London Attractions: The Tower of London

The Tower of London may not be the prettiest building in the city, if compared to some of the other famous London tourist attractions like Buckingham Palace or the Houses of Parliament. Standing proud on the skyline of the Thames, this 930 year old building deserves to be written about and most certainly visited by anyone with an interest in history or the monarchy. Visitors have enjoyed guided tours of the Tower of London since the 1590s and millions continue to enjoy the site each year.

History
With the surrounding fortress in place, William the Conqueror began to build a tower in the centre, which was unlike any other building in London or England, to mark his territory in London. From then on the tower was developed and adapted by the monarchs that followed to build its defences against attacks and threats towards the throne. Over time the Tower has been used for many different purposes, from keeping Lions and other exotic animals, a palatial residence, the Office of Ordinance and a prison. The tower has also longed been used to store and protect the Crown Jewels, which are now on display for paying visitors in the Jewel House, which is under armed guard.

Exhibits
The Crown Jewels are an outstanding collection, with many of the pieces on display in use by the monarchy today during official ceremonies. With over 2500 diamonds, and many other precious stones, the jewels include rings, crowns, orbs, sceptres, spurs, swords and more.

Apart from this dazzling collection, there is plenty more to see and do at the Tower of London. Popular amongst tourists looking for a cheap London attractions day out, visitors can get real value for money from their visit by making the most of the Tower’s facilities. From an exhibition showing an armour collection 500 hundred years in the making, to Royal Beasts and raven spotting. Braver visitors could even try out ghost spotting for characters such as Anne Boleyn and Henry VI. The armour collection not only shows the ingenious ways English soldiers used to use to protect themselves, but also showcases the skill and creativity of the royal armourers. The collection includes silver, gilt and Japanese armour given as a gift, with many intricate and ornate pieces being created personally for the monarchs to wear during battle.

Traditions
Ravens are a more cuddly looking attraction at the tower, but certainly shouldn’t be approached! These large and potentially dangerous black birds have their own residence at the Tower, are individually named and cared for full time by the Royal Ravenmaster.

The Ravenmaster is one of the Towers 35 Yeoman Warders, more familiarly known as Beefeaters. The Yeoman Warders are part of the Royal bodyguards and have been since the 16th Century. Only male warders are employed, and in order to qualify for such an important role in our country, gentlemen must have served in the armed forces for at least 22 years. The ‘Beefeater’ uniform is popular on postcards and pictures of London for its traditional and curious style.

To enjoy the tower’s full array of attractions, you’ll need a good few hours so it would be sensible to allow at least half a day. To make a day of it in London, even on a budget there are several London daily deals sites that offer family and individual discounts not only to London attractions but also restaurants and theatres in the Captial. Entry to the Tower of London is currently £19.80 per adult, and £10.45 per child. Check out the official Tower of London website for more details.

About the Author
Katie Sykes is a Digital Marketing professional and enjoys writing both for business and pleasure. Based in Brighton, her passion lies in fashion, culture and lifestyle and she enjoys promoting this both in her writing and through her own website BrightonMixdotcom, as well as keeping a personal blog. Having moved to Brighton to study at University, Katie has now made the seaside city her home town and base for work and enjoys all of the creative opportunities that Brighton has to offer along with its close connections to London.

Images reproduced from River Thames Guide, CollaborateLive and Britbound

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