London Itinerary Day 3 – Tower Hill and The South Bank

A photo of the Tower Hill and theTower of London at night

No good tour of London is complete without a visit to the Tower!

Tower Hill is one of the most electric areas of this amazing city. Tourists flock to see where Anne Boleyn lost her head and to grab a peek at the crown jewels! So let’s get you on your way to one of the most memorable days of your trip!

Tower Hill - One Of The Most Electric Areas Of London

You can start your day right at Tower Hill which is a bustling and touristy area on the north side of the river. There are dozens of suitable places to eat right on the water, each with a fantastic view of Tower Bridge. Grab a quick breakfast and let’s get moving!

Before crossing to the south side of the river, take some time to visit the Tower of London and see the Crown Jewels.

The line of spectators to see the Crown Jewels is quite long, I’m not going to lie, but it is well worth the wait.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

It is common for a country with a monarchy to have its own crown jewels, but the English Crown Jewels are just iconic. During a coronation, a king or queen is adorned with the following:

  • The crown (there are two, St. Edward’s Crown, which is only used for a coronation, and the Imperial Crown)
  • The scepter
  • The orb
  • The sword, (there’s three, actually)
  • The ring, which was added for the coronation of William IV

There are additional items within the English Crown Jewels, but these are the biggies. Most of the current Crown Jewels date back to the reign of Charles II. They were recreated after the original jewels were melted down during the Commonwealth of Oliver Cromwell. 

Just to view the Cullinan I diamond, also known as the Great Star of Africa, located at the top of the scepter, is incredible. This priceless stone weighs over 500 carats! It’s monumental.

The Tower's Fascinating History

The Tower of London is also the only historic castle within the city of London. While there are palaces and cathedrals, the Tower of London is the only real castle. There are loads of castles in England, but not in London. So the Tower is interesting for that alone. 

Its history dates back to William the Conqueror in the 11th century and is still intact and functioning today.

While the Tower is probably best known for the gruesome beheadings of two of Henry VIII’s wives, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, many others met with an unfortunate end after sailing through the Traitor’s Gate from the river below.

The Tower of London functioned as a prison for infamous criminals such as Sir Walter Raleigh and Guy Fawkes. It also served as the last known location of the “princes in the tower,” Edward V and Richard, Duke York, who mysteriously disappeared paving the way for Richard III to come to the throne. 

Try to take in some of that incredible history in lieu of just a few fanciful photos for Instagram. The tour is informative and fun! You are standing in one of the most historical places in the world when you are at the Tower of London. Enjoy it!

London's Iconic Tower Bridge

A photo from Ellen Phillips travel archive

Tower Bridge is within a stone’s throw from the Tower of London.

Voted as one of the most beautiful bridges in the world by Architectural Digest, Tower Bridge is easily the most iconic bridge in all of London.

There is a museum display on the upper walkway, but everything that you can see there can be found online. It is all enclosed so the feeling is just that of being inside a high rise building. Pretty uneventful.

Instead, enjoy the footpath over the bridge with the multitudes of other tourists. It’s fun to experience, not that you will need to count your steps when you are in London, but hey, you can say you did it!

The Borough Market - A Perfect Lunch For A Perfect Day!

Rather than taking in the upper deck of Tower Bridge, head over to The Shard for some truly monumental views of London. But first, lunch! 

Once you land on the south bank, take a walk up the Queen’s Walk on the river’s edge and make your way to the Shard. Take any path. The Shard is so tall, it is easy to spot.

Photo by Ludomił Sawicki on Unsplash

Although food is available at The Shard, I recommend that you stop and explore The Borough Market just up the road.

The fresh food offering at The Borough Market is impressive and dining is all open air. Filled with locals, you can really get a feeling of life in London while enjoying a delicious lunch!

Views from the Shard Can’t Be Missed

At just over 1,000 feet high, this skyscraper is a smidge taller than the Eiffel Tower! 

The views are magnificent from the viewing platform, which is the highest in London. The price is a reasonable £28 and for an extra £15 you can add on some Moet & Chandon for an exceptional experience! You know I did that! 

Photo by Fred Moon on Unsplash

I hope these tips help you with your day at and around Tower Hill. This is more of an exploring history day rather than a walking day, so hopefully your feet will thank you when you finally make it back to your hotel for a restful night.

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Designer, Organizer, Mom, Retired Athlete, Yoga Junkie, and Travel Enthusiast

Ellen Phillips

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