This is not my usual style of travel blog post but I was so impressed by the art installation everyone seems to call the Tower of London poppies this weekend that I just had to share it, even though it finishes in just a few weeks.
Until Remembrance Day November 11th this incredible art installation by ceramic artist Paul Cummins will mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. It is actually called Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red and what beautiful and poignant name to match the installation.
With the help of stage designer Tom Piper, 888,246 ceramic poppies have progressively filled the moat of the Tower of London. They pour out of windows and spread out across the emerald green grass, each poppy representing a British military fatality during the war.
It was difficult to be truly reflective among the crowds of weekend visitors jostling (politely) for space to view the poppy garden but it is so poignantly beautiful and utterly memorable – reflection came later.
When I was there on Sunday a surprise visitor ambling through the poppy garden was ‘Joey’, the incredible puppetry horse from the London show Warhorse. With accompanying Beefeaters and author Michael Morpugo (who wrote the book the show is based on).
The hand-made ceramic poppies were for sale, with proceeds going to help support the vital work of service charities in the United Kingdom, however I believe they have all now sold out!
When you first arrive at Tower Hill Underground Station, before you get to the Tower of London poppies, take a few minutes to wander through Trinity Square Gardens.
There is a permanent memorial here – commemorating wartime losses from the Merchant Navy and fishing fleets in both world wars. Overlooked by the massive former Port of London Authority building, the gardens could be a place to come and think after you have seen the poppies.
If you are visiting the Tower of London, whether to see the poppy garden or the usual attractions, a great way to carry on your day in London is to jump on the river bus right there at Tower Hill. From the river is the best vantage point to see the Tower, Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast and more. It is also a starting point for an exploration of London’s South Bank.
Did you see the Tower of London poppies? How did they make you feel?