The Tower of London, officially known as “Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress”, is a historic castle sitting in Central London, on River Thames’ north bank. It is included in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. The Tower of London was founded in 1066 and the famous White Tower was built in 1078 by William the Conqueror. Despite its name, the Tower includes several buildings that are protected by a moat and defensive walls. Nowadays, it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the United Kingdom.

Highlights

  • The Crown Jewels – This collection includes the one of a kind Crown Jewels appertaining to the British Monarchy. It is part of the Royal Collection and it features the world’s most amazing diamonds. Some of the items you will see here are the Coronation Spoon (more than 800 years old), the Sceptre with Cross of the Sovereign, the Imperial State Crown and St Edward’s Crown.
  • The White Tower – This is one of the world’s most famous castle keeps. It was constructed in 1078 to terrify the foreign invaders and awe the Londoners. It’s the most iconic symbol for both Britain and London. With its Norman architecture, it houses the Chapel of St John the Evangelist (dating from the 11th century) and the Royal Armouries collection. The latter features armors and arms that belonged to James II, Charles I and Henry VIII.
  • Coins and Kings – This permanent exhibition is officially known as “Coins and Kings: The Royal Mint at the Tower”. It explores the Royal Mint’s history between 1279 – 1812, when it was housed at the Tower. It includes rare objects such as 5 important coins considered works of art: George III Spanish 8 reales (1797), William III fake and real halfcrowns (1690s), Charles II Petition Crown (1663), Elizabeth I sixpence (1560-1561), Edward I groat (1279).
  • Line of Kings – This is the longest running tourist attraction in the world, having a history of more than 300 years. The exhibition features figures of kings, life-sized wooden horses, royal armor and arms. The heads of the monarchs were individually carved in wood.
  • The Fusilier Museum – This museum presents the British infantry regiment’s history from 1685 till present day. The collection includes King George V’s Bearskin and Uniform, an Eagle Standard belonging to the French Line’s 82nd Regiment, as well as 12 Victoria Cross Medals that the British Regiment has won.
  • Wall Walk – This feature offers you the chance to enter the great defensive inner walls and explore the tower from the inside. The Wall Walk will help you explore 7 important towers: Flint, Salt, Bowyer, Broad Arrow, Royal Beasts, Martin and Constable Towers. The Royal Beasts is the most interesting of them all, as it includes an exhibition of the numerous exotic animals (elephants, polar bears, lions etc.) that lived at the Tower. The Wall Walk also includes a visit to the Medieval Palace, where you’ll discover the fabulous interiors and rooms of the kings.

Prices

Gate prices – (includes a voluntary donation)

 Adult £22.00
 Child (5-15) £11.00
 Student £18.70
 Senior and Disabled Visitors £18.70
 Family (2 adults and 3 children) £59

Online prices

 Adult £20.90
 Child (5 – 15) £10.45
 Student £17.60
 Senior and Disabled Visitors £17.60
 Family (2 adults and 3 children) £55.55

Group rates (minimum 15 visitors). The price excludes the voluntary donation.

Adult £18.00
Children (5 – 15) £9.00
Concession (students, seniors and disabled visitors) £15.30

Tips

  • Yeoman Warders – The Yeoman Warder tour is probably the most popular attraction at the Tower of London. The Warders surely know how to keep you entertained with tales of torture, execution, imprisonment, intrigue etc. These tours are offered every 30 minutes and they last about one hour. The tour is included in the admission ticket.
  • Tower Torture – The Wakefield Tower’s basement features an impressive exhibition showing various instruments of torture. They are replicas of the original instruments and they include the manacles, the scavanger’s daughter and the rack.
  • Execution Site – Visit Tower Green where you’ll find the evocative memorial built for the persons who died at the Tower by order of the state. The most famous people executed here were the 3 queens of England: Lady Jane Grey, Catherine Howard and Anne Boleyn.
  • Cheaper Deal – Entrance to the Tower of London is included in the iVenture card. If you’re planning on seeing more London attractions, this is the best way to save more money during your trip.

Transport

  • London Underground – The nearest station to Tower of London is Tower Hill. You can get there by using Circle or District lines. The Tower is 5 minutes away from the station.
  • Train – The nearest stations are London Bridge or Fenchurch Street. London Bridge is 15 minutes away from the Tower, while Fenchurch Street is 5 minutes away,
  • Bike – The Tower features 3 cycle stands. They are situated nearby the main shop.
  • Docklands Light Railway – Get off at Tower Gateway Station. It’s situated near Tower Hill Station. Use the directional signage to get to the Tower.
  • Bus – Use bus routes RV1, 100, 78, 42, 15 and stop nearby Tower Hill or London Bridge stations. All the important sightseeing bus tours include Tower of London in their routes.

History

The Tower of London was established in 1066 by William Conqueror. The White Tower was constructed later, in the 1080s. In 1220s the royal palace was significantly expanded by Henry III.

The Traitors’ Gate (the watergate) and St Thomas’s Tower were constructed between 1275 – 1279 by Edward I. Tower Wharf was completed in 1389 under the supervision of Geoffrey Chaucer.

The first queen to be executed at the Tower was Anne Boleyn. She was beheaded in 1536. The “9 days queen”, Lady Jane Grey was also executed at the Tower, 18 years later. The last hanging taking place at the Tower was in 1780.

A fire burst in 1841 and almost destroyed the Crown Jewels. Luckily, they were saved and included in the Crown Jewels exhibition 171 years later, in 2012.

Interesting Facts

  • The Tower of London features at least 6 “permanent” ravens. They are kept for superstitious reasons. The legend says that if all the ravens leave the Tower, then the Kingdom and royalty will fall.
  • The Crown Jewels exhibition includes more than 23,500 jewels estimated to £20 billion.
  • The Tower of London has witnessed 22 executions.
  • The Tower even featured a royal zoo founded in the 1200s. It was kept for 600 years and included exotic animals like elephants, polar bears, ostriches, kangaroos, lions etc. In 1835, the animals were transferred to the London Zoo.
  • During World War II, the Tower served as a prison.

15 Reviews

  1. tinathanabalan
    tinathanabalan 33 Comments
     -  14 Aug 2018

    awesome structure

    If you are a major history buff like me, you will definitely enjoy this step into history. It was really cool to see how it has maintained itself but it is also surrounded by newer buildings. The tour of the tower is one of the coolest I have ever seen.

  2. Jillibeankc6
    Jillibeankc6 45 Comments
     -  02 May 2018

    Must-See

    This is something in London that you have to visit while there. It houses crown jewels, armor, and displays of many historical artifacts. The tour guides know everything, it seems, and they are entertaining and so much fun to listen to. Even the children in our group payed attention to them.

    The only downside was the long, long line and the crowds. It was stuffy inside in June, and our tour group waited a long time before each room.

  3. Tracey Best
    Tracey Best
    Australia 23 Comments
     -  24 Apr 2018

    Worth the visit but not a must see

    I am glad I went here and I would say visit it. But if you are limited on time I think it’s better to do other things in London (or outer). It was great seeing the memory of those fallen, battles, the armour and the jewellery of course. Also reenactments and it’s a lovely spot inside the yard. Lots to do and see in there. Could easily spend 3 hours there.

  4. tamara-v
    tamara-v
    Yugoslavia 26 Comments
     -  30 Dec 2017

    Excellent

    Be ready to have some hours for this historical jewel. Two of us took Yeoman Warden tour in April. At that time was a little bit crowded, probably because it was Easter holiday. Very pricey but worth it.

  5. lhajro
    lhajro
    Bosnia and Herzegowina 41 Comments
     -  18 Dec 2017

    Excellent

    My family and I were able to come in the fall time so it wasn’t as crowded. The lines were still long but we got in pretty quickly. We toured the different towers which was really interesting. We also saw the crown jewels which were spectacular. My family learned a lot, the tour was educational but they made it interesting too! For me the highlight was seeing the legendary ravens. 🙂

  6. NicoleH
    NicoleH
    Canada 52 Comments
     -  15 Oct 2017

    It was good

    My boyfriend and I really enjoyed our time at the Tower of London. The downside is that the admission was quite expensive for what you get. We spent about two hours looking at the exhibits but would probably suggest taking a tour so you learn more about what you’re seeing. Be aware you can’t take pictures in some of the rooms.

