Walk in the footsteps of Kings and Queens–beheadings and world peace
I am not at all a fan of William the Conqueror, nor am I a huge fan of large masses of humans, but this fortress is such a key player in history, that I needed to be there. A World UNESCO Heritage Site, it automatically ranked on my bucket list.
This place goes way back. A cruel place, a place where you would give to hear the walls talk, where ghosts walk and lots and lots of blood was spilled. I like a good story, and this place is loaded with stories. I learned this from watching the Showtime series “ The Tudors;” it brought history alive for me. Whatever, it was more entertaining and inspired me to visit the place where Jane Grey, Catherine Howard and Anne Boleyn were held, and their heads were cut off. I wanted to feel that love story.
There is a ton more to see within the walls: The White Tower, The Bloody Tower, Traitors Gate, Tower Dungeons, Tower Green, The Royal Mint, The famous ravens. Do I think that this place should be on everyone’s list? Yep, pretty much, at least once. It would be a great place for young minds to see history come alive. It is such an awe inspiring place.
This place is larger than life, loaded with history and has something for everyone. It is an amazing setting with a great address on The Thames. You will not get bored-ish here. You may feel as if you are a beheaded Queen walking around, or feel yourself in the dungeon, with limbs being stretched as you deal with the huge crowds but there is a frame of reference to be gained by visiting this gig in person.
Yeomen Warders Tour aka “Beefeaters.” I do recommend this 60 minute’s tour. It is “free” with your ticket price. It is a good introduction to the place, done with knowledge and humor. The guides are dressed in their Scarlet Royal Livery. They try to make the crowd welcome by engaging them and seem like really enthusiastic dudes.
With them, you are able to get into the chapel of St. Peter ad Vicula, I found that worthwhile. One point to make is that there are not enough of these guys and the groups get big. If you get annoyed with cheesy humor and group interaction, do not go on this tour. I got a bit bored but just do what I do, smile all the time, and day dream of being able to bring the eager visitors into the torture room, place them on the rack and…Can you do this tour without the guide? Yes.
Dazzling crown jewel visit seems to be the favorite of most people. I admit that it was pretty cool to see the crowns, rings, scepter’s, necklaces and royal belongings all in one place. There is some serious bling bling in those walls. There are really long lines, so I followed my husband who by then simply had it with the masses, and entered through the exit. I was “that jerky tourist.” I felt bad-ish, especially knowing that this place is guarded and my escapade was watched somewhere on a camera. I would really have preferred not to go all Bonnie with Clyde, but if I wanted to remain married and see the crown, I had to break some rules. Welcome to my world. Anyway, I am over it. You ride on a moving walkway and view the jewels. They are a “working collection” meaning that the jewels are used for special events. What was amazing to me is that there has only been one attempt to steal the jewels. Hmmmm. Joking aside, I really liked seeing them.
The Tower Armory and Munition is pretty cool.
I especially was interested in The Line of Kings exhibit. There were 325 year old wooden horse sculptures. On or near the horses was armor of their King owners. For no specific reason, I really liked seeing the Flemish made silver horse armor. Worth a whirl through this museum even though there are no Queens.
Megatips: Do as I say and not as I do: Use on line resources to plan ahead and buy tickets. You will save a lot. I am sure that there is a lot more to experience here based upon interest, spend some time checking it out instead of racing through. Don’t forget to look at the awesome architecture.
Check out the view of the Tower Bridge it is beyond awesome, you don’t have to be a paid entry to see it. Most importantly, stop and just look around. Or, saunter if you must. Take in this unique World Heritage Site and wish for a world without violence. It was a worthwhile Megastop. I give it 4 megastars (not 5 due to the annoying crowds) Go early and off tourist season. If you can’t get there in person, check out the website and You-Tube tours.