Beauchamp Tower London

Beauchamp Tower London

Beauchamp Tower is easily missed as visitors seem focused on the White Tower and the Jewel Tower. Moreover, if you are limited to time, you may give Beauchamp a miss but I suggest that Beauchamp is worth a visit and deserving of a place on your list.

I discovered Beauchamp Tower on my visit as I retraced my footsteps in London. I have been to Tower of London many times before but had never visited this tower. I learnt so much of historic England from my visit here which I share with you here.

Read about the Tower of London – the Best Guide before your next visit.

Beauchamp Tower London

Beauchamp Tower sits next to the dark timbered Queen’s House overlooking the Tower Chapel and the Tower Green | © mytimelessfootsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel

Beauchamp, pronounced as “beecham” is one of the twenty-one towers at the Tower of London and forms part of the inner defensive wall of Tower of London. It was built between 1275 and 1281 towards the end of the first leg of modernisation of the Tower, under the reign of King Edward I.

The tower’s close proximity to the Lieutenant’s lodgings (now, the Queen’s House) made Beauchamp Tower a significant and a perfect place throughout history to accommodate high-ranking important prisoners.

There are other towers within the walls of the Tower of London which also became home to very important high status prisoners. Read about the prisoners of the Bloody Tower at the Tower of London here and the Jewel Tower, home to the Magnificent Crown Jewels.

Prisoners of the Beauchamp Tower London

Amongst the important prisoners at Beauchamp were John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland and his four sons. One of the sons was Guildford Dudley, the husband to Lady Jane Grey. Here’s a brief look at the Dudleys and Lady Jane Grey.

About the Dudleys

John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland was imprisoned at the Beauchamp Tower along with his four sons because he wanted his daughter-in-law, Lady Jane Grey to be Queen of England.

John Dudley and his sons were condemned as traitors in 1553. He was executed for treason at Tower Hill on August 22, 1553. Guilford Dudley, husband to Lady Jane was executed in February 1554. Following his execution, the three brothers were pardoned and released.

About Lady Jane Grey

Lady Jane Grey - on her Coronation
Lady Jane Grey on the day of her procession to be Queen of England. Lady Jane Grey (1536-54) after a painting by Herbert Norris, © Lebrecht Music & Arts/Alamy Stock Photo
Archives: Historic Royal Palaces

Lady Jane inherited the throne from Edward VI and was Queen of England for just nine days. She was deposed by Catholic Mary I, on July 19, 1553 and was imprisoned in the Queen’s House.

On the morning of 12 February, 1554, from her window, Lady Jane watched her young husband, Guildford Dudley, leave Beauchamp Tower for his execution at Tower Hill, and his headless body return for burial at the Tower Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula.

Later, on the very same day, Lady Jane was executed at Tower Green. She was seventeen years old.

About Guildford Dudley

Guildford Dudley, born in 1535 was an English nobleman who married Lady Jane Grey in an elaborate celebration about six weeks before the death of King Edward VI. Guildford and Jane spent their brief rule together at the Tower of London until they were condemned to death for high treason, thereafter in separate quarters.

On the morning of their execution, Guildford requested to see Lady Jane one last time. Jane refused, saying:

“would only … increase their misery and pain, it was better to put it off … as they would meet shortly elsewhere, and live bound by indissoluble ties.” 

Guildford Dudley was executed at Tower Hill on the morning of February 12, 1554.

The Beauchamp Tower, Tower of London is next to the right of the Queen's House. The Dudley's were imprisoned here
The Beauchamp Tower, Tower of London is next to the right of the Queen’s House. The Dudley’s were imprisoned here. © mytimelessfootsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel

Other prisoners at Beauchamp Tower London

Other notable prisoner at Beauchamp Tower was Lady Jane Rochford, lady-in-waiting to Queen Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of King Henry VIII. Lady Rochford’s confession was instrumental in the tragic death of Catherine Howard. Her interrogation drove her insane and she was executed on the same day as Queen Catherine on February 13, 1542.

As the tower was used throughout English history as a prison, there were other prisoners as well such as William Tyrrel and Thomas Peverel. Most recently, it accommodated several German spies during the World Wars.

You may wish to know more about the German spies and you can access information here. The last person to be executed at the Tower was Josef Jakobs, also a German spy at the end of WWII.

Graffiti in the Beauchamp Tower

What makes Beauchamp Tower London famous these days is the discovery of graffiti beneath the many layers of history on its walls. These graffiti on the wall were left by prisoners.

The inscriptions were made during the 16th and 17th century when the religious and political turmoil was at a height and the prison was home to many high-ranking and important prisoners such as the Dudleys, William Tyrrel and Thomas Peverel. Some of these inscriptions are bold reflecting painstaking carving while others are thin and somewhat spidery. They are a few that seem to cluster in specific locations of the Tower.

