Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Tower of London: Watch Your Head

The White Tower

When I fully comprehended that I was actually going to London I immediately knew of places that I wanted to visit.  At the top of my list was the Tower of London.  I have always had an interest in English history.  A key factor in English history is the Tower of London.  It encompasses so much of the history anyone would be foolish to pass over the opportunity to pay a visit. 
View of the Tower from the Thames

 The Tower of London was first built by William the Conqueror in 1078.  The tower has served as both a royal residence but more famously as a prison.  Other things associated with the tower are an armory, treasury, menagerie, royal mint and, of course, the Crown Jewels. It has housed several famous prisoners including  Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I, Jane Grey and Sir Walter Raleigh. Having so many varying purposes makes the tower a fascinating visit.  When I first caught glimpse of the Tower I became so excited that I hardly knew what to do with myself. 

Up the winding staircase which are everywhere in the Tower

Being inside the Tower was just crazy.  In some of the rooms the carvings of prisoners’ names and sayings are still visible.  One of the clearest was carved by another famous prisoner Henry Walpole.   By being able to see carvings makes visiting so surreal and intimate.  These walls actually kept prisoners, sometimes innocent prisoners, trapped either awaiting their death or facing a life of torment in prison.  It is just crazy to know how many lives were lost in the Tower; that people were tortured there. I can only imagine how a person must have felt as they entered the Tower to anticipate their doomed future. 

Traitor's Gate

Of course one of the best things there was the Crown Jewels.  I was not allowed to take pictures inside, however  no pictures would ever show the true sparkle emanating off the diamonds.  They are almost too good to be true and look fake.  But who knows if those are really the Crowned Jewels of England on display at all times.  For my sake, they better have been the real thing!   I still cannot wrap my head around seeing them.  The crowns are inside a tall glass display case in the center of the room.  On both sides of the case are slow moving sidewalks.  It moves just slow enough to take in their brilliance, beauty and ambiance.  I must also mention that entering the actual room was quite the experience.  Never in my life have I seen such a thick vault door.  I mean that door was ENORMOUS! 


Seeing the Tower of London really solidified something for me.  Throughout my life, with all of the books I have read on the history of London, the Tower has always played a prominent role in England’s history.  London revolves around the Tower and holy smokes I actually got to see it in person.  Holy crap I was at the Tower of London.  I was there and it was brilliant!  It was bloody fantastic!

The Tower of London is first and foremost a historic part of London.  Instead of looking at it as a potential tourist attraction look at it in a historic perspective.  

Don't think you will ever make it to the Tower of London? Take a virtual tour! 


Me at Traitor's Gate

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