The final post in our Great British Adventure series focuses on the Tower of London. It is one of the attractions included with the London Pass, however, given its rich and interesting history, I felt that it deserved its own post. I am also reluctant to say good-bye to our fun British adventures. It really was an awesome experience abroad.
The Tower of London was built in the late 1000s by William the Conqueror. He built this royal fortress as a defense against potential rebellion. This massive structure took about twenty years to build and became the center of power. Through the years, it has served many purposes: armoury, treasury, Royal Mint, housing for the Crown Jewels, and very famously a prison. From about 1100 until as recently as World War II, the Tower of London was indeed a prison. Many high-ranking people have been improsoned within the Tower’s walls, from Henry VIII’s ill-fated queen, Anne Boleyn to Elizabeth I before she became queen, to accused plotters Guy Fawkes and Sir Walter Raleigh. By the 20th century the tower was used less for prisoners, and was more of a tourist attraction, however, World War II changed that for a brief ime. The last person to be executed at the Tower of London was in August 1941, a German spy captured in England.
Perhaps what the Tower of London is most famous for today, despite its bloody history, the Crown Jewels. I unfortunately have no photos of the magnificent collection as photograpy was strictly forbidden. We did enjoy viewing the jewels, as well as other precious artefacts from royal celebrations, such as the Lily Font used in the christenings of the royal children.
Today, the Tower of London is definitely one of the most popular tourist attractions in England. It was fun learning about the history of London’s famous fortress and imagining what went on behind tower walls. From celebrations and feasts, to every day life, to dark moments of torture, death, and mystery, the Tower has seen it all over the course of nearly one thousand years.
I would definitely recommend a visit to the Tower of London, as well as a walk or drive across the famous Tower Bridge if you have the time. It is such an educational experience, and one that our family will not forget. With that, so ends my series on our Great British Adventure. I hope to take another hop across the Pond in the near future to experience more that the United Kingdom has to offer. This holiday was a truly memorable experience. Happy trails, and cheers!
For more information on Historic Royal Palaces, as well as source information: