The phrase “Send him to the tower” struck terror in England centuries ago.
With centuries of bizarre stories about execution and imprisonment, the Tower of London offers insights into London’s rich yet complex history.
The Tower, built as a Royal residence, has been a political prison, a royal mint, a royal menagerie, and most importantly, a place of execution.
Today, The Tower serves as home to the Crown Jewels of England.
Table of contents
- What to expect at the Tower of London
- How to reach Tower of London
- Tower of London hours
- Best time to visit the Tower of London
- How long does Tower of London take
- Tower of London tickets
- Tower of London guided tours
- What to see at the Tower of London
- Tower of London audio guide
- Tower of London map
- Tower of London FAQs
What to expect at the Tower of London
With 3 million visitors annually, the Tower of London is the most visited paid attraction in England.
To skip the long lines at the ticketing counter and have a comfortable tour of the Tower of London, you must buy the tickets in advance.
How to reach Tower of London
The Tower of London is on the North bank of the River Thames, right next to Tower Bridge.
Closest tube station
Tower Hill is the closest tube station to the Tower of London.
The station is connected to the Tower with a concrete underpass.
Keep in mind that the station becomes extremely busy during rush hours.
Nearest overground station
You can reach the Tower of London by taking an Overground as well.
Take the train to Fenchurch Street and walk the last five minutes.
You can also take the Overground to London Bridge station and enjoy a 15 minutes walk to the Tower of London.
This London attraction is always a stop on the route of major sightseeing buses.
Apart from the regular mode of transportation, visitors can also reach the Tower of London by boat or cycle.
The nearest riverboat access point to The Tower is the Tower Pier.
Note: The Tower of London has no parking spots because it is a car-free zone. However, you can park at Tower Hill Station.
Tower of London hours
From Tuesday to Saturday, the Tower of London opens at 9 am, and from Sunday to Monday, it opens at 10 am.
During the summer months of March to October, the Tower of London closes at 5.30 pm, and during the rest of the year, they close one hour early – at 4.30 pm.
The last entry is half an hour before closing time.
The London attraction remains closed from 24 to 26 December and on 1 January.
Best time to visit the Tower of London
The best time to visit The Tower of London is as soon as they open – 9 am from Tuesday to Saturday, and 10 am on Sundays and Mondays.
When you reach early, you can avoid the queues, have a relaxed tour of the Fortress, see the Crown Jewels before the room gets crowded, and witness the Opening Ceremony.
During the Opening Ceremony, visitors can see the Yeoman carrying Queen’s keys accompanied by the guards.
From 12 noon to 3 pm, the peak hours, long queues form outside the Jewel House.
Yet another advantage of planning an early visit is the splendid views of the city the Tower of London offers.
If possible, opt for a weekday because weekends get really crowded.
After all, Tripadvisor rates the Tower of London as a top ten attraction.
Irrespective of the day, buying Tower of London tickets in advance helps you skip the long lines at the ticket counter.
The London City Card includes tickets to The Shard, Tower of London, and a cruise on the River Thames for as long as you want. You also get a 10% discount code, which you can use (five times!) to get discounts on future purchases.
How long does Tower of London take
If you are visiting with kids or elders, you will need at least three hours to explore the Tower of London.
Visitors in a hurry are known to rush through the London attraction in 90 minutes.
However long you plan on exploring, don’t miss out on the tour offered by the Yeoman Warders group.
These free tours last 30 to 40 minutes and start every 30 minutes from the entrance of the Tower of London.
The Yeoman’s tour is the only way you can get into the St. John’s Chapel in The Tower of London.
The London Pass gets you inside 60 tourist attractions for free. Save time and money!
Tower of London tickets
The Tower of London permits free entry to children below four years, and everybody else must purchase tickets to enter.
You can cancel these Tower of London tickets 24 hours before your planned visit for a full refund.
Tower of London ticket inclusions
Your ticket to The Tower of London gives you access to all the public areas of the Tower.
The price of the tickets includes entry to the Crown Jewels display, Line of Kings display, and the iconic Yeoman Warder guided tours.
