MAY 13,2013 - MAY 13,2013 (1 DAYS)
Tower of London:
Start and End: Underground: Tower Hill station. Circle/District lines to Tower Hill. The nearest station with full access to street level is London Bridge. (Northern & Jubilee lines and national rail services). Train: Fenchurch Street or London Bridge stations. Both stations are fully accessible to street level. Docklands Light Railway (DLR): Tower Gateway Station is located adjacent to Tower Hill station. This station is fully accessible to street level.
Buses: 15, x15, 25, 42, 78, 100, RV1.
Duration: allow one full day to scour the place top to bottom.
Open: MAR-OCT: Tue-Sat: 9.00-18.00, Sun-Mon:10.00-18.00.
NOV-FEB: Tue-Sat: 9.00-17.00, Sun-Mon:10.00-17.00.
Ceremony of the Keys: daily 21.30 (book ahead). Tel. 0844-4827799.
Individual rate group rate (+15 visitors) online rate
Adult £22.00 £18.00 £20.90 Children must be accompanied by an adult. Under 5s are free of charge.
Child (-16) £11.00 £9.00 £10.45
Full-time student, disabled visitors, over 60 with ID
£18.70 £15.30 £17.60
Family Up to 2 adults and 3 children
Food and Drink: Apostrophe riverside café: pastries, sandwiches, savoury bites, tea, coffee. No admission to the Tower necessary. Open:
Winter/Summer: Monday to Friday 08.00-17.00/18.00, Saturday and Sunday 09:00-17.00/18.00. Raven's kiosk: café with table umbrellas. Tea, coffee, homemade cakes and savoury bites. Open: Weekends and school holidays only, 10.30-16.00/17.00. New Armouries restaurant: full meals and snacks. Open: Saturday to Monday 10.30-16.00/17.00, Tuesday to Saturday 9.30-16.00/17.00. There are plenty of places to perch at the Tower and make a picnic.
Toilets: Inside the Tower: There are toilets available at the rear of the Jewel House. Access to these is over a cobbled surface. There are also toilets (no wheelchair access) located in the following areas: To the rear of the Jewel House. At the side of the Cradle Tower. There are disabled toilets in all educational areas and within the New Armouries Restaurant Café.
Tips: Bring food with you. Do not spend time and money on dining in a formal eatery. Start your visit with the guided tour of the Yeoman (Beefeater). Leave the crown jewels for the end of your visit. It is neat to be able to get so close to the crown jewels, you stand on a moving belt and it slowly takes you by. The long queue dwindles towards the afternoon. If you are a photographer, pick a nice clear blue sky kind of day. No photography in the Jewels House and St. Martin Tower Jewels exhibition.
The Tower of London is an object of horror, tyranny, plots, torture and executions for most of its 900 years of history. The majority of its inhabitants did not get out alive, met violent deaths and were tortured before their death.
First, meet up (you and quite a large group of visitors around) with a Beefeater for a personal tour with great insight stories. Before the group is organized - spare 5-10 minutes for having photos of the Tower surroundings (Trinity Square, London City). The Tower is separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill and the Old Moat. Admire contrast of old and new (with the Gerkin behind and the Shard in front - with your face southward to the Thames):
Beefeaters (or the tower guards) give free tours starting at the entrance and are worthwhile as they are funny and informative. The warder does the tour in a very humorous way so that you will be informed and will have a lot of fun in the tower. This tour is included in your entry charge and lasts around 30 minutes. Afterwards, you are free to walk around the buildings of the tower on your own. Yeoman Warders at the tower are selected for their meritorious service in the Armed Forces. To qualify they must have completed 22 years service in the Forces, the Warders live on site at the Tower.
along the narrow, long court between the main entrance and the Middle Tower. Just beyond the entrance to the Outer Tower is the Middle Tower, built in the reign of Edward I (1307) and restored in the 19th century:
You turn left and enter the Inner Ward through the Byward Tower gates:
Climbing the steps toward the Inner Ward, the Byward and the Bloody Towers on your back:
The Bloody Tower acquired its name in the 16th century, as it was believed to be the site of the murder of the Princes in the Tower between 1339 and 1341:
In this room of the Bloody Tower was imprisoned Thomas Riley:
History of the World - written bt Thomas Riley:
The main entrance - a view from the Bloody Tower:
Have a look at the Tower map to get a general orientation:
We just left the Byward Tower on our back and the Tower Green on our right:
We turn left and enter the central courtyard (the Inner Ward) facing the Jewels House. Actually these are the Waterloo Barracks on the site - housing the Crown Jewels.
View of the Tower Bridge from the Inner Ward:
With your face to the Jewels House - turn left to see the St Peter ad Vincula - a Norman chapel which had previously stood outside the Tower and was incorporated into the castle. Visitor Information: The Chapel is accessed through joining a Yeoman Warder (Beefeater) tour which take place throughout the day (for details check daily programme upon arrival). It is also open to visitors to those not on a Yeoman Warder tour during the last hour of normal opening hours. Originally a parish church, the Chapel was incorporated into the walls of the castle during Henry III’s expansion. It has been rebuilt at least twice, once in the reign of Edward I, and then again in its present form in Henry VIII’s reign. It was rebuilt by Edward I and again by Henry VIII in 1519. Three queens of England Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard and Jane Grey, and two saints of the Catholic Church, Sir Thomas More and John Fischer, are buried here. Their headless bodies were buried under the nave or chancel without memorial until the 19th century when remains found in the nave were re-interred in the crypt. The chapel also has many monuments which commemorate officers and residents of the Tower who worshipped here. It remains a place of worship for the Tower’s residents' community. Henry VIII decorated the chapel by adding glazed windows, and stalls for himself and his queen. The chapel was refurbished again in the 19th century:
Ann Boleyn's remains are directly beneath this seal on the altar floor:
Jane Grey memorial:
On the left (the black house - is the Doctors House:
Facing the St. Peter Chapel - the Queen's House is on your back. The Queen's House was built around 1530, in a very different "Tudor" style than is found in the rest of the Tower of London. The Queen's House is one of the few such buildings to survive the Great Fire of London of 1666, and was spared because of its protected spot inside the Tower's stone walls. Built in the reign of Henry VIII, the Queen's House is currently the home of the Resident Governor of the Tower of London. Originally, the Lieutenant of the Tower lived here and was the custodian of several famous prisoners: Lady Jane Grey, Guy Fawlkes and the last prisoner held in the Tower: Rudolf Hess in 1941. Anne Boleyn is said to have stayed here before her execution as well (although the current buildings date from after her time as Queen):
Between the St. Peter Chapel (north) and the Queen's House (south) lies the Tower Green and the Scaffold Site or execution yard. Tower Green is a space within the Tower of London where two English Queens consort and five other British nobles were executed by beheading. The Tower Green is located on a space south of the Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula and north to the Queen's House.
Beheading in the privacy of the Tower Green was considered a privilege of rank; the executed were spared insults from jeering crowds, and the monarch was spared bad publicity. In the middle of the Green is a small square plot paved with a modern granite (made by Brian Catling), which shows the site on which stood the scaffold on which private executions took place. The granite paving was specially created by order of Queen Victoria.
Here were executed: Lord Hastings (1483), Ann Boleyn (1531), Margareth Foyle (1541), Queen Catherine Hayward (1542), Jane Boleyn (1542), Jane Grey (1554) and the Duke of Essex (1601):
The Jewel House occupies the whole of the ground floor of the Waterloo Barracks. The western half contains a ‘Hall of Monarchs’ in the style of St George’s Chapel in Windsor, and three video theatres showing parts of the 1953 Coronation and high definition pictures of the regalia. The videos last 2-3 minutes each and there is no commentary to the videos, although background music is played during them. The eastern half is the Treasury, containing the Crown Jewels. Not many people know that there is a back entrance to the Waterloo Barracks complex with animals sculptures standing on the walls around:
The Waterloo Barracks were built in 1845 on the site of the Grand Storehouse, a huge store and museum for arms and equipment that burned down in 1841 and was intended to house nearly one thousand men. The foundation stone, laid by the Duke of Wellington in 1845, can be seen at the north-east end of the building. The name refers to Battle of Waterloo and the defeat of Napoleon in 1815. The cannons in front of the building were captured from the French at Waterloo:
The Jewel House is in the Waterloo Barracks in the Inner Ward. The Jewels Block is now used to house the Tower guard and, since 1967, the Jewel House. For over six hundred years kings and queens of England have stored crowns, robes, jewels and other valuable items at the Tower of London. Since the 17th century, the coronation regalia themselves have been kept at the Tower and this collection, known as the 'Crown Jewels', has been shown to visitors to the Tower. Once you enter the Jewel House you pass through a series of introductory areas which illustrate the use and history of the jewels, and include footage of the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, before reaching the Treasury where the Crown Jewels are held. The Crown Jewels have been on public display at the Tower of London since the 17th century in a number of locations including the Martin Tower and the Wakefield Tower. Today they are housed in the Waterloo Barracks. The exhibition contains the spectacular Crown Jewels, including the platinum crown of the late Queen Mother, set with the 105-carat Koh-i-Noor (Mountain of Light) diamond and the Imperial State Crown, worn by the Queen at the State Opening of Parliament. You are standing on a moving belt to ensure tourists don't hang about. Slow-moving belts shunt wide-eyed visitors past the collection. The Crown Jewel collection contains 23,578 gems. The Imperial Crown alone contains 2,868 diamonds, 273 pearls, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds and 5 rubies:
St. Edward’s Crown: This coronation crown is the one placed by the archbishop upon the head of each new monarch on coronation day in Westminster Abbey. It’s worn for 20 minutes, then locked away until the next coronation.
