🇬🇧 London V – Tower of London & Museum of Childhood

Tower Bridge

Due to Kim’s research – she discovered the times that Tower Bridge would be open.  This was an opportunity not to be missed so we caught a series of tubes to Tower Bridge.  On our way out, near the Tower of London, we spied part of the old Roman London wall together with a Roman statue!

We then made our way to Tower Bridge (which we both thought was called London Bridge – but it’s not!) which is opposite the Tower of London.  Luckily we were there before opening time!  We found a great spot with a good view and then – like clockwork – loud sounds came from the bridge – the traffic was stopped – and then it split in half as each side lifted high in the air.  A tall ship made its way through, and then all of a sudden the bridge smoothly moved back into position and then life carried on as normal.  A very exciting moment!

Seizing the opportunity we went for a little walk across the (now closed!) bridge.

 

Museum of Childhood

Our next excursion was to the V & A Museum of Childhood.  This was one of the few free things that you can do in the city – and something we hadn’t visited before.  The exhibitions were housed in a large, quaint old building.  When you walk in the exhibits are on two floors above you.  On the ground floor was a cute shop and a nice little cafe.   The exhibits were certainly very interesting and brought back memories for us both – we did find their organisation a little haphazard (eg the toys were not in chronological order).  But we really enjoyed ourselves never the less.

Tower of London

We had booked tickets in advance to see the Tower of London (it is 22.70 pounds online compared to 26.80 pounds if you just turn up).  So all we did was show our booking on our phones and get our physical tickets.  We had deliberately picked this particular day as we had noticed on the tubes ads for a medieval themed few days at the Tower – so we thought that sounded like fun and it was a place we hadn’t visited on our previous trip to London 2 years ago.  We noticed at the entrance some interesting animal sculptures (which we later found out were throughout the Tower as they used to keep a menagerie of animals inside).

The heatwave was still continuing, so it was 35’C and we were sweltering.  Luckily Kim has been packing frozen water on the summer legs of our adventure as we certainly needed it!   The Tower was very, very packed when we went in.  We saw at the entrance that you could take a free tour with one of the guards – so we thought that would be a good idea to give us an idea of where everything was.  Our guard guide was very funny and we learned quite a lot.  Just to be a guard he had to serve 20 years in the military!

There really was a lot to do here.  We spent most of the day looking around.  The medieval fair was aimed at young kids and was fun to stroll around – we watched a guy make coins the old fashioned way (cut out metal and then smash it against a mould) and we watched some knights smash each other in the heat.

The Tower also used to be the Royal Mint – where they produced all the coins.  We went through an interesting little museum that had some interactive games for the kids.

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We enjoyed spotting the sculptures throughout the Tower complex.

We also learned that the guards actually live in the Tower – there is a complex of little houses which are their homes inside the complex.

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We liked spotting the ravens – the legend has it that if all the ravens leave the Tower then the kingdom will fall (they cheat by clipping their wings so they can’t fly away!).  Some enterprising pigeons even built a nest inside the wall and were feeding their babies!

We went in (after a long, long queue) to see the crown jewels- no photos allowed!  They were impressive but I’m not sure whether it was worth the long queue in the heat!  Luckily we weren’t on guard duty!

A particular highlight was the armour museum – a lot of the original armour worn by king’s past – and even some for kids!

But probably the most unexpected highlight was the dragon built of armour – it was massive!!

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All in all a great day out on a our final day in London – next stop – Iceland!

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