Before leaving home, we had studied the history of the Tower of London at length and discussed all the things we would encounter during our visit. Again, I happily took full advantage of the resources available for families on the web.
At the boys’ request our first stop was the Crown Jewels. We had printed a family trail to guide us through the exhibit, which began with a movie showing the coronation of Elizabeth II. Then we passed through a room housing all the heraldic banners of each of the monarchs of England from William the Conqueror to the present. I was impressed that the boys remembered some of the heraldry we had studied before leaving home, and excited that they seemed to at least pretend to be interested in learning.
|The White Tower|
|The armor of Henry VIII|
In the subsequent rooms, hands on exhibits of all kinds were available to try out all manners of medieval weapons.
|Ryan tries out his archery skills|
|Aidan takes a turn at the joust.|
|Reading about the Tower history as we enjoy our lunch.|
After lunch, we explored the Prisoners exhibition, the tower containing the graffiti of the prisoners, and the Tower Green, where you can see a memorial to those who had lost their lives in the Tower. All of these were slightly grisly, and thrilling to a group of little boys.
The tower complex is quite large and requires much walking up and down hill, so a rest and a snack were in order. Our snacks brought about a huge collection of pigeons that swarmed around us, hoping we would share. Evan, AKA the Pigeon Slayer, began a hilarious attack on the pigeons. Holding out his arms he would run wildly from one side of the path to the other to detour the pigeons from landing in our area. This display was enjoyed by all, except perhaps the pigeons who eventually gave up and found an easier target.
|The Pigeon Slayer|
“Now how are you going to fight,” Evan quipped, “you just killed all your own men.” The weapons operators found that to be so humorous, that they instantly relaxed their concerns and invited the boys to try out the weapons. The boys launched rubber balls from several different types of weapons, and I am happy to say all of their missiles fired in the right direction. Aidan was a bit too small for weapon launching, so he served as the videographer.
Continuing our day of good fortune, we took the tube to St Paul’s Cathedral and had quick tour of the outside, but chose not to pay the ticket price to enter.
|St. Paul's Cathedral across the Thames|
Because of my background in theatre, just to tour the Globe is an excitement, but to see a show would be pure bliss. However, the two times that I have been in London, I have never been able to see a production at the Globe because young children generally don’t sit quietly for a Shakespearean play. The opportunity to watch the rehearsal was thrilling, but still the problem of whether the boys would sit quietly remained.
|The stage of the Globe Theatre|