The Imperial State Crown (1937) is worn by the Queen at each State Opening of Parliament. One of the youngest crowns in the collection, it holds a number of much older gems. The crown was remade in 1937 after the previous frame weakened under the weight of the gemstones (picture from Wikipedia):
Image from http://www.hrp.org.uk/:
There is an extensive audiovisual exhibition surrounding the Jewels:
Three ladies from Harrogate - visiting the Crown Jewels:
In case you exited the Jewels House from the rear (back) exit - you'll see the interesting animals figures on the walls - just adjacent to St. Martin Tower:
The Martin Tower used to be known as the Jewel Tower as the Crown Jewels were displayed here for 200 years. Today, it houses the 'Crowns and Diamonds' exhibition based on the making of the Crown Jewels. The Crowns and Diamonds exhibition tells the story of the English royal crowns and some of their most famous stones. The Jewel House Shop is on the ground floor.
The Crown of King George I from year 1715 and was used by all kings until Queen Victoria:
Martin Tower - tortures instruments:
The Eastern Walls from Martin Tower:
View of the White Tower from Martin Tower:
With the face to the Waterloo Barracks / Jewels House the Fusiliers Museum or the Regimental Museum stands on your right (eastward).
The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was founded in 1685 by James II to protect the royal guns kept within the Tower. The building housing the regiment's museum and headquarters was constructed in the mid-19th century as the Officers' Mess, which is used for formal dinners and ceremonial occasions. After being based at the Tower (except when away fighting abroad or garrisoned in British locations) for nearly 200 years, the Royal Fusiliers moved to Hounslow in 1881, leaving only part of their number at the Tower. The regiment returned in 1949 for an 11 year stay. Single soldiers were barracked in the Waterloo Block. Married men and their families lived in houses within the Tower. After this, the Tower became the home of a Royal Fusilier T A Regiment and continued to be the Regimental Headquarters. Today garrison duties are undertaken by the Yeoman Warders and by three London District regiments at a time on a rotational basis:
David Ben Gurion, 1st PM of Israel in the Fusiiers Museum:
Along the Eastern Wall, more south to the Martin Tower - stands the Broad Arrow Tower. A guard tower from which soldiers fired arrows to protect the Tower of London an its inhabitants from attack. The Broad Arrow Tower was built by King Henry III between 1238 - 1272. The Chief Architect and Master Builder of the Broad Arrow Tower was Henry de Reyns together with John of Gloucester and Robert of Beverley. The Architecture / Style of the Medieval Broad Arrow Tower is described as Norman (Romanesque). The purpose of the Broad Arrow Tower was to house part of the garrison. The name of the Tower is believed to reflect the weapons of the armed men who were garrisoned there:
View from the Broad Arrow Tower:
The most striking building is indeed the central White Tower, with its solid Norman architecture and four turrets. The White Tower gets it's name because the walls of the tower were painted with whitewash a low cost paint made from slaked lime (calcium carbonate) & chalk. Possibly the most famous castle keep in the world and easily recognised from it's, designated above, 4 iconic roofed turrets, 3 square ones and 1 round one, at the corners raising above the battlements. The Tower was built to subdue the idea of revolt by the recently conquered Londoners & English by the Normans:
In front of the White Tower lie several cannons which were used by the Knights of Malta and transferred to England at 1800. The cannons installed in front of the White Tower from year 1962:
Traditional players opposite the White House:
Nowadays, on the entrance floor it houses a collection from the Royal Armouries, including Henry VIII's commodious suit of armour. On the 1st floor is St John's Chapel, dating from 1080 and therefore the oldest church in London:
Henry VIII (1500-1547) armour:
Charles I (1625-1649) armour:
Charles II (1660-1685) armour:
Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry (current royal family) armour:
Line of Kings. Heads of Kings of England - exihibited in the Tower during the years: 1688-1825.
