Friday, 23 May 2014

The Tower of London and Westminster Abbey: Touring Scotland with Ciara Ballintyne

Day One

By this time, we’ve hopefully escaped Heathrow and dumped our bags at the hotel while we go off on some sightseeing.

The Tower of London

A palace, a prison, an armoury - even a zoo! The Tower of London has certainly seen some service over the years. More than 900 years old, it was built by William the Conqueror and later expanded by other kings.
Currently it houses the Crown Jewels, which you can view if you visit. Like the Scottish Crown Jewels, which I saw on my last trip, I suspect they are subject to some strict security, including rather terse guards and a no photography rule enforced much more strictly than that in the Sistine Chapel. Our camera is slow to turn off, prompting a guard to tell us: No cameras!

The Crown Jewels in the Tower of London are in fact guarded by Beefeaters. Apparently some are also on hand to tell tales about the Traitor’s Gate, which was used as the entrance for traitors sent to be executed in the Tower.

Westminster Abbey

This gothic church has been the seat of royal coronations since William the Conqueror was crowned in 1066, but in addition a number of famous names are buried here, including Charles Dickens, Geoffrey Chaucer, Dr. Samuel Johnson and Charles Darwin. It also houses a memorial to Isaac Newton. 

The Abbey also serves as the venue for royal weddings and funerals, with the most recent event being the marriage of Prince William to Kate Middleton.

Above all the political and historical significance, however, is the fact that the church is simply a truly stunning piece of architecture.

OK, everyone here? Off to London Bridge!

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A M Guynes-Annikka Woods said...

I really want to visit the Tower. I've studied a lot of history set in the time where it was used as a prison and I want to see it for myself. Westminster Abbey has never really been on my "to see" list but it is a beautiful piece of architecture.

Ciara Ballintyne said...

I'd much rather see the Tower than the Abbey so if it comes down to the crunch, that's how we'll do it. I'd be happy even just to see the outside of the Abbey to be honest - I'm not a huge fan of churches beyond the fact they are pretty!

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Simon Tall said...

Tower of London is well worth it, and if memory serves me right you can take pictures of the Crown Jewels. Look out for the ravens...
Tower of London is next to Tower Bridge and the Shard is across the river (see other post). Westminster Abbey is near Parliament further up the river...download a map and plan a circuit maybe?

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