The Tower of London
The Tower of London has sat on the north bank of the Thames since the reign of William the Conqueror.
If you’re planning a visit to London anytime soon, then make sure you don’t return home before you’ve taken a tour of the Tower.
A visitor’s guide
London has added some real architectural marvels to its landscape over the centuries, yet the Tower of London is still the sight that never fails to take tourists’ breath away. The imposing fortress, with the iconic White Tower sitting at its centre, is an absolute must-see attraction for anyone who wants to fully appreciate London’s fascinating history.
A brief history
The Tower of London has sat on the north bank of the Thames since the reign of William the Conqueror. Its fortifications may have been destroyed and rebuilt several times over the years, but it has always remained a symbol of the British monarchy’s power and strength. Over the years, the tower has served as a prison and an armoury. It was also the first home of the Royal Mint, and it’s even housed a menagerie.
What to see
Most people head to the tower with just one destination in mind: the vault in the Waterloo Block, where the British crown jewels are on display. The collection really is a sight to behold – after all it features the world-famous Star of Africa diamond, which is embedded in the Queen’s sceptre. But the tower has many other historical gems for visitors to discover. You could follow in the footsteps of Sir Walter Raleigh or the tragic boy princes by taking a walk through the Bloody Tower’s cells. Or if you want to get a better understanding of the Tower’s gruesome past, then take a look around the terrifying instruments on display at the Torture at the Tower exhibition.
Best time to visit
Like all London attractions, the Tower of London can get extremely busy on weekends and bank holidays, as well as during school holidays. If you can, try to visit on a weekday during term time. In the summer months, the tower opens at 9am, so try to arrive early to ensure you have enough time to see everything the tower has to offer.
The Tower of London is just a 5-minute walk from Tower Hill underground station (Circle and District lines). Or, if you need a station with accessibility, Tower Gateway on the DLR line is also a few minutes away. If you’re driving, parking is available in nearby Lower Thames Street and there are also designated bays for Blue Badge holders.
Take a tour
When you purchase Tower of London tickets, tours conducted by the famous ‘Beefeater’ Yeoman Warders are included in the admission price. However, if you’d prefer to explore the tower at your own pace, you can pay extra for an audio guide. Or if you want to experience the wonders of the tower without the hustle and bustle of the crowds, then you can purchase a ticket for one of the exclusive after-hours events, such as the Twilight Tours held on Sunday evenings, or the truly marvellous Ceremony of the Keys.