Inscription of William Tyrrel in 1541 in Beauchamp Tower, Tower of London
William Tyrrel (1541) In Italian “Since fate has chosen that my hope should go with the wind I now want to cry for the time that is lost and I will be sad and unhappy forever”
Graffiti left by prisoners in the Beauchamp Tower, Tower of London
Cluster of Graffiti: 29 – Thomas Myagh: Tortured because of his association with Irish rebels. 29a – Unknown 31 – Thomas Peverel (1571)
Graffiti in Beauchamp Tower
62 – Attributed to Thomas Peverel

All images © timelesstravelsteps | by Georgina_Daniel

Graffiti on the walls of Beauchamp Tower, Tower of London
Graffiti on the walls of Beauchamp Tower, Tower of London | © mytimelessfootsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel

These sombre inscriptions represents thoughts of the prisoners and a powerful need to leave some form of record of their existence. A record, so they are not lost forever. It is an assertion of their beliefs and identity but above all, a strong will of defiance not to be cowed by political and religious tyranny. Some prisoners were held in gloomy cells, while others could move freely within the Tower grounds. Their treatment and fate depended on their social status and their crime.

*Lady Jane Grey was given access to the garden in December 1553.


Timeless Travel Steps says: When I visited, there were a number of people here so I could not take a closer look at the graffiti. I am intrigued by these inscriptions and am motivated to discover more on this part of history at the Tower of London.


There is a permanent exhibition at the Beauchamp Tower.
There is a permanent exhibition at the Beauchamp Tower | © mytimelessfootsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel
Spiral stairs leading to the permanent exhibition of the prison in Beauchamp Tower.
Lots of stairs! Spiral stairs leading to the permanent exhibition of the prison in Beauchamp Tower | © timelesstravelsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel

One thing to bear in mind when visiting here is the narrow entrance and the narrow spiral stairway – there is only one of these, so visitors going up as well as those exiting the exhibition use it. If you are at the bottom of the stairs, waiting for the moment to get up – don’t! Don’t wait because you shall be waiting for a long time (like I did!) and others behind you will get ahead of you regardless of your politeness!


Entry to the permanent exhibition in the Beauchamp Tower is included in the entry ticket to the Tower of London. It is reasonably priced at £25.00 and is valid for one day – take a look here.


Learn more about Beauchamp Tower from this book: In Inscriptions and Devices, in the Beauchamp Tower, Tower of London

UK Readers

Published by the British Library, the book contains a short historical sketch of the building, and the prisoners formerly confined therein: collected from State papers, records, and other authentic sources: by W. R. Dick.


I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed reading this article and have found it valuable towards planning your visit to Beauchamp Tower. Do share your thoughts in comments below.

The Tower of London is vast and offers a thousand years of history within its walls. If you are in a rush, you may not experience all of what Tower of London has to offer. It is highly recommended that you spend at least four to five hours (subject to the time of day and the season you choose to visit) when you visit. Have a break in between and enjoy the hospitality at the cafe.

Learn more about the Tower of London by taking these virtual tours > Inside the Tower of London by the Tower of London | Historic Royal Palaces.

You may also enjoy reading other articles on London and here are a few that you may like:


Plan a trip to London – here are some ideas for you

Travel resources at a Glance

Planning your dream vacation? Excellent! Here are all the Resources and Practical information you need for your self-guided or guided vacation.

Legal entry/Tourist travel Visa

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Flights

I have a few choices. Search Google flights because they offer very competitive prices. You could also try Opodo for cheap airfares. For special experiences, go to On the Beach and Jet2Holidays. My all time favourite has been Qatar Airways for long-haul flights for the comfort and their first-class service. I use British Airways as well. For all other global deals >> kiwi.com

Accommodations

My favourite website for booking hotels is booking.com – I love their flexible cancellation policy which means I’m covered till the last minute. I also like that the totals show up for the whole stay so it helps me budget better. Other favourites of mine are Millennium & Copthorne Group of Hotels and Resorts for their consistent high quality accommodations and service. You could also take a look at the Radisson Hotels chain that caters for all budget. For accommodations in UK that has a personal touch and affordable luxury, stay at Hotel du Vin.

Unique experiences & tours

My all time go to resource for unique experiences and tours is Get your Guide. I am also a fan of Viator for their special deals. You shall find suggestions on recommended tours sprinkled throughout TTS on each experience I write about.

Travel insurance

Never travel without travel insurance and never overpay for travel insurance! I use and recommend World Nomads for your travel insurance needs. They even insure on the go. Before purchasing any any travel policy, read through the terms to ensure that the plan is right for you and your trip.

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Tower of London | History and Traditions

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Magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower

Magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower

The magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower of London are the most famous of British treasures. The Jewels are unique, embodying skilled craftsmanship, and is a collection of priceless objects collected since the 1660 Reformation, although some predates this particular period of English history. The collection of Jewels are used in royal ceremonies. Beyond the ceremonies, the Jewels represent religious, cultural and historical significance of the British Monarchy. These precious gems stay protected under the watchful eye of the Yeoman Warders within the walls of the most secure castle in the land, the Tower of London. In this article, you can take a peek at a selection of these famous and magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower and learn of its historical significance.

A little background to the Tower of London

The Tower of London is an internationally famous monument and a landmark in Britain. The thousand year old castle in the center of the City of London is famously known as a ‘fortress, royal palace and a prison’. The Tower was founded in the eleventh century following the conquest of William the Conqueror in 1066, to demonstrate the strength of the Normans. Building a fortress, the White Tower on the banks of River Thames was a strategic decision, both to protect the City of London from attacks and as a gateway to the City.

