Head off to the Tower of London

I have to say that one of my favourite places to visit when in London is the Tower of London, because of the history it holds, and I always see something new on each visit.

One of the things I enjoy is the permanent exhibition which explores the building’s remarkable history and its importance as a fortress, a palace, a prison and a base for royal power.

Called Power House it uncovers the stories and personalities behind the major organisations of state, who took care of royal business from within the Tower’s walls from 1100 to the present day. Historic British institutions associated with the Tower include the Royal Armouries, the Ordnance Office, the Royal Mint, the Record Office, the Jewel House, the Menagerie and the Royal Observatory. The exhibition also looks at how the Tower of London has served as a royal residence and a state prison.

The Royal Armouries’ Head of Creative Programmes Karen Whitting says: ‘The Tower has been home to many important national institutions for over 900 years and was viewed as a fortress and symbol of England’s might.

‘Close to the seat of royal power at Westminster, the Tower became England’s ultimate Power House. The functions it housed were vital to whether successive monarchs kept or lost control of the kingdom.’

The Royal Armouries has commissioned a three-metre high dragon to stand at the entrance to the exhibition. It is made up of components from each of the major institutions of state. The design should comprise of artwork which will include armour, swords, firearms and cannon representing the Ordnance Office, coins from the Royal Mint, parchments and maps representing the Records Office and Ordnance Survey and its tail will be made of chains recalling how the Tower was a prison.

The Tower is open 9am–4.30pm Tue–Sat and 10am–4.30pm Sun–Mon, admission £18.70 (£16 online), under-16s £10.45 (£9), students and over-60s £15.95 (£13.50), family ticket £51.70 (£44), under-5s free. Entry to the Royal Armouries, Britain’s oldest museum, located in the White Tower, is included in the admission price.

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