Feature image

Royal Beasts at Tower of London

28 May 2011 -
31 December 2011

9am - 5.30am Tues-Sat, 10am - 5.30pm Sun-Mon in summer

Tower of London

Nearest Tube
Tower Hill


Age Restrictions

An exhibition telling the history of the Royal beasts at Tower of London takes place this year as a part of the tower is opened to the public for the very first time. Recreating the menegarie of various exotic animals in sculpture form, the show invites you to discover the fascinating tales of how the beasts arrived, where they lived and how they were fed.

Royal Beasts at Tower of London
Telling the unusual and intriguing stories of the animal residents of the Tower over the course of 600 years, the exhibition features stories from the time when the Tower Menagerie was founded in the 1200s up to the 1830s, when it the animals were rehoused as part of the founding of the London Zoo. With 600 years worth of animals stories on display, this is a truly historic exhibition that captures a very unusual angle of the Tower's past.

Animals on display
In an attempt to recreate the feel of London's first private zoo, the exhibition Royal Beasts at Tower of London includes a collection of animal sculptures created by artist Kendra Haste. Depicted in fine wire and extremely lifelike, visitors to the show can see lions, monkeys and all kinds of exotic beasts as they roam the Tower's rooms. There are also several interactive displays, that mimic the sights, sounds and smells of animals that would have belonged in the Royal Menagerie many years ago.

Lions and tigers and bears
With many royal houses around Europe and the rest of the world keen to display their wealth and power, the royal menagerie become a status symbol amongst kings and queens during the medieval period. Owning rare and impressive animals not only gave the impression of wealth, but it also reflected the global exploration undertaken on behalf of the Kingdom and the links held with the native countries of the animals. Leopards, tigers, lions, elephants, zebras, alligators, kangaroos and grizzly bears have all at one time or another formed part of the royal beasts collection at the Tower of London, and was in the Elizabethan period even open to the public.

Personal stories
And just as the animals who inhabit the London Zoo now give their keepers stories to tell the public about their quirks and habits, the animals that lived in the Tower have their own little histories. You can learn about the polar bear who fished in the Thames every day, the ostrich that ate nails and the leopard who stole people's umbrellas at Royal Beasts at Tower of London. You can also hear more about the sad cases of neglect and mistreatment that some of the animals endured, in the name of sport or entertainment, and see how zoos are much improved in the 21st century.

The exhibition on Royal Beast at Tower of London takes place from Saturday 28th May - Saturday 31st December 2011. Entrance to the exhibition is included in the entry tickets to the Tower of London. Tickets are £19.80 and £10.45 for children.

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Other Events at Tower of London

Apr 14, 7pm-8.30pm
May 6, 4pm-8pm
Mar 23-31, 11.30am, 12.30pm, 2.30pm, 3.30pm
Mar 28-30, Apr 10-12, May 23-25, 29-31, phone for times
Jan & Feb, Nov & Dec, Mon, Sun 10am-4.30pm, Tue-Sat 9am-4.30pm, last adm 4pm, Mar-Oct, Mon, Sun 10am-5.30pm, Tue-Sat 9am-5.30pm, last adm 5pm, closed Dec 24-26, Jan 1
28 April 2007 - 30 April 2016

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