Collectively, the Tower of London has twenty-one towers, built around the White Tower which is a symbol of royalty. Constructed over the centuries, primarily between the eleventh and sixteenth century, the Tower encompasses layers and layers of defensive structures to protect the City. The Tower of London has also been the setting for key historical events such as the execution of three English queens, missing young princes and notable high-status prisoners.

While gruesome tales surrounds this iconic landmark, the Tower of London is a typical model of a medieval fortress, an eleventh century Norman military architecture still standing complete, earning itself a UNESCO listed building for its Outstanding Universal Value badge.

The grounds of the Tower are home to some outstanding buildings as well. Notable ones are the Fusilier Museum, the Jewel House in the Waterloo block, Queen’s House and the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula.

Learn more about this UNESCO complex from the Best Guide to the Tower of London, that has everything you need to know for your visit.

1. #The Jewel House | Magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower of London

The Jewel House is an extraordinary 14th century vault in the Waterloo block. Also known as the Jewel Tower, it was built between 1365 and 1366 which means it is around 653 years old. Initially built to house King Edward III’s jewels and treasures, the Jewel House carried the passionate tag as the “King’s Privy Wardrobe”. The Waterloo block was also formerly a barracks and underwent extensive renovations, with the most recent refurbishment being in 2012. It was officially opened in 1994 by Queen Elizabeth II.

Magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower | The Jewel House/Tower at the Tower of London
Side view of The Jewel House/Tower at the Tower of London | © mytimelessfootsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel

Today, the Jewel House stands to protect a collection of 23,578 gemstones, representing the symbol of British Monarchy. These magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower are still used in ceremonies such as the State Opening of Parliament. The Crown Jewels signify the royal authority to lead and protect the nation.

The Crown Jewels, part of the Royal Collection, are the most powerful symbols of the British Monarchy and hold deep religious and cultural significance in our nation’s history. The mystique and beauty of the diamonds and precious jewels in the royal regalia have always held an unparalleled allure to visitors from across the globe.

HRP.ORG
The Jewel House, home to the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower of London
The Jewel House, Tower of London | © timelesstravelsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel
The entrance to the Crown Jewels Exhibition, Jewel House, Tower of London
Entrance to the Crown Jewels Exhibition | Tower of London | © timelesstravelsteps | Image by Georgina_Daniel

If you are passionate about history, a visit to the Jewel House will not disappoint. Your visit will take you through three different rooms of exhibitions where you will see the magnificent Crown Jewels so beautifully laid out within a high-security vault. The highlights of the exhibition are the Coronation Spoon which is said to originate during the second half of the 11th century, the Sword of Spiritual Justice that is identified as being from the early 17th century, the Plymouth Fountain from c. 1640 and many, many more. My favourite, without a doubt was the Koh-i-Noor (see below).


2 | Some of the magnificent Crown Jewels exhibited when I visited the Tower of London

Photographs are not allowed for obvious reasons of security, so I have below pictures and information from the Historic Royal Palaces and The Royal Collection Trust

Koh-i-Noor in the Queen Mother's Crown.

Koh-i-Noor

Koh-i-Noor is a Persian word and means “mountain of light” – it is the most famous diamond in the world and in human history.

The Koh-i-Noor is beautifully placed in the centre of the Queen Mother’s Crown: Image © smithsonianmag

The diamond has a long history, going way back to the colonial conquest of India. It also carries with it a curse when passed down from men to men, but the most popular drama attached to this infamous stone is the controversy of its origin and the ownership of the Koh-i-Noor. India would like to have it back. For a full historical background to this controversy, you may wish to read and/or purchase Koh-i-Noor: The History of the World’s Most Infamous Diamond

Coronation spoon

Coronation spoon

“This exquisite spoon is an 11th century Coronation spoon used in the anointing of the monarch with holy oil. It was returned to Charles II by the man who bought it in the sell-off, who wished to get back into the new king’s good books. Thanks to him, this medieval spoon survives, alone among the sacred regalia.”

hrp.org.uk

Image: The ‘new’ (1661) eagle-shaped Ampulla , which contains the fragrant holy oil used to anoint the new monarch, and the ancient Coronation Spoon. Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

https://hrp.org.uk

Coronation Regalia

“The Coronation Regalia is a powerful symbol. It is a group of precious and highly symbolic objects used since 1661 to crown sovereigns of England.

These objects shown in this image were made after the restoration of the monarchy, for the coronation of Charles II in 1661. Many were used for the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953″

Image: Charles II Coronation Regalia, Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017 

https://hrp.org.uk/

Sword of Spiritual Justice ©royalcollectiontrust

The Sword of Spiritual Justice

c17th century

“Sword with a gilt-iron hilt with a wooden, wire-bound grip, the escutcheons of the guard triangular and rather sharply pointed, with a steel blade, struck with a maker’s mark at the top and incised further down with a “running wolf” mark, and with a velvet-covered scabbard with gold embroidery and silver-gilt mounts. This sword, known as the Sword of Spritual Justice, is one of three swords which are carried unsheathed, pointing upwards, in the coronation procession. This sword is accompanied by the Sword of Temporal Justice and the Sword of Mercy (with a blunted tip).