Horses, flags and armors of Kings of England. From William the Conqueror (1066-1087) until William III (1689-1702):
The smallest armour (The Dwarf) prepared for King Charles I when he was a child (95 cm height) and the biggest armour, THe Giant, of the Duke of Lancaster, John of Gaunt (1340-1399) with 205 cm. height):
Armour given as a gift to Queen Victoria by King Menelek II from Ethiopia:
Artillery Room of the White Tower:
Royal of Arms:
A dragon adorned with weapons in the White Tower:
Ad about import of exotic beasts to the Tower:
The original beheading axe and execution stone - in the White Tower:
St. John Chapel in Norman style from year 1120. St. John's is on the second floor of the White Tower, which was built in 1077–97 as a keep or citadel, the oldest part of William the Conqueror's powerful fortress. The chapel has survived complete from the early Norman period:
Do not miss the views of London City from floors 2 and 3 of the White Tower:
Tower Bridge from the White Tower:
Mayor of London offices from the White Tower:
Waterloo Barracks from the 3rd floor of the White Tower:
The White Tower rear from the Tower Green:
The St. Thomas Tower is located close to the Bloody Tower. Here, prisoners were brought into the fortress by boat through the Traitor's gate. I recommend that you leave this tower to the afternoon hours - when the sun is not in the south - opposite your camera lens while taking photos of the Thames from this tower:
This recreation of King Edward I’s (1239-1307) bed is displayed in St. Thomas's Tower, which forms a part of the Medieval Palace at the Tower of London. The King’s bedchamber is shown as it might have looked when Edward stayed at the Tower for a week in the winter of 1294, while preparing for war with France:
Many prisoners of the Tudors entered the Tower of London through the Traitors' Gate (the Bell Tower). The gate was built by Edward I, to provide a water gate entrance to the Tower, part of St. Thomas's Tower, which was designed to provide additional accommodation for the royal family. The name Traitors' Gate has been used since the early seventeenth century. Prisoners were brought by barge along the Thames, passing under London Bridge, where the heads of recently executed prisoners were displayed on pikes. Queen Anne Boleyn and Sir Thomas More entered the Tower by Traitors' Gate:
The Salt Tower stands in the most south-eastern corner of the Tower Inner Ward. The Salt Tower was built by King Henry III between 1238 - 1272. The Chief Architect and Master Builder of the Salt Tower was Henry de Reyns together with John of Gloucester and Robert of Beverley. The Architecture / Style of the Medieval Salt Tower is described as Norman (Romanesque) / Edwardian / Gothic. The purpose of the Salt Tower was initially residential. The Salt Tower was once referred to as Baliol's Tower having once imprisoned John Baliol the King of Scotland in 1297 - 1299. Another prisoner was a man named Hugh Draper of Bristol who was imprisoned in the Salt Tower in 1561 under suspicion of Sorcery. Whilst he was imprisoned in the Salt Tower he carved a huge, incredibly intricate, astronomical clock which can still be seen. The inscription records that "Hew Draper of Brystow made this sphere the 30 daye of Maye anno 1561".
Jesuits were also imprisoned here and their carvings depicting religious scenes can also be seen on the walls:
View from Salt Tower to the Traitors' Gate:
The Southern wall from the Salt Tower:
The tower on the outer wall in the right side of the picture is Cradle Tower. It was used in the 1300s as a water entrance for the king to enter his accommodations in and about Lanthorn Tower visible here to the left of Cradle Tower. The top of the tower was removed in the 18th century after a fire:
By 1665 the royal buildings along the southern wall were also being converted into storerooms and offices for ordnance matters, at no small cost:
The Tower Bridge from the East-Southern corner of the Tower:
View to the Tower Bridge from the Southern Wall:
Views from the Southern Wall:
View from the Southern Wall to the White Tower:
The City from the Southern Wall:
View to the Southern Bank from the South wall:
The Wakefield Tower stands in the middle of the southern wall. The Wakefield Tower is where Henry VI (founded Eton and Cambridge University) was brutally murdered. In 1471, during the time of the 'Wars of the Roses' - England's medieval civil war, he was stabbed to death while praying.
The Chapel where King Henry VI is traditionally said to have been murdered:
The Wakefield Tower housed the Crown Jewels from 1879-1967 but it is now almost empty tower. You can see the spartan Throne Room of Henry III (1216-1272) (father of Edward I) from year 1220:
The ravens of the Tower of London are a group of captive Common Ravens which live in the Tower of London. The presence of the ravens is traditionally believed to protect the Crown and the Tower; a common saying holds that "If the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it.
The Tower exterior walls. The best time to take photos is during the late afternoon or sunset hours. For the southern walls - the morning hours: