The Tower of London is one of those must-see places when you visit London. You can get tickets online at the official website.
As we were waiting to get let in to the Tower I noticed this poor pigeon.
He was about the 5th one I had noticed in London with a stump foot. I was perplexed because I have never seen that anywhere before. Anyway I guess it’s from them landing on the electric third rail of the train tracks. That’s what I was told. It’s probably bullshit. Another wise person guessed that the pigeons attacked each other over french fries and goldfish crackers. I don’t know what the real answer is but I am still curious about it.
When it was our turn we got let in and assigned a Beefeater to lead our tour. The Beefeaters must have served 22 years of service in the Armed Forces and be former warrant officers. So they aren’t just tour guides like almost every other place you ever visit anywhere. Anyway our Beefeater was this guy.
The first thing you notice about the Tower is the huge moat surrounding it. It used to be filled with water but waterborne germs were killing people off so they drained it starting in 1830. It has been suggested by people that they refill the moat with water, or turn it into a skate park, or have go cart races in it. I don’t think any of those things will ever happen. I kind of like the austerity of the lawn, because it actually makes you wonder what used to be there.
The tour doesn’t last that long. The Beefeater tells you about the Tower’s history, the ravens, and famous prisoners (ghosts!) like Anne Boleyn. Then you are free to roam around and see whatever you want for as long as you want.
The ravens were my favorite part of the whole experience.
There is/was a lot of superstition about the ravens, which are supposed to protect The Crown and the Tower. I don’t know which raven this is but I posted it online once and somebody knew his or her name right away. Apparently this one sits in the same spot most of the time and is the most photographed.
My other favorite part of the Tower was the Royal Armouries, located in the White Tower. I love horses, and there are a lot of horse statues wearing traditional horse armor over the centuries. There are also a lot of human knight arms and armors on display but the horses were very striking and memorable.
The White Tower is also where Anne Boleyn was executed and supposedly where her ghost roams around, carrying her head. I did not see that when I was there. Her story is a sad one if you have never read about her. There were other sad stories including the one of the two lost princes, who were murdered in 1483.
The Crown Jewels are also at the Tower, and worthy of looking at. They make you keep moving past them so you can’t really stop and get a very good look. It was super crowded in that area and I was honestly just glad to get out of it.
The Tower is a place you could spend more than one day at if you really like history. There are a lot of towers and things to explore. I didn’t get to see a lot of it because I just didn’t have enough time. I will definitely visit again next time I’m in London and I will plan on spending most of the day there.