The practice of carrying three swords, representing kingly virtues, dates back to the coronation of Richard the Lionheart in 1189. The three swords were made for the coronation of Charles I in 1626 and then placed with the regalia in Westminster Abbey.

Together with the coronation spoon, these three works were the only pieces to survive the Civil War and Interregnum untouched. It is not known whether they were used in the coronation procession of Charles II, but they have certainly been used since 1685. A new scabbard was made for the sword in 1821 for the coronation of George IV”.

Image and information unedited from © Royal Collection Trust

The Plymouth Fountain

c.1640

“A Baroque silver-gilt fountain with four spreading basins, repousse and chased with marine scenes and figures of Neptune, Amphitrite and infant tritons with sea-monsters, surmounted by a square column with figures of Neptune or nymphs in niches on each side, the finial cast as the figure of Venus with serpents about each arm, on a domed base with mermaid feet.”

“In historic inventories this piece was described as the earliest example of an English wine fountain. In fact, it is German, and has been attributed to the Hamburg goldsmith Peter Oehr I. Descriptions of it in use in the seventeenth century noted that it spouted coloured flames and perfumed waters. At that date the figure on the top was a male figure, either Atlas or Hercules, who may have held a dish which acted as a perfume burner. The fountain underwent considerable alteration in the eighteenth century when the figure of Venus was placed in the top, and the mechanism of the fountain fell out of use”.

“The fountain was presented to Charles II by the City of Plymouth in 1661 and is clearly identifiable in a contemporary account as, ‘a fountaine carved with rare art, curious figures, out of the tope perfumed fier did apeare and small pipes att the sides that sweet watters gushed forth.’ The ‘perfumed fier’ may refer to a pastille which was burnt in the pan held by the original Atlas/Hercules figure. The fountain was purchased by the City of Plymouth from Sir Thomas Vyner”.

Information unedited © Royal Collection Trust

Image © royalcollectiontrust

More on the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower

St Edward’s Crown

The most important and sacred Crown

“St Edward’s Crown is the most important and sacred of all the crowns. It is only used at the moment of crowning itself. This solid gold crown was made for the coronation of Charles II to replace the medieval crown melted down in 1649. This original crown was thought to date back to the 11th-century saint-king Edward the Confessor.

From 1661 to the early 20th century, this crown was only ever adorned with hired gems, which were returned after the coronation.

In 1911, St Edward’s Crown was permanently set with semi-precious stones for the coronation of George V.”

Image: St Edward’s Crown, 1661.  The magnificent solid gold frame makes it a very heavy and tiring crown to wear, even briefly, as it weighs 2.23kg (nearly 5lbs). © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2001/Prudence Cuming Associates

https://hrp.org.uk/

The Imperial State Crown

“Although this is one of the newer items in the regalia, the Imperial State Crown (1937) contains some of the most historic jewels in the collection, which have attracted many legends. 

For example, the ‘Black Prince’s Ruby’, set into the cross at the front of the crown is actually a balas or spinel, a semi-precious stone said to be the same stone owned by Pedro the Cruel, King of Castile, before he gave it to Edward, Prince of Wales (known as the Black Prince) in 1367 as a reward for helping him defeat a rival in battle.

The Imperial State Crown is the crown that the monarch wears as they leave Westminster Abbey after the coronation. It is also used on formal occasions, most notably the State Opening of Parliament.

The Imperial State Crown contains 2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, 269 pearls and 4 rubies!”

Image: © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2001/Prudence Cuming Associates

Info unedited from: https://hrp.org.uk/

Lovely gems of the show

“The Crown Jewels contain some of the world’s most exceptional diamonds, shown here with the blue Stuart Sapphire.

This sapphire was reputedly smuggled out of the country by James II when he fled in 1688. It now adorns the back of the Imperial State Crown (1937).

The magnificent Cullinan I (top left, 530.2 carats) is the world’s largest top quality white cut diamond. The huge uncut stone was discovered in South Africa in 1905, and was cut to create nine major stones and 96 smaller brilliants in all.  Cullinan II (bottom right, 317.4 carats), the second largest stone, is now set into the front band of the Imperial State Crown.

The history of the Koh-i-Nûr (or ‘Mountain of Light’) diamond is steeped in myth and anecdote. Discovered in 15th-century India, it was passed from ill-fated male hand to hand, until it earned a reputation of bringing bad luck to men. It was presented to Queen Victoria in 1849. It now adorns the front of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother’s Crown (1837)!  

Image: Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Info unedited from: https://hrp.org.uk/


My Timeless Footsteps says: To view the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower, buy the entry ticket to the Tower of London. The entry ticket to the Tower includes entry to the Jewel House. It is reasonably priced at £25.00 (Adult) and £12.50 (Child). It is valid for one day.


