Tower of London to reopen for visitors on Friday after 16 weeks

Tourists hoping to get their obligatory photograph with a Beefeater at the Tower of London will have to do so while standing two metres away when the landmark reopens on Friday.

The attraction will hold a special ceremony during the morning, lowering the middle drawbridge to welcome in visitors again for the first time since March.

Hand sanitiser dispensers will be provided and visitors will be guided around the site by signs and one-way routes to ensure social distancing.

Little more than 1,000 people will be allowed to visit every day.

Coronavirus – Thu Jul 9, 2020
A groundsman mows a lawn in front of the White Tower, at the Tower of London, ahead of its reopening on Friday (dominic Lipinski/PA)

The Crown Jewels exhibition will be reopening with social-distancing measures in place and Yeoman Warders, the famous 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.

Chief Yeoman Warder Pete McGowran told the PA news agency: “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.

“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.

Coronavirus – Thu Jul 9, 2020
Chief Yeoman Warder Peter McGowran puts out social distancing signs for visitors to follow (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“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.

Coronavirus – Thu Jul 9, 2020
Ropes have been set out for a one-way system outside the Queen’s House.

“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.

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