Ahhhh, the Tower….not only is this one of the five properties covered by my Historic Royal Palaces membership, but it’s also one of my favorite sights from my last trip to London. I had originally planned to wait until tourist season was over to visit again….but I couldn’t wait any longer. 🙂 The Tower is great, no matter when you go. The amount of history that’s happened here is staggering; it’s not all imprisonments, torture, and executions, either. I really like that the place feels as old as it is, in spite of all the tourists and modern exhibits. It’s easy to imagine the Tower in use, the way it was in past centuries. As I’ve mentioned, that’s my favorite way to enjoy places like this!
There’s a LOT to see at the Tower; if you go, make sure you plan to spend at least a few hours there. There’s the crown jewels, of course; I would go there first, since the line builds up fast. This is true even when it’s NOT tourist season. Walking the walls is fun; doing so takes you through a few of the towers and the exhibits they contain. The White Tower (the square building with the four posts in the picture above) is separate, though; it contains a pretty decent collection of armour, and it tends to get as crowded at the Crown Jewels. The Yeoman Warders (Beefeaters) still do their tours, but I haven’t taken one yet. That’s something I WILL save for after tourist season.
After I was done with the Tower, I headed south of the river via the Tower Bridge:
I walked for ages. My plan was to walk all the way to Westminster Bridge and then go to Westminster Abbey for the evening service, and that’s what happened. I stopped in at Southwark Cathedral, since I had plenty of time to kill. It was nice and peaceful, and the people who work there are very friendly and helpful. Plus, it looks like there’s a resident cat; he was trying to get in while I was there, but when one of the cathedral workers tried to let him in, he wouldn’t budge. You have to pay to take photos inside the cathedral, and it didn’t seem worth it to me. So, no pictures of that. Here’s some of the other things I saw on my walk:
As I said, I wound up my day at the evening service at Westminster Abbey. I’ll save a description of the place for when I do the tourist thing a little later on in the trip. I will say one thing, though: for those of you who watched the Royal Wedding, or who have ever seen video or photos of the Abbey….cameras DON’T do it justice. 🙂