HistoryPalaces & Buildings

Tower of London’s 1000-year-old moat opened for ice skating

Tower of London Skating experience

If skating through history catches ones fancy, then the chance to hit the ice at the Tower of London is a must. Now in its 8th year, the Tower moat is the site for the holiday ice skating.

Undoubtedly the Tower moat is the most recognized moat in London, if not in the country. Since the incarnation of the Tower in the 11th Century, there has been some variety of protective ditches. The larger moat as seen today was created during Edward I’s reign (1272-1307).

Until the 1840’s the moat was filled with water, but due to its stagnancy, it was promptly filled with earth. Currently the sunken area is utilised for events such as concerts and gatherings and of course the annual ice rink.

After the triumphant Norman invasion of England in 1066, William the Conqueror created the Tower of London when he introduced a massive castle-building project in order to safeguard the city of London.

The location the Tower would come to be placed on was purposefully chosen to be on a small hill (Tower Hill) located on the Northern embankment of the Thames River. Originally, the Tower was built entirely of wood in the Motte and Bailey style between 1066 and 1067. William was not satisfied with the fortification so he had the initial building removed and began building what would be the Great Keep or main area of the Tower.

In its original incarnation the Tower was comprised of only the White Tower. In the last 900 or so years, construction would include 21 towers, two vast sets of curtain walls, the surrounding once flooded moat plus numerous official and residential structures within the Tower walls.

The Tower has served as both a permanent and interim home for numerous monarchs; it has been a prison and place of torture, a planetary observatory and animal zoo. It has been the national treasury, armory, and mint; as well as the keeper and watchful eye of the crown jewels.

Skating at the Tower runs from 16 November 2013 to 5 January 2014.

Photo Credit: newsteam.co.uk