Tower of London

Picture of tower_london The Tower of London gets its own page, not necessarily because it's that expansive but more because about half our London pictures seem to be of the Tower and its environs.
Picture of tower_external We bought our tickets for the Tower the day before we intended to go, mostly because in our extensive and aimless wandering of the city we ended up here. The ticket sellers told us how smart that was because then we wouldn't have to wait in line the following day, although the following day there weren't exactly huge lines. So maybe that's the way to go in tourist season. All of the sunny pictures, like this one were taken outside the Tower when we were there buying tickets. On the actual day of our visit it was gray and overcast.
Picture of traitors_gate So here were are inside the Tower. The 'Tower' of course is actually more like a fort or at least a fortified complex. There is a lot to see here, some of it happens to be towers but much of it isn't. Here is Melanie in front of the Traitor's gate which was the way you arrived at the Tower if you were meant to be imprisoned in it. It's actually a water gate reachable only by boat.
Picture of chandelier Inside St. Thomas tower (named after Thomas a Beckett) they've restored the rooms to how they may have looked when Edward I was King and lived here (1272-1307). The throne room is nice, but we were more impressed by the chandelier in this anteroom. Nearby is a marker where Henry VI was murdered (more or less). There's a whole lot of '{someone famous} died here' markers around the Tower grounds.
Picture of tower_walls There's a strange assortment of towers and buildings you're allowed into and they don't necessarily connect in any logical way. You have to just wander around entering open doors and you're still likely to miss some exhibits. Some of them, like the torture exhibit you might want to miss. The real torture exhibit would be the staircase in the Bloody Tower if you're taller than a medium-sized dog. Assuming you don't fall to your death though, you get to watch an exciting video on the death of the two princes and then vote on how you think they died. It's democracy in action - or democracy in history. Or some big red buttons to make you feel like you're involved.
Picture of white_tower The White Tower is the centerpiece of the complex and it has the best museum exhibits as well. Four floors of the tower are stocked full with medieval weaponry, suits of armor, wooden replicas of the heads of every King and Queen of England (oh yes) and even some real live (no longer used) garderobes.
Picture of stone_and_glass In the foreground of this picture is the rookery of the Tower of London. The story here is that if ravens ever leave the Tower, the monarchy will fall. They've been forcibly stored here since Charles II just in case. A couple of them are free to wander around the green at any time (with clipped wings of course).
Picture of crown_jewels Here are the crown jewels. Well, okay the building that contains them. The actual crown jewels can't be photographed although a certain someone's sister did it when she visited and got away with it. This building contains such an alarming amount of line that I wouldn't want to even see it full. There are four or five rooms of preliminary exhibits (and films) which had ropes wound back and forth to contain what must be a truly fearsome line were it to be full. All this to stand on a 'travelator' so you can be scrolled past three cases of jewels at a controlled speed. In the end, we think it's only worth it if the line is short, or non-existent like it was on our visit. Or maybe if you're really a huge fan of scepters.
Picture of tower_bridge_train Tower bridge doesn't really have a direct affiliation with the Tower of London, it just happens to be located nearby. This is an edge on view of the bridge taken from a train.
Picture of tower_bridge Here's the Tower bridge in all of its Victorian glory. It's worth a walk across the bridge if for no other reason than the views out at London. Also, you can find normal less-touristy restaurants on the south bank than you can anywhere near the Tower of London. The bridge is apparently raised fairly often still although we didn't happen to catch it.

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