A Slice of History on our Doorstep

It is very easy to take the things that are on your doorstep for granted. Although central London and all it has to offer in terms of history, culture and entertainment is only a short train ride away, there are still many places we haven’t taken the kids to see. Yesterday we decided to play tourists in our own city and visit the Tower of London as a family. I last went there as a 12-year-old on a school trip but the kids had never been and, amazingly, neither had my husband despite being born and bred in this country.

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I have lived in or around London for most of my adult life and I love this city from the bottom of my heart in all its grimy, often chaotic, but always beautiful, glory. In my eyes, what makes it so special is the way traditional and modern are juxtaposed in a way that somehow seems completely seamless. While London pushes the boundaries in edgy fashion and is at the forefront of the music scene, much of the city is still steeped in tradition, from the doormen at old school establishments like Claridges to the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. These contrasts perhaps come through most clearly in the architecture: yesterday we saw the ancient and magnificent Tower of London standing only a stone’s throw away from the glass covered ultra-modern wonder that is the Shard.

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Brimming with history, much of it dark and disturbing, the Tower of London is a must-see for every tourist visiting the city. As we picked a beautiful, sunny day in the Easter holidays to visit, the place was fairly busy and the queues for the Crown Jewels and the Bloody Tower (where prisoners were held and tortured) were too long for us to contemplate standing in with the children. But I’m sure we will back again to see the bits that we missed, although to beat the crowds, next time we may choose a rainy day in November!

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13 thoughts on “A Slice of History on our Doorstep

  1. These are beautiful photographs, first off. Those boys are just darling. All I can think of when I see the guards is, “…they’re changing the guards at Buckingham Palace. Christopher Robin went down with Alice”. If I had to pick one city in this world to live in (if I had the money) – it would be London. My family is from Lancashire/Manchester. But, I spent a summer at the University and fell in love with London then and there. I have never seen so many parks in my life. Wonderful post!

    • Thank you. It is a pretty great city, easy to take it for granted when you live here but I hope to get better at showing the kids the many great sights. Stockholm and New York are also in my top three. X

  2. I’ve been to London once when I was single. So much to see and learn. I would love for my children to visit it one day! And by the way, thank you for taking the time to visit my blog yesterday!

  3. I can’t believe you’d never been! Then again, we went as tourists as a first stop on our first visit. Later, we lived just across Tower Bridge for several years without going again (though I think most of our visitors did) so I know what you mean.

    You definitely got some great pictures to go along with your visit.

    • It’s so easy to forget what is on your doorstep. I moved to England aged 10 so we visited all the tourist attractions back then but that’s quite a few years ago now. My husband who was born here had never been to the Tower before! X

  4. What a great family trip! I feel the same way about New York. Lived here my whole life and I’ve never been to the empire state building or the statue of liberty. Its always fun to discover something new about our hometown, tourist attraction or not. 🙂 PS: I LOVE London!! I consider it my second home after New York.

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