Approximately 952 years ago, the Tower of London was built by William the Conqueror to keep any hostile intruder at bay. Now, as we see it, it still stands tall and proud. As a matter of fact, there are hordes of reasons why you need to visit it as soon as you have spare time. It’s just a few steps from that very photogenic bridge you see in London postcards – the Tower Bridge!
I explored every inch of the building and without splitting my hair much (because I’m bald :D), I gathered the following 11 reasons to make you pay a visit, too.
1. Have a look at the dazzling trinkets
Have you ever heard about the Cullinan I also called the Great Star of Africa, Cullinan II, and the Koh-I-Noor? If you have, it could be your once-in-a-lifetime chance to lay eyes on these magnificent Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. Not only these, in fact, you’d get to see all the 140 ceremonial objects that are on the display. Believe me, when I say this: I was literally drooling over when I saw them.
2. Embark on a time warp
How many times have you wished to travel back in time? The Tower of London could aptly provide you with that opportunity in the shape of Nightwatchers – a heart thrilling adventure created by Anagram that takes you through the ancient lockups guided by messages or phone calls. Well, I hate to admit this but I almost cried while I was treading the history’s one of the notorious places. I couldn’t imagine the agony that could have been caused to the prisoners here.
3. Feel the royal grandeur
The very sense of the “royal-ness” is what brought me to this place. Just by walking along the walls of the fortress took me back in time and I could feel soldiers marching alongside. I still feel the goose bumps.
4. See the spot where the Royals were beheaded
If you want to see where royals used to be beheaded, don’t miss the Tower Green. In here, you’ll find the spot of decapitation – where it all happened. In the ancient times, it was fitting for the dignitaries to be beheaded away from the prying, cold eyes of the public and this is where the likes of Catherine Howard, Lady Jane Grey and Queens Anne Boleyn were beheaded.
5. Breath in animal scents (of course, not literally)
The Tower of London was once a popular menagerie of gifted animals from around the world. The animals are still there, but only lifeless. I mean their statues are there and just like me, you could feel their plight when they really used to be there.
6. Take a night-time tour of the Bloody Tower
I cried, here too. Of course, not because I was scared (ok I was scared), but because of hearing to the heart-wrenching stories of the prisoners and traitors that were brought here and who met a very ruthful, bloody end. All the crying and scaring aside, I really enjoyed treading the courtyards.
7. Try your hand at art
Drawn at the Tower with Art Macabre gives you an immense opportunity to channel your inner artist to the outside world by drawing breath-taking sketches of the royals pampered in costumes. I availed that opportunity and I really don’t think you could look at my sketches (I’m bad at everything, actually).
8. Laugh at the heavy impossible fashion
I still get giggles when I remember the collection of the royal suits displayed at the White Tower. Yes, they could have been the height of the fashion back then, but even imagining myself in them makes my shoulders heavy and my head light. I’m sure Henry VIII would have had quite the horsepower to carry them.
9. Marvel at the arts and Royal history
Huge paintings and incredible display of luxury will take your breath away. Don’t miss the crown which the Queen used and take a moment to watch the video when Queen Elizabeth was crowned and took her throne. Royal fanatics will definitely fall in love to this place.
10. The British Guards
I don’t think I need explanation for this. A trip to London won’t be complete without a pic with these red-uniformed guards. Witness the Changing of the Guards routine. You can ask the schedule when you buy the ticket. Don’t tease them, please. 😉
11. The Incredible View
The views of London across the river is so breathtaking. From the yard inside, you’ll see the ancient fort with the city’s towering skyscrapers behind. And when you’re up there on the fort, the Tower Bridge is magnificent!
Although I had my funny moments, overall, I must say I couldn’t have had the kind of exhilarating experience that I had at the Tower of London. It offered me a mixture of royal grandeur, absorbing history, and immaculate architecture that I still have engraved in my mind. Go and see it!
Saving Tips in London
To make your trip easier, without having to worry where to go, what transport to take and without having to join the queue for the ticket, you’d better buy London Explorer or London Pass. Both can save you a lot of money and time, especially if you’re gonna be in the city for just a couple of days.
WHERE TO STAY IN LONDON
I’m sure you know that London isn’t cheap. I stayed in a reasonably-priced SoHostel in central London. It’s close to metro stops and shopping temptations are everywhere. And as the name suggests, it’s definitely in Soho area where bars and restaurants abound. It’s clean and have nice, colourful interior. The beds are good enough for me.