We had a few days of fun in London during the half term and I have already shared our review of our morning at the Shrek Adventure, read all about what we thought here. We have been planning to go to visit the Tower Of London for a while as our oldest daughter Siobhan, she loves history so much and I knew this would be perfect to hold her attention. We had spent the morning on a boat tour which was really enjoyable for us and the kids and if you get the chance I would highly recommend going on the boat ride to Greenwich from Westminster and back as you get to see so much more of London and learn a lot of history from the commentary on board.
Once we had arrived at the Tower Of London there were plenty of queues for tickets, I did expect this as it’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in London. My top tip would be to plan ahead and book online when you can to avoid having to wait in the queues, we booked through 365 Tickets printed out the receipt and then all you need to do is show your print out at the gate as you walk through. Very easy and quick and no waiting in the long lines to buy the tickets. Don’t forget to pick up a map of the Tower at the desk as you go through as it has all the information points you will need to navigate your way around.
We had seen the ‘Traitors Gate’ from the boat ride, an opening where all prisoners went in though and the Tower dates back to 1066 and the time of William The Conquerer. It’s an attraction that all Brit’s at some time during their life should visit, a symbol of 1000 years of our British monarchy and a wealth of information and artifacts of British history. The girls were fascinated with the stories and history, learning about the blood curdling stories, the Tower’s resident raven’s and the fact that years ago there were polar bears and leopards living within the Tower. There is so much more of course and as we made our way around the Tower we all found things that held our interest, which surprised me actually as having two daughter’s at 16 and 9 it is sometimes really hard to find attractions that will suit them both.
I would say if you are planning a visit give yourselves plenty of time to really get the the full benefit of the Tower, we were touring the Tower for the whole afternoon right up until it closed at 4.30pm and we still could have stayed longer! A visit to the Crown Jewels, seeing the Beefeaters (you can also have a guided tour with a Yeoman Warder) the infamous White Tower (the oldest part of the Tower) The Fusilier Museum and the Medieval Palace are just a few of the amazing sights to see on your visit.
There is so much rich history to see and learn about and you really feel you have really seen and learned about one of the great British iconic landmarks once you have finished your tour. If you are keen to plan your day out I would recommend having a look on the website to give you an idea of where you want to go first, there is so much information on the website where you can even print out a handy Explore Kit for the kids to use during their tour.
There are all-sorts of ways to learn at the Tower which is very progressive and a really good way for families to get the most out of the tour. You can navigate your way around the Tower and visit all the different parts, or take a short tour with one of the Yeoman Warder’s they start every 30 minutes from the main entrance and last for 1 hour. If you get the opportunity I would highly recommend taking the tour, as you learn so much from it and listening to an expert guide you through the history of the Tower is a great way to get children engaged in the Tower as well as the adults.
If you need to refuel there are cafe’s in the Tower where you can take a pit stop and of course there are plenty of souvenirs to buy in the gift shops, and if you have kids you will know that no matter what the attraction it is always a very important part of any visit to be able to buy a souvenir of the day to remember it by. Make sure you all have comfy walking shoes on for the tour as you will be walking a lot! Also take care when walking around as there are plenty of cobbles and old stairs to get around, definitely not a place to wear heels! You can photograph all around the Tower except the Crown Jewels, Martin Tower and the Chapels and they ask if all visitors can be respectful in the historic areas of the Tower and to refrain from eating, drinking using mobiles or smoking in these areas.
After we had exhausted all of the places to visit it was time to close the Tower (4.30pm) we headed out to get some dinner, and talked over all the things we had seen during the day, the girls told is they would love to go back for another visit, which to me is the sign of a good day! We had a great time and all enjoyed the visit and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to anyone as we are already planning a return trip over the Christmas period, they even have ice skating planned at the Tower over Christmas which looks like the perfect time to return.
* We were provided with tickets from 365 Tickets for the purpose of this post. However all thoughts and opinions remain my own.*