Sunday, 3 May 2015

London - The Tower of London & the Tower Bridge

On my next day of sightseeing in London I chose to visit the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge.  I had been to both before, but decades ago, and to be honest, I couldn't remember much.

It was another glorious day.  Stepping out from the tube, directly in front of me was the imposing façade of Trinity House.

 
 
Directly behind me as I am taking this photo, is a memorial to the men in the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets who died in the two world wars.

On the left, the walls of this pavilion are covered with plaques with the names of 12,00 men, while on the right in the sunken garden the plaques commemorate 24,000 men, including 50 Australians.  The numbers are huge and when you look at the plaques it sinks in just how many died in the two conflicts.

Crossing the road, you come to the Tower.  Here is the bridge across the moat.

 
Yep.  They are all waiting to go in.
 
I decided to join a tour led by a Beefeater.  Here are two of them at the end of the tour.  Just look at that splendid uniform!  But gee it must be hot in summer.
 
 
 
Our tour guide told us that you had to have completed at least 22 years in the Army before being accepted to train as a Beefeater.  So no young things allowed.  LOL
 
The Tower is actually not just one building but a conglomerate of many, and all of them from different eras.  This little group of Tudor buildings caught my eye.

 
In front of them is a marker to commemorate the spot where the gallows were originally located.  Its where Henry VIII's wives met their fate as did many others.

 
Very difficult to see in the photo, but around the rim are the names of the more famous people beheaded here.  You might make a few out if you click on the photo to see the enlargement.
 
On either side of the entrance to the building which houses the Crown Jewels is a Queen's Guard.  This one was cute (and young too!  LOL), not that you can see much of him under that hat.
 
 
 And this is as close as you'll get to seeing the Crown Jewels unless you go to the Tower yourself.  No photos allowed.

 
I liked this view.  The Tower Bridge looming over the Tower Wall, and in front is a portion of the late 1230s defences built by Henry III, called the Coldharbour Gate.  I've also squeezed in the lovely lamps which are everywhere.  The people on the stairs on the bottom left are going into the White Tower, originally built by William the Conqueror as the keep.

 
And this is the Traitor's Gate.

 
Leaving the Tower, I wandered along the banks of the Thames to the Tower Bridge which you can see behind me.

 
As I started across the bridge, there was a ear splitting wail which sort of confused me, and next thing there was a gate being shut in front of my nose.  How lucky was I to be actually the first person at the gate when the bridge went up?  Thirty seconds earlier and I would have missed this sight.

 
Crossing the bridge, I walked along the river bank towards the tube station to head home.  Here is the Tower from the other side of the river.

 
And then I came across these two buildings on opposites sides of the street.

 
That is the Shipwright's Arms pub on the left and the complete opposite, a modern glass building, the City Hall.  What a contrast.  But that is SO London!
 
The following day was my last full day in London, and I had lunch with some cousins at their home.  Lovely to see them.   And then it was off to Germany.......

4 comments:

  1. Hi Dasha Thankyou for sharing your lovely trip,I found these pics very interesting xx

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  2. You've seen more of the Tower than I have! Or at least than I remember seeing. And I've NEVER seen Tower Bridge open! Thanks for sharing the photos.

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  3. Hi Dasha! Really have enjoyed your tour of London! Hope you enjoy Germany! :) x

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  4. Just now catching up after my trip, Dasha. Thanks for sharing London with us! I loved visiting the Tower -- so much fascinating (and somewhat terrifying) history! I did get to see the jewels; that was a little sobering. I loved our Beefeater and his extensive knowledge. It was a dream come true for me to visit there. Now ... on to Germany with you :)

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