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Tower of London Guide


The White Tower at the Tower of London
The White Tower

The Tower of London is a living history museum that encapsulates a thousand years of Britain’s glorious and notorious past. The legendary fortress has functioned as a palace and a prison. Use our Tower of London guide to see the Crown Jewels, the White Tower, resident ravens, torture chambers, execution grounds, and more.

Learn about the Yeoman Warders "The Beefeaters" in our Tower of London Guide
Yeoman Warders "The Beefeaters"

Built in medieval times, the Tower of London has long served as a symbol of Britain’s power. Its turreted towers house ancient weapons, Roman chapels, and royal apartments. Exploring the Tower is one of the more unique things to do in London. Plan to spend at least a half a day discovering all the legend, lore, and pageantry that this UNESCO World Heritage Site has to offer.

The Shard behind the Battlements | Tower of London | UNESCO World Heritage site
The Shard behind the Battlements
Tower of London Guide At A Glance, UK Travel

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The Royal Beasts | Unique things to do in London, UK Travel
The Royal Beasts

WHAT IS THE TOWER OF LONDON

The Tower of London is an historic castle complex. In 1066, William the Conqueror broke ground on the site after occupying the region. The White Tower (Tower of London) was immense for its time, and meant to be a symbol of the conquering army's might. Throughout the centuries, the complex expanded to include more buildings, two rings of defensive walls, and a moat.


Originally built as a royal residence, kings and queens have utilized the Tower fortress as an armory, mint, treasury, public record office, zoo, and prison. Today, the site is a museum that is run by the Historic Royal Palaces charity.

The Towers at the Tower of London | Tower of London Guide, UK Travel
The Towers at the Tower of London

WHERE IS THE TOWER OF LONDON

The Tower of London is located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. The complex is easily reached by public transport including train, buses, and riverboat transport. Set in the heart of the city, the museum grounds are within walking distance of many attractions – making it a great base in which to stay. Here is a sampling of hotels near the Tower of London:

Mid-range – The Tower Hotel

The Line of Kings  | Things to do in London, UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Line of Kings

TOWER OF LONDON TOURS

Visiting the Tower is one of the most popular things to do in London. Plan for a half-day visit to see all the exhibits (2-4 hours). Many tour operators also bundle Tower of London tours with other attractions. Here is a sampling of some common tours:


TOWER OF LONDON HOURS

Tuesday to Saturday: 10am to 5:30pm (last admission 3:30pm)

Sunday and Monday: 10am to 5:30pm (last admission 3:30pm)

 

TOWER OF LONDON ADMISSION

Adult General Entry: £34.80 ($44.27USD)

Children (age 5-15yo) General Entry: £17.40 ($22.13 USD)

 

TOWER OF LONDON MAP

Tower of London Map: Credit - Historic Royal Palaces CharityLondon
Credit - Historic Royal Palaces Charity

TOWER OF LONDON FACTS

  1. Facilities include a cafe, gift shop, bathrooms, baby changing rooms, and stroller parking.

  2. There is free wifi throughout the grounds.

  3. Audio guides are available for touring.

  4. Ground surfaces can be uneven, sloping, and slippery.

  5. Accommodations have been made to make exhibits accessible to people with disabilities. See the park’s website for more information.

  6. Photography is allowed in most areas. There is no photography allowed in the Jewel House or the Chapel of St. John; and no commercial photography allowed.

The Royal Armories | Tower of London Guide, UK Travel
The Royal Armories

TOWER OF LONDON GUIDE

YEOMAN WARDER TOURS

The Yeomen Warders are royal bodyguards who have protected the Tower of London since 1509. It is said that as the king’s bodyguards, the regimen was allowed to eat as much beef as they wanted. Hence, the Yeomen became known as “the Beefeaters.”

 

You will find the Yeomen Warders near the main entrance of the park. From this location, free Yeomen tours depart every 30 minutes. On the tour, you will hear tales of betrayal, murder, romance, and imprisonment. Also, available are Private Meet and Greet Beefeater experience.

The Tower of London Guard | Tower of London Crown Jewels | UK Travel
The Tower of London Guard

TOWER OF LONDON CROWN JEWELS

The Tower of London Crown Jewels are said to number over 23, 578 gemstones. Housed under guard in the Treasury, the royal collection is still regularly used in State ceremonies – like the recent coronation of King Charles. Plan to spend about an hour at this exhibit. No photography/videography is allowed in the Jewel House. TIP: To avoid long lines, try to see the collection first thing in the morning.

