I don’t know when it started but both of my charges seem to be very interested in Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, they call him the mean fat old man who cuts people’s heads off! They spent much of the Easter holidays talking about wanting to go and see where he had lived, so originally we were going to head to Hampton Court Palace, but at the last minute they decided that they would rather take a tube and see the Tower of London than sit in the car for an hour.

We finally headed out for our much anticipated cookie adventure to the tower. Once we had paid (under 5s go for free) we popped into the welcome centre to pick up a trail pack and a nifty badge. We didn’t use ours in the end, but if you have slightly older children they may find it more interesting.

The first place we went to was to check that the Ravens were still there, both of them found it really interesting to know that if the Ravens were to ever fly away then our Kingdom would fall, which is why their wings are clipped.

From there we headed into the White Tower, which was originally built by William the Conqueror, to see the Armouries. This part really appealed to my eldest charge (who I will now call EC), as it was full of swords, armour and guns! They have on display one of Henry VIII’s suits of armour and EC was very quick to notice that it had a rather large and sticking out codpiece. At every suit of armour we saw after that both of them would ask where the codpiece was, it certainly amused the other guests to hear them asking why these other suits didn’t have a big codpiece like Henry VIII’s.

That is a large codpiece

That is a large codpiece

Around the Tower there are often actors retelling parts of history, and as we left the White Tower to head to the crown jewels we ran into Master Thomas Cromwell who was off to find Anne Boleyn. Well we just had to follow him and see Anne Boleyn. Seeing the actors does add another dimension to history, but most of what they were talking about was lost on my little ones, they were happy to see poor Anne Boleyn (although YC was very concerned that we should tell her not to marry Henry VIII as he was going to cut her head off) and talk to Thomas Cromwell, but they lost interest very quickly in what was being played out in front of them. Older children may find it more interesting, especially if they have been studying it at school, but I found the “plays” were more for an adult audience.

We found Anne Boleyn!  YC was very confused, she didn't understand that she was actually an actress pretending to be Anne Boleyn

We found Anne Boleyn! YC was very confused, she didn’t understand that she was actually an actress pretending to be Anne Boleyn

After we had said our farewells to Anne Boleyn we headed into the Crown Jewels. We didn’t spend much time in here, as it was very crowded and I didn’t want to bore them with details of each item, they were very content just looking at the objects and then moving on.

Our final stop was to see the scaffold site where Queen Anne Boleyn, Queen Catherine Howard, Lady Jane Grey (our 9 day queen) and a few other poor souls met their end. We had wanted to go into the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula but I think you can only go in during a tour.

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They wanted to say a prayer for all those that were executed on Tower Hill

We only saw a few things on our cookie adventure; we barely scratched the surface of what the Tower has to offer, but I honestly think with days out like this, it is better to break it down and do a few things than to overload them with too much. There were also a few things that I thought they were too young to see; the bloody tower for example where they use to torture people.

Both little ones and I really enjoyed their cookie adventure, it really did capture their imaginations, and I am sure that we will be back to explore more of the tower.

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A few tips for visiting the Tower of London:

  • If you are going over the weekend or during the holidays get there early and buy your ticket online.
  • Go on one of the free Yeoman Warder tours, they are full of lots of information and are rather funny.
  • Break it down! Don’t try to do everything in one day.
  • Check the website out for any family events that are going on.
  • There are plenty of fish and chip stalls just outside the Tower that are great to grab a snack from.
  • In the garden next to Tower Hill tube station is a memorial set up to those who were executed on Tower Hill.
On our way out we were lucky to see the 62 gun salute for the Queen's birthday

On our way out we were lucky to see the 62 gun salute for the Queen’s birthday

About The Author

Nanny Anita
Norland Nanny

Nanny Anita is our resident Super Nanny. Having trained at the famous Norland College, in Bath, she has over 12 years experience, working all over the world with children from 2 months to 17 years old. Nanny Anita is an expert when it comes to keeping the little ones entertained and writes a column with Leonora called 'Get Crafty' for Little London magazine. Nanny Anita has been on hand to answer our reader questions, and she provides weekly arts, crafts and activities for families to do with their children at home. She really is a modern day Mary Poppins!

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