Prisoner escapes the Tower of London

Prisoner escapes the Tower of London

Prisoner escapes the Tower of London… in death-defying stunt! 

Saturday 3 August – Saturday 31 August  

For hundreds of years rebels, plotters, heretics, and spies filled the Tower of London’s cells and dungeons, including two of King Henry VIII’s ill-fated wives. However, with the right blend of cunning, ingenuity and disregard for danger, escape was sometimes possible. This summer, the Tower of London will recreate notorious prisoner John Gerard’s dramatic escape from the capital’s formidable fortress. 

Throughout August families can watch one of history’s truly great escapes, as Gerard abseils down the Tower’s historic walls with Tower Escape. Gerard was a secret Catholic priest, a dangerous occupation in Elizabethan England and in 1597 was transferred to the Tower as a ‘heretic’. He famously hatched an escape plan sending secret notes to his rescuers in invisible ink using orange juice. Visitors can discover for themselves whether Gerard managed to outwit his captors.

With family trail cards available, families are encouraged to gather clues and devise their own escape plans or face languishing in the dungeons. Along the way, there will be opportunities to meet other notorious prisoners from the Tower’s past too, including Arbella Stuart, a resourceful royal rival to the monarchs and her husband Willam Seymour. 

On selected days, little escapologists can delve deeper into the Tower’s prison stories with a range of hands-on activities. Kids can have a go at writing in invisible ink, just like John Gerard, as well as trying on a range of props and disguises - the perfect foil for any aspiring escape artist.      

Tower Escape is a 30-minute daily live performance, running three times a day and unshackles the story of imprisonment at London’s iconic fortress-like never before.

All activities included in the Tower of London general admission ticket. HRP members go free. For more information and to buy tickets visit www.hrp.org.uk/toweroflondon 

Poppy Watt