Tower of London tours are easily some of the most popular in the entire city. To say that the Tower plays a major role in the history of London is a considerable understatement. This formidable castle and fortress in central London borough of Tower Hamlets dates back to the time of William the Conqueror who commissioned its construction in 1078.
There are all kinds of intriguing facts about the Tower of London, the oldest building still used by the British government. It is perhaps most notably recognized as being the place where the Crown Jewels are kept and protected. Ever since 1303, the Crown Jewels have been kept safely behind the defenses of moats and concentric, defensive walls. Now when you visit the Tower of London, you can view the massive vault that contains some 23,000 gems, an array of stunning diamonds, silver gilt, and royal ornaments.
The facts about the Tower of London tell us that the expansion and building process passed through the hands of a variety of kings throughout the ages. The central, Norman White Tower that was constructed by William the Conqueror was erected with Caen stone that was imported from France. It was built not only to intimidate and ward off foreign invaders, but also to subdue the local population from invading the Normans in residence and power. It was not until the 1190s that King Richard the Lionheart dug the first moat around the original White Tower. Henry the III ordered a whitewashing of the entire construct in 1240, giving the central tower in the Tower of London its eventual name. It continued to be expanded over the centuries until taking its present form as the sprawling fortress palace it is today.
When you visit the Tower of London, you will embark upon an all-encompassing experience that takes you inside the medieval world of opulence as with the Crown Jewels and the epicurean design and décor, as well as the darker side of the fortress including Prisoner Exhibitions. You can opt for one of the popular Yeoman Warder (or Beefeater) tours that are guided walks through the fortress by knowledgeable Beefeaters who describe the history and a whole range of telling facts about the Tower of London. Beefeaters are royal guards who live on the grounds of the Tower and offer excellent free tours.
The Tower of London tour that you absolutely cannot miss, however, is the exploration of the White Castle itself. Go inside the Chapel of St. John the Evangelist, see the Henry the VIII’s famous armor, actually wear a gauntlet, and take part in a number of other amazing interactive features. This is a must-do when you visit the Tower of London because it allows you to take a glimpse inside 1,000-year-old history.
The Tower of London has a number of towers, from the Constable and Brick Towers to the Devereux and Flint Towers, each one excites the imagination of history lovers from around the world who visit this popular London attraction year round. The Tower of London has held its ground for nearly a millennium and is still used by the British government, a testament to its utility and permanence.