After living in London for 8 months we finally visited the Tower of London, the scene of some of Britain’s most fascinating yet shocking history. I highly recommend taking the tour from the Yeomen Warders a.k.a. the Beefeaters. The tour leaves every 30 minutes from the front entrance. I found ‘Beefeaters’ to be a very strange name, but it is said to have originated when part of the Yeomen Warders’ salary was paid through chunks of beef. Believe it or not this happened right up until the 1800s. Another fun fact about these guys is their families as well as themselves actually live inside the tower! I would be too creeped out to be roaming around during the evening there with all the ghost stories I’ve heard about the tower. To be a Yeoman Warder you are required to have served in the army for at least 22 years with an honourable record. Apparently they are in the process of hiring a new one too!
The line up to see the crowned jewels is massive throughout the day but if you wait until the very end of the day before close it is significantly shorter or get there first thing in the morning. They are worth seeing, however don’t waste your entire day standing in line as there is much more to check out. Across from the jewels is the White Tower, one of the most historic buildings in the world. Inside the tower are numerous sets of armour including Henry VIII’s, as well as an 11th century chapel and an interactive section for kids where they can draw a bow and handle a sword.
The tower is also famous for their ravens. It is said that as long as ravens stay at the tower, Britain will endure. During the WWII bombing blitz, these ravens were almost all wiped out or scared away. Only one survived, whose name was Gyp. The ravens were not the only animals around the palace though. For over 600 years ‘royal beasts’, roamed about the palace in the Royal Menagerie. These exotic animals were given as gifts. This special exhibit, which is included with your ticket price, is located in the Brick Tower. The first animals recorded in the palace were in 1210. Some of the more notable animal residents included lions, an elephant and even a polar bear! However, due to various incidents (you can use your imagination there) the animals left in 1832 to their home in London Zoo.
As you can tell this post is longer than most, yet this is not even close to everything you can see, do and learn at Tower of London. You’ll just have to go check it out yourself for more or if you have any questions comment below.