The Tower of London used to be home to the Royal Menagerie. I believe it started with Henry III, who had a polar bear that used to fish in the Thames (how cool is that?). Over time the menagerie grew to include lions, elephants, and leopards (a gift from the Holy Roman Emperor btw). By 1828 the Tower housed about 280 animals from over 60 different species.
Even though those animals are long gone there is one animal that remains – the Raven!
There are currently 7 ravens at the Tower (6 required ravens and a spare). The ravens have had one wing trimmed so that they cannot fly away – although it has happened on occasion that a raven might go missing (Raven Grog, for example, was last seen outside a West End Pub).
The reason these ravens are protected is because there is a legend:
‘If the ravens leave the Tower, the kingdom will fall…’
Which is probably why Charles II decided that the ravens should be protected.
You can find them outside Wakefield Tower, but don’t get too close.
If you’re looking for something a little more stationary, you can always look at the art that they have around the Tower.
You may not call it art, but swords are fun to look at. I do enjoy a good sword, even if it’s something as cumbersome as a broadsword. Seriously, I would need five hands to lift that thing! Give me a wakizashi any day…
They also have Henry VIII’s armor – which is definitely worth a glance.
If you think that weapons can’t be art, then this next picture will prove you wrong!
The handle of each gun is encrusted with jewels. It doesn’t seem like it’d be comfortable to hold, but shiny!
And if that doesn’t impress you, how about the following:
BAM! How about you stick that in your art-pipe and smoke it! The dragon’s belly was filled with gold/metal/dragon-foodish-items. Talk about awesome.
If all that glitz and glamour isn’t for you and you like your art a little simpler, just take a walk around the walls and see what you can stumble upon: