The Tower of London, officially Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, which is separated from the eastern edge of the square mile of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill. It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078 and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite. The castle was also used as a prison from 1100 (Ranulf Flambard) until 1952 (Kray twins), although that was not its primary purpose. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence. As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. There were several phases of expansion, mainly under kings Richard I, Henry III, and Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries. The general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite later activity on the site.
The Tower of London has played a prominent role in English history. It was besieged several times, and controlling it has been important to controlling the country. The Tower has served variously as an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public record office, and the home of the Crown Jewels of England. From the early 14th century until the reign of Charles II in the 17th century, a procession would be led from the Tower to Westminster Abbey on the coronation of a monarch. In the absence of the monarch, the Constable of the Tower is in charge of the castle. This was a powerful and trusted position in the medieval period. In the late 15th century, the Princes in the Tower were housed at the castle when they mysteriously disappeared, presumed murdered. Under the Tudors, the Tower became used less as a royal residence, and despite attempts to refortify and repair the castle, its defences lagged behind developments to deal with artillery.
|Monday||10:00 AM – 5:30 PM|
|Tuesday||9:00 AM – 5:30 PM|
|Wednesday||9:00 AM – 5:30 PM|
|Thursday||9:00 AM – 5:30 PM|
|Friday||9:00 AM – 5:30 PM|
|Saturday||9:00 AM – 5:30 PM|
|Sunday||10:00 AM – 5:30 PM|
Sherri Williams | Feb 21, 2018
One of my favorite attractions in London. It's a bit on the pricey side to get in, but no more than other London sites, and it's completely worth it. Don't let the name deceive you - the "Tower" of London is actually quite a large castle complex with several buildings to tour. First of all, you're given a live 50min tour by a real Yeoman Warden (also known as a "Beefeater") dressed in full uniform. These guys really love what they do - they are former military men who now live on the castle grounds with their families and devote themselves to caring for the castle and serving the royal family. Our guide this time was Chris the Ravenmaster who had great (bad) jokes and gave a super informative and entertaining tour. After that there is still much to explore. Take a walk through the White Tower to see the king's collection of armor - visitors have been doing just that for over 200 years. The basement torture exhibit was unfortunately closed for building maintenance when we went, but there was plenty to see even without it. And of course no trip to the Tower of London would be complete with a viewing of the Crown Jewels. The exhibit here is really well done. A series of rooms filled with animated and live action films create a nice build-up and fill in some background info until you are finally ushered through the thick vaulted walls into the jewel room. A moving sidewalk leads you slowly past some of the most incredible and valuable objects I've ever seen. Really worth a look, and they've made it interesting for kids as well.
Joe Billinger | Feb 28, 2018
One of my favorite London attractions. Well worth the price. I could spend hours just in the armory. Take the Yeoman Warder tour. Informative and I think one of the only ways to see the Chapel Royal unless you go to a mass. Anne Boleyn, Katherine Howard, and Jane Grey's graves are there. After the tour walk the walls and towers on your own. There is some amazing prisoner graffiti in some of towers. If you see a souvenir you like in one of the many gift shops buy it, it's likely more expensive outside. Take a camera, so many great picture, even before you get inside. The only place you can't take pictures is in Jewel house and in one of the towers they have replica Jewels. For some strange reason they don't want you taking pictures of them either, I found out the hard way.
Cruise Cycle | Feb 1, 2018
Pretty tough to beat all the other reviews, books, pamphlets and official tours of this iconic place, and all of them are right in the respect that it's one of the must see attractions in London. Visiting the Tower also helps immensely if visiting some of the other castles and churches in southern England as the kings, architects and builders were involved in many structures throughout the southeast. And this doesn't even scratch the surface of the history and events that occurred in the Tower through many centuries. You can usually see the crown jewels on display here which alone is worth the price of admission. In line with the world class venue that it is, it also boast world class facilities - bathrooms, access, shopping, and its great for kids and families. Highly recommended, don't miss the opportunity to visit if in London.
chris emery | Mar 1, 2018
Having Traveled by Train i took advantage of the 2 - for - 1 offer and visited this iconic piece of English history. Having fell for tour guide traps in the past i was a little hesitant to go on a guided tour by one of the Towers Yeoman, I was glad i did tho as Yeoman Jim was fantastic. A 1 hour guide seemed to last 20 min due to how entertained i was. After the tour we wandered round but due to large crowds avoided going to look at the Jewels (it was a Sunday tho). We enjoyed our visit and would return on another visit on our next trip
chetan mantri | Feb 25, 2018
well maintained and presented like all other stuff in London. Not a very massive structure for a fort. small compared the large Indian forts. but it's right in city centre. doesn't take a lot of time. the guide there has a lot of energy and history to be shared in a manner unheard of. Overall compared to the other attractions in the city it's average though by no means is worth missing a trip. bound to have a good time at all tourist attractions in London and this ones no different
Lorraine Millar | Mar 8, 2018
Great place to visit. Really educational. Lots of different areas to see. Activity fun on for families, children and parents alike. Leave plenty of time for picking up tickets as the queues are long. Best to print of tickets before going. When booking online there was no choice for selecting free carer. But ask at the kiosks and if you have proof of disability and they will charge appropriately or refund you if it is already paid. It is a bit pricey but it is well worth the money. Easy to get to using the tube, so no worries about parking.
