Frankly, I find it hard to believe that visitors to London would give the Tower of London a miss. Seriously, if you even have just one afternoon, by all means go get your mandatory photo with the clock tower of Westminster (better known as Big Ben) but please skip London Eye and head to Tower of London instead. No, I’m not talking about walking along the perimeter of the Tower looking for the best angle for that one photo (which by the way is from the southeast corner). Yes, I’m talking about getting a ticket and head into the Tower.
At £19.80 for a full-priced ticket, it does sound a bit dear. But I can assure you that the visit is well worth the ticket price. Yes, the Crown Jewels are in there and the entire place is steeped in history but what’s makes the Tower of London really interesting are the Yeoman Warders (or Beefeaters) who are officially the personal bodyguards of the Queen. These days, the Beefeaters double up as tour guides for visitors to Tower of London and the tour comes included in the entrance ticket. History can be boring but the Beefeaters have a knack of delivering the story behind Tower of London with a wicked humour.
Just the other day, Evening Standard featured a video clip of Beefeater Bill Callaghan, which went viral on Youtube. Below are some of the excerpts from Callaghan's Youtube clips that I’ve lifted from Evening Standard (30th June 2011). Oh, to save you the trouble, I’ve included all five Youtube clips below as well. Enjoy!
Bits of wisdom from Yeoman Warder Callaghan...
On the film Braveheart:
"Never a day goes by without some demented Scot, I'm not saying you're all demented, just the ones I meet, demanding to know 'Where did you keep William Wallace? He was my father, check out my blue face and the family resemblance". That's just the women.
After telling how little princes Edward V and his brother Richard were suffocated in their beds and buried beneath a stairwell:
"Now I'd like you children, especially you young children to think about that at bedtime. Your mummies and daddies are going to tell you that was all a long time ago and that's true. They're going to tell you that there are no more bad men. That's a lie. There are bad men, then there are very, very bad men. There're not always out there though, sometimes they're under your bed. They wait for you to go to sleep and that's when they strike. Sweet dreams kids."
As he prepares to take the visitors through the Bloody Gate at the Tower:
"We are about to charge through it. Charge is a military term. It means to move rapidly to engage in eager combat with an enemy. So let's not have the Italians at the front."
On the French:
"History is nearly always written by the people who win. This explains all the empty pages in the French history books."
On the fact that most Yeoman Warders are ex-Army like him:
"We do have four from the Royal Air Force, no one talks to them, and we also have two Royal Marines and these (sic) are instantly recognizable because they are usually holding hands."
On why he was not wearing Beefeater ceremonial uniform of white ruffle, red and gold tunic and tights:
"We only wear that in teh presence of Her Majesty because she likes it. If you want men in skirts. Scotland. Although you can get that kind of action in Soho. I'm sure the Royal Marines will be happy to tell you where."
Here's are the five clips faithfully recorded by one of the those in his tour
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Tower of London Beefeater tour - Yeoman Warder Bill Callaghan's Youtube hit
fun|tower of london|