Tower of London to welcome back first visitors since lockdown
The Tower of London is set to welcome its first visitors since March - but those hoping to get a photo with a Beefeater will have to do so from two metres away.
The attraction will hold a special ceremony tomorrow morning (Friday, July 10), lowering the middle drawbridge to welcome in little more than 1,000 people a day.
Hand sanitiser dispensers will be provided and visitors will be guided around the site by signs and one-way routes to ensure social distancing.
The Crown Jewels exhibition will be reopening with social-distancing measures in place and Yeoman Warders, the guards commonly known as Beefeaters, are to be stationed at fixed points around the site.
However, the Yeoman Warder tours will not begin immediately, and photographs with them must be taken at a two-metre distance.
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Chief Yeoman Warder Pete McGowran said: “We’re really excited to have visitors back in the Tower of London.
“I can’t wait, over three months now, nearly four months without visitors is novel at first, having the place to ourselves, but after a week you want to see the crowds again.
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“So (I’m) really excited about that, obviously because of the crisis we’ve had to look at a few different things, ways of doing things.
“We’ve looked at social distancing, we’ve got a one-way system in place, we’ve had extra training for the guys, to do with coronavirus and health and safety, so they’ve been really busy. PPE’s involved and all the rest of it.
“So completely different things to what we’re used to doing but we’ve obviously put these in place because it’s so important we get this place opened up and bring it alive again and share our history.”
Mr McGowran added: “It’s a great opportunity to get in here without 13-14,000 people a day queuing up. For the amount of people coming in, they’re going to get a great look at the Tower.
“Even when they’re going to be around the Yeoman Warders, there’s usually crowds around Yeoman Warders, two or three hundred on tours, they’re not going to get that, so it’s going to be really eyeball to eyeball sort of stuff.
“So it’s a real benefit, I think it’s a bonus that they’re going to get it without any rushing around and queuing.”
The Tower will be open between 10am and 6pm Wednesdays to Sundays.