Chris Hevey | Mar 22, 2018
What can I say? Probably one one the top historic tourist attractions in the world. Great blend of political and military history dating back 940 years. Gruesome tales of executions and daring escapes. Then there's the crown jewels. Staffed by amazingly knowledgeable and friendly people. A must see if you are visiting London. You can easily spend at least half a day here and only scratch the surface.
Jessica Davis | Mar 13, 2018
Great display of armoury and waiting on line to see the crown jewels is well worth it! The queue usually moves pretty quickly. Good cafe area to get a bit to eat or drink during your visit. The audio guide is certainly worth paying for as it's quite detailed and gives a good route map to plan your visit.
Roddyy41 | Apr 6, 2018
This was much better than anticipated; we spent 4 hours with kids, and could have spent 2 more. Go to the website and order tickets, pick them up at the group kiosk, it was very easy and quick. Waited 2 minutes on a Friday morning to enter and waited 20 minutes to see crown jewels. Definitely catch a Beefeater tour (they are free and run every 30 minutes or so). It was very clean and well organized with easy, accessible restrooms.
Paulo Azevedo | Apr 5, 2018
It's my second visit and this time with my two children (5 & 8 years old). They thoroughly enjoyed it, from the walk on the easterly and westerly walkways with it's glass section crossing where you can see down below, the audio visual screens with historical and engineering facts (English and foreign languages subtitles) and the engine room. It's a fascinating building and we'll worth a visit. I bought our family ticket online in advance and avoided the ticket office queue, meaning fast entry.
Andra Maciuca | May 7, 2018
My second visit and loved it just as much as the first time. Really worth a visit if you are in London. We had time to visit only for about 2 and a half hours or so and it was definitely enough to see the most important bits and some extras. Definitely start with the Crown jewels and work your way around it at your own pace afterwards.
Rob Simonis | Apr 13, 2018
Brilliant day out even with a five year old and three year old. We skipped some of the less age appropriate sections but still managed to spend a good 4 hours looking around. The crown jewels were particularly interesting for the kids but go early as it got busy around lunch time. Tickets are pricey but they're good value for what you get.
Nerys Johnson | Jun 9, 2018
The Tower is a well thought out place to visit, we (including a 13 year old) spent over 4 hours there! The State Regalia was well laid out and stunning with the right amount of information. Plus you can spend as much time as you wanted. I went round some sections once and then went back again. Value for money, esp if you book on line for the discount. Steps - I chickened out of the White Tower due to the steps, the others went up. There are steps for various towers and the walls. Feeding the Raven was fun, trying on an old iron helmet was incredibly heavy. I couldn't lift the Army Backpack fully, new appreciation of Army personnel. Map - what was nice was being able to plan your visit from the site map and go to places in any order you wanted. Audio Guide - it's worth getting the audio guide, but take time to learn how to use it.
Christian W | May 18, 2018
Amazing experience for the whole family. Whether you consider yourself a history buff or not, there is surely something for everyone. Be sure to do the Yeoman guard tours that meet just left of the gate you enter through in the moat. They are extremely interesting and hilarious. You get to hear all the stories of the tower and get your bearings as to where things are. I would say you need 2-3 hours AT LEAST, plenty to be seen for sure. Would recommend booking online to save money as well. Amazing experience!
Shawn Wright Brown | Jun 4, 2018
The Tower of London is a wonderful step back in time. The campus is huge and you have multiple options for your visit--a self-guided audio tour, a guided tour with costumed guides or a basic self-guided tour. You'll walk through tower after tower of history--the Salt Tower where prisoners were kept, and the Broad Arrow Tower, where a portion of the garrison was houses and battle plans were likely formulated. You'll want to wear comfortable shoes as you'll walk extensively. If you're claustrophobic, skip some of the smaller interior towers as they may have tight circular staircases. This is also the home of the Crown Jewels. If you arrive after noon, be prepared to wait in Long lines for your glimpse. The closest Tube station is Tower Hill, and the Tower of London offers great photo spots for the Tower Bridge as well.
Kimberly Valles | Jun 3, 2018
A must see if you are in London. Tower Hill is nearest tube station (District and Circle lines) District line is very busy during rush hours so plan well. Good gift shop and restaurants just before entering the main gates. Crown jewels can be seen here. Lots to see inside. Behind the Tower and along the river are some nice open-air bars set up with a great view of the city. Good for relaxing and photos.
