Tower of London tops every tourists list of must-see sights. There can be heavy crowds and, if they are all following you around, you could miss some amazing sights. It’s worth doing some preliminary research to make sure you enjoy the Tower. Come and visit our website search it on Crown Jewel Tour you can learn more.
First, some history. After invading the United Kingdom in 1066 the Normans built an array of forts all over the country. White Tower (at centre) is the Norman great keep. Its name comes from the Caenstone used to construct it. Caenstone was brought in by boat. His walls, which are 15 feet thick in the lower part of the tower and have a typical Norman geometry with round arches and white pilasters dividing it into grids, is very plain and strong. They were added much later.
The tower was expanded later; an approximately pentagonal wall, protected it on all four sides. It had the Thames to one side and the City of London, London, London, across a vast ditch. White Tower served as the foundation of a bigger royal palace that included a fort with many different functions. These included the Royal Mint, Treasury, Armoury, Prison, Execution Place, Royal Menagerie (with lions & bears), and Royal Menagerie. All these features will be visible on your visit, although there isn’t a Zoo anymore.
Two practical tips first: get to the Tower early. Nine o’clock is the time you should arrive if there aren’t too many people. As the Jewel House is home to the crown jewelry, it can become very crowded.
Consider a visit in the winter. It’s less busy and more atmospheric in winter.
The Yeoman Warders are the real Beefeaters. Also, you’ll notice that the Yeomans wear a uniform of blue – they don’t usually dress in red and golden.
For fun, we’ve compiled a list of some interesting trivia:
Why was Traitors’ gate a water gateway?
As water is a safer way to transport prisoners, it makes it harder to rescue them and avoids the possibility of chaos in the city streets.
Who cares for ravens and their young? They are ever fired.
Answer: Ravenmaster is the person who provides daily food to seven ravens. Raven George had to be fired because he would not stop eating television aerials. Ravens quit before – Raven Grog left a pub and wasn’t seen again until he was found outside.
Salt Towers – What are they?
Answer: Tower Bridge Approach has a round salt tower, which was used in days gone by to preserve meat.
Do you have any religious places in the Tower of London?
Answer: There are actually two. St John’s Chapel (part of the White Tower) and St Peter ad Vincula Church, the latter being the burial place of Anne Boleyn. St Peter ad Vincula hosts services every Sunday at 11 a.m. There is an excellent choir and you can access the West Gate to enter the church if only you plan to go to services on Sundays.
It’s worth a weekend trip to Norwich or Rochester if your White Tower experience has left you wanting to know more about other Norman castles. Both are built with Caen-stone, as is the Tower.