The ticket cost also includes all the children’s activities and trails.
However, an adult must accompany a child at all times.
The ticket also allows admission to the White Tower, Bloody Tower, and battlements.
Tower of London ticket prices
Gate prices are costlier, and when you buy Tower of London tickets online, you save 15% on the ticket cost.
Tower of London tickets costs 26.80 Pounds for visitors 16 years and above.
Kids four years and below enter for free, while children aged 5 to 15 years must purchase a ticket for 12.70 Pounds.
Seniors 60 years and above and students aged 16 to 26 qualify for a discounted ticket of 20.90 Pounds.
Adult ticket (16-59 years): 26.80 Pounds
Senior ticket (60+ years): 20.90 Pounds
Student ticket (16-26 years, with ID): 20.90 Pounds
Children ticket (5-15 years): 12.70 Pounds
*Family ticket (two adults & up to 3 kids): 68.10 Pounds
*You will find the option to book the Tower of London Family ticket, on the ticket booking page.
Most tourists who visit the Tower of London also explore Kensington Palace. Buy combo ticket
Tower of London guided tours
Guided tours of the Tower of London guarantee that while walking in the Fortress corridors, you also understand the Tower’s significance.
We highly recommend that you take a guided tour to absorb the detailed history and stories surrounding the Tower.
All the guided tour tickets are smartphone tickets, which means you don’t need to print them.
After purchase, the tickets get emailed to you and on the day of your visit, you can show the ticket on your mobile and enter.
1. Tower of London small group guided tour
First, you skip the long lines at the entrance of the Tower of London and see the Crown Jewels without anybody rushing you.
You get a chance to enjoy your tour in a small group accompanied by an expert tour guide – one of the legendary Beefeater guardsmen.
After the 1-hour guided tour is over, you can explore by yourself for as long as you want.
Adult Ticket (15+ years): 57 Pounds
Child Ticket (4-15 years): 52 Pounds
Infant Ticket (0-3 years): Free Entry
2. Tower of London private guided tour
With this tour, you get a chance to explore the iconic Tower of London at your own pace. Like a King and Queen.
The 2-3-hour private tour ensures that you absorb every minor detail about the Tower of London.
From learning about the exotic animals kept in the Royal Menagerie to the secrets behind the oldest parts of the castle, this tour covers everything.
The tour also ensures that you learn about the infamous tortures and beheadings at this attraction.
This private tour is available in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Russian.
You will find the option to book a 2-hour or a 3-hour private guided tour on the booking page.
2-hour tour for 2 tourists: 145 Pounds
3-hour tour for 3 tourists: 150 Pounds
What to see at the Tower of London
If you plan to spend only an hour to 90 minutes at the Tower of London, check out our first three recommendations.
If you have a full three hours on your hand, you must try and explore everything we have listed below.
The Jewel House has a world-famous collection of 23,578 gemstones, some of which are still in use.
The Crown Jewels, which are part of the Royal Collection, are the most potent symbols of the British Monarchy.
From 12 noon to 3 pm, this part of the Tower of London sees long queues.
The Ravens at South Lawn
Charles II believed that if the six Ravens living in the Tower leave, both the Fortress and Britain will be in trouble.
So he ordered them to be kept safe in the Tower.
Today one of their wings is clipped, so they can’t fly away. There is even a backup raven – so there are seven in total.
The ravens are free to roam the Tower of London and respond only to the Ravenmaster.
Medieval Palace combines three Towers – St Thomas’ Tower, the Wakefield Tower, and the Lanthorn Tower.
It is at the center of the Tower of London’s residential area.
These Towers got built in the 13th century by Henry III and his son Edward I.
At the Medieval Palace, visitors can see how 13th-century life used to be in the London Tower.
Tour with Yeoman Warders Group
Go on the 30-minute tour with the Yeoman Warders group for a quick tour of the Fortress. Meet them at the entrance.
Also known as Beefeaters, they narrate stories from the thousand-year history of the Fortress.
Note: Parts of the Yeoman Warder tour may be scary to young children.
