The Very Special Superbloom at Tower of London
A visit to the Tower of London these days is made even more special! Not only will you experience all there is to this World Heritage Site, which is famously known as the most secure fortress in the country, a royal palace and a prison along with the opportunities to get up close to the Crown Jewels, meet the legendary Yeoman Warders and the ravens, but you shall also be treated to a sea of delightful Superbloom at the Tower of London.
With the year being a very special year in the history of UK, the Overseas Territories and the Commonwealth as it marks the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, many places across the globe have installed displays and exhibitions to honour Her Majesty’s 70-year long reign. Superbloom at the Tower of London is one such display for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
If you are planning a visit to Superbloom at the Tower of London, this guide is perfect for you. In this guide, you shall find all the information on Superbloom at the Tower of London, what to expect when you visit and the best ways to experience this amazing display on the moat surrounding the iconic fortress.
I visited Superbloom at the Tower of London last Saturday and I share as much information here to support your visit.
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What is Superbloom Tower of London?
Commissioned by the Historic Royal Palaces, the idea of Superbloom was to create an organic, living piece of art that changes over the course of time. Hence, Superbloom is a term given to the planting of about 20 million of 29 different seed mixes which took place in March 2022. The seedlings were planted in the dry moat surrounding the Tower of London. The flower species were specifically selected for their vibrant colours and their ability to thrive in the urban space. They are expected to produce an amazing display of waves and waves of flowers in the dry moat surrounding the Tower of London.
The waves of blooms will grow over summer, bringing changing colours along with new flowers every week or month that passes. The sea of flowers with its vibrant colours is also a haven for bees and other pollinators.
Recommended read: A Complete Guide to the Tower of London
1 | The Design of Superbloom at Tower of London
The planting designers together with a team of landscape experts and contractors have put in time and expertise to create a vibrant field of colours like none before seen at the Tower of London, in an area what was previously a dry moat. The team have fully embraced the idea of urban horticulture and have created a new biodiverse habitat where seed eating birds will happily co-exist in the city, thus celebrating the value of nature to wellbeing.
Although Superbloom Tower of London is primarily an exhibition to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, it is designed to provide a beautiful natural landscape for pollinators such as bees, birds and insects. Visitors to the castle will be treated to a visual feast of vibrant colours of assorted flowers in a beautiful new naturalistic landscape.
2 | What flowers are planted at Superbloom Tower of London
Twenty million seeds are sewn over the ground of the moat surrounding the Tower encompassing 29 species of flowers. The species include Gypsophila elegans, Papaver rhoeas hybrids (‘Shirly poppies’), Cosmos bipinnatus and two varieties of chrysanthemums.
What to expect on your visit to Superbloom Tower of London
1 | An Immersive Experience
For the first time, visitors to the Tower of London can wander through the historic moat. A space of wonderful natural beauty offers a visitor to feel immersed in the flowers and that they are stepping out of the city.
The Superbloom is designed in such a way that there are clear paths winding through the enchanting display for visitors to walk around easily, allowing you to get close to the blooms. There are benches that are positioned at various points for you to sit and enjoy the serenity of the natural display.
2 | Work in Progress
According to the Historic Royal Palaces website:
Once in the moat, you can choose to climb the stairs and slide down into the moat on the four lane Superbloom slide! (please note, the slide will not be open in wet or very hot weather). Prepare to spend around 30 minutes exploring a one way route along winding willow-lined paths set to a specially commissioned soundscape with sculptural elements along the way.Historic Royal Palaces
However, when I visited Superbloom on June 18, I did not see the Superbloom slide or sculptural elements nor any special sound installation. I can only presume that these are work in progress, and will be installed in the coming days.
3 | Slower Growth
Another thing I found on my visit was that the seedlings are growing , and growing slowly. Therefore, not all seedlings are fully in bloom yet, so there are areas of vibrant colours and there are greenery with no burst of colours. I guess this is to be expected as nature has been unpredictable lately. The spring had been dry and cool, resulting in a slower growth.
Although seedlings were sowed in March, with expectations that the flowering varieties will bloom in 8 to 9 weeks, there were flowering in some places while in some others, flowers are taking a little longer to bloom than expected.
So, as you walk around the viewing path, you will find Superbloom at different stages of flowering, and this may change daily. The seedlings appear to have thrived towards the east of the moat where conditions have been more balanced. The rest of the moat will catch up soon.
Georgina’s Top Tip: Plan a visit for early or mid July and in August when the slower blooms would have caught up and Superbloom is expected to be at its finest.
