We spent almost a whole day at the Tower of London. As stated here, the wonderful hotel we stayed at, the Apex City Hotel, was right near the Tower so we walked right on over. Included in the price of admission, which you should purchase online beforehand to save time, is a guided tour by a Yeoman Warder, more famously known as a “Beefeater.” They supposedly got that nickname because they were permitted to each as much beef as they wanted from the king’s table. Our Yeoman Warder was a jolly man with a full belly and a white beard.
Instead of escorting prisoners to the ax, they now escort large groups of tourists from all over the world. They’re not just mere tour guards. In order to be a Yeoman Warder, you must have served in the armed forces for at least 22 years with an honorable record. Bellowing out in his rich baritone, he took us all through the Tower, telling the stories for which the Tower is known for. While the Tower is most famous for being a place of imprisonment and execution, it was also a place of residence for the Royal family. It’s still a place of residence for some like Yeoman Warder Crawford Butler and his family. The tour culminated in the Chapel Royal of St. Peter Chapel, where famous prisoners such as Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, and Lady Jane Grey are buried.
Any visit to the Tower is not complete without a visit to the Jewel House containing the Crown Jewels. I must admit that I love jewelry (just looking, no buying unfortunately), especially those worn by royalty. Unfortunately, you can’t stop to admire the jewelry as you are moved through the exhibit on a slow-moving conveyor belt.
I absolutely love reading royal fiction so walking around the Tower was absolutely worth the crowds and wait. My subway rides to and from work pass much quicker courtesy of Phillipa Gregory, author of books such as “The Other Boleyn Girl.” For me, the saddest story of the Tower is the one concerning the Princes in the Tower, the two sons of King Edward IV of England ages, 13 and 10, who were imprisoned there by their uncle Richard III after their father died. They were never seen again after 1483 and many presume that they were murdered under the order of Richard III.
We will need to schedule another visit to London sometime in the future as we only had enough time to just get a quick overview of London. So many places to visit, so little time and money!