Few cities have so many globally famous icons as London. Tower Bridge is one of the world’s top 10 most recognizable landmarks. Big Ben (or St Stephen’s Clock Tower for pedants) is also on the list.
But London is also a city of hidden gems. The nooks and crannies tucked away down secret medieval alleyways, overlooked by the throngs of commuters who pass them every day.
It’s a city where even lifelong Londoners can find something new every day. And, for fear that this London should be entirely overlooked in the summer hype, here are the Gay Star News team’s favorites:
Ceremony of the Keys, Tower of London
Thousands of tourists visit Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress every day. But few know they can, if they apply in advance in writing, also return in the evening to witness the world’s oldest military ceremony – for free.
The locking of the Tower secures the castle, where the Crown Jewels are kept, for the night. But it also symbolizes how the military is responsible for the security of the whole country.
It’s been done in the same way every day for around 700 years. The warder guarded by a troop of soldiers is challenged by a sentry. When he explains he is carrying ‘Queen Elizabeth’s Keys’ he is allowed to pass. It’s all over in 10 minutes but it’s one of those experiences you never forget.