Visiting the Tower of London and the Cutty Sark
The Tower of London and the Cutty Sark were on my son's list of attractions to visit during our trip to London, England. My son and I planned our first international mother and son trip to London, England around my niece's wedding and we wanted to make sure to see as many tourist attractions as possible during the time we would be there.
I have been to London quite a few times to visit friends and family there and for work, but this was my son's first trip to London and I wanted him to make it as memorable as possible. Read about our trip to Stonehenge and Bath here.
Tower of London
What is a trip to London with a child without a visit to the historic Tower of London? The Tower of London was built in the 1900s and it is one of the world’s most famous fortresses. Over the years, it served many purposes such as a royal palace, a prison, an armory, and even a zoo at one point in time.
My son hasn't studied a lot of England's history as of yet so he was surprised to learn from our tour guide's detailed stories of Henry VIII ordering the death of two of his wives and how others had been locked in the Tower for their religious beliefs or for suspected treason.
One of the most known facts about the Tower of London is that it was used as a place of imprisonment, torture, and execution over the centuries. There is a display within the tower of the methods, devices, and instruments used for torturing but we didn't spend much time in this area as my son wanted to move on to something less gruesome. Bless his heart.
The Beefeaters (ceremonial guards) now watch over her Majesty's Crown Jewels that are on display for visitors to see as well as serve as tour guides for the many attractions there. The term Beefeaters originated during Henry VII's reign when his personal guards were permitted to eat as much beef as they wanted from the King's table.
Attractions at the Tower of London include:
The White Tower
The White Tower holds the Royal Armouries, Brittain's oldest national museum, and an 11th-century Romanesque chapel – the Chapel of St. John.
The Crown Jewels are the coronation regalia used in the coronations of kings and queens in England over the years. It is some of the most important symbols of Brittish culture and monarchy. I love that there is a people mover around the Crown Jewels to help with the traffic flow.
The Royal Mint
The Coins & Kings exhibition details the history of where the country's coins were made for over 600 years. We loved learning about what life was like on Mint Street with all of the outdoor installations and interactive displays.
Tower of London | Credit: Historic Royal Palaces/newsteam.co.uk
Historic Royal Palaces
The Tower of London operates under the banner of Historic Royal Palaces. Historic Royal Palaces is an independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace, and Hillsborough Castle.
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London River Bus
My son is a huge nautical fan so I wanted to make sure that the Cutty Sark was on our tourist attraction list. The iconic, historic sailing ship and fastest of its time is now an award-winning visitor attraction in Greenwich, London (around 30 minutes away from Central London). It is the world’s only surviving tea-clipper and in 2019 it celebrates its 150th year.
The Cutty Sark launched its first official voyage in February of 1870 and its cargo held large amounts of wine, spirits, and beer to the destination of Shanghai. The return trip, the ship came loaded with 1.3 million pounds of tea.
Life Onboard the Cutty Sark
The Cutty Sark is a great attraction for children. Once you enter the ship, there is a film covering the challenges and successes of the ship's history during its prime. There are several interactive exhibits for kids, visitors can view the world's largest collection of ship figureheads, take helm at the wheel, explore under the hull, and step inside the captain's chambers to get a feel of what life was like on the iconic boat.
Royal Museums Greenwich
Cutty Sark operates under the banner of Royal Museums Greenwich. Royal Museums Greenwich is home to the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the iconic historic sailing ship Cutty Sark, the National Maritime Museum and the Queen’s House art gallery. All attractions are located within easy walking distance of each other within a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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