Tower of London
Tower of London or Fortress of the Tower of London is officially Her Majesty’s Royal Palace. It is located on the north bank of the famous river “Thames” right next to the Tower Bridge. The tower was founded in 1070 when William the Conqueror ordered to build this enormous stone fortress in London to defend & retain his power. Since then it has served various purposes such as the home of the crown jewels of England, as a treasury, a public record office, an armory, a zoo as well as a prison. It was used as a prison from 1100 to 1952. The tower has also served as a royal residence. The tower of London consists of many buildings some are interconnected, and some are not.
The tower took almost 20 years to be build. Many English men served as labor and masons from Normandy brought stones from Caen, France. In times of trouble, Kings and Queens have used Tower of London to protect themselves and their valuable possessions. Even today the Tower protects the Crown Jewels. Henry III had the Tower’s great keep painted white in 1240, since then it is called as White Tower.
Tower timings and Ticket Prices
The Tower of London is open for visitors every day from 9am to 4.30 pm except on Mondays and Sundays when it opens an hour late at 10am. If you have the London pass, then the entree is free for you and if you do not have it then you have to purchase a ticket and normally the price is around £19.30 to £25.
6 Attractions at the Tower of London
As soon as we enter in the Castle we are struck with the beauty of the environment and rich history. The tower is an ideal place for photography. The stone walls present an amazing texture and if it is a sunny day, you are in great luck. This is a great place to learn the history and some wonderful and some horrific stories of the Kings, Queens and the prisoners of the Tower. You can walk through rooms and on to the border walls and can look outside at the famous river Thames and the beautiful Tower Bridge.
You can take some amazing photos from this tower capturing both inside and outside views. The place is very clean, very well maintained and is a great place to enjoy a day with the British royal history. The Castle gives you insights and some goosebumps when you get to know the interesting facts about the life of royals back in the past.
The antiques are well preserved and protected and are displayed for your attention, learning and pictures. There are rooms depicting the private life of the Royals. I want to mention some of the important attractions of the Tower of London Below.
Crown Jewels of England
Many Kings and Queens have stored their real crowns, robes and other important items in the castle from more than 600 years. The Coronation regalia is present and protected by the tower since 1600s. These are commonly known as Crown Jewels and almost 30 million people from around the world have seen them closely making them the most visited objects in the world. Whenever there is a coronation, the key items from the Crown Jewels are taken to the Westminster.
History of the first Zoo of London
Henry III (1216-72) was gifted three leopards by the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick II. Henry III was so happy with these exotic animals that he decided to start a zoo at the tower. He was presented with a white polar bear by the King of Norway in 1252. The bear used to hunt for fish and swim in the river Thames however, to stop it from escaping a collar and a stout cord was attached to the bear. An Elephant was also gifted by the King of France which added to the glory of the zoo. The elephant was taken good care of but couldn’t survive more than 2 years in the castle.
The modern London Zoo was started with the original 150 animals that were taken from the Tower of London.
History of the Mint street at Tower of London
In 1279 The Mint was installed inside the Tower of London by Edward I (1272-1307). Until 1810, Most of the coins were made in a dedicated area which got famous by the name of Mint Street. The Mint was always hot and very noisy and the making of coins was handled differently from the other activities at the tower. The Mint workers were kept separated within the fortress, there movements were monitored, and the Mint was operated from a secure series of workshops. It was a dangerous work for the staff and most of them had to suffer loss of their fingers and eyes.
The coins made were stamped by the faces of the Royals and It was considered treason to tamper or forge the coins and resulted in severe punishments. Isaac Newton, the Warden of the Mint was so good in catching counterfeiters that he became the Master of the Mint in 1699.
As the country’s economy grew, the Mint also expanded. It was moved out of the Tower of London to a new building in 1810 and then later to Wales in 1960.
Kings and Queens of The Tower
Medieval Kings and Queens used to live in luxurious apartments at the tower and worshipped in the Royal chapel. They also kept a private zoo for their exotic animals. There were magnificent ceremonies held at the towers and many foreigners used to attend them. The chapel is probably more famous as being the burial place of some famous prisoners of the tower. These burials also include the three queens of England, Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard and Jane Grey. They were accused of either adultery or treason. There headless bodies were quickly buried under the chapel without any memorial.
It is said that the ghost of Anne Boleyn stalks the site of green tower where she was executed. There are also stories about a huge bear that occasionally appears from nowhere and some other ghosts wandering in the Tower of London.
Guards of the Tower of London
The famous Yeoman Warders, the guards, have been protecting the castle from centuries. They are actually very friendly, and you can ask their permission to take selfies and pictures with them. They will happily participate. They are also known as beefeaters because centuries ago they were allowed to eat as much beef as they want from the King’s Table.
What happens after tourist closing hours?
After the Tourist hours, when all the visitors are gone. The gates are closed, and a Tower becomes a home to community living inside it. The yeomen Warders and their families live inside the Tower of London. The resident governor and a garrison of soldiers also live inside the Tower. There is also a priest and a doctor. The tower also has its own pub.