Pro tip: Note that the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower is a popular attraction. You may encounter a long queue at most times. I would recommend that you plan your visit to view the Crown Jewels at the Jewel House either for first thing in the morning or later in the afternoon to minimise waiting times. Other attractions within the Tower such as the White Tower, Bloody Tower and the Fusilier Museum are easily visited without a queue.


Practical information to consider when visiting the Crown Jewels at Tower of London

The Exhibition is on ground level, no stairs whatsoever! Possibly wheelchair accessible.

Getting to Tower of London:

Tower of London, London, EC3N 4AB

Nearest Station:

Tower Hill Underground Station

Opening hours:

Tuesday-Saturday: 09:00-17:30
Sunday-Monday: 10:00-17:30

Yeoman Warders Tours: FREE | 45 Minutes

Tickets & Prices:

Buying online is cheaper and convenient. Entry to Tower of London includes entry to the Crown Jewels Exhibition, the White Tower and the Beauchamp Tower.

£25.00


My Timeless Footsteps says: Skip the line and buy your entry tickets here for a day. If you want flexibility with time and attractions, over several days, then buy a great value package here.


Places to Stay in London when visiting the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower of London

Choices on accommodations in London are literally unlimited! From budget hostels, two or three star hotels to high-end hotels and apartments, it seems endless….

I have personally experienced the superb hospitality and quality and would highly recommend a stay at the Millennium Hotels and Resorts in London. Millennium Hotels are centrally located and within easy access of London’s transport network.

Browse Millennium Hotels & Resorts in London and book yourself a fabulous experience.

You could also take a look at the Radisson Hotels chain for accommodations ranging from upper upscale, mid-market, millennial lifestyle, hotels with a unique personality and story, as well as if you are travelling on business.

Browse Radisson Hotels in London and book yourself a beautiful and memorable stay.

As well, you could also run through booking dot com, a site I use and frequent for my searches on accommodations when I travel.

Browse a wide range of accommodations offered by Booking dot com to suit all budgets in the City of London

Activities to do in London when visiting the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower

As with accommodations, the activities available to do in London are endless. A city that never sleeps, with transportation that works twenty-four hours a day, there is something you could do at any given time. Navigate to Discover London with Georgina and MyCityMyTown series for ideas and inspirations. If you are planning a visit during the festive season, Christmas in London has articles that will inspire you to move London to the top of your list!

A popular destination within a stone’s throw of London is the historic town of Greenwich, renowned for when Time began. View the full article and related articles on Greenwich which includes Cutty Sark, Queen’s House, National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory and Planetarium. As well as recommended activities you could do when visiting this destination.

A visit to London is never complete without a trip to the countryside or wider UK. A day trip from London is highly recommended as it adds value to your experiences of England and not just limited to London. Popular day trips are a visit to Windsor, home to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, an experience that will blow you away, or go on a little adventure to the Isle of Wight. If you are not restricted in time and wish to explore more of UK, then a visit to Scotland is highly recommended. There are many highlights in this amazing land of the fairies that will leave you speechless and an experience of the Highlands will stay with you forever.

The UK boasts a good train network connecting London to the rest of the United Kingdom directly or indirectly via network exchanges. Experience UK like you have never before by train travel, by visiting the best scenic destinations by train while saving on your journeys. Read all about train travelling and unique experiences here.


My final say on the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower

Having visited the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower, I can confidently say that it was a highlight of my visit to the Tower of London. I would highly recommend that you too, walk in the footsteps of history and make a visit here as a bucket list experience. If you are a history nerd like me, you would not want to miss this historical paradise where so much history is attached to each piece of the remarkable magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower that takes you on a journey of British history. Do not let the queue put you off from visiting the Jewel House – just plan your visit and make the most of your day.

If you have enjoyed reading this article on the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower, you may also like to read the following articles on the Tower of London and wider London:

Tower of London – Best Guide to What you Need to Know

The Bloody Tower at Tower of London

Books on Prisoners of the Bloody Tower | Intriguing tales of Prisoners of the Bloody Tower

Discover London

MyCityMyTown Series


Have you viewed the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower? If so, please share your views in comments below, I would love to hear from you. If you have not visited the Crown Jewel, it is my sincere wish that this post is valuable to you in planning your visits to view the magnificent Crown Jewels at the Tower of London. If so please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you.

Enjoy your adventure in London xx

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Books on Prisoners of the Bloody Tower | Intriguing tales of Prisoners of the Bloody Tower

Books on Prisoners of the Bloody Tower | Intriguing tales of Prisoners of the Bloody Tower

Audible: audiobooks, podcasts & audio stories – Free Download Available Instantly


About the Bloody Tower at Tower of London

Built in the early 1220s as access gateway to the Thames, the Bloody Tower was originally known as the Garden Tower because it was next to the Constable’s garden. The Tower was not intended to be a prison but it became home to a number of prisoners, notably Sir Walter Raleigh and the two princes. The tower gained its reputation in the 16th century as the Bloody Tower when the notorious murders of the princes, Edward V and Richard Duke of York that supposedly took place within the walls of the tower were discovered. To learn more about the Bloody Tower, navigate to The Bloody Tower at the Tower of London, while on this page, there are carefully selected and recommended reading items – books on the prisoners of the Bloody Tower should you wish to delve deeper into learning more about the famous prisoners that resided here, Sir Walter Raleigh and the royal princes.

*Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page

map with pin on london | ultimate guide to Tower of London
Tower of London | 51.5081° N, 0.0759° W

Sir Walter Raleigh

Sir Walter Raleigh
Walter Raleigh, © akg-images / De Agostini Picture Library

Walter Raleigh (also spelled as Ralegh) was an English gentleman, writer, poet, adventurer, politician, courtier and a soldier who introduced ‘potato’ to the English dinner tables. A charming nobleman, he was one of the most famous explorers during the reign of Elizabeth I. He pioneered the colonisation of North America and helped defend England against the Spainish Armada. Raleigh was rewarded handsomely by the Queen and received his knighthood in 1585.

When Queen Elizabeth I died, James I succeeded to the throne in 1603 who imprisoned Raleigh at the Tower of London. While confined to the walls of the Tower, he wrote ‘History of the World‘. In 1616, Raleigh was released to head an expedition to South America, during which his men attacked a Spanish settlement. He was forced to abandon his mission. Upon his return, he was imprisoned at the Bloody Tower to appease the Spaniards until his beheading in 1618.

Suggested reading: Bloody Tower at the Tower of London

Below is a selection of books, some written by Walter Raleigh himself which are available as reprints and some books written about him. Enjoy perusing each of the carefully selected books to learn more of this infamous adventurer. You can purchase them as Paperback, Hardcover or instant download on Kindle.

Books on Sir Walter Raleigh

Sir Walter Raleigh: In Life and Legend Kindle Edition – by Mark Nicholls +  P. Williams  

The Poems of Sir Walter Raleigh: Now First Collected (Classic Reprint) Paperback – 27 Jun. 2012

The Roanake Voyages 1584-1590: Vol II: English Voyages to North America Paperback – 28 Mar. 2003

The Letters Of Sir Walter Ralegh Hardcover – Illustrated, 1 July 1999


Sir Walter Raleigh 174 Success Facts – Everything You Need to Know about Sir Walter Raleigh Paperback – 5 Jun. 2014

The Discoverie of the Large, Rich and Bewtiful Empyre of Guiana by Sir Walter Raleigh (Exploring Travel) Paperback – 4 Dec. 1997

An Abridgment Of Sir Walter Raleigh’s History Of The World: In Five Books (1698) Paperback – 10 Sept. 2010

Sir Walter Raleigh A Biography Kindle Edition. Also available in Paperback and Hardcover

Click on the images to view the synopsis and Buy on Amazon


The Princes – Edward V and Richard Duke of York

The two princes, Edward and his younger brother, Richard mysteriously disappeared in 1483 from the Bloody Tower. The princes, sons of Edward IV were brought to the Tower by their uncle and Lord Protector, Duke of Gloucester for their ‘own protection’. Duke of Gloucester later became King Richard III. The princes were never seen alive again.

Below is a list of books written on the mysterious disappearance and the sinister plot that may have transpired during this fifteen century era. There are various opinions as to who was responsible for their disappearance and/or murder. This mystery remains unsolved till today.

Books on the Missing Princes at the Tower

Richard III and the Princes in the Tower Paperback – 7 Aug. 2014 by Alison Weir

The Survival of the Princes in the Tower: Murder, Mystery and Myth Kindle Edition by Matthew Lewis (Also available in Paperback and Hardback)

The Mythology of the ‘Princes in the Tower‘ Kindle Edition by John Ashdown-Hill (Available in Paperback and Hardback as well)

The Princes in the Tower : Cold Case Re-opened Kindle Edition by Mark Garber (Available as Audiobook as well)

The Killer of the Princes in the Tower: A New Suspect Revealed Hardcover – 30 Jun. 2021

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The Princes in the Tower: Did Richard III Murder His Nephews, Edward V & Richard of York? Kindle Edition by Josephine Wilkinson

Richard III and the Princes in the Tower: The Possible Fates of Edward V and Richard of York Paperback – Illustrated, 30 Oct. 2016 by Gerald Prenderghast

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Click on the images to view synopsis and Buy on Amazon


What do you think of the selection above? Have you read any of these books? I sincerely hope that the selection is valuable to you in knowing more about British History and in particular about the Tower of London. Do share your thoughts in comments below. The following related articles may also be of value to you in planning your visit to the Tower of London.

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Royal Palaces and Royal Parks-MyCityMyTown London Series

Royal Palaces and Royal Parks-MyCityMyTown London Series

MyCityMyTown London Series

The 3rd instalment is Here! To my fellow Adventurers who have been with me since January 2019, you are no stranger to this Series and thank you for your patience. For the Adventurers who are here for the first time, Hello and Welcome to my page. My 3rd instalment on MyCityMyTown-Appreciating London Series is on Royal Palaces and Royal Parks.

Appreciating London Series is a series of articles designed to offer suggestions and travel tips with the aim to inspire midlife travellers to visit London. This Series of articles will be on my personal experiences and memories of each of the places I had visited with my kids and now, revisiting.

