One of the greatest landmarks in London, no visit to the city is complete without a stop at this historic castle. Located in the heart of the city, the Tower of London has a rich and fascinating history that dates back over 900 years. Originally built by William the Conqueror in 1066, the Tower has served as a royal palace, a prison, a fortress, and even a zoo over the centuries.
Visitors of all ages can explore its many exhibits and attractions, including the Crown Jewels, the White Tower, and the medieval palace. The Crown Jewels are perhaps the most popular attraction, featuring some of the most valuable and impressive jewels in the world, including the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond. The White Tower, meanwhile, is the oldest part of the castle and houses a fascinating collection of medieval arms and armor.
Beyond its impressive exhibits, the Tower of London is also steeped in history and lore. It has been the site of many famous events, including the execution of Anne Boleyn and the imprisonment of Sir Walter Raleigh. Visitors can learn about these and other stories through the Tower's many exhibits and guided tours.
One of the Tower's most significant historical events is its use as a prison. Many high-profile prisoners were held in the Tower, including Anne Boleyn, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Guy Fawkes. The Tower was also the site of numerous executions, including those of three English queens: Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, and Lady Jane Grey.
The Chapel of Saint John the Evangelist is located in the White Tower and has endured a unique survival. The chapel was originally built as a place of worship for William the Conqueror, but it was not completed until after his death. The location where medieval kings and queens would have worshipped, you will need to climb almost 250 steps to reach the chapel near the top of the White Tower. This beautiful chapel is considered to be the best surviving example of early Anglo-Norman royal ecclesiastical architecture.
In addition to its role in British history, the Tower of London has also played a significant role in world history. It has been the inspiration for countless works of literature and has been featured in numerous movies and TV shows. The Tower also played a crucial role in the Norman Conquest of England, the Wars of the Roses, and the English Civil War. Overall, the Tower of London is an essential part of British and world history, and its significance continues to be felt today.
Make sure you take the time for a tour of the Tower with a Beefeater - the Towers very own Guard Force. Known as the Yeomen Warders of His Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London, they are popularly referred to as the Beefeaters. The nickname dates back centuries, as they were some of the best feed men in all of London.
If you're planning a trip to London, the Tower of London is a must-see attraction that offers a unique glimpse into the city's rich history and culture. We have visited the Tower multiple times over the years, and I learn something new - every visit!