The Execution site
This area is a green space stretching to the west of the White Tower.
It is difficult to imagine today that it was once an execution site that saw ten people getting beheaded, including three queens.
The three English queens were:
- Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII (suspected adultery)
- Catherine Howard, Henry’s fifth wife (suspected adultery)
- Lady Jane Grey, Queen for only nine days (pawn in a failed coup attempt)
Don’t miss out on the memorial.
The White Tower showcases the historic Royal Armouries collections, including the 350-year-old exhibition, Line of Kings.
The White Tower is one of the most impressive 11th-century buildings in Europe.
Construction of the Tower got started by William the Conqueror around 1075-9 and was completed by 1100.
Wall Walk is a walk on the massive stone encirclement that forms the Tower’s walls built in the mid-13th century.
This walk is the best way to explore the Medieval Palace and the seven towers – the Salt, Broad Arrow, Constable, Martin, Royal Beasts, Bowyer, and Flint Tower.
Before being called the Bloody Tower, it used to be called the Garden Tower.
It is believed that the future Richard III killed 12-year-old Edward V and his younger brother, Richard, in 1483, in the Tower.
They stayed in the Bloody Tower on their uncle’s orders, and then one beautiful day, they disappeared.
Traitors’ Gate was initially called Water Gate.
King Edward I and other royals would use this Gate to get into St. Thomas’ Tower by water.
With time, it got used to bringing in prisoners accused of treason.
Even Queen Elizabeth I (before she was queen) entered the Tower through Traitors’ Gate.
The Fusilier Museum narrates the story of the British infantry regiment from its formation at the Tower in 1685 to the present day.
The Museum resides in a building originally built as army Officers’ quarters.
Exhibitions to explore
There are many ongoing exhibitions at the Tower of London, and visitors highly recommend them.
1. Line of Kings
This 300-year-old exhibition is the world’s longest-running visitor attraction.
This historic display featuring arms and royal armor, wooden horses and figures of kings, etc., is on the entrance floor of the White Tower.
2. Royal Beasts
The Tower of London had to come up with a space for its collection of wild animals (menagerie) because Kings exchanged rare and strange animals as gifts back in those days.
The three lions gifted by Roman Emperor Frederick III to Henry III of England were the inspiration for the three lions on the England football teams’ shirts.
3. Wellington’s Fortress
This exhibition is on Duke of Wellington, one of Britain’s most outstanding military leaders, who became the Constable of the Tower in 1826.
He is known for adapting the Fortress for modern warfare and making the Army more professional.
After several vicious attacks by the animals, he also closed down the Royal Menagerie at the Tower.
4. The Tower of London remembers
At the ‘Tower of London Remembers’ exhibition, visitors can see how the fortress got used to recruit, deploy, and train soldiers for World War 1.
To mark the centenary of the First World War this exhibition was further expanded with past and present photos to compare the Fortress then and now.
5. Coins and Kings
Royal Mint has operated from the Tower of London for the last 500 years.
At this exhibition, you get to know exciting stories about British money.
Don’t miss out on how Isaac Newton tried to get London rid of counterfeiters, how Elizabeth l attempted to restore the currency following her father’s meddling, etc.
6. Torture at the Tower
At the bottom of the Wakefield Tower, you get to explore an exhibition on prisoners and the torture they had to experience.
You get to see the torture methods used at the Tower of London, complete with replicas of the instruments.
Most of these instruments were from the 1500s and 1600s when political and religious upheavals dominated the timeline.
7. Crowns through History
This exhibition is housed in Martin Tower and tells the story of English royal crowns and their famous stones.
Across three Towers – Salt, Lower Bowyer, and Beauchamp – you get to see where ‘bad guys’ got imprisoned and the graffiti they left behind.
In here, you get to witness 900 years of prisoner history.
This exhibition narrates stories about how the Tower of London doubled up as a Fortress.
Don’t miss out on the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, where a bunch of peasants managed to invade the Tower successfully.
