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The Tower of London is actually outside the City, built by order of William the Conqueror from 1066-87 to keep a wary eye on London. Although it is a custom for the monarch to be met at Temple Bar by the Lord Mayor before entering the City, it is not true he or she has to ask permission to come in.

Tube: Tower Hill

Any comments - or a suggestion for a London secret? Please e-mail me.

The City of London 1 2

Trinity House

Trinity House started life as a Guild of Pilots in Deptford in the 14th century, and began operating lighthouses in 1566. This fine headquarters building was designed by Samuel Wyatt and dates from 1796. It was rebuilt in 1953, repairing damage from World War II bombing.

Trinity Square EC3
www.trinityhouse.co.uk

Tower Hill Execution Block

Beside the Merchant Seamen Memorial, plaques mark the deaths of some 125 people - most prisoners at the Tower - executed for treason. These include Sir Thomas More and Lord Lovat in 1747 - the last beheading here. Quick and more honourable than hanging, beheading was reserved for nobility.

Tower Hill EC3

Tower Bridge chimney

Is this the only bridge in the world with a chimney? Millions of visitors cross Tower Bridge every year but few notice this cast iron chimney painted to blend in with the lamp-posts. It’s a flue for a former guardhouse,  now a café, where it faced the Tower of London under one of the bridge piers.

Tower Bridge EC1

Lifting Tower Bridge

This historic bridge is still raised about 20 times a week to allow tall ships to pass underneath. You can trust to luck to see it, or check the website below, which lists the upcoming lifting schedule. A new glass floor will soon let you see the lift from the walkway high above.

Tower Bridge EC1
Tel: +44 (0)20 7940 3984
www.towerbridge.org.uk

Tower Subway

This small brick tower is the entrance to the second tunnel to be built under the River Thames, in 1869. It was used by 20,000 paying foot  passengers a week until Tower Bridge opened in 1894. It then carried water pipes to supply hydraulic power for theatres but is now used for cable TV lines.

Tower Hill EC3

The Key Ceremony

This 700-year-old ceremony takes place every night at the Tower of London. It is very atmospheric, ending with the playing of a bugle at 10pm from the battlements. Entry is free but you need to apply in writing for a ticket to the address below six weeks in advance.

Ceremony of the Keys Office
HM Tower of London
London EC3N 4AB

Hung Drawn & Quartered

‘I went out to Charing Cross, to see Major-general Harrison hanged, drawn, and quartered; which was done there, he looking as cheerful as any man could do in that condition,’ wrote Samuel Pepys of an execution at Charing Cross. This pub, close to Tower Hill execution block, borrows the quotation.

26-27 Great Tower Street EC3

Merchant Seamen’s Memorial Garden

This moving spot is a memorial to the Marine and Navy dead of both world wars. The 1914-1918 memorial was designed by Edwin Lutyens. Note the number of lost vessels where the only death is the captain - they really did go down with their ships.

Tower Hill EC3

Mark Lane Lost Station

Now an All Bar One, the last remnant underground of the former Tube Station of Mark Lane is a pedestrian subway to the Tower of London. Opened in 1884, it was renamed Tower Hill in 1946 and then replaced by the current station in 1967 when this site proved impossible to expand to cope with a growing number of users.

Tower Hill EC3

Samuel Pepys

This statue of the famous diarist stands near his former home and his parish church, St Olave's, that he helped save from the Great Fire in 1666. Although best known for his fascinating writings, his administrative work at the Admiralty put the Royal Navy on a professional footing.

Seething Lane EC3
www.pepysdiary.com

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