During our trip around Europe in March 2017 we made the same stop that millions of tourists make each year, the Tower of London. Before going I had a plan of the spots I wanted to stand, Ann Boleyn’s execution spot (the Scaffold Site), and the things that I wanted to see, the Bloody Tower and the Ravens.
Unfortunately the day we chose to go, it rained. Now I know that the weather being crappy has nothing to do with my disappointment at the Tower of London, and trust me, the weather had nothing to do with it. However, there were plenty of other issues we had that day that led to our disappointment.
To start with the Tower of London is not very friendly for those who are disabled. If you want to see the tower from the outside, walking around the grounds it’s fine, but you will definitely not be seeing the Bloody Tower, the White Tower or even walk along the walled perimeter. There are many steps to climb to see either of those and there is no handicap access.
We began our tour walking through the Main Entrance then made our way to the Medieval Palace beginning our tour with St Thomas’s Tower. This tower was built by King Edward I between 1275 and 1279. We then proceeded into King Edward I’s, Edward the Longshanks, bedchamber. Then we walked through the Palace past Edward’s oratory, up a turret to the Wall Walk to walk the perimeter. Along the way we climbed many very thin steep steps along narrow walkways.
We walked along the wall to the East Wall Walk entrance and made our way down to the White Tower. Unfortunately in order to see the exhibits in the White Tower you must be able to climb 236 steps. One of our party is disabled and was not able to do so, so none of us seen it.
From the White Tower we decided to see the Crown Jewels in the Jewel House. The line to get into the exhibit was long and it took us about 30 minutes to get into the Jewel House. However while we waited we did get to see some guards changing outside the exhibit. Once inside, we meandered around a maze of darkness from room to room for an additional 30 minutes till we actually made it to the Crown Jewels. Although they are beautiful and expensive, the room is so dimly lit that we nearly missed them.
From the Crown Jewels we headed to the Scaffold Site. I wanted to stand on the spot where so many had taken their last breath. From the Scaffold Site we once again climbed a set of narrow steep stairs to view the Bloody Tower. The disappointment for this exhibit came when we entered a room that had two wall boards with the tale of the Two Princes who were murdered in the tower by their uncle King Richard III. We felt that these two boards did not do the story or their memory justice.
Next we exited the Bloody Tower and made our way to the Torture at the Tower Exhibit where we found several devices that were used in medieval torture. This exhibit was interesting but unfortunately it was in a small room that had people crammed in like cattle in a pen. On more than one occasion I was literally shoved as people made their way past me out the door.
We finally decided to end our day at the Tower of London by making a stop by Traitor’s Gate, the Coins and Kings exhibit and to see the Ravens. Our granddaughter enjoyed to Coins and Kings exhibit and the Ravens were no where to be found.
During our trip to London we found many things we did not care for, and plenty that we absolutely loved, but our trip to the Tower of London was definitely NOT on our “loved” list.