The Tower of London is one of Britain's most ancient citadels, located on the northern bank of River Thames. This magnificent castle is nestled in a sprawling 13 acres of lush green landscaped surroundings.
Although in the days of yore, it used to be a royal retreat, now it has been converted into a museum. This intriguing castle, apart from being a royal residence has also the dubious distinction of serving as a prison and legend has it that many persons were even beheaded within the Tower's confines.
The Tower has an intimate connection with legendary persons of the stature of Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Thomas More, Catherine Howard, lady Jane Grey, Sir Walter Raleigh to name just a few. The trademark Yeomen of the Guard are conspicuous with their Tudor garb and still provide sentry to this historical castle.
The Tower of London was founded almost a millennium back by William the Conqueror in 1066-7 and it has been renovated and made to order by successive monarchs a number of times.
No visit to The Tower of London is complete without a glimpse of the Crown Jewels which has one of the finest collections of some of the largest and most precious diamond sets which were used during coronation of Britain's monarchs. To get significant insight into the world of crown jewels, a visit to the Martin Tower is a must, which provides whole lot of information on the evolution of British crowns and on display are a staggering 12,000 pieces of the most precious diamonds you will ever see. People with interest on weapons and arsenals wouldn't regret visiting the riveting White Tower which is home to some of the rarest Royal armoury and historical torture devices which includes the Armour of Henry VIII.
The Traitor's Gate, the Medieval Gate, Bloody Tower and Beauchamp Tower all provide us with significant insight into the life and times of Britain's monarchs.
One great way of exploring the grandeur of this historical palace is to go for a Sound Guide, which is available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian and Japanese, which provides authentic informations on the castle and the many famous personalities who were guests at this castle.
One of the must-see pieces is the ancient 700 year old ceremony of keys which is performed every night at the Tower of London. Although there is no admission fee levied, one has to send a written application to the Ceremony of Keys Department, at least two months ahead of your intended visit along with a self-addressed stamped envelope.
The Tower of London is not all regalia and splendor. It has it's ugly side as well. For instance the Green Tower which used to be the place where some of the most eminent prisoners were housed and even executed here or for that matter the Bloody Tower, which is believed to be the place where one of the renowned Princess was confined to imprisonment and subsequently murdered. Don't miss out on the Beauchamp Tower if you want to sample the hospitality offered to distinguished and highly ranked prisoners along with numerous passionate inscriptions which are engraved on the parapets.
All is well that ends well and today this millennium-old castle has been enlisted in the elite list of World Heritage Site as a scheduled ancient monument, which is indeed befitting for a castle of stupendous dimension.
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