If you want to experience British history, a visit to the Tower of London is essential. Hours can be spent exploring the different facets of this site. If time is at a premium, check the website or a guidebook to map out your strategy. Otherwise you’ll find yourself meandering about as history enfolds and your imagination takes you back in time. To gain additional insight, consider taking a no cost tour with the Yeoman Warders.
The exterior architecture immediately starts the journey. The thick stone walls with towers and narrow stone walkways conjure up images of medieval castles.
The interior of the Medieval Palace lets you see the monarchy’s lifestyle in pre-modern times. Although opulent compared to the average citizen, the dwellings show how lucky we are to live in the 21st century.
Other areas demonstrate the power that the monarchy had over its empire. Until my visit, I was unaware of the fact that for 6 centuries the kings and queens toyed with exotic animals that were held hostage. This was unbelievably cruel to the creatures that were not indigenous to the area.
Cruelty was not limited to the animals. The Tower of London is infamous for its reputation as a diabolical place for imprisonment, torture, and premature deaths. The Prisoners’ Tower and the Tower Green attest to this aspect of British history. On display are torture apparatuses that will make most people cringe.
Anyone interested in military history should take a look at the Fusilier museum.
On a lighter note is the Fit for a King exhibit in the White Tower. Five centuries of royal armor demonstrate several important facts.
- The physical size of the royalty
- When armor was used
- Where it was made
- Changes in design
When we walked toward the building that houses the Crown Jewels, we witnessed the changing of the guard. Due to a lack of crowds, we were within just a few feet of this famous tradition.
Inside the darkened room, we stood on a moving walkway that provided a limited view of the display cases. The room was a fairy tale world of jeweled crowns, scepters, and coronation paraphernalia. The number of precious stones and diamonds was hard to fathom and was concrete evidence of the British monarchy’s wealth.
Also on display was the Jubilee Crystal Diamond. Days later, Queen Elizabeth II used it to light a beacon during the Diamond Jubilee celebration.
Despite the gray clouds that overshadowed the grounds, we were able to enjoy amazing views of the Tower Bridge and the Thames River.
The Tower of London is an excellent place for children to become engaged with history, for teachers to gather ideas, and for the average person to get a taste of British history.
Sandra Bornstein is the author of MAY THIS BE THE BEST YEAR OF YOUR LIFE. It is available on Amazon. Sandra’s memoir highlights her living and teaching adventure in Bangalore, India. She is a licensed Colorado teacher who has taught K-12 students in the United States and abroad as well as college level courses. Sandra is married and has four adult sons.
The memoir was a finalist in the Travel category for the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the 2013 International Book Awards, the 2013 National Indie Book Excellence Awards, the 2013 USA Best Book Awards, and received an Honorable Mention award in the Multicultural Non-Fiction category for the 2013 Global ebook Awards.
If you’re interested in travel, follow Sandra’s latest adventures on Examiner.com.