Crown Jewels at the Jewel House | UK Travel Blog
Crown Jewels at the Jewel House

THE WHITE TOWER

Known as Britain’s most famous castle, the White Tower was built to inspire awe, and frighten off foreign invaders. The structure is nearly one thousand years old. Must-see exhibits at the White Tower include:

  • The Royal Armories: See the tournament amour of kings such as Henry VII, Charles I, and James II as well as novelties such as armor for the ‘Dwarf’ and the ‘Giant.’ In the Line of the Kings display, view historic armors on a parade of finely carved horses.

  • Tower of London Torture Chambers: On the White Tower’s top floor view an executioner’s axe and block. In the basement see a torture and interrogation room.

  • Armory in Action: Work with ancient firearms, swords, and arrows in this hands-on exhibit.

  • St. John’s Chapel: At the top of the White Tower is a grand Anglo-Norman chapel where kings and queens of the medieval era worshipped.

St. John's Chapel at the Tower of London, UK Travel Blog
St. John's Chapel

TOWER GREEN AND SCAFFOLD SITE

Situated on a side lawn, the Tower Green and Scaffold Site was the location reserved for executing people of high rank. Ten people were executed at this site including three queens; Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, and Lady Jane Grey.

Tower Green & Scaffold Site | Unique things to do in London
Tower Green & Scaffold Site

THE MEDIEVAL PALACE

Built by different kings, three towers (St. Thomas, the Wakefield, and Lanthorn) make up the complex known as the Medieval Palace. Facing the Thames, visitors can glimpse how medieval kings and their families lived. View kitchens, a great hall, bed chambers, dining rooms, and more.

Polar Bear at Royal Beasts Exhibit | Tower of London Guide, Travel Blog
Polar Bear at Royal Beasts Exhibit

ROYAL BEASTS

In the past, the keeping of unusual species by kings and queens was a status symbol. Gifts of exotic animals were often given between royals. At one time the Royal Menagerie was home to over 60 species of animals. The museum display includes life size animal sculptures and interactive displays of the creatures who once inhabited the zoo.

Walking the Battlements at the Tower of London, UNESCO World Heritage Site
Walking the Battlements

BATTLEMENTS

Massive stone walls surround the Tower of London Along the walls are battlements which connect the site’s many towers. The strongholds were used for observation, secure places to conduct state business, and as military storerooms. At various points across the complex, visitors can walk atop the walls, and tour the connecting towers.


GARDEN TOWER

In the Garden Tower (aka the Bloody Tower), guests can learn the story of ‘the princes in the tower.’ In 1483, 12 year old Edward V and his younger brother disappeared from the tower where their uncle had placed them for safekeeping. Almost 200 years later their skeletons were discovered in a wall. It is thought the boys were murdered by their uncle in a grab for the crown.

Keeper's Dragon from Royal Armories | Tower of London Guide, UK Travel
Keeper's Dragon from Royal Armories

BEAUCHAMP TOWER

The Beauchamp Tower is the location of the Imprisonment at the Tower Exhibition. Learn about the famous people who were imprisoned at the tower such as Elizabeth I, Guy Fawkes, and Anne Boleyn. See the rooms where prisoners were kept, and the graffiti scribbled by desperate captives.

 

LOWER WAKEFIELD TOWER

In the 1500s and 1600s, the Tower operated a torture chamber whose function it was to exact information from prisoners through physical and mental abuse. The display informs about instruments of torture utilized at the Tower such as manacles, the Rack, and Scavenger’s Daughter.

Heading to Torture at the Tower | Things to do in London
Heading to Torture at the Tower

TOWER OF LONDON RAVENS

A flock of ravens’ lives at the Tower of London. Legend has it that if the ravens abandon the Tower, London and the realm will fall. The ravens are under the care of the Raven Master. The birds have access to four different areas within the complex, but can often be found on the south lawn.

Lunch between the Tower & the Bridge | Tower of London Guide
Lunch between the Tower & the Bridge

 Hope you enjoyed our Tower of London guide, Laura and Randy

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This Way to the Tower of London | Thing to do in London, UK Travel
This Way to the Tower of London

 

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