitors have the opportunity to get to grips with the Tower's arsenal and ten centuries of Tower history. You can wear a gauntlet, lift a musket, draw a bow and handle a sword as you explore the different roles of the Tower over the centuries.

    If you have a London Pass this event is included in the cost of your pass. Enjoy the White Tower tours, which is on daily at 10.45, 12.45 and 14.15, led by one of the expert wardens. Hear all about Henry VIII's famous armours and find out about the exquisite Chapel Royal of St John.

  • Yeoman Warders

    A Yeoman Warder, also known as "Beefeaters", have long been symbols of London and Britain. It is thought their nickname is derived from their position in the Royal Bodyguard, which permitted them to eat as much beef as they wanted from the king's table.

    Yeomen Warders have served as defenders of the Crown Jewels, prison guards, and, since the time of Queen Victoria, tour guides to visitors, and they have become a tourist attraction in their own right, something the warders themselves acknowledge. The current role of the Yeoman Warder is that of tour guides, and, should the need arise, prison guards.

    The Ceremony of the Keys is the traditional locking up of the Tower of London and has taken place on each and every night, without fail, for at least 700 years. The importance of securing this fortress for the night is still very relevant because, although the Monarch no longer resides at this royal palace, the Crown Jewels and many other valuables still do!

  • Crown Jewels

    The Tower of London also houses the greatest working collection of Crown Jewels in the world and priceless symbols of British monarchy.

    They include the world’s most famous diamonds. The enormous Cullinan I and the notorious Koh-i-Noor are part of the collection that numbers 23,578 in total. Be dazzled by the 23,578 gems that make up the Crown Jewels, including the glistening Imperial State Crown, which alone has 2,868 diamonds, 273 pearls, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds and 5 rubies.

    This astonishing collection of priceless Coronation Regalia has been an unmissable highlight of any visit since the 17th century, with only one attempt to steal them…

  • Ravens - Guardians of the Tower

    It was thought that there have been at least six ravens in residence at the tower for centuries.

    According to the stories, Charles II ordered that the ravens be transferred to another site following complaints from John Flamsteed, the Royal Astronomer. However, Charles II changed his mind when told of the legend that if the ravens ever leave the Tower of London, the White Tower, the monarchy, and the entire kingdom would fall.

    Charles II, being superstitious, was not prepared to take the chance, and instead had the observatory moved to Greenwich.

    Despite their having one wing clipped, some ravens do in fact disappear. There are now seven ravens at the Tower (the required six plus one spare!) and their lodgings are to be found next to the Wakefield Tower.

  • Torture Chambers

    The Tower of London was also used to torture and imprison high status or royal prisoners. There have been prisoners at the Tower almost since it was built. For nearly 900 years, traitors, kings, queens, saints and sinners have been held here against their will.

    Some of the prisoners included:

  • Guy Fawkes - who planned the infamous Gunpowder Plot to blow up King James, the royal family and the assembled ruling classes of England at the State Opening of Parliament on 5th November 1605. The plot failed and Guy Fawkes was captured, held prisoner and almost certainly tortured at the Tower of London. Along with the other conspirators, he died the horrible death which was inflicted on traitors at that time - being hanged, drawn and quartered.
  • Sir Thomas More - Chancellor of Henry VIII, was imprisoned in 1534 for refusing to accept the king as Head of the Church. He was initially treated relatively well and dedicated himself to contemplation and writing. Then he was beheaded and later made a Catholic saint.
  • Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII and strong in her opinions on matters of policy, fell foul of vicious court factions and religious politics. Her failure to produce a male heir for the king also made her position precarious.

    In April and May 1536, Henry III had Anne investigated for high treason, tried and found guilty. Anne, however, was granted special dispensation to be beheaded by an expert French swordsman and this took place on 19th May 1536.

    Enjoy the Prisoners exhibiton and explore the real experiences and difficult choices of past inmates at the world's most famous prison with the Tower of London's interactive 'Prisoners' displays.

Is the Tower of London haunted? It is for you to find out .... and let me know if there are any! Do you have the courage to take part in an overnight ghost hunt at one of Britain’s most haunted locations?

You can also visit to The Tower of London and enjoy hop-on and hop-off scheduled sightseeing cruise all day on a Tower of London and Thames Sightseeing Cruise

Hotels in the City and Tower Bridge Areas

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