The Tower of London derives its name from its central ‘White Tower’ and has 22 towers in total. It is a stronghold within two concentric walls and a moat. Officially known as ‘Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London’ its origins started with the building of the White Tower in 1078. Since then, it grew over time and became the large castle it is today.
A Tower of London Tour is also inclusive of entry to permanent exhibitions of the exquisite Crown Jewels, the regal armoury display of the ‘Line of the Kings’, as well as the ‘Coins and Kings’ collection of the Royal Mint. Right from the ‘Ceremony of the Keys' to the feeding of ravens, a Tower of London tour promises a day full of history and excitement. Here is everything you need to know before you pick a tour.
Things to know
Best time to visit - weekday after 3 pm
Suggested duration - 3 Hours
Built in - 1070
Closest subway Stop - Tower Hill
Starting Tower of London Ticket Price - £29.9
• Sun-Mon: 10 AM - 4:30 PM
• Tue-Sat: 9 AM - 4:30 PM
The White Tower and the Line of Kings
The Jewel House
The Royal Mint
The Bloody Tower
The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers Museum
St Katharine's & Wapping,
London EC3N 4AB, UK
Why You Must Visit The Tower of London
When William the Conqueror set about building the ‘Tower of London’ to establish his rule in the city, he picked a strategic spot. Right beside the River of Thames on Tower Hill, the Tower was set to be built so it could be seen from afar. Throughout its history, the Tower was expanded by future kings and queens. It has witnessed the Game of Thrones and tells tales of horror, political manipulation, and palace intrigue.
Not only the stories, but the physical architecture of the Tower of London also made it the strongest castle keep in the world. It was a military stronghold and housed the royal armoury. Its forts boast of the strength and valour of the British Empire. With a fortress, a prison, a mint and a royal residency, the Tower of London has played many roles. To truly experienced the place, one needs to step inside it and take a trip through 900 years of British history.
Tower of London History
The Tower of London was meant as a Royal Residence but over time it became a place for the royal armoury and prison. The gruesome history goes back to its use as a prison where it held influential royalty like Anne Boleyn and Queen Elizabeth I. Later, to add to the list, Guy Fawkes also joined the ranks of prisoners.
Today the Tower of London is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is visited by more than 2.7 million tourists each year. The castle is more than just an architectural masterpiece; it is a testament to the history of England itself!
All about the Tower Of London Post COVID-19 Lockdown
Tower of London Tickets & Tours
There are various ways you can go about taking a Tower of London Tour. You can opt to tour just the White Tower, behold the Crown Jewels and go on a Beefeater Tour, or you can buy combo tickets that allows you a Tour of the Tower along with tickets to another prime attraction in London. We highly recommend the Combo tours as they work better on the pocket and help you save a few euros.
Best Tower of London Combo Tours
These tours come along with tickets to other London attractions with complimentary walking tours across the city. Purchasing these tours are a great way to save money while you explore more of London.
Highlights of Your Tower of London Tour Experience
1Tower of London Crown Jewels
Rites and rituals passed on for generations have maintained a semblance of continuity in the British monarchy. While the world is moving on to different governing models, the monarchy and its unique traditions appear enigmatic. The coronation regalia or as they are commonly known, ‘crown jewels’, form a part of the monarchy's traditions.
Used since the 1600s during coronations and other special occasions by the kings and queens, these jewels are the symbol of the wealth of the British Empire. The iconic crown jewel collection is stored in the Jewel House at the Tower of London. It holds more than 140 objects, including 7 sovereign crowns and other objects like sceptres, orbs, swords, robes, and sacred plates. Some of the unique items include The Imperial State Crown, St. Edward’s Crown, the Sovereign’s Orb, and the Jewelled Sword of Offering.
The unique collection houses 23,578 gemstones sourced from all across the world, displaying the might of the empire back in its golden period. It also hosts magnificent diamonds like the world’s largest diamond – Cullinan I – as well as the famous Koh-i-Noor, which now adorns the Queen’s crown.
There was one primary purpose of the White Tower – to intimidate and unnerve invaders. It served this purpose incredibly well! Built by William the Conqueror in the 1080s, the White Tower is the most recognisable n the Tower of London. The tower was a castle keep, the strongest part of a medieval castle, and was, in fact, known to be one of the strongest military holds in the Christian World.
Today, it holds the Royal Armouries Collection, including the Line of King's exhibition. You will also find an incredible Romanesque Chapel inside known as St. Johns’ Chapel. The White Tower also has a macabre history – the top floor of the tower has an 18th-century executioner block with an axe! The tower’s basement also has witnessed gore, including the torture of Guy Fawkes and the Jesuit priest John Gerard.
3Yeoman Warder / Beefeater Tour
You will often spot a uniformed guard at the Tower of London, regaling groups of tourists with stories of palace intrigue, imprisonment, torture and more. These are the Yeoman Warder tours conducted at the Tower of London for free of cost in your Tower of London tickets! Nicknamed as the ‘Beefeaters’, these guards are Members of the Sovereign's Body Guard of the Yeoman Guard Extraordinary and have been the ceremonial guards of the Tower for more than 500 years.
Currently, there are 37 Yeoman Guards at the Tower, including a woman. One of them is also the designated ‘Ravenmaster’ who takes care of the ravens at the tower. The story goes that once the ravens leave the tower, it will fall to ruins! The Beefeaters are believed to be given this name because they could have unlimited access to beef from the king’s table. Today, these Yeoman Guards are the living icons of the Tower of London and their engaging tours start every 30 minutes at the Tower of London.
4The Ravens at Tower of London
Better known as the guardians of the Tower, you will see a flock of Ravens, oversized black crows at the South Lawn of the Tower. The legend goes that the Tower of London will fall if the six resident ravens ever leave the fortress, so expect to see 7 Ravens roaming the Tower precincts during the day and presiding over four different territories within the Tower's walls. The current Tower ravens are Jubilee, Harris, Gripp, Rocky, Erin, Poppy and Merlina. If you're lucky, you might even see the Ravenmaster feeding them. Be warned, one must not attempt to feed the ravens as they can bite if they feel their territory is being threatened.
5The Lines of Kings Exhibition
The Line of Kings is one of the oldest exhibitions at the Tower of London, having originally debuted in 1688. It was designed to promote ‘kingship’ and pride in the monarchy after a tumultuous period in history. The original exhibition was curated based on the morality of the kings and only a few kings like Edward III and Henry VIII made it to the exhibition. Today, however, there is a full representation of the history of kings and noblemen. The exhibition is a display of the royal armoury and includes the full armour mounted on wooden horses. There are also many oddities and unique objects related to the armed forces of the monarchy. The exhibition is included in the price of the Tower of London tickets and is an incredible display of the strength of the British monarchy.
5The Coins & Kings Exhibition
The Tower of London experience is not complete without a visit to the permanent exhibition, ‘Coins and Kings’. The exhibition is located at what used to be the site of the Mint before it was moved out of the Tower after a financial crisis. It includes an impressive display of coins that have been used since the early 1200s. There are also outdoor installations and interactive displays which narrate the history of currency in England. You will also come across unheard stories, like the time when Isaac Newton tried to rid London of counterfeiters and the time when Charles II rejected commonwealth money. The Coins and Kings exhibition is included in the Tower of London tickets and should not be missed!
6Live Historical Re-enactments
A unique event with live historical enactments is conducted regularly at the Tower of London. The theatrical group dresses up in medieval costumes and enacts some of the most interesting events from history. The interesting aspect is that the show also involves the audience, making it the perfect tourist experience. While listening to an audio guide or live guide is one thing, the historical enactments ensure you will never forget about the Red Earl, Johanna Ferrour, or Sir Thomas Neville!
Tower of London Map
If you're doing a self guided tour, it would be advised to download the map and keep it handy on your phone. The area is vast and chances of you getting lost are high!
All about the Tower Of London Entrances
Know Before You Visit The Tower of London
Getting to Tower of London
Adress: St Katharine's & Wapping, London EC3N 4AB, UK
The Tower of London can be easily accessed by public transport plus. Most hop on hop off tour buses also stop at the Tower.
- Tube: The closest tube station is Tower Hill (Circle and District lines)
- Bus: 15, 42, 78, 100, and RV1
- Overground: The closest stations are Fenchurch Street and London Bridge
- Riverboat: The closest river access point is Tower Pier
Tour of London Opening Timings
The Tower of London is open daily except between 24th-26th December and 1st January.
Summer (1st March - 31st October)
Tuesday-Saturday: 9 AM - 5:30 PM
Sunday-Monday: 10 AM - 5:30 PM
Last admission: 5 PM
Winter (1st November - 28th February)
Tuesday-Saturday: 9 AM - 4:30 PM
Sunday-Monday: 10 AM - 4:30 PM
Last admission: 4 PM
Tower of London - Accessibility
- Wheelchairs are available free of charge on a first come first serve basis.
- There are lifts available at the White Tower near the Raven shop and the New Armouries Café.
- Only the Jewel Tower and Crown Jewels exhibition is wheelchair accessible. Being a medieval castle, the rough stone pathways and stairs do not make it accessible for wheelchair users.
Handy Tips For Your Tower of London Visit
- There is no baggage storage facility, so travel light.
- Tripods and Selfie-sticks are not allowed.
- Those who have purchased the London Explorer Pass or London Royal Palace Pass have free access to the Tower of London tours.
- Head to the Tower of London early in the day, you can also catch the opening of the complex of Tower of London at about 8:45 AM every morning. The crowds are thinner in the morning and you can get to see everything at your own pace without waiting.
- The Yeoman Warder tours start at 10 AM and one every 30 minutes after that. Don’t miss out on the experience, as the guards are witty and narrate some lesser known facts and stories.
