Whether you are looking for some culture, history or hands-on activities, The Tower of London has it all. You can try firing a cannon, meet some ravens, explore a castle or marvel at the glittering Crown Jewels while a resident at any of the hotels in North London.
Situated beside the River Thames, the Tower of London has witnessed revolts, executions, royal progresses, plots and spies. Built by William the Conqueror over 1,000 years ago, it has been steadily extended by successive kings over the centuries. It remains a royal palace, and is home to the incredible Crown Jewels – a glittering array of crowns worn by kings and queens. This is where you can see the massive Imperial State Crown worn by The Queen at the State Opening of Parliament, and St Edward’s Crown used during the Coronation service.
Other popular attractions within the Tower are the Armouries with their stunning displays of weapons, and the inquisitive Ravens who have their own quarters but roam freely around the Tower during the day. Stop off for the afternoon talk by one of the Yeoman Warders in charge of the Ravens telling fascinating stories about the birds. Other Yeomen Warders give guided tours around the building, telling stories about its history and the people who have lived – and died here.
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Climb the stairs up to the ramparts and take a stroll around the walls. The various turrets you pass by often include interesting displays about their functions over the years. The Tower has even housed a menagerie and was a Royal Mint, coining money for use throughout the country.
Don’t forget to book any of the hotels near Wembley Arena with parking and stop off at Traitors Gate to spare a thought for all those who were brought here by boat along the Thames, often from Westminster or one of the other royal residences and never left again. These included two of Henry VIII’s Queens, Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard both of whom were executed on Tower Green. Even Elizabeth I found herself imprisoned here during the reign of her sister Mary Tudor.
Book tickets in advance and collect them from the Ticket Office near the main gate. This speeds up your entrance to the Tower, and reduces any queuing.