|The Tower of London|
The thumbnails below are linked to larger pictures
On arriving it is recommended to wait for the next guided tour by a Yeoman warder. These are informative and entertaining, but be warned these Yeomen love playing to an audience and because of this progress can be rather slow. We broke away from the tour after about an hour and made our own way round, there were always Warders around to answer questions if required
We visited in the Autumn of 2001 and there were no crowds not even for the Crown Jewels, these were really fabulous the size of the jewels especially the diamonds were huge. Unfortunately no photography was allowed for security reasons. We have recently made a return visit in spring 2006 to discover that the crowds have returned having overcome fears of terrorist attacks.
In addition to the Crown Jewels the main areas to visit are the Medieval Palace from the days when the Tower was a residence as well as a fortress, The White Tower which is the earliest structure, Traitors Gate, Tower Green including the scaffold site and the Wall Walk around the eastern section of the defensive walls. The history of the Ravens can also be discovered, and there are usually a few to be seen on the green or perched on the white tower staircase.
The Tower has dominated the city of London for over 900 years since the initial construction of the White Tower by William the Conqueror (Duke William of Normandy) in the 1070's. The Tower has served many functions over its long history, including royal palace and fortress, prison and place of execution, arsenal, royal mint, menagerie and jewel house. Today London's fortress forms a great historical museum and home to the Crown Jewels, as well as a thriving community of about 150 people, mainly Yeoman Warders and their families and of course the all important seven Ravens (which includes a spare).
The Tower is one of the cornerstones of London History and is well worth a visit.