London Old and New

London Tower and Shard1000 Years: A 21st-century tower viewed from an 11th-century tower.

The Tower of London was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. At the center of the complex stands the White Tower (roughly behind me and to the right as I took this picture), which was built by William the Conqueror in 1078 and gives the entire castle its name. The part of the Tower that can be seen here is the innermost ward and site of the Great Hall (grassy area), Wakefield Tower (big, round tower behind the tree), St. Thomas’s Tower (behind), and the inner wall between Wakefield Tower and Lanthorn Tower (not shown).

Visiting the Tower of London is a must-see while in London, but with its pricey entry fee (as much as £20.90 (roughly $33.45) per adult), consider planning to make a day of it. According to the official website, 3 hours is enough time to see it all, but I beg to differ. We spent about 3 hours exploring the Tower and could have easily spent several more. And this didn’t even include visiting any of the shops, food outlets, or exterior grounds. Needless to say, we definitely need to visit the Tower again.

During our visit, the Shard was a vision hard miss. Standing at 309.6 meters (1,016 ft.), it is currently the tallest completed building in Europe. The Shard has 95 floors, including 72 that are habitable. Although the Shard opened officially in July 2012, the interior is still not entirely complete. Once completed, the Shard will house 600,000 sq. ft. of office space, three floors of restaurants, a 200-bed, five-star hotel, 10 homes, and a viewing platform on the 72nd floor, which will be open to the public upon completion in February 2013. The hotel is expected to open in late spring 2013.

Look how far London has come in 1000 years.


About satnavandcider

An American expat living in England, exploring the United Kingdom and Europe through five senses and a camera lens.
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4 Responses to London Old and New

  1. Cool. I didn’t know that the Shard was that tall. And it’s good to know that the Tower is worth a day visit, because the last time we were in London we didn’t go because of the price. Well, we wouldn’t have had a whole day, either, but maybe some time.

    • This trip was my fourth to London and it was the first time I was able to go to the Tower for exactly the same reasons: pricey and requires a fair amount of time. I’m glad we finally had the time to make it worth the price of admission.

      Included in the price is a 60-minute tour by a Yeoman Warden (aka Beefeater). Our guide was “Billy Beefeater” (Bill Callaghan) who was really great…funny, informative, and sometimes shocking. If you’re interested, you can watch his tour (in four parts) on YouTube. Here’s a link to Part II, the most watched part:

  2. nedakhalili says:

    What a great shot! I’ve been to the Tower 3 times myself and I always find something new to see, but this shot already has given me another perspective! Do you know that you can get a B1G1 ticket if you buy an all day metro pass from National Rail? It’s absolutely worth it, since the metro pass pays for itself if you use the metro more than once, and then you can use the B1G1 for places like Tower, London Eye, etc.

    • Thanks for the compliment, Neda. I’d never heard of the B1B1 ticket. I did some searching and was surprised to find out how much I’ve been missing in the way of deals and discounts. Thanks for the head’s up. I’ll definitely be looking into it for our next trip to London.

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