Thursday, 7 March 2013

A family day out at the Tower of London

alf term seems a bit of a blur now but I just wanted to let you know what a great day out we had that week at the Tower of London and what a great family day it is for others, too.

We managed to pick the ONLY warm sunny day that week to go, which made a massive difference, and I would recommend you check the forecast before going because there’s a fair bit of walking around within the grounds to get from one section to the other.

It’s not impossible to take a child in a buggy but be prepared for carrying the buggy up a lot of those 11th Century stairs, which were built for people a lot smaller than us.

Either that or you take it in turns to visit various sections of the tourist attraction one at a time while the other stays with the buggy.

We got our entry on Tesco ClubCard vouchers, otherwise the entry ticket for all four of us would have been £57.

We took a packed lunch and were able to sit outside in the sun (yay) on a bench scoffing on our sarnies, which is part of why I’m saying having good weather makes all the difference.

There are indoor facilities for eating packed lunches, although we didn’t check them out. One other tip is if you intend to get there as early as you can, go and see the Crown Jewels first.

The earliest we could get there after rush hour was at about 11am. Just an hour later the queue was endless but we were able to walk straight in without queuing.

As it was half term there were a number of extra activities that were laid on such as the medieval sweetmeats workshop (which we missed by a whisker); actors staging a Wars of the Roses interactive event; storytelling by the fearsome “knight” Sir Anthony Woodville (no, not the real one) and guided tours by Yeoman warders (that’s Beefeaters to you and me).

Had a lovely chat with one Beefeater. He was sitting in his little box just watching the world go by with his radio at his elbow. He told me a little bit about Beefeaters.

They all have to have served 22 years in one of the armed forces in this country, which means some of them are only in their late 30s!

They all live on site. Imagine having the Tower of London as your home address. The Beefeater I was talking to pointed to where he lived just across the courtyard from us and said he had the best view of Tower Bridge in the whole of London.

He’s also got his own parking space! Gold dust in central London. However, they are not allowed to bring their cars up to the front door of their home to offload the shopping until all the tourists have gone!

We didn’t see all the Tower has to offer such as the Royal Beasts tower where for 600 years exotic animals were kept captive; we didn’t have a Yeoman tour; and we didn’t go into the Medieval Palace, so lots more to see on another visit.

Was a bit confused at how disappointed I was in the torture chamber. Only three instruments of torture on show! Would have liked to see the thumb screws and the cat-o-ninetails! What does that say about me?

We left the Tower of London just before it closed at around 5.30pm and headed to the South Bank. Loads of things to do there. However, we were hungry by that time and were about to use our ClubCard Pizza Express vouchers but found a hot food market instead. It was a great way to round off the day before heading home. 

Incidentally, if you are reading this on a mobile, I'm told that the option to receive Prestopeople posts by email is not visible. If you checkout this site on a PC you can sign up for the posts so you can receive them as they are put up. (For those friends of mine, it means you can dispense with those pesky text messages I keep sending you once I post! Just let me know if you want to be left of the list)

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