Author Archives: Gloria Butler

A Quick History on the Tower of London

One of London’s most iconic symbols is the Tower of London. The famous tower attracts tourists the world over, but it is much more than a simple castle from a bygone era. What do you know about The Tower of London? It holds the crown jewels; is haunted, or perhaps it a place of execution? We thought this a great opportunity to broaden your knowledge with a quick piece article about The Tower.

The Origins of the Tower

The Tower of London is a lot older than you might think. William the Conqueror may have built it (or at least a part of it), but long before there was a stone fortress, the Saxons, the Romans and the Ancient Britons before them used the site as a fort. Taking around 20 years to build, William I intended the tower was intended to frighten and terrify the local population into submission.

Medieval Times

It wasn’t until 1240 that the castle’s keep was painted white, effectively earning it the name “The White Tower”. Other rulers continued to build, and the fortress became the de-facto place of residence of the ruling elite in terms of strife. Both Henry II and Edward I “Longshanks” added defensive walls around the fortress making it virtually impregnable for its time.

The Tower also became the home of royal jewels, armaments and prized possessions until the 1800s, and it also held the vast coffers of the English kings and queens. Coins were minted there until 1810, and even today, the crown jewels are held there, protected but on display to any tourists eager to see them, which are most.

When it wasn’t storing luxury goods, the Tower of London also become both a fortress and a prison for its various occupants.

A Luxury Fortress, as well as a Prison

A young Henry VIII hid inside the tower while Cornish rebels waged war against his father, and several kings and heirs have met their fate there including Henry VI, the Princes in the Tower. Other famous occupants of the tower (albeit as prisoners) include Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I, Guy Fawkes and Walter Raleigh, Jane Grey, Sir Thomas More, and Thomas Cromwell.

The Beefeaters have long been associated with the tower thanks to King Henry VII allowing them to each as much beef from his table as they wished. The Yeomen Warders (originally Yeomen of the Guard – the King’s bodyguards) still guard the Tower, an honour they have had since Henry VIII personally decreed it over 500 years ago.

A Legendary Place

Many people associate the Tower of London with hauntings. Anne Boleyn is said to haunt the tower (she was buried under the chancel of the chapel after her execution on Tower Green), while Arbella Stuart and the Princes in the Tower are also said to haunt the castle.

Whether you wish to visit it for its history, its architecture or to potentially get a fright, The Tower of London is a must-see piece of history, in one of the world’s most beautiful cities.

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Top 5 Tips for Buying an Apartment in London

When it comes to relocating to London, often we are asked to provide tips on how to buy a London apartment. This can come from those looking for their first property, those having difficulty navigating through the many real estate listing companies, while others are simply interested in London apartments from an investor perspective.

So with that in mind, we thought it ideal to provide a list of our top five tips when it comes to buying an apartment in London. We hope this insight will help improve your search for the perfect apartment in what we think is the perfect city.

1.)  Location is everything, so too is your budget

While all in search of a London apartment have a budget set aside that they are most comfortable with, it is important to realize that location is a key factor in finding the best apartment possible. This is especially true when it comes to investing, as all properties purchased are a major investment, so location should be considered.

The most popular and desirable areas include Knightsbridge, Kensington, South Kensington, Knightsbridge, Notting Hill and Chelsea. A few other areas to consider that are up and coming include South of Thames and King’s Cross, and for investors, that is the most ideal as it allows you to buy while prices are low and sell as the demand for the area increases.

2.)  Chose a location close to Public Transport

This is a critical step in the process of selection and should be high on your list. The city of London is vast and covers a large area that is covered well by public transportation. Make sure before putting in an offer that you walk around the neighborhood and locate all the points of access for public transport. This will include the subway, buses and availability of quick taxi access.

This is a basic requirement in London, especially when working in the city as traffic congestion can impact travel times. If you are an investor, it is even more critical as renters often do not have other modes of transportation and reply heavily on public transportation.

A great way to gauge the ease of access is to talk to those already residing in the area you are considering, talk to real estate agents and shopkeepers as well, as each will have a wealth of information relating to public transportation.

3.)   Freehold or Leasehold – which is better?

Our preference when it comes purchasing an apartment is freehold. It means you own the property completely and do not have to worry about having to sign a new lease down the road. Also, leasehold properties are not as attractive to other buyers should you wish to sell in the future. This makes life a lot easier when that time comes- hands down.

4.)  Factor in building and annual charges

When purchasing an apartment, the odds are good that you will have additional costs relating to the upkeep of the building. This, at times, can amount to a substantial extra monthly cost, so make sure to fully understand all costs relating to the apartment you are considering.

5.)  Use a Search Agent!

Some buyers think that buying privately will take thousands off the purchase price; then there are others who understand the value of a search agent and the protection it affords should there be a problem when closing on the property. There are many stories of those who purchased privately only to find out afterwards the home did not meet the standards they thought they were buying. Agents are trained and certified and therefore are responsible to you as the buyer; protection is always the best way to go.

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