A Visit to the Tower of London

A few weeks ago we were invited to review a City Cruises trip along the Thames and we decided to make the most of the trip to London by visiting some of the tourist attractions.

Isaac has been asking to visit the Tower of London for ages and as the City Cruise stopped there I decided to surprise him with a visit. What I hadn’t realised is that Hubby had never been either and I am not sure who was more excited.

Beefeater

The boys were super excited to meet a Yeoman Warder (popularly known as ‘Beefeaters’) at the entrance and although they were offering tours where they entertain you with tales of intrigue, imprisonment, execution, torture and much more we decided to take it at our own pace and explore by ourselves.

Tower of London

Our first port of call was the Royal Mint at the Tower, an exhibition exploring the story of the Mint when it was based in the Tower c1279 and 1812. We got to see how coins were made and how each Monarch changed them to reflect the politics of their time. It was the tales of thievery that caught Isaac’s imagination and we learned about John Turnbull who stole four bags of guineas, containing 2,308 coins and weighing about 19 kilograms, into his coat pockets. Our attempts to lift even one bag had us in giggles as it was almost impossible.

Tower of London

We then spotted Traitors Gate, the infamous entrance to the Tower of London, which forms part of St. Thomas’ Tower, which was built to provide additional royal accommodation but most famously was used as the entrance to the Tower by Queen Anne Boleyn.

Traitors Gate

It has been a long time since I visited the Tower of London and I forgot just how big it is. We were lucky enough to spot a couple of the nine ravens who live at the Tower as legend says that the kingdom and the Tower will fall if the six resident ravens ever leave the fortress (apparently they have been known to go awol though)

Raven

Probably the most interesting part of the Tower of London is the chance to see the Crown Jewels. The kids were fascinated by all the pieces and a video of the Coronation of the Queen, but it was the Imperial State Crown which drew the most “wow’s” with Eliza declaring she wanted to be a real princess.

Crown Jewels

We wandered around outside to get some fresh air for the next part of our visit. We got to see the Queen’s House, half-timbered house which faces Tower Green and was built-in around 1530, in the reign of King Henry VIII, in a very different style than the rest of the Tower of London.

Queens House

There was also a memorial on the execution site with a glass pillow and a list of 10 names, each with the year of execution, in date sequence including Anne Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey.

Tower of London

At the heart of the Tower of London is the White Tower,  one of the most famous castle keeps in the world and a great example of Norman Architecture. Inside is a unique Romanesque Chapel, the beautiful 11th-century Chapel of St John the Evangelist and the Royal Armouries Collection.

The White Tower

The kids were most fascinated by the suits of armour worn by the Monarchs, with King Henry VIII’s drawing giggles thanks to a rather large cod piece.

Tower of London

Eliza rather fancied being in charge of the canons though.

Tower of London

When we emerged from the White Tower we spotted an actor dressed in traditional costume and wandered over to get a picture. What we were not expecting was to find more actors and a parade across the cobbles towards a grassy area at the back of the tower where we were treated to a historical re-enactment.

Tower of London

The surprises kept coming with an elephant sticking its head out of a wall – OK, it wasn’t a real one but it helped draw attention to the fact the Tower has had some unusual inhabitants over the past 800 years.

Tower of London

And it wasn’t just an elephant……..we found some Baboons too.

Tower of London

The Tower of London is a full day out and we made sure we explored every nook and cranny. I would recommend you walk the wall as the views from the wall are very impressive.

Tower of London

There is even the opportunity to pretend you are protecting the walls from enemies!

Tower of London

The Tower of London is an interesting day out for all the family but be prepared for a lot of walking, cobbled streets and stone stairways. Sebby did brilliantly but we did have to carry him up and down a couple of hair-raising spiral staircases.

There are baby changing facilities on site but I really would not recommend a visit with a pushchair. The Torture exhibition can seem frightening or scary to young children, although mine thought it was all fascinating, but I am guessing it was because it didn’t seem real.

Tower of London

A family ticket to the Tower of London costs £57.50 online in advance or £63 on the gate and includes an activity sheet for the kids to do on the way around. I did also purchase a Horrible Histories guide book for Isaac which he has read from cover to cover – the best £5 ever!

the Pigeon Pair and Me

Country Kids

16 thoughts on “A Visit to the Tower of London

  1. The Tower of London is such a fasnicating place. It’s not the most pushchair friendly attraction though, so we are waiting to take the boys there.

  2. We were thinking of going here back in the summer but the price put off.I think we’ll have to go just to say we have as it’s a huge part of British culture.

  3. Ow to the price for a day out, but looks like you got a lot out of it. Cant remember every going as a child, though do remember a few other places we did do.
    Love love love the town house in all its magnificence.
    The spiral stair cases are always a feature that I struggle with.
    So glad they got so much fun out of the surprise, #countrykids

  4. We visited a few years ago and loved it. The kids still talk about the ravens. They are strangely spooky but captivating. I love how you really made the most of your visit exploring everything, there really is a lot to see there and it’s worth taking your time to get your money’s worth. A great tip about the horrible histories book.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids
    Coombe Mill – Fiona Cambouropoulos recently posted…Disney Mickey Mouse Room StickerMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge