The Tower of London
There's never enough time to see all the sights when visiting a great city. Our trip to London was a short one and we had to decide what historic places to visit. Two days isnt even enough time to scratch the surface. We bought tickets on the hop on, hop off bus that circles the city. The Tower of London, also known as Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, sits on the north bank of the River Thames. The Tower consists of several impressive buildings surrounded by a moat and two concentric defensive walls. During its storied tenure as a royal residence, it has also served many other purposes, including acting as a prison, the Royal Mint and home to the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. We walked through the Crown Jewels exhibit, marvelling at the gems and gold. I wanted a picture, but they had strict rules against photography.
Construction on the Tower of London began in the early 1080's and was overseen by William the Conqueror. William the Conqueror built the White Tower and work on the Tower continued for centuries as successive monarchs including King Richard the Lionheart, Henry III and Edward I added their touch to the fortress.
While the tower began it's long life as a residence to kings and monarchs, it is perhaps better known for the torture and death that later occured within its walls. The list of prisoners held at the Tower include John of Scotland, Henry Laurens, Queen Anne Boleyn, Queen Elizabeth, Lady Jane Grey, Guy Fawkes and even Sir Walter Raleigh, who wrote The History of the World while held within its walls. The Tower and its surrounding areas have been witness to over a hundred executions, the most recent of which occurred during World War II.
It is said that the White Tower is haunted by none other than Queen Anne Boleyn, who was beheaded in 1536 for treason. She allegedly has been seen walking around the White Tower carrying her head tucked under her arm. Other ghosts that may be haunting the Tower include Henry VI, Margaret Pole and Lady Jane Grey.
The Tower of London is a "must-see" destination for any visitor to England. The tower is open 9:00 PM to 6:00 PM Tuesday through Saturday and 10:00 PM to 6:00 PM Sundays and Mondays. The only days the Tower is closed is Christmas, Christmas Eve, Boxing Day and New Year's Day. The nearest Tube Station is the Tower Hill Station. The admission price was 17 GBP each, which I thought was quite steep. But the amazing history of the Tower and the great views of the bridges and buildings in the area made it worthwhile.