This article was published on February 26th, 2017
For a period of time, the Tower of London would have been one of the last places you would ever want to end up. Now, it is one of the most visited places on the planet, and for good reason. Now a series of museums and buildings that still encompass the original fortress, the tower of London is a must see. On your next visit to the UK, make sure to include the Tower of London as a stop on your vacation.
The Tower of London was originally built by the Normans in the 1070s as a protective compound. By 1100, the white tower was finished, and at 90ft tall, it was one of the tallest buildings in the world at the time. By the 1350s, most of the structures had been completed into the fortress it is today. King John was the first noted monarch to live part-time in the tower and often kept lions as well as other exotic animals within its walls. It wasn’t until the reign of Henry 8th in the 1530s that the palace turned into a prison, and from then on it became synonymous with those that were executed there.
But the Tower of London is so much more than its disheveled past. Today it houses a plethora of buildings and structures, museums, towers, walking trails, and treasures. The longest running tourist attraction in the world, the Line of Kings, is a collection of royal armor. The royal mint has a collection, museum, and is coined within the tower grounds. 1000 years of Tower history lie within the armory museum. The White Tower tour offers expansive history and one of the best views in all of London. The new(ish) Torture museum in the basement. revisits the Towers bloody history. The Fusilier Museum holds the history of the British infantry.
The grounds also serve as a makeshift zoo. For over 600 years, Exotic animals from around the world were housed at the Tower of London. The royal menagerie houses many animals from around the globe including kangaroos, alligators, bears, and monkeys, and other non-natives. The Tower is also famous for having 6 ravens present on campus since the time of Charles II. They can be seen in and around the White Tower and have become the revered mascot of the Tower of London.
Who doesn’t want to live like a queen, even if only temporarily, by visiting the most famous residents on the Tower grounds: The Crown Jewels? Queen Elisabeth II’s personal real crowns, scepters, challises, and other pieces used in actual ceremonies are housed here. Some of the most famous gems in the world reside at the Tower of London as well, including the largest rough diamond ever found, the Cullinan diamond and the famous Koh-I-Noor diamond. Admittance is free with general Tower Ticket purchase.
Tickets for the Tower of London can be purchased online or at the front gate. General admission is about £24. Next time you visit the UK, don’t miss one of the most expansive tourist attractions in the world. The Tower of London is an unrivaled destination for any and all vacationers.
Looking for more fun and exciting things to do in while visiting the U.K? There are plenty of options including Newcastle, in the north west, famous for it’s Geordie accent, or Highclere Castle, the real aristricrat house featured in the famous television series, Downton Abbey. Visit Britain is full of terrific ideas, itineraries, and options to help you plan your visit to the U.K.