Tower of London
The Tower of London, along with Tower Bridge , stands at the gateway to London on the banks of the River Thames and guarding the City of London. Steeped in history, and now home to Queen’s Crown Jewels, it is no wonder the Tower of London is one of most visited UK and London attractions.
Following the invasion of England by the Normans led by William the Conqueror in 1066, the original Tower of London was built in 1078 in the south east part of the walls to the City of London, next to the Thames. The Tower, built of Caen stone brought over from France was just as important in protecting the Normans from the people of London as it was for protecting the City from foreign invaders.
King Richard the Lionheart built a curtain wall around the Tower of London, and had a moat dug around the Tower of London in the 12th century. However, the moat remained ineffective until the 13th century when King Henry III successfully employed foreign building techniques to solve the moat’s problems.
Since the Norman’s built the original White Tower at the Tower of London, over a dozen more towers have been added in and around the compound, making up the impressive structure we see today – a leading UK attraction.
The Tower of London also has a gruesome reputation as a former place of execution and it was here that Henry VIII’s second wife, Queen Ann Boleyn, was tried on trumped-up charges (But mainly because she hadn’t provided Henry with a male heir to the throne) and beheaded.
These days the Tower of London is principally a tourist attraction , housing the Crown Jewels (which were nearly stolen in 1671) and an impressive collection of armour belonging to the Royal Armoury. Guarding all this – though really acting as tour guides - are the famous Yeoman Warders, known more popularly as Beefeaters. The Tower of London is also home to ravens, and it is said that if ever they fly away the Tower of London will crumble. Though no one really believes this, the ravens’ wings are clipped just in case.
Tower of London opening times
Tuesday – Saturday 09:00 – 17:30
Sunday - Monday 10:00 – 17:30
Tuesday – Saturday 09:00 – 16:30
Sunday – Monday 10:00 – 16:30
Tower of London nearest Tube: Tower Hill (District and Circle lines)