  7. wclarkh
    wclarkh
    United States 27 Comments
     -  04 Aug 2017

    Fantastic attraction

    The Tower of London was a lot of fun to visit. On display they have ancient weapons and suits of armor as well as torture devices in the dungeon (don’t worry, it’s not scary at all for the little ones). There are also a lot of Ravens flying around, just be careful and not feed them! We took a river cruise from the Westminster Pier to the Tower which also gave us a discount on our tickets.

  8. dzammit
    dzammit
    Canada 54 Comments
     -  03 Aug 2017

    Needs improvement

    I’m glad I went but would I go again, no. If the line is huge I’d suggest moving on to another attraction. We did the free walking tour which was informative and the Crown Jewels were neat to see.
    There are so many cool attractions in London, The Tower of London was for sure not my favourite.

  9. sattard
    sattard 15 Comments
     -  14 Jul 2017

    Excellent

    Worth a visit but keep an eye on the lines outside – I don’t think its worth it if the line is too long. When you’re in however, it’s a fasntastic way to learn more about London. Be sure to take the free walking tour, it’s incredibly informative.

  10. shae23
    shae23
    Australia 74 Comments
     -  03 Jul 2017

    Not a good experience

    A two and a half hour wait in line so we didnt end up going, my recommendation would be getting there very early and not in peak season – way to busy! There is a great cafe up the road called The Kitchen which was amazing (great carrot cake and coffee!)

  11. AlanStock
    AlanStock 41 Comments
     -  05 Jun 2017

    Fantastic attraction

    Possibly the best attraction in London. Amazing history and location. The tours with the iconic Beefeaters are excellent, they all have great personalities and tons of jokes as they guide you through this well preserved castle and tell you all about its crazy history and legends. Add to this the amazing armour and crown jewels to see, and the other things to see here, it’s a truly fascinating and entertaining place to visit and there are regular events throughout the day too.

  12. Avatar
    Sarah 10 Comments
     -  20 Apr 2017

    Fantastic attraction

    This is probably the highlight of my London tour. I had fun exploring the Medieval Palace going through the chambers of King Edward I. Some areas are kind creepy like the Tower Green where people used to be executed. My most favorite part is seeing the crown jewels. They are all so gorgeous and elegant.

  13. Avatar
    lindseyg 7 Comments
     -  09 Mar 2017

    Fantastic attraction

    The Tower of London was my favorite part of visiting London!! I wish we could’ve spent all day here – between the Yeoman Warder (Beefeater) tour, the crown jewels, the armory, and everything else, there’s something for everyone! I really, really loved the Yeoman Warder tour; it was SO interesting to hear about the history and legends at the tower! (In fact, I recently re-watched the tour on YouTube, and it’s nice because there are slight variations with each tour.) The executions that you hear about on the tour are gruesome enough to make your skin crawl, so you probably shouldn’t bring anyone under the age of 13. Allow at least a few hours to visit, because you’ll definitely want to stay and explore!

  14. Avatar
    MaryaMarevna 6 Comments
     -  08 Mar 2017

    Fantastic attraction

    This is a place with a strong historical spirit located right on the Thames and next to the Tower Bridge. I recommend come early in the morning to avoid the queue. You can see the famous Beefeaters guards, weapons and visit the tower with the Crown Jewels. Each part of tower are interesting, even for the kids. There are a lot of exhibitions and places to eat and drink. The entrance fee is little expensive!
    This is a fabulous royal venue! Highly recommend!

  15. Avatar
    echo 16 Comments
     -  10 Oct 2014

    Until 11 November 2014, you have the chance to see a major art installation at the Tower. It features 888,246 hand-made poppies that were created in the loving memory of those who died during World War I, 100 years ago. You can buy a poppy for 25.00 GBP and dedicate it to someone who serves or has served in the military. The money will go to 6 service charities.

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