Thursday, August 14, 2008

London attractions : Tower of London - History and review

Many visitors to London made the mistake of forgoing Tower of London when they visit London. Most figured that at £16.50 per adult, it's too much to pay for 'just another castle'. That cannot be further from the truth.

Tower of London is not just any castle, its very foundation was laid by none other than William the Conqueror in 1078. After defeating the Anglo Saxon forces at Battle of Hastings in 1066, he built the Tower to be the bastion of his influence as the newly crowned English king. More importantly, the Tower dominated the entrance of River Thames and had served to intimidate approaching vessels.

Though the Tower of London was more famous for the its many political prisoners, few knew that there were only seven executions that took place within the Tower itself. In fact, it was considered a privilege for condemned prisoners to be executed within its walls and away from the booing and jeering of the maddening crowds. Out of the seven prisoners executed, two (Ann Boleyn and Catherine Howard) were the wives of Henry VIII.

Of course, the Tower was not merely a prison; it was never meant to be anyway. Throughout it's history, it has serve as an armory, a zoo, a mint and a barrack. Currently, it's home to the Crown Jewels, which are on public display within the Tower itself. Among its permanent residents is a contingent of Yeomen Warders (also known as Beefeaters), who double up as tour guides as well as providing security. Every evening the Beefeaters will perform the Ceremony of Keys, a protocol to secure the Tower.

Tower+of+LondonThe entrance fee of £16.50 is well worth every penny. You can get a better deal by purchasing the London Pass, which will have other London sights thrown into the package as well. Not sure of where to stay during your visit? Head towards London Accommodation for some fantastic deals.

Tower of London, though isn't the grandest looking castle that you'll find, is soaked with history and visiting it is essential to understand the very foundation of the English Monarchy. Make sure you go for the free guided tour conducted by the Beefeaters and if possible, try visiting during noon time when the crowds break for lunch.

For more dark secrets of the Tower, read Tales from the Tower of London.

Read also...
Trebuchet demonstration - Tower of London
Battle of Hastings - a re-enactment

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Dutchie said...

Does the tourist board in London offers a season-pass ?

B4 we went to the States, our travel agent sold us an Eagle-pass. It turned out we saved 10-fold, visitng all the great parks n breath-taking canyons !

London has so much to offer n to see all the sights, a pass would come in very handy.

C K said...

I'm not aware of any tourist pass offered by the tourist board but the ticket booth does offer 'package' deal with other attractions.

Oh course, you can always purchase the London Pass, which offers quite a good deal as well.

LadyBanana said...

Funny but having lived in London for more years than I care to remember I still haven't been in there..

Been to the outside area and walked along by the river there but not inside..

C K said...

I know what you mean. After awhile, I do take what London has to offer for granted.

Heck, I've always heard of tourists who have been to Singapore visiting places that I've never been before.

My Bug Life said...

CK, thanks for sharing this. I think this place is worth a visit!

WebbieStuffs said...

This is very informative and the images are very helpful. But when i read until the end, the fee is quite high since my currency here is euro..well, almost double that would make it around €30 or something... sigh.. but i do hope i can visit there someday. ^^

Thanks for sharing.

eastcoastlife said...

Wah! Expensive to see a castle! I hope there is a discount pass for the entrance fees to all places of interests.

Singapore's tourist places are expensive too but being local, I can don't go. :P

Fëanor said...

But C.K., you neglected to mention that if you brandish a National Rail ticket, you can go Two-for-One at the Tower of London. See here, for example. Enjoy!

kyh said...

I agree with u. The Tower is placed among the must-see sights in London. But I didn't know it was built by William T.C. Thx for pointing out. With all the rivalries between the Brits and the French, this is smth that connects both together. In fact, a huge chunk of English vocab (mainly of French origin) owes so much to the Norman invasion 1000 yrs ago.

C K said...

@my bug life,
Oh yes. But so are many other attractions. One will be spoilt for choice!

I think it should be just over €20. The Sterling pound has dropped quite a bit for the last few months. Defnitely not good news for those working in the UK.

Of course there is! You refer to feanor's tip. Or you can purchase the London Pass. But like I said, it's worth every penny. :)

I know I can always count on you for great deals. I didn't know that? To think that I've been chucking away my National Rail tickets! Argh!

It's quite ironic isn't it? I mean, the English are celebrating the fact that they had been successfully invaded by a Normandy (French) duke. Hmm... To think that both England and Normandy was once under a single king. That, I believe is a little known fact.

Btw, the 'yearly' Battle of Hastings live exhibition battle will be held in Hastings this coming October. That will be the event!

Dutchie said...

Ck n Fëanor - tks for the tips. We will hv some pocket change for a bag of fish-n-chips (for me) n a baked potato with sour cream (for my hubby) which we saw a man selling on the back of his bike along the Thames !

eastcoastlife - hey sister ! not even the once-in-a-lifetime ride on the mighty Flyer ? I gonna try that the next time we r in Sg.

cchiovitti said...

You forgot one very important thing - the Ravens. Gee, I used to like you too. :-(

Seriously, visit my link - I ADORE ravens and they were a great highlight of my Tower of London tour. The Tower is one of those places that I visit every single time I'm in London. It's just so fascinating and rich in history and lore.

C K said...

selling that on the back of his bike? Doesn't sound too hygienic for me. The last thing that I would want for a meal is a soggy bag of chips!

C K said...

Yup, thanks for the reminder. I cleanly forgot the Ravens!

You know what? I didn't manage to catch a glimpse of the ravens when I was there the last time round. Not even one.

But I thought that clipping their wings is a bit cruel isn't it?

Melissa said...

I was in London this a few months ago. I didn't have a chance to go to the London Tower. I wish I had.
I just found a new travel site, You can review destinations, upload pics and get info for your next trip.