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This year we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, and if you’re visiting London why not take the opportunity to visit some of the castles and palaces that are open to the public.
The Tower of London
This one is a great favourite with children. Fairy tales may have become “politically correct” with the Big Bad Wolf getting help for his eating disorder and the Wicked Queen is sent on an anger management course, but it seems the little darlings can’t get enough of horrible history, and there is plenty of that at the Tower of London!
Many former royal “guests” did not really want to be there, despite having a view to die for! Yeoman Warders (aka Beefeaters) are only too pleased to satisfy the kids’ bloodlust with tales of torture, executions, impaled heads and other such gory details. Remember “Here comes the light, to light you to bed, and here comes the chopper to chop off your head!”? This line is from an old London children’s rhyme, Oranges and Lemons.
Not all the prisoners in the Tower London were human, however. The Royal Beasts exhibition tells the story of the wild and exotic animals which were royal gifts and kept in the Tower for their entertainment and curiosity value. This menagerie existed for 600 years though most died young and some even escaped and in 1835 any survivors were moved to Regent’s Park.
There is glory as well as the gory – the Line of Kings display of armour opens this year in the White Tower whilst the history of the Royal Mint, which was housed in the outer ward until 1810, can be learned in the Coins and Kings exhibition, and the obvious “must see” for the coronation celebration year are the stunning Crown Jewels. By booking Tower of London Tickets in advance you can save on gate price.