21st July 2010
I am getting a bit behind on my posts and I apologized for that. Time to get my lazy ass off the couch and blog something! A couple of weeks ago, we visited Tower of London. We waited so long to do that even though after being in London for so many months because I was undecided if we should get a London pass. I was also waiting for the weather to get better. In the end I decided to use my Tesco vouchers instead so I don’t need to rush from attraction to attraction if I were to use a London pass. Since I have plenty of time in London, I thought it would be better to slow down and take in all that I can instead of rushing from place to place.
Almost every itinerary of a first time visit to London includes Tower of London and I can see why. I can assure you that this place is worth your time but is it worth your money? This debate will be endless and needless to say the entry fee of £17.00 (for 2010) is anything but cheap. There will always be skeptics out there but these people are usually skeptical about everything and anything. Every often there are discounts available such as a 2 for 1 voucher or buying a London pass with the entry included. I used my Tesco vouchers and every shopper at Tesco should know that Tesco vouchers are sometimes worth 4 times as much when redeemed for entry into selected attractions. Of course there are intricacies in using your Tesco vouchers but they are too many to be discussed in this post. If you have any questions, you are most welcome to contact me.
We got into the Tower of London at about 130pm and believe it or not, we still did not manage to finish checking out everything! I probably spend a lot more time taking photos than I should. Memories fade but hey, digital photos live on forever as long as you can store it safely. For me, there are 3 must-dos when visiting Tower of London. Firstly is the exhibition of the Crown Jewels. They are literally kept in a vault the size of a large apartment. Well, at least the door looks like a vault but I can’t say if the walls are reinforced. Feast your eyes on some of largest diamonds in the world, including both the Great and Lesser Star of Africa which weighs more than 800 carat together. To speed up the viewing and to prevent people from standing around and gawking, the proprietors had cleverly installed travelators on both sides of the display cases. Don’t miss out on the information panels as they contain some interesting information if you don’t know your crown jewels well. Sadly no photos allowed here but you can find tons of them online.
Secondly, all visitors should attend a Yeoman Warder guided tour. Actually everyone should make this tour the starting point of your visit. This tour contains most of the interesting background information on the Tower of London and what you get out of it will largely depend on your Yeoman Warder. Well, ours was extremely hilarious and animated resulting in a very entertaining and informative hour. The “Beefeaters” as they are traditionally nicknamed, also share with us some interesting information such as they lived on site but still have to pay rent. Their loud and colorful uniforms are a delight among the kids and also good for photos too.
Thirdly, explore the most imposing the building within the Tower of London, the White Tower. This building is the keep for this castle and they have an armour exhibition running. See many pieces of unique and exquisite armour belonging to the English royalty. Weaponry is included too! You can get to see a lance, a musket and
some really long double handed swords just to name a few. There are also some very special commemorative pistols on display. There are a lot of exhibits and after a while it can get tiring. It was also quite stuffy due to the warm weather and the large number of visitors.
Since Tower of London is huge, I would recommend you to do theses 3 attractions first lest you missed them due to a lack of time. At the end of the day, we still have not covered all the places. The place is huge and visitors can really benefit if they first check out the map of the place that is available online. Even though I have not been to many attractions in London, the Tower of London is by far the best paid attraction I visited. I recommend at least half a day here if you are visiting for the first time.
Globe Nomads review ratings: 4
We had a very entertaining day out. If not for the really expensive entrance fees, we would go back again to check out the places we had missed.
(please refer to ratings explanation)
Historic Royal Palaces (HRP) property
Admission: adult £17, child £9.50, family £47, concessions £14.50. HRP members free.
No parking on site.
Please refer to HRP website for latest updates and discounts apply when buying tickets online.
Feel free to leave a comment or contact me if you have any questions.