4 | Queen’s Garden
An important feature of Superbloom Tower of London is the Queen’s Garden, to be found on the Tower Bowling Green. Designed by award-winning landscape designers, Grant Associates, the Queen’s Garden takes inspiration from the Queen’s Coronation dress. The garden features symbols and flowers that can be found on the coronation dress which was designed by Sir Norman Hartnell and worn by the Queen in 1953.
The dress celebrates rich fabric and exquisite embroideries. The embroideries are symbolic flowers arranged along gold beads, diamanté and pearls, representing the United Kingdom and several Commonwealth countries 70 years ago. The Queen’s Garden is designed to reflect this symbolism.
The centre of the Queen’s Garden is dedicated to 12 cast coloured glass flower designs, representing the dress’ s emblems rising above the garden. The design represents various flowers and national emblems including the thistle of Scotland, and the maple leaf of Canada. The coloured glass designs glisten in the light, very much like the beads, diamanté and pearls on the coronation dress. These are surrounded by shrubs, roses and a mix of summer blooms.
Story of The Moat at Tower of London
Like most medieval castles, the Tower of London features a moat. In the beginning, it was only a ditch and was filled with tidal water from the nearby river. In the 1240s, King Henry III ordered that a moat be dug to completely surround the castle. However, when Edward I came to power, he ordered for the moat to be expanded. A moat is generally dug around a castle as a security measure, to prevent attackers from getting to the castle easily. So, in accordance with Edward I orders, the moat was dug deeper, very deep with at least 50 metres wide, for a long-lasting effect. It was filled with water.
The moat was used as a fishery and became a perfect source of food for centuries. Over time, the moat became stagnant due to poor water supply at the Tower and gave rise to deadly infections. It led to the momentous decision by Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (1769-1852) to have the moat drained. The moat at Tower of London had remained dry ever since except for the one time in 1928 when the moat became flooded when the Thames burst its banks.
The moat surrounding the tower seen today is very much of the same shape since the 13th century. Since it had been drained, the dry moat became very useful for various purposes and as a food source. The south of the moat was used to growing vegetables as early as the 1890s while livestock grazed in the rest of the moat. During the war, the moat was converted to allotments, so residents could grow their own produce.
In 1977, for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, the moat was planted with 470, 000 begonia blooms, and this year, the moat is planted with 20 million seeds from 29 flower species.
The Legacy of Superbloom Tower of London
The Superbloom at the Tower of London is scheduled to end on September 18, 2022 but this does not mean that it will disappear permanently. The Superbloom marks the beginning of a permanent transformation to the moat surrounding the Tower of London as a haven for bees, butterflies and other pollinators. The natural landscape created for the Platinum Jubilee is said to remain, thus a permanent green space in the heart of London for all to enjoy.
Practical Information for Visiting Superbloom at the Tower of London
1 | How long is the Superbloom Tower of London
Superbloom at the Tower of London takes place during the summer of 2022, as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
From June 1 through to September 18, 2022
2 | Best Ways to Experience Superbloom
There are 3 ways to experience Superbloom at the Tower of London.
2.1 | A combined visit to Superbloom and the Tower of London;
2.2 | book a slot for Superbloom experience only;
2.3 | View the Superbloom installation from the Public Viewing Path at Tower Hill.
For the first two options, you will need a ticket. There are various ticket types available to suit your itinerary and best to pre book online prior to your visit:
|Ticket||Tower of London & Superbloom Moat Ticket||Superbloom Moat Only Ticket|
|Adult with Donation||£ 40.20||£13.20|
|Concession with Donation||£32.20||£10.60|
|Child with Donation (Ages 5 to 15)||£20.10||£6.60|
|Adult without Donation||£36.50||£12.00|
|Concession without Donation||£29.20||£9.60|
|Child without Donation Ages (5 to 15)||£18.20||£6.00|
Family Tickets and Groups are also available. Check prices at the official website here.
3 | Where is the Superbloom
Superbloom can be found at Tower Moat, Tower of London, London EC3N 4AB
4 | How to Get to the Superbloom
The nearest station to the Tower of London is Tower Hill. Once you disembark from Tower Hill, follow directions to the Tower of London which are clearly signposted towards the Tower.
Check Transport for London website for the London Underground map, alternate routes and for further guidance on how to get to Tower Hill/Tower of London.
The flowers were not in full bloom when I visited but the areas where they thrived was a pretty sight. I would encourage you to visit and experience the moat awash in spectacular colours, but to do so from mid July onwards. I look forward to returning in mid August for a dramatic and engaging experience.
Have a super awesome day at the Tower of London.
Superbloom Tower of London first published at timelesstravelsteps.com