After a full day of stitching at the Royal School of Needlework, I hurried back to London to meet with hubby and head to the Tower of London. Friends in the embassy in London had set us up with a private tour of the Tower that night and spots to watch the ceremony of the keys. The Tower is beautiful:
There was also a gorgeous view of the Tower Bridge:
The gentleman who showed us around was one of the Yeoman Warders of the Tower (also called Beefeaters.) He wasn't wearing his uniform when he showed us around - he was off duty - but here's a photo of a Beefeater in his usual uniform I borrowed from wikipedia:
We had a great tour - we saw the Traitor's Gate:
and the chapel in the Tower where Anne Boleyn, Thomas More and many others are buried. We also had a couple of pints at the Yeoman Warder's Club - the pub inside the Tower that is exclusively for the Yeoman Warders. After the Key Ceremony each night the Tower is closed and the Yeoman are stuck inside - so they have a private pub to kick back in during the evenings. (Tom Clancy is an honorary Yeoman Warder and stops in at the Club for a beer whenever he is in London.)
The Key Ceremony itself is wonderful - just another example of the extensive history you're exposed to in London. The explanation of the ceremony is here. Essentially it's the locking up of the Tower of London at night. You can't take any photos during the ceremony - so I don't have any to show off but I'd recommend that if you're headed to London you make reservations to watch the ceremony. It fills up fast so you have to book a few months in advance - but it's a great treat.