Earl Essex, Traitor. © Board of Trustees of the Armouries, Tower of London.
Essex, The Dashing Traitor
Weekends of February 2-3 & 9-10, 2002
Experience life as the Earl of Essex as a series of vignettes replay key points in Essex’s life. From fêted favourite to treasonous traitor, each of these events was inextricably tied to the Tower of London. The costumed presentations will take place throughout the day.
The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn
February 16-24, 2002
Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII, was executed for treason at the Tower of London in 1536. Guides in period costume present, from various sites around the Tower, five personal views of the life of one of the most famous women in British history. Noble courtiers will discuss her coronation, London citizens react to her trial here, and finally her executioner tells how Anne faced death.
Colonel Blood stealing Crown Jewels. © Historic Royal Palaces.
Colonel Blood and the Great Crown Jewels Robbery
Easter, March 29-April 7, 2002
In its long history as home to the Royal Regalia, the Tower of London witnessed a single attempt to steal the Jewels. In 1671, an adventurer by the name of Colonel Thomas Blood masterminded an almost-successful heist by posing as a clergyman and proffering the affections of his nephew to the daughter of the Keeper of the Crown Jewels. Colonel Blood managed to escape the Tower with his haul of the crown, orb, and scepter, only to be caught just outside the castle walls. Perhaps the most bizarre twist in this tale is that the King pardoned the Colonel for his crime and even awarded him a pension for his efforts. Join Colonel Blood in his attempt to steal the Crown Jewels – five times daily. How was the robbery committed? Why did it nearly succeed? Who was the shadowy ringleader ‘Colonel’ Thomas Blood? Why was he never punished for his crime?
Attack the Tower
June 1-5, 2002
Join the medieval armies of the King and his rebellious barons as they struggle for control of the nation’s greatest fortress. Using evidence from the siege of 1267, when the unscrupulous Earl Gilbert the Red tried and failed to breach the mighty walls, we recreate the techniques needed to attack and defend a medieval castle. Both adults and children can join the troops as they try to shoot, batter or dig their way into the Tower of London.
Weekends in June: 8-9, 15-16, 22-23, 29-30
Strong though the Tower of London was, its walls were only as good as the arms and men that defended it. Take a closer look at the fearsome weapons of the Middle Ages, and find out how the defenders used them to protect the fortress.
Raven Master at the Tower. © Historic Royal Palaces.
Arming the Knight, Armed Combat and Archery
Summer 2002 (July 20 through September 1, 2002)
Experience the drama and excitement of the medieval period everyday at the Tower of London. In "Arming the Knight" learn about the rituals of and background to the armor and equipment worn by Edward I’s knights in the 13th century. Children can feel the weight of real chain mail, and one lucky lad from the audience will act as Squire to help the costumed guides get ready for battle. Cheer on your chosen swordsman as he takes on a skilful opponent in "Armed Combat." This fascinating display, at various times every day, demonstrates a range of historical swordplay from the Middle Ages to the 18th century. Lastly, the crucial English weapon of the Middle Ages was the bow. It was this alone which allowed the kings of England to hold their own against the French. In "Archery at the Tower," see how skilful shooting could bring down the most powerful knight, and the variety of techniques used by bowmen in both sieges and pitched battles.
Escape from the Tower of London
Follow the exploits of famous escapees from the Tower across the centuries – and those who tried but failed. Help search for the vital equipment – disguises, coins, knotted bedsheets and copious amounts of wine – all necessary to break out of one of the most secure locations in the land.
Guy Fawkes, Treason and Torture at the Tower
November 3 & 4, 2002
Every year the British celebrate Bonfire Night with sparklers, fireworks and overstuffed ‘Guy’. Who was Guy Fawkes, and why was he conspiring to blow up the House of Lords on a cold November night in 1605? Was he alone or part of team of plotters? This two-day special event will answer some of the questions as visitors join in the dramatic events that led up to the discovery of the plot. The costumed guides will recreate the politics of the period and final hours of this famous English ‘traitor’. The story culminates in the capture of Guy Fawkes, who was tortured in the Tower before being executed as a traitor. Presentations take place throughout the day.
Married to the Tower
November 9-10, 16-17, 23-24, 30, and December 1, 7-8, 14-15, 21-22
Meet the eminent ladies and gentlemen of the Victorian era who lived and worked in the Tower of London. Talk with them about the legends of its past inhabitants and the ghosts haunting its ancient walls. Discover those parts of its history that were uncovered.
Medieval Christmas. © Historic Royal Palaces.
The King’s Christmas
December 27-31, 2002
The richly decorated Medieval Palace is once more brought to life with the scents, sounds and spectacle of the court of Edward I. Edward I and his wife, Eleanor of Castille, assemble the court to celebrate Christmas. Join the colorful procession of costumed guides from the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula to the Medieval Palace, where the rooms will be filled with the sounds of medieval music. Visitors can take part in court ceremonials, the ‘Choosing of the Boy Bishop’ and the rituals of dining. Minstrels and storytellers will provide courtly entertainment.
Year-round Dates for Pomp and Pageantry
The Tower is well known for its traditional ceremonies, and there are a number of parades, salutes and rituals which celebrate the ancient customs of this fortified palace in the heart of the City of London. They are great fun for those visiting on the days marked below:
- Gun Salutes in 2002
- February 6
June 2, 4, 10 & 15
- State Parades in Ceremonial Uniform in 2002
The official escort of the Governor and Padre to the special church services during the year. All take place on Tower Green between Queen’s House and the Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula. The exact dates for the Easter, Whitsun and Christmas Parades are to be confirmed.
HM Tower of London is part of Historic Royal Palaces, a registered charity.
All events are included in regular admission prices.
Tower of London Operation Hours
- March 1-October 31: Mon-Sat, 9am-5pm (last admission); Sun, 10am-5pm (last admission)
- November 1-February 28: Tue-Sat, 9am-4pm (last admission); Sun-Mon, 10am-4pm (last admission)
- Adults, $16
- Seniors/Students, $12
- Children, $11
- Under 5s, Free
- Family Ticket, $48.50 (up to 2 adults and 3 children)
Tickets to the Tower are available at any of London’s 250 underground stations and at the Tower of London Ticket Office. Prices subject to change with exchange rates.
As of November 7, 2001, admission to the Fusiliers’ Museum is now free of charge.