Maritha Bester | Jun 9, 2018
Instantly became one of my favourite places! Loved the Yeoman/Beefeater tour - and was pleasantly surprised to learn that they are all Soldiers - Commanding Officers no less - with more than 20 years army/airforce/navy experience! Spike - our Yeoman (YA Abbott) - was funny, knowledgeable, engaging and handled some of England's more tragic and bloody history with compassion and respect. The displays are beautiful and being in the vicinity of so much history is overwhelming. The Ann Boleyn tour by the actors are wonderful and loved being part of the "jury"! Buy your tickets on-line, redeem them at the group tickets office next to the ticket lines. Get there early if you want to beat the big crowds and school tours. Take your time and enjoy!
Zenith Roy | Jul 10, 2018
An awe-inspiring journey back to the past through the lanes & dungeons of history. The crowning glory of this priceless experience is the witnessing of the "Crown Jewels". As you walk across the precincts of the Tower, you feel thrilled that to walk along the same places down which heroes & warriors had walked centuries ago. The cafe inside the campus provides a variety of delicacies, ranging from salads to fish & chips to desserts. Overall, a memorable experience.
Cassandra Y. | Jul 8, 2018
What a big castle and museum. Admission tickets are a little bit pricey. NO camera allowed! :( Display pictures, video, objects of the old history. If you are interested in the history, definitely check it out. Since it is a tourists attraction spot, it gets crowded. There is a cafe outside Tower of London in case you need to grab a bite or drink. They do have seating area. FYI, they charge a little bit more if you dine in.
Amy McLean - Author and Movie Reviewer | Jul 7, 2018
What would London be without its Tower? As soon as you walk through the main entrance, history oozes out from the surrounding walls. It's surprisingly easy to navigate around, as it's both well signposted and possible to follow a logical route. If you go early enough it shouldn't be too busy, but during peak tourist season it's likely that you'll need to queue for the jewels. It's a wonderful place to visit, and guarantees to remove you from contemporary London and transport you back in time for as long as you remain within the surrounding walls.
Liza McAllister | Aug 12, 2018
We went with a tour guide. It turned out being such a rainy day, which only added to the atmosphere. Our guide from the outside was fantastic but wasn't allowed to talk during our tour in the tower. We were listening to one of the inside guides and were told by some of the people that we weren't allowed to, which was such a pity as he had such great stories and information. It was a fantastic experience anyway. We were there for the opening which was such a cultural and proud experience. I need to go back and spend more time as we had a time limit being with a day tour. I absolutely recommend this, and suggest setting aside extra time and not being too rushed so you can really take in the history and experience.
husain tim | Jul 31, 2018
Stunning place to visit, one of the jewels of London. So many people visit from outside and never go inside. It has so much more than just the crown jewels. The white tower armoury is stunning and I particularly love the miniature and giant armour. Despite being in the centre of the City and being crowded at times, it's usually possible to find a quiet place to sit down for lunch, which I often do. The buildings are in great condition and many over 1000 years old. So steeped in history, my Canadian cousin was astonished as they barely have anything older than 50 years!
David Kump | Aug 7, 2018
One of the top attractions in London. My best advice is go early. We got there before it opened and the line was around 2 sides of the building. It went fast once it opened because it can hold so many people. We went straight to the crown jewels and had no line to get in. By the time we got out of the building with the jewels, there was an hour wait to see them. The line is in the sun so plan for that on a hot day. The entire fortress is neat, but the primary attraction is definitely the jewels.
William Johnston | Aug 3, 2018
The Tower of London is a great place for anyone to visit. From the Bloody Tower to the crown jewels, there is so much to see and even more history to discover. The Yeomam Guards (The Queen's Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard) are really informative and friendly. It is well worth joining with one of the guided tours, which are free of charge. These are informative and entertaining. The crown jewels are everything you could imagine. But if there is no line to get in, then go and see them then. The line will quickly grow and it could take some time to get in. The central White Tower is home to a large collection of armour. You can visit various towers each with their own exhibition, from displays of gold crowns, to the history of the Royal Menagerie (a menagerie is a collection of captive animals, frequently exotic, kept for display), although no wild animals are kept there now. The history of royal tragedy and intrigue is all contained within the walls.
Drew Smith | Aug 12, 2018
It's a cool place. Lots of interesting exhibits. Seeing The Crown Jewels was incredible. Bloody tower tells an interesting story with a great little animation. White tower has many interesting artifacts, explanations and an amazing armoury. Be prepared to spend a while in there, it's big and you can only walk one route to exit. All too often tourist attraction food is low quality fast food, not the case at all here. Standard of food in the cafe was really very high, I was surprised how good the selection was too. Cream teas were delicious! Go on the tour near the main entrance gate with a Beefeater if you get a chance, as it's all part of the theatrics and makes for a good bit of interesting fun.
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