The Tower of London

One of the most famous tourist attractions in London is the Tower of London, a former prison and royal palace. Tickets can be bought online in advance at a discount, or at the gates. The Tower of London was built in the 1070-ies, and today it attracts over three million visitors each year. The Tower is guarded and protected by the “the Beefeaters”, the nickname originating from the fact that they were allowed to eat as much beef as they wanted from the King’s table. As you may know, the Beefeater gin bottle depicts a Yeoman Warder in full state dress, and as a thank you, a bottle of gin is sent to all Yeoman Warders at his or her birthday each year.

Yeoman Warders

The yeoman warders were originally part of the monarch’s personal bodyguard. Henry VIII decided that the Tower should also be protected by the warders. To be selected for a position in the yeoman warder, the applicant needs to have at least 22 years of military service, and been awarded the long service and good conduct medal. The yeoman warders conduct the guided tour of the Tower for the public, giving an overview of its history and some of the horrifying events that have taken place within the Tower walls.

The Crown Jewels

The crown jewels are part of the royal collections, and are the actual jewels used in royal ceremonies today. In addition to being a powerful symbol of the British Monarchy, they are extremely beautiful and display a fantastic level of craftmanship. The exhibition is open daily, and the admission is included in the entrance ticket. The display of the royal regalia is very popular, so be prepared that a bit of queueing might be required to enter the collection.

Ceremony of the Keys

The ceremony of the Keys is the locking up of the Tower. It takes place every night at 22, and the ceremony is still performed in the old, traditional way, with the exact phrases that has been used during the 700 years the tradition has been upheld. Attending the event is free of charge, ut tickets have to be pre-booked. Normally the tickets are sold out a year in advance, so planning ahead is needed. The names on the tickets can not be changed, and the time schedule is very strict – attendants are permitted into the Tower at 21.30, and no late arrivals are allowed. After the ceremony, at about 22.05, visitors are required to leave.