the tower of london

for quite some time we have been meaning to “head” (sorry) over to the tower of london, her majesty’s royal palace and fortress. actually if the truth be known only a very few, (the a-list celebrities of their time i guess) have been executed actually on the green inside the tower of london. only seven in total were recorded, three of them queens, anne boleyn, catherine howard and jane grey.

outside on tower hill, is where the main executions happened. 125 “unfortunates” were beheaded here, until the last in 1747. dukes, knights, earls and nobles all came to their end outside the tower walls. an execution could draw a crowed of 100,000 spectators. this was considered entertainment, the whole family would go, with a picnic to boot! possibly the x factor of the day. the first being simon sudbury in 1381 and the last simon fraser in 1747. so if your names simon, i’d give tower hill a wide berth!

so today we went off to explore for ourselves what lay behind the walls of the tower of london. we were very kindly given tickets for our adventure by superbreak, which certainly gave us the nudge we needed to get selves up and out and over to the historic castle on north bank of the river thames in the centre of sunny london town, well not quite the centre any more but to the eastern edge of the original square mile of the city of london.

the tower began life in 1066 following the norman conquest of england. the white tower in the centre was built by william the conqueror in 1078, and it was very much resented by the residents of london, as it was very much a symbol of oppression under the rule of the first norman king. over the centuries the tower has been expanded by the kings richard the lion heart, henry III and edward I. it has played a prominent role in english history, and has been besieged several times. to be in control of the tower was seen to be an important part in controlling the country.

it has had many varied uses over the centuries, a grand palace, a royal residence, an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, a public records office, a royal mint, a prison “sent to the tower” and now the home to the crown jewels.

i know! a lot to take in, but we took our time and we had a wonderful day, thank you superbreak.

now without further a do, may i introduce the tower of london

the tower of london

the white towerthe white tower

the jewel housethe jewel house

a friendly beefeatera beefeater

a lonely bear skina lonely bearskin

a beady eyed raven, the legend says that the kingdom and the tower will fall if the six resident ravens ever leave the fortress. a beady eyed raven

the royal beasts. many animals were kept at the tower for over 600 years, given as royal gifts. lions, a polar bear, an elephant, tigers, kangaroos and ostriches. they all lived in the royal menagerie. these beasts however are dotted around the grounds and are made of chicken wire!lions

elephant

polar bear

monkies

medieval lady, she was kinda lurking around shouting a bitmedieval lady

tower bridgetower bridge

what’s that daddy?whats that daddy

a very big canona very big canon

ready for battlehorses ready for battle

breast plates

Mr HPMcQ

Comments

  1. November 25, 2013 / 09:39

    Last time I went to the Tower I was ‘used’ by a tour guide as a demonstration of how to chop off a head. fun times. Not so much.

    • November 25, 2013 / 22:48

      oh yes, we did indeed see another poor lady being used for the exact same purpose!

  2. November 25, 2013 / 10:05

    Such great photos! This has got to be my most favourite tourist attraction in London. Partly because there is so much there for my American visitors to see, but also because the British kids I ‘drag along’ with me always end up completely loving the experience as well. Something for everyone. I especially love the prisoners’ graffiti. x

    • November 25, 2013 / 22:51

      i hadn’t been since my school days, it was like i’d never been before!

  3. November 25, 2013 / 10:37

    Am planning a ‘just us’ trip to London with my ten year old in spring, and this looks like the perfect place to visit!

    • November 25, 2013 / 22:52

      it’s a great place, and in spring time it will be lovely to then walk over the bridge and along the embankment too.

  4. November 25, 2013 / 10:54

    Went here as a child with my Grandad. Huge memories. As a kid, I thought it was amazing. Still do. It’s somewhere I want to take my son too. So steeped in history, gives children such a sense of the past. Great photos. Reminds me to get organised and go soon.

    • November 25, 2013 / 22:54

      ronnie loved it, however he did tire after 3 hours. a lot for a 5 year old to take in i guess.

  5. November 25, 2013 / 11:14

    What awesome images!! Totally shocked at how large the crowds there used to be and how they found that entertainment… makes a mockery of The X Factor!! 😛
    Sim x

    • November 25, 2013 / 22:56

      the city was so hugely over crowed, i can’t imagine what it must have smelt like, they said the moat was like a giant cesspit. which is pleasant!

  6. November 25, 2013 / 11:58

    Owf with his head!

    Love the photos – and indeed the new beard 🙂

    I’ve never been to the Tower of London – I know!

    • November 25, 2013 / 22:56

      your two would love it there, perhaps something for the holidays.

      get your hands off my mans beard!

  7. November 25, 2013 / 13:31

    AMAZING IMAGES!

    I can’t believe that I have never been to the Tower of London, when I love history so much! This is on my 2014 to do list now …

    • November 25, 2013 / 22:57

      thank you donna. roll on 2014!

  8. November 25, 2013 / 14:03

    your photographs are just stunning and so inviitng to make me want to visit! I have never been myself but have walked past. One day – yes one day – i will take my two boys there and soak up all that history. x

    • November 25, 2013 / 22:58

      go on you know you want to… 😉

  9. November 25, 2013 / 14:52

    Wow looks like a great day out! Brilliant photos. One day we will take the kids!

    • November 25, 2013 / 23:02

      thanks maggy, well worth the visit.

  10. November 25, 2013 / 20:03

    FABBO photos, as always! Looks like you had a great day out. Shamefully I lived in London for over 10 years and never once visited the tower. Naughty me!

    • November 25, 2013 / 23:03

      well i’ve only just been at living here 8 years, not really counting my school trip at primary school. so yes naughty you!

  11. November 25, 2013 / 20:19

    What amazing photographs, and blimey what facts you’ve learnt too. I never been to the tour, I really must 🙂

    • November 25, 2013 / 23:05

      we did start the tour, but ronnie is only 5, so we broke off after a while, as his attention started to wane. he really wanted to get on and explore.

  12. November 25, 2013 / 20:39

    Your photos are amazing – especially the raven one, I think that’s my favourite. Very Allen Poe!

    Sounds like an incredible day, why do us Brits never visit our own attractions? I think this has to go on my list now – although I might leave Simon at home!

    • November 25, 2013 / 23:07

      that raven was blooming scary, i wanted to get a shot of him but he kept getting closer and closer and twitching his head from side to side. i soon scarpered!

    • November 25, 2013 / 23:09

      he he hope you didn’t laugh your “head off”…

  13. November 25, 2013 / 21:06

    I remembered going here as a kid and I loved it, I want to go back now. Mich x

  14. November 25, 2013 / 21:41

    oooooh, what a fab day out! I really must take Z, he would love it. x

    • November 25, 2013 / 23:11

      ronnie found it facinating, especially that there was a castle inside the castle!

  15. November 26, 2013 / 09:28

    I’ve never been to the Tower of London but it looks really great! I must remember for next time we are in London.

    • November 26, 2013 / 21:09

      everyone should go! we could have a blogging adventure!

  16. November 26, 2013 / 14:31

    I am ashamed to say I didn’t know half of those facts and am surprised more people weren’t beheaded – could you imagine the healthy and safety, and issues of children seeing blood now?!

    Gorgeous photos and looks like a lovely day.

    • November 26, 2013 / 21:09

      well don’t be, i didn’t know either until sunday x

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