The Tower of London is currently being surround by a sea of ceramic red poppies.

It's the work of Paul Cummins and called 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' that comprises a of 888,246 larger-than-life ceramics each representing a British or Commonwealth servicemen who died in the First World War.

After daily front-page pictures of the poppies-filled-moat around the Tower of London, I had to see the temporary memorial for myself. Why do the poppies attract so many people, day after day, week after week? I decided to visit on a late Monday morning out of term time, hoping to avoid some of the crowds.

My arrival at Tower Hill tube station is smooth, but as soon as I walk outside I see masses of people in front of me.

 

Traffic officers make sure visitors cross the road towards the Tower as safe and smooth as possible during the continuous flow of cars. When I arrive at the north-west corner of the Tower, I count about 10 rows of people all along the west side, and beyond it is almost impossible to see the pavement.

Part of the path leading round the Tower is taped off and a steady flow of people have no choice but to walk through a souvenir shop to be able to continue their circular walk. But the crowds force me to slow down and to feel humble. There is no pushing, rushing, grumbling or loud talking.

Everyone waits patiently to get a good look up front and I can clearly sense the feeling of respect for the 888,246 poppies representing all British servicemen who lost their lives in the First World War that broke out 100 years ago.

There are people of all ages and abilities; from small children admiring the sea of ceramic flowers to those whose immediate family was involved in the war, and there is a special accessible section to ensure everyone is able to see the extraordinary art installation.

It takes me an hour to walk three-quarters of the way around the Tower following the read poppy sea and I don’t feel the need to spend another half an hour to complete the circle.

Is it worth going to see the poppies? No doubt about it. Though the crowds may be the reason not to go, I feel they actually deepen and strengthen the experience. It is about literally standing still and letting the poppies make their impact on you, realising you are sharing this part of British history and remembrance with all those standing around you.

Not to forget that the Tower within a bright red moat provides once in a lifetime images.

The ceramic poppies will start to be removed from Friday.