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.