Briefly, some fun highlights from London (pics).
The Tower of London mostly dates from the 11th century and starts with William The Conqueror, who certainly got around, we found history of him in Caen, France, and at Old Sarum near Salisbury, England. At the Tower you can get an introductory tour from one of the Yeoman Warders, also known as Beefeaters. Technically, the Yeoman Warders are responsible to look after prisoners and guard the Crown Jewels and while they give a lively and entertaining tour these are serious guys. In order to qualify for this duty they must have served at least 22 years in the British Armed Forces and have received the Long Service and Good Conduct medals. While a visit to the Tower of London can be fun and entertaining for the whole family it was a place of grim incarceration, unimaginable torture and many executions, usually by beheading, most famously the beheading of Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII.
The Tower Bridge opened in 1894 after eight years of construction. It consists of two large towers with a 200 foot span in between, split into two equal bascules which can be raised to allow river traffic to pass through. The original raising mechanism was powered by pressurized water stored in several hydraulic accumulators, all steam powered. Part of the tour of the bridge is to walk through the two raised walkways. As of the end of 2014, each walkway has glass panels in a portion of the floor that allow you to see down onto the roadway and river 143 feet below your feet.
I suppose you simply must check out the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. It’s quite a nice ceremony that draws a massive crowd.