Tower of London Tours – History Revealed

The Tower of London as we know it today is a popular tourist attraction that is visited by more than 2 million people from around the world every year, but before that it has served as home for the Crown Jewels, the Royal Mint, a menagerie, a fortress, and most notably one of Britain’s most notorious prisons.

Throughout London’s tumultuous history the Tower of London has played a starring role. One of the most historically significant uses for the tower was during the times that it served as a prison.  The Tower had not only an extensive list of high profile (and presumably innocent) prisoners, it was also known for its brutal and numerous torture chambers housed inside that were used as both punishments and means to interrogate.

Perhaps one of the most famous of those imprisoned in the tower was the second wife of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn (1546) who was accused of infidelity, incest, and even seducing the king into a cursed marriage. However it is believed that true reason for her imprisonment and eventual beheading was due to her inability to birth a male heir to the throne.

Other well-known high profile inmates of the Tower include; Sir Thomas More (1534), Anne Askew (1546), and second command Nazi party member Rudolf Hess (1941).

Today the mint, the jewels, the prisoners, and the menagerie are long gone, but one thing that still remains is the ravens which legend has it will cause the Tower and the Kingdom to fall should they ever leave. The Tower of London is required to have on its grounds at least 7 captive ravens at all times. It isn’t any wonder that The Tower of London is considered by many to be one of the most iconic buildings in all of London. Tourists and locals alike are able afford themselves the ultimate hands on history lesson when taking advantage of these stimulating and truly moving tours.

Learn about Political History with House of Parliament Tours

Take an exhilarating step back in time with a guided tour of London’s iconic Westminster Palace and experience all the intriguing and political history that it has to offer.

For over 900 years The Houses of Parliament (AKA the Palace of Westminster) has been the centre of power throughout Britain.  William II completed construction of the Palace of Westminster started in 1097and in 1099; at the time of its completion it was the largest hall in all of England.

Its initial role was to be a royal only residence, but by 1512 a fire destroyed the private quarters of Henry VIII, after that Henry moved out and the lawyers and politicians moved in, it has been the hub for Britain’s political powers ever since.

The Palace of Westminster held numerous high profile treason trials between the 15th and 18th centuries. King Charles I being one of the most notable who in 1649 was tried and condemned as a traitor, tyrant, and murderer, despite the court having no real legal authority over him. In 1606 Guy Fawkes along with his co-conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot were tried, convicted, and executed.

The Palace has endured a myriad of bombings and other act of violence during it’s over 900 of years of existence. During the Blitz of World War 2 alone the Palace was hit more than 14 times. In 1812 former Prime Minister Spencer Percival was assassinated there, and in 1885 a Fenian bomb severely damaged the Palaces common chamber as well as seriously injuring three people.

You can explore further into the aforementioned as well as many other historical factoids related to the Palace whilst on your House of Parliament tour!

London Tour Guides – Choosing the Best One

 

When you visit London, it can be hard to narrow down what it is exactly you want to see.  London city boasts so many famous buildings, and there are so many different activities you can do.  The first thing to consider is what your focus is; for example, if it is the royal family and the big iconic buildings you are interested in then Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and even Kensington Palace may be just what you are looking for.  Another option for your group is to visit a range of museums and galleries; the British Museum and the National Gallery are both locations where you could spend many hours visiting and will give a true flavour of British history and culture.

For any history fans, the Tower of London and the Crown Jewels and Tower Bridge will definitely impress all those in your group.  Another option is to visit the city entirely from the Thames and stop at locations along this amazing valley river, as there are so many landmarks and iconic sites to see just from the river.  One thing you won’t be short of is things to do and how to fill your time.  The key thing is to focus on what it is you are hoping to get from your day and choose some landmarks to visit.  It is impossible to visit every famous location and attraction, however by narrowing it down to the ones that are preferred, you can always come back and visit other sites another time.

Just a stone’s throw away from the city centre of London there are also many sites of interest such as Oxford, Windsor Castle, Stratford and even a Harry Potter Tour.  Attractions outside the main city centre will require more time however are easily accessible from the city centre.  With so much to choose, one thing is certain; you will not leave London disappointed, as there is so much to see and do for all tastes.

Enjoying London like a local with Private London Tours

 

There are many famous attractions to visit in London and the hardest part of a trip is probably deciding which places to visit during a day trip. Tours of London need at least a full day to even touch the surface of what London has to offer for a tourist. A London Day Tour can be highly personalised and tailored to individual requirements.  When you visit, it is best to have private transport as this means you can visit all the attractions you wish to see without waiting around.  This maximises your experience of this fabulous city.

