UK Day Trip – The Tower of London

Posted on August 14, 2013

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The Tower of London is one of those places that is a must see. Of course it is full of history and really sums up so much British history by events it has witnessed. But it is so much more than that, it is such a beautiful building and it’s almost as if it whispers its stories to you as you brush against its walls and climb its towers.

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Standing proudly on the River Thames it was first built by William the Conqueror in 1078 and that part of the Tower – the White Tower is still the centrepiece of the whole castle. It began its early life as a Royal Palace and later became a prison and torture chamber, even execution site. In its early years, controlling the Tower was seen as key to controlling England.

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I was a little concerned that it would be a bit boring for our 6 and 4 year old but they really loved hearing all about the tales of the Tower. There are so many stories around the Castle and they really bring the past alive, so here are some of the favourites of my children (they quite like the grisly stuff!)

First they absolutely loved seeing the Beefeaters around the grounds and hearing about the history of these guards. We took their photograph outside of Traitor’s Gate – imagining what it must have been like to have been rowed through those gates, hearing them clang shut behind you and knowing you might never leave the Tower.

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We climbed the stairs to the Salt Tower and saw the scratched names on the wall of the Tower – prisoners who in the 15th and 16th Century could carve a name or a declaration of religion before, oftentimes, then going to their death.

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The queue for the Crown Jewels was too long for us on the summer’s day we visited but if you get the chance, and you come early or late, they are definitely worth visiting. But as time was limited for us it made us go into the White Tower instead which we might otherwise have overlooked. The first interesting part of this Tower is the staircase as you go up to the first floor where you can see the site the bodies of the princes were discovered. If you don’t know the history, in the 15th century the 12 and 9 year old princes, heirs to the throne were supposed to have been looked after by their Uncle in the Tower when they disappeared. Their uncle then went on to claim the throne and become Richard III. It wasn’t for 200 years that their skeletons were discovered under this staircase.

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The rest of the White Tower is stuffed full of amazing history – from Henry VIII’s armour…

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…through to the 16th century chopping block used to cut off the heads of heretics!

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What’s also great is there are loads of interactive exhibits – so you can pick up and feel different weapons to imagine which would be best for use when fighting on horseback for instance.

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We had such a great trip to the Tower of London – my children are still asking questions – wanting me to tell them more about the princes in the Tower or who was brought through the Traitor’s Gate.

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The Tower of London provided me with tickets for the purpose of this review but all views are my own.

Posted in: UK Day trips