Out for a bike ride south of Fjaerland, Norway!
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Stryn, Norway!

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Exploring southwestern Norway until July 26th.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tower of London and the Crown Jewels

The second most popular fee based attraction in London is the historic Tower of London and the display of the Crown Jewels. This expensive museum attracts over 7,000 visitors per day and even though it's expensive, we think this huge fortress should be on your list of things to do.

It costs £18.00 ($29.52) per person if you buy your ticket online and in advance. But we spent three hours there, and I'm sure a lot of people spend more time than that.

We walked there from home. Notice that for the most part it was another beautiful day!

A narrow street along the way.

Although there were some dark clouds at times, it never did rain.

The current entrance to the building is through the Byward Tower which was built between 1238-1272.

Included in your admission price is a guided tour.

We joined a guided tour that was already in process, but we quickly decided that wasn't for us. We found the group size too large and unless you were closer to the front it was difficult to hear. So we set off on our own. Because it was still relatively early we chose to see the most popular attractions first because they would only get busier as the day went on. First stop then, was the Crown Jewels!

The Waterloo Block is the building where the Crown Jewels are kept.

Usually a very busy attraction, they have a few things to keep you interested as you wait in line to see the jewels. We were lucky yesterday and there wasn't much of a line to get in. So we made our way fairly quickly through the unimportant stuff to get to the main attraction. Unfortunately, there is absolutely no photography allowed at the jewels, so I've borrowed these from the internet!

I've never seen so many diamonds and so much gold in my life!

Many of the Crown Jewels are still used by the monarchy for various pomp and pageantry!

Once you're into the vault, they have moving walkways so that nobody can just stand there and stare at them. Good idea, because it's easy to want to look at any one item for more than a few minutes and people would be waiting forever if it weren't for the moving walkways. It's a pretty efficient setup actually.

The Tower Bridge is located near the Tower of London.

They make a fairly big deal out of the fact that the Tower was often used as a prison, and the fact that various means of torture was sometimes used to extract information and gain admissions of guilt from the prisoners. However torture was actually fairly rare in England. Statistics are not complete, however it is believed that there are 48 cases of torture that took place at the Tower and all documented cases occurred between 1540 and 1640. 

Some ruins date back to the year 1060!

And the White Tower, which was accommodation for the King was completed around the year 1100.

Much of the tour involves walking on the wall that surrounds the grounds.

Ruth at one of the medieval doorways.

A few people in period costume to make things more authentic.

Henry VIII's riding armor.

And his wandering around town armor. That's quite a package he had to protect! Of course, he did have six different wives.

The changing of the guard attracts a crowd.

The grounds.

The Tower of London.

When we had enough, we left the grounds and walked a mile or so over to St. Paul's Cathedral. We have both been inside St. Paul's many years ago, so we had no ambition to go in again. Especially with the £15 ($24.60) admission price! But we did take a couple of pics of the exterior.

St. Paul's Cathedral.

The entrance steps.

View from the entrance steps.

It was another good day. We took the underground back home, and then Ruth's cousin and his wife came over for dinner. We hadn't seen Mark for 23 years! So we had a good visit with them. Marks wife Nok is from Thailand so it was interesting talking to them about Thailand. We want to visit there someday!

Kevin, Philip, Mark, Ruth, Nice, and Nok (sitting).

Today we are going for another walk! We are going to walk from here to Greenwich Park on the south side of the River Thames. It's 6.4 miles (10.2 kms) each way, so we'll see if we can make it the whole way!


  1. So much to see and do and looks like you did enjoy the day. And a nice visit with Ruth's cousin.

  2. What an interesting tour. Love the header picture and of course the jewels. Amazing place.

  3. What footware do you two wear? I can never find comfortable shoe to do all the walking you and Ruth do.

    1. Hi Catheline. We wear good quality hiking boots made by Merrell. They were fairly expensive, at around $160 for mine, and $120 for Ruth's. But we've been very happy with them, and considering the amount of hiking we do, they're holding up very well.

  4. Just incredible how old those buildings are. It's hard for us in the New World to grasp that concept. Your header picture is just incredible. Sure am glad you're doing the walking for us.

  5. Wow, there's some expensive tourist stuff there. I liked Hyde Park.

  6. I love this. London is getting better by the minute. So much history in one blog. GREAT job!

  7. It is amazing how old those buildings are. We in the US are impressed with anything over 100 yeas old and that is more like new in Europe. :)

  8. Thanks for all the walking. Works for me.
    I find it a bit odd that there's no photos allowed for the jewels.
    Here in Vienna they have no problem if you take photos in the "Schatzkammer", (the treasury) as long as you don't use a flash.
    Usually the pictures come out better without flash anyway, so that's no hardship.
    The whole place is a huge vault, so there's no worries about anyone breaking in. Easier to knock over a bank.
    Some of those prices are a little outrageous I find. Although it's been said that the Austrians "charge you for every little thing", (this according to a Slovenian cousin) on average I think the prices are much lower for the attractions here. Just seems that way to me.

  9. Calvin and BrendaJune 28, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    Beautiful buildings, I love all the stonework. The old countries are just so full of history and beauty. Can't wait to visit Europe again. Hoping to next year but hard to say for how long.
    Looks like you are having a great time.


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