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The Travel Map -

The Tower of London

September 18th 2008 14:17
The Tower of London, built over 900 years ago by William the Conqueror has certainly seen a lot of action. This is where Ann Boleyn was executed, Guy Fawkes was interrogated, and Elizabeth I and Richard II were incarcerated.

The Tower of London

The Yeoman Warders

A guided tour from one of the Yeoman Warders is a must do during your visit to the Tower. The Yeoman Warders and their families live within Tower grounds, and are keepers or guards of the Tower. You will be captivated by their stories of mystery, intrigue, imprisonment, and torture as they guide you past traitors’ gate and the execution site where three Queens were beheaded. Assuming there are no services taking place, you also get the opportunity to see the stunning Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula, where those that were executed in the grounds are laid to rest. The tours are included in the price of your ticket and leave every 30 minutes near the entrance. The tour lasts around 60 minutes.

yeoman warders

The Crown Jewels

This is one of the largest working collections of Crown Jewels in the world, and one of the most popular displays within Tower. The Crown Jewels have been on display since 1661 and are priceless. An introductory film gives you an insight into the role of the crown jewels in royal pageantry, and has rare colour footage of Queen Elizabeth II coronation. There has only been one attempt made to steal the crown jewels, back in 1671 by Colonel Blood, he was discovered at the last minute.

The Ravens

One of the most famous sights around the grounds is the Ravens. According to Legend, the Kingdom will fall if the ravens leave the Tower of London, so Charles II declared there must be at least six resident at any time. Currently there are seven resident ravens, the required six plus a spare as apparently they do go missing or get sacked from time to time. One was sacked for chewing TV ariels, and one was last seen outside and East End pub.

Ceremony of the Keys

Something very few people know about is the ceremony of the keys. This is the official locking up of the tower, which has taken place every night without fail for the last 700 years. The ceremony takes place around 9pm, admission is free but the only way to get tickets is writing away for them. You need to do this at least three months in advance. I only found out about this by accident, but it is worth doing if you can organise it. Check out the website for more details.

Getting there

The easiest way to get to the Tower is by public transport. The nearest tube station is Tower Hill, serviced by the District and Circle lines. Just follow the signs as you come out of the station. The nearest British Rail Stations are Fenchurch Streets and London Bridge.
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