Friday, August 19, 2016

Europe Adventure: Day Thirteen, Part one- The Tower of London

On Sunday, April 17th we slept in a little bit and made sure to not leave the hotel until I had a plan and knew exactly which tube stations we would need to use throughout the day. We bought Visitor Oyster cards through their website early enough that we were able to get them in the mail and have them with us as soon as we were in London.These were pre-loaded with 15 pounds so we could just tap them in and out at the tube stations and not have to worry about buying tickets each time we needed to ride the train. 
We had breakfast at our hotel and then walked a couple of blocks to our closest tube station. 
Along the way I found the hoodie Abi wanted in a little shop. 
I did not want to risk not getting it later so I bought her and Maddy both one. That meant I had to carry them around all day but it was worth it to me. 
We went to the Bayswater tube station. 
The only problem was that we needed the Circle line... and the Circle line was closed. 
But they had really good instructions on what to do so we were able to get on a different line and find our way to the station we needed a different way. 
I took this in the Bayswater station whilst waiting on the train. 
I really liked this station. 

We took the train to the Tower Hill stop. 
I already had our tickets to the Tower of London so we went into the guest services to get our hard copy of our tickets and were able to bypass the larger line waiting to buy them. 
It was pretty exciting to be at the Tower of London!

I found it to be so strange to be able to turn around and see modern buildings and then turn back around and see something that was so old and had so much history. 

We really wanted to do a tour with the Beefeaters (Yeoman Warders)... but it was really crowded and we could hardly hear anything he said. 
So finally we decided to just set off on our own. 
If we are ever back I would like to try to go on a week day and hope that it would be a bit less crowded because I have heard so many good things about doing a tour with them. 

We did pick up some audio guides but then later realized that the signs at each of the attractions give you pretty much the same information and we hardly used them at all. I would not rent those again. 
Our first stop along our walk was at the Traitor's Gate. 

Traitor's Gate was the water entrance to the Tower. 
It was designed by Master James of St George so that King Edward the first could arrive by river. It was then used as a way to bring in prisoners by going along the Thames. 
Anne Boley, Sir Thomas More, Queen Catherine Howard, and Lady Jane Grey were among the many prisoners that were brought in through the Traitor's Gate.

As we walked along I saw this cool little pathway....

I spy Tower Bridge...

We then went to tour the White Tower. 

The White Tower is the oldest part of the Tower of London. 
We saw the place where they found the bodies of the two young princes believed to have been killed by Richard the third. 

From up on the White Tower we had amazing views of Tower Bridge and the Thames. 
(as well as a lot of other cool things)

Inside the White Tower they have the Royal Armouries collection. Part of this is the Line of Kings. 
The arms and armour display has the armours of Henry the 8th, Charles the first, and James the 2nd amongst others. 
It was really cool to see all of it. It is so old and they even had the armour for the horses.

I had to get some close ups as the detailing was amazing. 

Can you imagine a child that small going onto the battlefield? 
This armour is believed to be for Prince Henry Stuart, made in about 1608. 

The dragon in the Power house. 
It is sculpted of objects that represented the ten institutions that were housed in the Tower. 

Mom is a beefeater! 

We went through the gift shop in the White Tower and I saw this tapestry. 
If you remember, they showed this tapestry in the Harry Potter movies!
I bought Doug a replica set of Tower keys. 
I don't know why I don't have a picture of them but they are really cool. 

the well in the basement...

After exiting the White Tower we walked around a bit taking pictures of it and the buildings around it.

Then we went in to see The Crown Jewels.

It was a beautiful display but I couldn't take pictures. 
It was really cool to see the coronation sets and so many amazing and elaborate jewels. 

Upon exiting I had to get another picture of the White Tower. It's just so pretty. 

We went into one of the nearby buildings where they have a cafeteria. 
We picked out our food and then found a table near a part of the wall that was crumbling a bit. 
So cool to eat in a building this old!
We had coronation chicken sandwiches, chips, sodas, and a piece of Victorian Sponge cake to share. 

After lunch we walked the grounds a bit more. 

The Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula

I REALLY wanted to see the grave of Sir Thomas More. I knew that he was buried in this Tudor chapel so I asked one of the Beefeaters. Visitors are not granted access to the area where he is buried but Doug's dad and brother were taken to it years ago when they asked. Unfortunately, because it was a Sunday he told me that the chapel was closed for visitors as it is still used as a place of worship for the residents but that if I had emailed them ahead of time they may have given me a time I could have seen it. Lesson learned. If we ever make it back again I will be trying that!
Also buried in this chapel are Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, and Jane Gray. 

I was disappointed that we couldn't go in but it was still cool to be there knowing that is where he and the others were buried. 

The Scaffold Site: 

This memorial is the site of the executions of Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey, and Catherine Howard as well as William , Lord Hastings, Richard Duke of Gloucester, Jane Boleyn, Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, and three members of the Black Watch that were shot for mutiny in 1743.

The inscription on the lower black circle reads: 
"Gentle visitor pause a while, 
where you stand death cut away the light of many days. 
Here jewelled names were broken from the vivid thread of life.
May they rest in peace while we walk the generations around their strife
and courage under these restless skies."
The inscription on the upper glass circle tells the names of those executed there along with the year of execution. 

Next we went up into the Bloody Tower.

 Here we visited the rooms of Sir Walter Raleigh. 

Sir Walter Raleigh was imprisoned in the Bloody Tower by James the 1st. 
He was assigned two rooms and lived there for thirteen years. 
Whilst imprisoned he passed the time by writing his History of the World which was published in 1614, four years before he was beheaded.

The portcullis in the Bloody Tower

The view from the wall outside...

By now it was getting late and we had a lot more to see!
We said goodbye to the Tower of London as we walked out toward the Thames.

Next up: Shakespeare's Globe Theater


The Kings said...

Again, I just love your posts! It was awesome to look at the photos of the Tower of London! Soooo glad we got to go there!

cheryl said...

Thanks! Does it make you want to go back? It does me. :)

The Kings said...