Superbloom is in the dry moat at the Tower of London. I first visited in late May and there were concerns that it didn’t look as lovely as it might in the summer. So I decided to return and see the changes.
As a recap, this is a permanent transformation in the 13th-century moat. It was drained in 1845 and it’s taken over 175 years for another drastic change. The soil was brought in so no digging down was needed. Then over 20 million seeds of nearly 30 different plants were sown across 14,000 square metres.
After one of the driest Aprils on record, the flowers were slow to appear. But the weather has been kinder to the garden designers so we now have flowers appearing in layers creating a constantly evolving display.
You have the choice to enter at the accessible ramp, walk down steps or go down the four-lane slide. The slide mats have had some extra fabric pads sewn on to help you slide down smoothly. As I was with my teenager, I had to slide down to prove I’m still a “fun mum”.
I’ve heard that the slide isn’t available on very warm days as the metal can get hot. But I was there in the morning on a sunny day so it would have been rude to turn down the opportunity to be silly while visiting a garden.
This was what it looked like near the slide in May…
…and this is what it looks like now.
The alliums have faded and dried out and have been replaced by a much more diverse presentation.
Each side of the moat is quite different from the others. In the west moat, it’s a gentle introduction to the garden – and it does feel like you’re visiting a garden. Bees and other pollinators are enjoying the planting. As visitors follow the paths and are not walking across the planting, the bees do not seem bothered by us.
There are occasional information boards to help with flower recognition. And there are Superbloom volunteers throughout the route if you have any questions.
You soon realise this is an immersive attraction as the plants have grown to over 6 feet in places so you can feel as if you are ‘within’ the flowers.
And the colours are quite mesmerising whether you look left…
As you reach the corner to turn into the north moat (on the left of the photo below), you can see the colour palette start to change.
This is a much more undulating landscape and I loved the splash of bright red against the building.
Look back, and you can see The Shard in the distance. And look down, and you can see an area that must have recently died off and is waiting for its next ‘act’ in this theatrical floral show.
This is where you can hear the 20-minute ‘Music for Growing Flowers’ which is a calm and peaceful classical composition, played on a loop, to accompany your journey. It also, cleverly, masks the traffic sounds on this side.
Let’s have another look at that red hugging the building.
But look closer at the forefront and the Impressionistic tones are a real joy.
It was lovely to see taller plants such as sunflowers making an appearance as well.
Having an iconic London landmark as the backdrop to your photos is always a good thing. I liked the symmetry of this moment.
It’s important to turn around as well, as in this section the path goes through the middle of the planting so there are flowers on both sides.
The approach to the willow sculpture is bordered by tall curling greenery which reminded me of a corn field.
The willow sculpture has wonderful arches for photos.
And bend down to see the child-height holes where there is this perfect frame for a view of Tower Bridge.
The willow sculpture is the transition point to enter the east moat which is the last section.
Each moat has a different atmosphere. In the west moat, it’s wider and you walk along one side. In the north moat, the path takes you through the middle with a musical accompaniment. And in the east moat, you have a variety of paths, of different textures, as well as a willow tunnel and copper sculptures.
This section is shorter but there is a lot going on.
The walk-through willow tunnel has higher planting on either side so you feel enclosed by nature.
You could take a choice of routes to reach the end.
I liked the wooden winding path here. When I visited in May, I could still see the bare earth below the raised walkway. But now, it had grown up high.
The varied paths give you photo opportunities to make it look as if you are in a tall meadow.
The final section is this walk-through with copper insect sculptures.
I think more seating has been added since my last visit. There is now seating in all three moats and it’s often in the shade too.
The Queen’s Garden can be seen from the riverside ‘road’. I explained the design in the previous article. It would be good if an information board could be added here to help others understand what they can see.
Do note, the Yeoman Warder in the background with his tour group. There must be 100 people!
I am very glad I went back as this is what Superbloom was always meant to be (I was just a bit too early before). This definitely isn’t a wildflower meadow as the mounds added create different levels of growth.
It’s lovely to see the colour schemes from each moat blend into the colouring of the next. And there is so much to keep your attention: the music, colour changes, the willow sculpture, the textured flooring, etc.
Superbloom is a great way to get another perspective on the Tower of London without those huge summer crowds. It’s good for all ages whether that means visiting with your partner or with friends, with your parents or children. My teenager enjoyed visiting for the Instagram photo opportunities.
I noticed on this visit that there are official photographers along the route to take your photo. I didn’t ask about the cost of this but it may be something you would like to add as a souvenir.
You may hear some say that you don’t need to pay to enjoy Superbloom as you can see it for free from the Viewing Platform at street level. While I am always one to encourage the cheap or free options, I don’t agree this time as it is a very different feeling being in the moat.
From above, you can’t get within the flowers or listen to the music. This is an immersive attraction so you need to be in there to really enjoy it. This doesn’t show the vibrancy of the colours or bring the same joy as an actual visit to Superbloom.
Superbloom Visitor Information
Dates: 1 June to 18 September 2022
Location: The Moat, Tower of London, London EC3N 4AB
Tickets: Adult Superbloom only tickets: £13.20 including donation. Adult Superbloom and Tower of London: £42.20 including donation. (Check other prices.)