Read about the Tower as much as you'd like, watch as many BBC and history programs about the Tower's history and creepy tales...but nothing will compare to the feeling you will get when arriving at the fortress itself - walking along the East Wall Walk and through the various towers that made up the terrifying prison that it came to be known as. I have to admit, though I was excited to visit the Tower this past Sunday with my study abroad group, nothing prepared me for the sense of awe I felt for the whole six hours I stayed there - (most people left after two hours).
Maybe it's because I'm such a big fan of Anne Boleyn and her tragic downfall. Perhaps that's why, from the moment I walked through the gates and saw the imposing White Tower in front of me, I felt an immediate sense of fear - but also amazement! The Tower is a site to be admired as much as it is to be afraid of, and of course since we as visitors to the Tower today cannot be held prisoner here like our 16th-century friends, the fear we feel now while walking around the grounds is from living vicariously through those who weren't as fortunate as we are. I, for one, can say I was imagining Anne, as well as other famous prisoners like Catherine Howard and Lady Jane Grey the entire time I was walking around. Two days after my visit, the Tower is still very much in my head, and the memories I made there are not likely to leave me for the rest of my life. This was the trip and visit of a lifetime - the absolute dream for a Tudor Enthusiast - and here are some of the highlights.
And so ends my wonderful re-living of my trip to the Tower of London - certainly the most exciting and emotional visit I have ever had in my life. Although I enjoyed Hampton Court Palace immensely also, nothing can quite compare to the Tower and the feelings and chills it gave me. This is an essential destination for any Tudor Enthusiast to visit. Though technically the tour books say you will spend one-to-two hours here, bear in mind that I arrived at the Tower at 11:00am and was having to pull myself away at 5:00pm. Even so, I could return to the Tower today and I'm sure I would still find just as much to do and see! Though this was absolutely one of the best days of my life, I suppose I should consider myself lucky that I am a visitor of the 21st-century as opposed to the 16th-century. Unlike those before me, I was able to leave the Tower gates at the end of the day, look back smiling, and looking forward to my next trip back, which I hope is not too far off.