Our trip overseas was a legitimate business trip for my husband, so we only had touring time with him on days 1 and 2. We had been told by everyone who had an opinion, that The Tower of London was not to be missed, so that was our objective for the day.
As I mentioned in blog post “LONDON – DAY 1” posted on July 23, 2017, our apartment was ideally located between London Bridge and The Tower Bridge. It was a gorgeous walk along the river, over The Tower Bridge and straight to The Tower of London complex.
One of the things that endeared this city to me is the fact that they consider kids, under the age of 16, children! This was almost shocking to me. In The States, we are so consumed by the almighty dollar, that our kids lose their “child” status around 10 or 11. But in the fair city of London, it is quite affordable to tour with kids. Infact, several of the museums that I will highlight on other tour days, admission for children was free!
Anyhoo, back to The Tower of London; a super interesting place. And when I go back there, I will make sure to get a guided tour, although winging it on this trip worked sufficiently. First stop within the complex was The Lower Wakefield Tower to get a quick education on the methods of torture. (I joked with my kids that I needed to brush up on some new ways to torture them. Embarrassment seems to be waning a bit as my current method.) Anyway, within you found your standard fare of torture that we’ve all seen in movies like irons, where you are chained to the wall with your hands above your head, and the rack, where they would stretch you. But, did you know that they had something called the Scavenger’s Daughter? This little nasty was used to fold a person up and compress them. Documented accounts state that this was measurably worse than the rack. CRINGE. (Suffice it to say, I would not have lasted very long in medieval times, but that era totally fascinates me.)
Continuing through the complex, we made a quick stop to the gift shop (again, traveling with kids). This was a lovely little shop, which I might add, is a trait that I found at all of our points of interest throughout London. Low on the junk, high on the super cute!
One of the best pieces of advice that I read prior to going to Europe was that if you were traveling with children, to keep museum visits to an hour. No more. So we had some ground to cover. Next stop, the crown jewels. I mean the real things, including the jeweled coronation crowns worn throughout the history of the monarchy. The oldest item in the collection, the Coronation Spoon, used for anointing “the sovereign” with holy oil, dates back to the 12th century. A truly spectacular display of opulence.
Ironically, two days prior to our departure to the UK, I learned the story of St. Thomas Moore. After reading the story, I was super jazzed to visit The Tower of London and find his resting place. So a quick pass by the Queen’s Guard and we dropped by The Chapel Royal. A tiny, gorgeous, military chapel that also houses the remains of three English queens. I asked one of the Beefeaters where I would find the remains of St. Thomas Moore. Since Thomas Moore was executed for treason, it stands to reason, although disappointing as a tourist, that his remains were placed in a cavern between the inner and outer walls of the Chapel Royal.
Our run through The Tower of London was complete for this trip. Spectacular. It had something for everyone; armaments, jewels, ghost stories, and animals. Oh yeah! I don’t want to leave out the Ravens. Legend has it that the kingdom and the Tower will fall if the six resident ravens ever leave the fortress. Thankfully, the seven “on staff” (one is a spare) are well tended and a really fun part of the experience at The Tower.
Our day ended with a walk home via London Bridge. We passed by a makeshift memorial for the victims of the June 2017 attack on our way to our apartment. A reminder of the fragility of our human nature, but an equal reminder of the resilience and the enduring fortitude of the English.
For more photos from our trip, follow @jenniferthebeholder on Instagram.
1 The Tower of London
2 The Tower Bridge
3 Mural on The River Thames
4 Photo from www.medievalchronicles.com
5 Tower of London gift shop gift bag
6 Cover of Anna Keay’s book The Crown Jewels.
7 Tower of London Beefeater
8 Tower of London ravens
9 A small portion of the London Bridge memorial