London: Castles

Tower of London

My tour guide was amazing. So much history and I can’t wait to go back to see what I missed.

I first saw Tower of London on the third day of my trip from the top of a tour bus as we drove by. Finally, on my fourth day there I went to Tower of London and instantly fell in love. From the Tube station I walked around the back of the tower, this started a trend of my site seeing in London. I seemed to come to many places from behind the building, and not the grand entrance.

As soon as I walked in to the Tower of London a Yeoman Warder announced that a tour would be starting soon, so I figured since I was there I’d take the tour. My tour guide was Yeoman Warder Lawrence, he was amazing. He was so good that when I got home I sent the tower a compliment about him.

 

 

He took us on a tour around the outside parts of the Castle. He showed us Traitor’s Gate, Bloody Tower and took us into the church, where Henry VIII’s second wife Anne Boleyn and his fifth wife Catherine Howard are buried.

 

After the tour I walked around the rest of the castle, I walked up the White Tower and after looking at the exhibits I walked downstairs on a stone spiral staircase, then I went to other buildings in the castle where I walked up and down more staircases. According to my Fitbit at the end of the day I walked over 60 sets of stairs.

I saw the Crown Jewels including the crown, cloak and scepter Queen Elizabeth II wore on her coronation day and exhibits about when the castle was also a menagerie.

 

 

 

As I stood in one of the many walkways in the castle I took a selfie. I was standing in The Tower of London, almost a thousand years old and behind me was the Gherkin, a fifteen-year-old building. I loved being surrounded by this great span of history.

There is a lot to see at The Tower of London and looking back I think I accidentally missed a few things. The Tower of London saw births, deaths, weddings, beheadings and imprisonment. There is so much history that happened there over such a long period of time.

 

 

 

I kept walking around inside the tower, I didn’t want to leave. I was in love with this place, it was magical. After I finally decided it was time to go I sat on a bench outside the tower, facing Tower Bridge. It was a moment of pure joy and pure exhaustion. My feet hurt but I was in London. I sat there, behind me was Tower of London, in front of me I was looking at the Tower Bridge and the Thames only feet from me.  It was a moment where I had to remind myself this could only happening if I was in London.

 

Windsor Castle

The smell of freshly cut grass reminded me of home.

 

I went to Windsor Castle toward the end of my trip and I could immediately see why it is a favorite of Queen Elizabeth II, it was beautiful. Prince Charles is the voice of the audio tour, which I found exciting.  Near the beginning of the tour are the Queen’s apartments. She wasn’t there that day though I could see the guard on duty through the locked gate and a gardener was mowing the lawn.

 

 

 

 

As I walked through the castle I saw the arrow holes in the wall, I loved seeing the history from hundreds of years ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Round Tower close to the entrance is gorgeous and I loved the garden beneath it. I don’t know why I loved it so much but I found myself wanting to take as many pictures of it as possible.

 

 

 

 

I toured St. George’s Chapel, the church where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are going to be married in Spring 2018.  King Henry VIII is buried in this church, along with his third wife, Jane Seymour. Queen Elizabeth’s father King George VI and her mother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother are buried there. Her sister, Princess Margaret’s ashes are there as well, the latter three are behind a locked gate into a room with no access to visitors.

As I left the quire of the church there was a small television with a video of Queen Elizabeth II playing, it showed a spot about five feet behind where I was currently standing, the Queen was stepping up into her assigned seat. Two young women in front of me where so excited, “Oh my gosh, that’s her, that’s the Queen, we were just there, we just walked by where she has been.” Everything they were saying out loud I was quietly thinking.  I had just walked where the Queen had walked.

 

Is there anything about Tower of London or Windsor Castle you want to know more about?  Let me know in the comments and I’d love to tell you more!

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