This review of a family day out has been written by Mr and Mrs Heights who are both in their 30s, they have Miss Heights who was born in 2002 and Master Heights who was born in 2005.
Over half term we had a family day out to visit the Tower of London. This is somewhere we have wanted to take the children for a long time and with the poppies filling the moat, now seemed like the perfect time.
We caught the train into Fenchurch Street and walked round to Tower Hill, where there were huge crowds of people. We had completely underestimated the number of people who would be visiting the Tower of London and the children were a little scared of the crowds. There were police officers at the crossings to stop the crowd surging into the traffic, it was quite reassuring to have them there. Once we finally made it across the road, we started to make our way down to the entrance of the Tower. The crowds around the moat were 4 or 5 people deep in some places, but we were happy to find that the queue into the Tower itself wasn’t too long.
After passing through the entrance, we stopped on the bridge to take some photos of the poppies filling the moat. They are breathtaking and I’m not surprised that so many people want to see them. It really is a beautiful tribute to all of 888,246 lives lost during war-time. We purchased our poppy months ago and I am looking forward to it arriving, knowing that it was once part of something so much more important.
We headed into the Tower and waited for the Yeoman Warder who was going to take us on a tour. These tours are free and they happen quite regularly, if you’re not sure when the next one is simply ask the nearest Yeoman Warder (or Beefeater as they are more commonly known) and they will be able to tell you. We thoroughly recommend taking in one of the tours. Our Yeoman Warder was very funny and he made the history of the Tower come to life with the way he told us about it. We learned a lot of interesting facts – the first being that there are actually 20 towers at the Tower of London!
After our tour had finished we were treated to a mini concert by the Military Wives. We hadn’t known that they were going to be there on the day of our trip so it was a wonderful surprise! The weather was unseasonably warm for October and we stood in the sunshine listening to the ladies sing, it was absolutely lovely.
Next up was a visit to the Crown Jewels, that was before we saw the queue, it was huge and snaked back and forth filling most of the space in the courtyard, so we decided to come back later and chose to go in the Fusilier Museum instead. This houses hundreds of war medals, as well as information on the types of clothing worn by soldiers over the years and the types of weaponry used. The kids particularly liked trying on the soldier’s hat and trying to lift the pack that soldiers carry.
We came out of the Fusilier Museum and walked down towards the White Tower, but the queues for this were crazy too so we opted for some lunch instead. The café is lovely and they have a huge variety of food and drink available. As you would expect, it’s not cheap but it is good quality and we all enjoyed our lunch.
After lunch we chose to do the wall walk. The kids really enjoyed this, they liked going in and out of the smaller towers and climbing up and down the old staircases. They particularly enjoyed the fighting platform, where you could pretend you were protecting the Tower and, if you listened carefully, you could hear the noise of a battle taking place. On the North Wall Walk there is an exhibition all about the animals that used to live at the Tower, entitled Royal Beasts. Did you know that the Tower used to be home to a Polar Bear that was allowed to swim in the River Thames? The kids really enjoyed this exhibition and all of the hands-on things they could do in there.
Having finished the wall walk, we decided to see what the queue for the Crown Jewels was like. It had gone down considerably so we joined the end of the line. The line moved fairly quickly and it took us approximately 40 minutes to get to the front of the queue. What can I say? The Crown Jewels were stunning! It was fantastic to get to see them up close and see how much they sparkled and shimmered. There was a lot to see in the Jewel House including crowns, swords, the Koh-i-Noor diamond and the biggest punch bowl I have ever seen – it’s over a metre wide!
The last thing for us to visit on our day was the White Tower. Thankfully the queue had gone down and we only had to wait about 10 minutes to get in. The White Tower is currently home to the Royal Armouries collections. There are lots of different types of armour on display, including armour that was worn by horses. Some of the swords on display were enormous and I couldn’t imagine anybody being strong enough to lift them, let alone use them against another person! My favourite part of the White Tower was the Chapel of St. John The Evangelist, dating back to the 11th century, it was beautiful and serene.
As we came out of the White Tower night was falling and it was time for us to leave the Tower of London. We stopped on the bridge to listen to the Last Post before heading for home.
What The Kids Had To Say;
“Really cool, you must go there as there’s loads of interesting facts and loads of interesting things to see” – Harry age 9
“It was an amazing experience and I hope to go again” – Abby age 12
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Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!
Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.