London is a city full of intriguing history. With roots reaching back two millennia to the times of the Ancient Romans, who first colonised the land, London has since become a major player on the world stage. This has meant that there have been countless monuments built up in honour of the city, and to this day these are visited by tourists from across the globe, whether visiting for the day or taking advantage of our own London hotel special offers, eager to learn the secrets that London holds close to its chest. One such secret is the Tower of London, the history of which dates back to the 11th century Norman invasion. With it’s story stretching all the way into the modern day, it’s no surprise that the tower has 2 million visitors every year. Below are some of the things to expect from the Tower of London, alongside some little known facts about its history.
History of the Tower of London
First built in 1078 by William the Conqueror following his invasion and takeover of the UK, the Tower of London was first scene as a sign of oppression., After the reign of William, the tower became an even larger symbol of oppression, when part of it subsequently became a prison. It lasted as such for 8 and a half centuries, the last prisoners being the Kray Twins in the 1950’s. Thought it was a prison, the space also acted as the royal residence, a hold for the crown jewels, the royal mint and even a menagerie for exotic animals. With such a colourful history and with so many stories, it’s no wonder that so many people visit the Tower of London each year.
As a prison
The prison section of the Tower has been used to keep at bay some histories most dangerous criminals, as well as those who may not have been as dangerous. The less dangerous criminals were the Princes in the Tower, Edward V and Richard of Shrewsbury, the next in line for the throne after the death of their father Edward IV in 1483. The Princes were kept in the Tower of London by Richard Duke of Gloucester before they mysteriously disappeared. This has been one of the longest drawn mysteries of the tower, the fate of the Princes. It is widely believed that they were murdered on order of Richard of Gloucester so as to cement his claim to the throne, but this has never been fully proven.
The crown jewels
To this day, the Crown Jewels of the Uk are kept in the Tower of London. These jewels are some of the finest in the land and hold symbolic value to the monarchy, representing 800 years of sovereign rule.
From the 12th century, there has been evidence that Kings have kept exotic animals in the tower, including evidence of lions, elephants and a lynx being kept here all until 1831 when they were moved to London Zoo.
Opening times and directions
With all of this and more to see at the Tower of London, it’s a good idea to know when is the best visit. The Tower of London is open from 9 am till 4.30 pm every day and is located just across the road from Tower Hill tube station which is on the Circle and District Line, making it easy to reach from the Shaftesbury Hyde Park International.