The London Tower is another of my favorite stops in London. I’m a bit of a history junkie, so places like this really make me giddy. There is nothing like walking into a place, and feeling the connection between the stories that you have read about, and the honest to goodness place where it all happened.
Now, the London Tower doesn’t really have a pretty, romantic, history. Far from it actually. If you’re a homeschooler who has done Story of the World 2 with your kiddos, you may remember the story of the boys in the tower? That tower was the Tower of London. Remember when Henry VIII sent his wives away to be beheaded? This is where Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard were both executed, on Tower Green.
Originally, the London Tower was a Norman Castle. William the Conqueror began construction in the 1080’s as a Royal Residence, but over time it was everything from a political prison to a zoo.
xThese days, it’s a really, really cool place to visit. If you’re lucky, you’ll arrive right on time to take a tour from the Yeoman Warder (free with admission) and he can tell you stories all about the famous prisoners, and the history of the castle. Ours was hilarious, and friendly, and the highlight of the trip.
After the tour, you can stop by and see the Crown Jewels (I would have taken pictures had I been allowed to, and been able to pick my jaw up off the floor long enough to snap a shot….). Seriously, you won’t believe the size of the diamonds!
As we walked around, I couldn’t help but feel like I should pinch myself. This place is REAL! Oh my goodness. London is really a history junkie’s paradise.
If you’re in London: Plan to spend a LOT of time at the London Tower. I didn’t allow nearly enough time here, and really regret it. I think I allowed 4 hours, and really needed more like 6. Make sure you check to see when the Yeoman tour is, and get on it! It’s free, and worth every minute. There is stroller parking at the entrances of the Towers, but there are tons of stairwells, so pack the baby carrier if you’ve got a little one. Oh, and the cafeteria has decent snacks, for a good price, so don’t worry about Lunch!