After spending a little over an hour at Churchill's War Room
, we continued towards our final destination of the day - The Tower of London. Located in Central London, right on the north bank of the River Thames, we had to take the subway, and it was a short walk over London Bridge to get the Tower. But not without first taking a few photos of London Bridge, which you must cross to get to the Tower from the subway, and the very famous Tower Bridge.
The Tower Bridge
If this is your first time in London, I highly recommend visiting this iconic British destination, which according to Wikipedia, is officially "Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London". I do recommend purchasing tickets online, in advance. You will still need to pick up your tickets right outside the Tower, but it lets you avoid the massive lines to enter, by the lion sculptures.
Look for the lions...where the line starts to enter the Tower of London
Guides are dressed up, either as Beefeaters or something right out of Medieval Times. These guides also act out little skits to entertain guests.
Photo Credit: GuideLondon.Org.UK
You can opt for a full guided tour or grab a headset and make your way through certain parts of the Tower. The Tower consists of several stone buildings, a defensive wall structure, and even moat (that has since been filled in with grass), with a secret door that opened up to the River Thames to receive supplies.
The oldest structure, The White Tower, was built in 1078, with other buildings added on over time from 1100 - 1400 AD. I was taken with how well preserved the Tower of London appeared. But you could still see evidence of the history inside.
Overlooking the River Thames from The Tower
The most fascinating part was seeing the "prison" where they kept prisoners. Many of the stone walls were covered with inscriptions from bored prisoners. Also displayed were several weapons used during that time period, including a cross bow, and you could try on the iron helmet many soldiers wore. It about broke my neck, it was so heavy!
Medieval Crossbow Used To Protect The Tower From Invaders
One thing you'll learn about British people during your stay is that many are superstitious. So superstitious in fact, that the Tower keeps 6 captive resident ravens on site. Their presence is believed to protect The Crown and the tower. There is a common superstition
that many Brits believe that "if the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it".
Making your way into the courtyard, you can stop at where all the beheadings took place. The place is identified with this sculpture with a glass pillow (I guess for the fallen heads?) that lists the prominent people that were killed in that spot, including Lord William Hastings and Queen Anne Boleyn.
Towards the back of the Tower is a building that houses the Queen's Jewels. If you're into checking out some s e r i o u s bling, then it's worth the long wait. The line just to get into the building extended all the way to almost outside the Tower. Fortunately, the line goes fast, as naturally, it is heavily guarded by the Queen's Guards, and they force you to keep moving.
Touring the Crown Jewels is fascinating, as it explained the symbolism and detail involved in the royal crown, cape. the ring, as well as the scepter, the globe and sword used for every coronation.
Have you been to the Tower of London and seen the Queen's Jewels? If so, tell me about your experience and comment below!