- The Crown Jewels exhibit is often the busiest in the entire palace complex. The best way is to view it first thing in the morning and then head to the Yeoman Tour at 10 AM.
- It will take you about 2-3 hours to walk around the castle and check off all the important exhibits, so plan your visit accordingly.
- Ceremony of the Keys is a unique closing ceremony of the Tower of London. Although it is free, it has a limited audience and requires advance booking which is currently done till January 2019! So if you are traveling after that keep a look out for the availability of tickets.
- To avoid the hustle and bustle that engulfs the tower on any given day, make sure that you arrive right at the opening time. This will give you time to explore in peace without running into tourists at every corner.
- You cannot stand and admire the Crown Jewels for as long as you want. In order to avoid the blockage of the display cases, visitors are required to step on a conveyor belt that will take them around the collection. If you feel that you did not get enough time with the Crown Jewels, fret not! You can simply get back on the conveyor belt and admire the collection all over again.
- Even during peak hours while the main areas are swamped with tourists, you can always find one or two quiet spots in the vicinity. If you are looking to spend some down time admiring the towers, head over to the benches near the South Battlements. They offer you an unrivalled view of the White Tower.
- You can also purchase the London Royal Palace Pass that will grant you access to the top 4 Palaces in the city.
Tower of London Reviews
Had a great day at the Tower of London. My first visit inside was the crown jewels has just after opening was not a wait to visit. Enjoy the tour and seeing one of the tower ravens very close up
Paul J, TripAdvisor, March 2018
Of course, this is a great place to visit. Many things to see inside the walls. The best thing for us was taking the Beefeaters Tour and learning all the true facts and fiction about the tower.
Terence G, TripAdvisor, March 2018
Explore Other Palaces In London
Buckingham Palace is the most iconic landmark of London. No trip to London is complete without a visit to the official residence of Her Majesty The Queen. A tour around the palatial complex, gardens, the magnificent Ballroom, influential Throne Room and change of guards event is a quintessential experience. The distance from the Tower of London to Buckingham Palace is only 4.8 km making no room for excuses to visit.
London is a city which is not short of Palaces. One of its most important and remarkable palaces is the Kensington Palace, the residence of the royals for over 300 years. Surrounded by the Kensington Gardens, the Palace was known as the London residence of Diana, Princess of Wales. Kensington Palace is 7.9 km from the Tower of London, a quick tube ride away.
In the English county of Berkshire, lies the most beautiful of fortifications, the Windsor Castle. It is a royal residence of the British royal family and has a history of over 1000 years. The longest-occupied palace in Europe was originally built in the 11th century and covers over 13.000 acres, making it the biggest palace in England. The journey from the Tower of London to Windsor castle is about 2 hours by trainand is a place worth the travel.
4Hampton Court Palace
The Hampton Court Palace is a Grade I listed royal palace in London. A symbol of sophistication during its time, building the Hampton Court Palace cost a fortune in accordance with the renaissance school of architecture. Wander the chambers of the Hampton Court Palace, where the six marriages of Henry VIII rewrote history. The Hampton Court Maze, an engaging and rather confusing structure is Britain's oldest surviving hedge maze and takes to the heart of adults and children alike.
3 Palace Pass (Tower of London + Hampton Court Palace + Kensington Palace)
What is the Tower of London used for today?
Today, the tower is a museum that houses the Crown Jewels of England.
Is the Tower of London open in August 2021?
Yes, the Tower of London is open as of July 2021.
Does anyone live in the Tower of London?
The Yeoman Warders and their families live in the tower traditionally. Today is home to 150 people including a doctor and a chaplain.
Who is buried at the Tower of London?
Three Queens of England; Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, and Lady Jane Grey are buried in the Tower.
Does the Queen own the Tower of London?
Yes, the Tower belongs to the Crown.
Who was the last person executed in the Tower of London?
The last person executed in the Tower was Josef Jakobs on 15 August 1941.
Can you go inside the Tower of London?
Yes, although access is only permitted if you have the Tower of London tickets.
How long does it take to tour the Tower of London?
It can take up to 3 hours to tour the Tower of London.
What is the best time to visit the Tower of London?
On a weekday after 3 pm is your best chance to see fewer tourists and explore the Tower of London at your own pace.
Are the crown jewels in the Tower of London real?
Yes, you can find Crown Jewels kept under armed guard in the Jewel House.
Can you bring a backpack to the Tower of London?
Large bags are not permitted inside the tower. You will have to find a storage facility around the vicinity in case you have large baggage.
Which are the attractions covered in a Tower of London tour?
Depending on your choice of tour, the attractions covered will be the Crown Jewels, White Tower, Bloody Tower etc.
Do I need to buy Tower of London tickets in advance?
Since the Tower of London is a popular attraction, it is always a good idea to buy tickets in advance.
Are Tower of London tickets refundable?
Redundability and cancellation differs depending on the kind of Tower of London Ticket you purchase.