If it is your first trip to London then you will probably be most interested in visiting the most iconic locations right across this capital city. Watch the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace or take a wander across the beautiful royal parks in area. If it is large churches which you wish to marvel then visits to St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey are sure to be on the agenda.  Buckingham Palace is certainly a sight not to be missed; as well as this; Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament are part of the iconic view across the Thames.

During the day if it’s hot and busy then take a cool and refreshing trip along the river Thames. This allows you to have a completely different view of the fantastic buildings that run along the riverside, and give you a completely different and refreshing perspective of this truly spectacular and fascinating city.

A more experienced and frequent visitor to London could take a London Tour with a completely different format. If it is history that fascinates you then a trip to some of London’s finest museums are surely places to go. The choice is overwhelming with the Natural History, Science and Victoria and Albert museums within a stone’s throw of each other.

Corporate Treats with London Tours

Has the ‘corporate bonding experience’ had its day?  We only ask because we personally think not.  Corporate days out are a great way to say “well done” to your colleagues.  What better way to reward their contribution towards the achievement of corporate goals than a great day out with, for example, a trip around the great city of London?

A private and superbly organised sightseeing tour of London can be the perfect blend of relaxation and excitement.  To spend a whole day with a personal London city tour guide and private transport at your beck and call must be the best way of getting around London taking in all that this iconic city has to offer.

If you have never been to London then the famous landmarks like Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and the Tower of London have to be on your bucket list.  To witness the Changing of the Guard or gaze upon the Crown Jewels is to understand some of the history that surrounds you.

Regular visitors will be delighted by lesser-visited sites like the famous (yet much photographed) Abbey Road of The Beatles fame, or the world’s most famous court of justice the Old Bailey.  Camden Lock Market is an interesting place to see.  This huge open-air market complex offers a huge variety of goods to buy and the choice of food stalls has to be seen to be believed.  If you only get to visit one of London’s many great markets you will not be disappointed in Camden.

For those who wish to incentivise and re-energise their colleagues the ultimate bespoke London sightseeing tour is perfect and British Tours can put together a memorable itinerary for you.

Day Tours in London

Samuel Johnson once said, “When a man is tired of London he is tired of life”.  You could say ‘that was then but this is now’.  London today is so packed full of things to see and do that you could not possibly tire of it.  The only regret you could have is not seeing all the important sights on your list.

Imagine you could be collected by private car, by your own London tour guide, and then taken anywhere you want.  That has to be the best way to see the most important sights and places in and around the city.  British Tours has an extensive choice of day tours that take in not only traditional London landmarks but also some more contemporary ones, like the Kate and William Tour for example.  This takes in all the places of significance that shaped the relationship of Britain’s favourite Royal couple including the magnificent Westminster Abbey where their Royal Highnesses were married.

London is a city steeped in history and this is illustrated no better than the imposing 900-year-old Tower of London, the place where Kings, Queens and noblemen were imprisoned or executed.

There are so many museums to choose from but, if you only visit one then try the British Museum which houses exhibits from prehistoric to modern times.  The Natural History Museum is also a fantastic day out with a chance to see the spectacular dinosaur exhibition.

The Tate Modern showcases a collection of modern and contemporary art housed alongside a fine restaurant.

How could you leave without visiting Madame Tussauds for a face-to-face encounter with the most famous – and lifelike – mannequins in the world?

Shopping Tours of London – Uncovering Hidden Gems

 

London is one of the best places in the world for shopping.  The problem is that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to fit everything in!  So surely every shopper’s dream is to be escorted around London by an expert tour guide who can take you wherever you want to go.  And there are so many fabulous places to choose from – from London’s world-famous department stores to its infinite variety of markets, as well as the newly opened Westfield Village mall. (Don’t be fooled by the word Village – this place is huge.)

However, it would be a shame to leave London without sampling its more unique shopping centres.  If it is history you want look no further than Petticoat Lane Market where you can pick up real vintage clothing bargains to create your own individual style.  The Portobello Market is number one for antiques and curios, perhaps to take home as unique and beautiful mementos of your London visit.

The Kings Road is the place where punk rock was born and Vivienne Westwood still has her flagship store there.  Kings Road is a quirky mix of trendy boutiques and interior design emporiums, plus a huge choice of eating and drinking establishments.

For lunch, Gabriel’s Wharf, situated next to the River Thames on London’s Southbank, is a delightfully picturesque place to grab a bite to eat.  Locals as well as visitors eat here so you know that’s a mark of good value food.

London is awash with bookshops so whether you want the latest bestseller to read on the journey home or you’re looking for antique or unusual books, there are a plethora of specialist and second-hand bookshops and book markets.

British Tours can put together the perfect bespoke itinerary for the discerning shopper.