Explore the Tower of LondonView map
Pay a visit before the ravens take their leave
his is where Richard III’s unfortunate nephews were locked up, Anne Boleyn was relieved of her head and – apparently – when the ravens leave, the United Kingdom will fall.
Yes the Tower of London has lots of grisly stories and strange superstitions attached to it, and the best way to get the lowdown is to find yourself a friendly beefeater – or Yeoman Warder, as the tower’s guardians are commonly known.
You’ll easily spot them – they’re the guys and girls in the rather smart black-and-red tunics and capes, and the porkpie hats – and they know all the ins and outs of the Tower’s history.
We don’t want to spoil the surprises, but keep your eyes peeled for the Jewel House, which is home to the Crown Jewels and holds 23,578 gems (that’s a lot of bling); and in the White Tower there’s an exhibition on royal armour.
Find out which king was tall, who was a bit too fat (clue, his name ends in VIII) and who had a set of gilt armour for his horse. That’s right, for his horse.
Make sure you quiz your guide on the Tower’s less savoury bits, too. Like the name ‘Jane’, which is carved into the wall of one of the cells – something to do with the tragic (and teenage) Lady Jane Grey, who was queen for nineteen days before Bloody Mary had her locked up.
And don’t forget to ask about the ghost of Arabella Stuart – James I’s cousin – who was imprisoned (and say some murdered) here...