Sunday 29 April 2012

Tower of London Skyline
Tower of London
HM Tower of London has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the most famous castle keeps in the world, it was built to awe, subdue and terrify Londoners and to deter foreign invaders. It’s now an iconic symbol of London and Britain and one of the world’s premier tourist attractions.

Royal Beasts
The Royal Beasts return to the Tower, London's original zoo! From Easter onwards, see sculptures of the lions, tigers, elephants and even a polar bear, discover how they came to be at the Tower and what became of them in this new fascinating permanent exhibit.  Hear the amazing tales of how the animals were fed, watered and housed as well as various unfortunate incidents when the public got a little too close! The experience will include permanent displays along the newly opened and restored north walk and Brick Tower. 

Fit for a King
A journey through 500 years of royal arms and armour created for both the battle field and the sporting field. From Henry VIII's horse armour, Japanese samurai armour presented to King James I to Prince Charles' polo helmet and knee pads, worn as protection during the princes' polo playing days, the display is a unique timeline from the Royal Armouries collections.

Centenary anniversary - Delhi Durbar
On 12 December 1911 King George V and Queen Mary received homage of Indian princes as Emperor and Empress of India in a lengthy ceremony wearing full state robes in the blazing heat. As the English coronation regalia, kept at the Tower of London could not be taken out of Britain, a new crown was created with over 6000 diamonds as well as Indian sapphires and emeralds of exceptional quality. Following the ceremony the crown was brought back to England and placed in the Jewel House at the Tower of London where it can be seen today. 

Crown Jewels
Our nation's regalia is held in the most visible vault in the world. Thousands of glittering gem stones and yards of silver gilt create a priceless display of royal ornament. Each can tell tales of intrigue, power and majesty across the ages. The Maundy Dish and Imperial State Crown are still part of the annual traditions of monarchy, come on the right day and you'll see our own tradition - placing the ‘in use' sign on a velvet cushion in the relevant case.

Beefeater tours
Share the secrets of one thousand years of royal gossip with a body of Beefeaters (proper name ‘Yeoman Warder' but who remembers that?) that has guarded this fortress for centuries. Take one of their tours and you'll be amazed and appalled by tales that have been passed down for generations. Pain and passion, treachery and torture, all delivered with a smile and swagger.

The White Tower
The White Tower was the original Tower of London. Begun by William the Conqueror around 1080, it would have made a safe and impressive home for the newly crowned Norman invader. It is still home to original armours worn by Henry VIII and Charles I and a scary collection of historical weapons and torture instruments. For those seeking a less gory side of its life, there is the beautifully preserved 11th century Chapel of St John the Evangelist to explore.

Prisoners of the Tower
Despite its reputation there are no dungeons at the Tower of London and its doubtful there ever really were. The Tower was rather more exclusive than that, with prisoners from the higher levels of society entitled to be held here. Come and see what life was like imprisoned in the Bloody or Beauchamp Towers. Experience the sights, sounds and inscriptions left from incarceration five hundred years ago.