Collection of yesteryears

Taking a close look at my journey in life at the end of 2018 was an opportunity to take a trip down memory lane, to re-trace my footsteps and to reflect upon the best of “yesterday,” in this beautiful City which is My Town. I am thankful for much. You can read the full article by clicking MyCityMyTown London Series here. You can also find out What made the #1 and #2 on the Series and Why by clicking #1 and #2 .

As for my 3rd instalment on the Series, I decided to retrace my footsteps on the Royal Palaces and the Royal Parks. The Royal Palaces and the Royal Parks hold special places for me as I used to frequent these with my kids and there are many beautiful treasured memories. These days, as I walk through Kensington Gardens and the Statute of Peter Pan, I remember the fun, the laughter and their theatrics…and realise how time has flown by 😊

Appreciating MyCityMyTown London

Besides the memories with my kids, another reason for Appreciating London is because I love summer in London – the Not too hot summer when the temperature is around 24 or 25 degrees max. As a Londoner, I am very fortunate to have so much to see, witness, experience and lots of green spaces to getaway to if and when I wished. Almost everything happens here, right here in London! Moreover, London has, for the most times, pretty cool weather, except for a few weeks or so when the temperature soars and the heatwave sets-in. I don’t like it when it is too hot but I know many of you can’t have enough of it 🙂 

Plan ahead

As the summer weather sets in , Retracing my Footsteps in London has led me to discover many new things that I had not previously. I am seeing My City both as a Londoner and as a tourist. This has gently reminded me of many experiences throughout the years and the many visits where my kids and I would just hop onto the train for a half-hour ride to the heart of the City. These were mostly unplanned or involved overnight planning of a visit to a Royal Palace or a Castle, a picnic in the park, and games or read a book until sundown etc. 

Looking back, these were unplanned visits. Although there is fun in doing things impromptu, I believe there must be a general plan of what one intends to do, and you can save money as a result. Therefore, this time I have incorporated planning into my visits, because Planning is Important. I have written a blog on the 5 Reasons Why  Travel Planning Is Important which you may want to read and share your thoughts with me in comments below. What planning has helped me do this time was to think about researching for deals that would suit my plans – more on this below.

I hope you will enjoy reading about the Royal Palaces and the Royal Parks as much as I enjoy writing about them.

Royal Palaces and Royal Parks in MyCityMyTown London Series

On the Royal Palaces, the following are the ones which are included in this Series. I will write on each of the palaces as I visit them.

If you are planning a visit to London or you are a Londoner looking for something to do, and wish to visit any of the Royal Palaces, here are my pick of the top 8 palaces and castles to visit in London or within a short trip of London, in no particular order:

1 | Buckingham Palace | Royal Palaces and Royal Parks in London

Buckingham Palace is the most favourite among visitors to London. Buckingham Palace Tours starts mid July 2021 and runs throughout August till the end of September (subject to Covid-19 visiting rules). 

1.1 | Royal Mews

Besides Buckingham Palace, you could still visit the Royal Mews. The Royal Mews is one of the finest working stables in existence and is responsible for all road travel arrangements for The Queen and the Royal Family. You will also see the spectacular new Diamond Jubilee State Coach, some of the Queen’s horses and meet the famous Windsor Greys or Cleveland Bays.

1.2 | Changing of the Guard Ceremony

You can still watch the Changing of the Guard Ceremony outside Buckingham Palace as this is a FREE event. This is a popular event, so ensure you are there early to secure a a good viewing point. The ceremony takes places from 10:45 a.m. and lasts for 45 minutes.

The Changing of the Guards Ceremony is where the Buckingham Palace Old Guard arrives and forms up in the forecourt of the Palace from 10:30 a.m. onwards and they are joined by the Old Guard from St James’ Palace at 10:45 a.m. The New Guard then arrives from the Wellington Barracks to take over the responsibilities from the Old Guard. This formal ceremony is accompanied by music. There will be no ceremonies in poor weather conditions or when there are other ceremonial events taking place. You can check the Changing of the Guard Ceremony schedule with the Household Division here

2. Windsor Castle | Royal Palaces and Royal Parks

Windsor Castle, Berkshire: View from the Cambridge Gate
Windsor Castle, Berkshire: View from the Cambridge Gate | Image: georgina_daniel

A trip to the UK or London is never complete without a trip to Windsor, the home of the historic Windsor Castle.

Windsor is a historic market town in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in Berkshire, Southeast England. It has a lively atmosphere with great shopping and restaurants. It sits on River Thames, just west of London, and is under an hour’s journey from London 

I have visited Windsor Castle a number of times over the years and the highlights in my article of this iconic and historical castle will help you plan your itinerary. I have also included travel tips and practical information to aid your planning. Read more on How to make the Best of Windsor Castle in I day here.

3. Kensington Palace London

Kensington Palace. One of the Royal Palaces visited in #3 MyCityMyTown Appreciating London Series - Royal Palaces and Royal Parks
Kensington Palace. One of the Royal Palaces visited in #3 MyCityMyTown Appreciating London Series – Royal Palaces and Royal Parks | Image: georgina_daniel

These days, Kensington Palace London is the royal residence for the young royals, who are the direct descendants of Queen Victoria. The Palace is the official London residence for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It was the former home of late Princess Diana. The Palace has a long history of being a residence for the British Royal Family since the 17th century when King William III and Queen Mary II took residence just before Christmas of 1689.