Tip: Since the Tower of London is close to London Bridge and Tower Bridge, tourists add one of them (sometimes both!) as the next item on their itinerary.
Tower of London audio guide
Uncover the Tower of London with the audio guide. Choose from the multiple tours present and enjoy the tour at your speed.
Track down the Tower’s origin, Medieval Palace, and true hair-raising stories of imprisonment and execution.
Meet the famous Yeoman Warders and listen to the mystery behind the Ravens of the Tower. Learn more about the Crown Jewels and have a look at the Line of the Kings.
Tower of London audio guide is available in English, Dutch, French. German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
Once you have the Tower of London audio guide, you can choose from the tours present below –
1. Fortress tour
Discover the oldest history related to the Tower and learn about the priceless collection of treasures.
The tour includes the Tower’s beginnings and The Crown Jewels.
2. Palace Tour
Uncover the ancient royal rooms and learn about the daily life of today’s Tower residents. Also, witness the ancient ceremonies still performed today.
This tour includes the Medieval Palace and glimpses into Life at the Tower.
3. Prison Tour
Get a load of the true ghastly stories about some of the most famous prisoners and executions.
Learn how the Tower got its infamous image.
This audio tour includes stories about imprisonment and executions. You also learn about the Traitor’s Gate on this audio tour.
4. Family Tour
The family tour of the Tower familiarizes you with the story of Rocky the Raven and his friends.
You can also make use of a special feature, ‘Plan your day,’ to make the most out of your visit.
This section helps you find out the special activities and events on the day of your visit.
Tower of London map
The Tower of London, the fortress situated in the heart of London, has three ‘wards’ or enclosures.
Within every enclosure, there are many passages, and each one is important to learn the history of the place.
With the complex structure, the Tower has a long list of buildings and establishments to be seen.
It is easy to get lost or miss out on must-see attractions while exploring the Tower of London.
That’s why it is better to keep the Tower of London’s map handy, especially if you are visiting with kids or the elderly.
Being aware of the layout will also help you find guest services such as restrooms, cafes, restaurants, information kiosks easily.
Or better still, book a guided tour of the Tower of London.
Tower of London FAQs
Here are some questions often asked by tourists planning a visit to the Tower of London.
- Why was the Tower of London built?
The Tower is an intricate structure of several towers and structures. It is famous as one of the oldest prisons in the world.
The actual purpose behind the construction was to protect London, the capital of the British Empire.
However, soon enough, the Tower of London became famous (or infamous) for other brutal uses.
- When was the Tower of London built?
The Tower of London is a 900-year-old castle and fortress.
The foundation of the Tower was laid by William the Conqueror around 1066 AD.
According to historian Geoffrey Parnell, the Fortress expanded for about 250 years after William the Conqueror’s time.
Today, what we see is a series of buildings laid out on over 12 acres of land.
- What are Tower of London Crown Jewels?
The Jewel House situated within the Tower of London displays The Crown Jewels, which are part of the Royal Collection still regularly used by the Queen.
The Collection includes the 800-year-old Coronation Spoon and St. Edward’s Crown.
The Crown is worn when the Monarch is crowned at the Westminster Abbey.
The Tower of London is also home to The Imperial State Crown, which The Queen actively uses.
- Who are Tower of London Crown Guards?
The guards at the Tower of London are known as The Yeoman Warders.
At the Tower of London, there are 12 such Yeomen Warders.
Dating back to the time, the actual responsibility of these guards was to look after the prisoners in the Tower of London.
However, today the Yeoman Warders have become tour guides at the Tower of London. Their home is the Tower itself.
These Yeoman Warders are nicknamed ‘Beefeaters’.
- What are Tower of London Ravens?
The ravens of the Tower of London are a group of at least six ravens.
The group of six ravens is kept captive at the Tower itself.
These Ravens are associated with the Tower and the Crown by a superstition.
The superstition says that “if the Tower of London ravens are lost, or they fly away, the Crown will fall and so will Britain with it.”
Specific Raven Masters feed these ravens.
Today, the Tower of London plays host to seven Ravens (six as per the superstition and one as backup).