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.
- 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.
Gate prices – (includes a voluntary donation)
|Senior and Disabled Visitors||£18.70|
|Family (2 adults and 3 children)||£59|
|Child (5 – 15)||£10.45|
|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.
|Children (5 – 15)||£9.00|
|Concession (students, seniors and disabled visitors)||£15.30|
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.