What drew me to the Palace this time was the Exhibition held in honour of 200th year of Queen Victoria’s birth, and learnt much about the Real Victoria.

Kensington Palace is one of the Royal Palaces I enjoyed visiting and the architecture in some of these rooms were mind-blowing. Read the full article on KENSINGTON PALACE: WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT THIS 18TH CENTURY HISTORICAL GEM

Other Palaces on the list are:

4. Tower of London

5. Kew Palace

6. Clarence House

7. Banqueting House

8. Hampton Court Palace

Best-deals: All the Royal Palaces and Castles offer individual or combined tickets. As you know, it is cheaper to buy combined tickets. Also, it is cheaper to skip the line and buy the tickets online. As for me, I discovered that the Historic Royal Palaces offer of an Annual Membership to be beneficial. You can read about Why the Historic Royal Palaces Annual Membership is good for me here

Alongside the Royal Palaces in the City of London, there are also several parks  and large green spaces where one can escape to from the norm of sightseeing and crowded streets. Below, you will find a list of Royal Parks which I hope you will enjoy.

The Royal Parks | Royal Palaces and Royal Parks London Series

Charles Dickens, a 19th century English writer once said::

“The parks be the lungs of London”

and when you visit any one of the royal parks in London, you will be inclined to agree with him.

There are 8 Royal Parks, together they offer 5000 acres of green spaces which provides a natural habitat for many wildlife. The Parks are open to everyone throughout the year, where you can have a gentle stroll, exercise, have a bike-ride, have a picnic or just grab a seat at a bench and watch the world go by…

The 8 parks are:

1. Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill, London

Regent's Park: This tree-lined path welcomes you to Avenue Gardens.
Regent’s Park: This tree-lined path welcomes you to Avenue Gardens | Image: georgina_daniel

Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill is a large green space that offers a sanctuary for people who are constantly on the go with City’s hum-drum. Regent’s Park is different, from the other Parks in London because of its tranquil settings, beautiful landscape and the opportunity to catch either the sunset or the sunrise at Primrose Hill.

Queen Mary's Garden, Regent's Park
Queen Mary’s Garden, Regent’s Park | Image: georgina_daniel

There are flowers of all colours, roses especially, 12,000 of them, all named and planted in neat rows (more on this below). This is a place where you can spend hours admiring the sea of colours and enjoy the amazing fragrances.  A total paradise.

For me, every visit to Regent’s Park had been a journey of new experiences and discovery, even more so on my recent visit.

You can read more on The Regents Park and Primrose Hill here.

2. Kensington Palace Gardens, London

The Round Pond at Kensington Palace Gardens - one of the 8 Royal Parks in London. #3 in MyCityMyTown Appreciating London Series - Royal Palaces and Royal Parks.
The Round Pond at Kensington Palace Gardens. – one of the 8 Royal Parks in London. #3 in MyCityMyTown Appreciating London Series – Royal Palaces and Royal Parks | Image: georgina_daniel

Kensington Palace Gardens is made up of beautiful landscaped grounds. Trees here are planted in straight lines, there are some unique looking ones near the round pond and colourful flowering shrubs which makes a visit here more than inviting.

Kensington Palace: The Sunken Garden
Kensington Palace: The Sunken Garden | Image: georgina_daniel

The Sunken Garden is my favourite part of the Palace grounds. I am sure it is the case for many visitors to this idyllic location.

It was planted in 1908 and resembles classical gardens of the 18th century in the UK. A secluded oasis of peaceful haven with ornamental flower beds, an ornamental pond with fountains and a variety of vibrant, exotic and colourful plants like roses, geraniums, cannas and begonias.

For the full article on Kensington Palace Gardens, read KENSINGTON PALACE GARDENS – AN IDYLLIC GETAWAY FROM CHAOS OF THE CITY here.

3 | Greenwich Park, London

Greenwich London is a nice little town just a stone’s throw away from London, in the south-east which sits on the banks of River Thames, accessible with a 20-minute journey from London (Bank Station). It is a popular destination for tourists because of its maritime and astronomy history.

The area, Royal Greenwich Park is host to the Royal Museum Greenwich (RMG) which is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and consists of four top attractions.

1. Royal Observatory,

2. Queen’s House

3. National Maritime Museum

4. Cutty Sark.

All of these attractions are within walking distance of each other and would typically fill a full-day itinerary.

This quaint little town is definitely a Must-Do for families with kids, grand-kids, solo travellers and couples – not only for the over 50’s but at any age! You will experience history, lots of free exhibits and guided tours. You will also save money  Read the full article on 45 Experiences and More in 1 Day at Greenwich.

Other Parks in London

4. Hyde Park

5. St James’ Park

6. Hyde Park

7. Richmond Park

8. Bushy Park

  Information on the rest of the the Royal Parks are available here.

Happy exploring and discovering London!

March 2021, Update

March 2021, Update


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