If you love history, The Tower of London is a must! This historic castle is part of the World Heritage Site and is located on the north bank of the River Thames in London. And it’s one of the most visited places in the whole of the United Kingdom – so as you can imagine it’s quite spectacular.
The castle walls have more than 1000 years of history, since it was founded in 1066 as part of the Norman conquest of England. The Tower of London is made up of several buildings which are all housed within two defensive walls. It’s a key feature in the history of England, and has operated as a treasury, a prison, a Royal Mint (coin collection), House of the Crown Jewels and as Royal accommodation. So as you can imagine this castle has a lot of stories to tell.
For many years it was known as the ‘Tower of Terrors’ as its prisoners were often sent there destined to be executed. A total of 119 prisoners were executed, 7 of those at the Tower itself, and the rest at a neighbouring hill, known as Tower Hill.
Tower of London: What to see
A visit to the Tower usually lasts roughly half a day. We advise that you join one of the free tours that are offered by one of the Yeoman Warders – otherwise known as Beefeaters. The tours depart every 30 minutes and they are approximately 60 minutes long.
Here’s some of the things you can expect to see and do:
- White Tower: The White Tower is its oldest building. It was once a prison, an armoury and a royal residence. You’ll find an impressive display of amour here.
- Blood Tower: This tower acquired its name after the disappearance of two princes, who are rumoured to have been assassinated by their uncle – the Duke of Gloucester. It is thought that he did it to try make his way to the throne.
- More Towers: Other towers include Wakefield, St. Thomas, Martin, Lanthorn and Beauchamp – to name a few.
- Crown Jewels: One of the biggest draws for people visiting The Tower of London is to feast their eyes on the incredible range of crown jewels. With a stunning mix of jewels, swords and sceptres- it’s brimming with history. Visit our article: Visiting the Crown Jewels in London.
- Royal Chapel of San Pedro y Vincula: Here you’ll find the remains of some of the most famous prisoners that were executed at the Tower of London.
- Medieval Palace: Ever wanted to know what it was like to be a King in Medieval times? Here you will find out.
- Wall Walk: Take a wall through one of the walls of the Tower of London, and you will see the incredible views over the capital – including the impressive Tower Bridge.
Opening Times to visit the Tower of London
The Tower of London is open every day of the year except the 24th, 25th and 26th December and the 1st of January.
> Summer opening hours (01 March – 31 October):
Tuesday – Saturday: 09am – 5.30pm
Sunday – Monday: 10am – 5.30pm
Last admission: 5pm
> Winter opening hours (01 November – 28 February)
Tuesday – Saturday: 09am – 4.30pm
Sunday – Monday: 10am –4.30pm
Last admission: 4pm
Entry Prices for the Tower of London
Under 5: Free
Buying Tickets for the Tower of London
We recommend that you buy your tickets in advance, this will save you time in the queues and they will be cheaper than buying them at the box office.
Don’t forget if you have a London Pass, you can enter the Tower of London for FREE.
Tower of London: Location
Where to eat near the Tower of London
When visiting the Tower of London, we recommend that you try the restaurant that is inside of the Tower, called New Armeries Restaurant. It is a buffet-style restaurant, but offers a good quality traditional menu. If you’re looking to try out some traditional fish and chips there is a great little fish and shop just next to the Tower. If you want to go a little further afield, we would recommend walking to the St Katharine’s Dock area, where you will find plenty of restaurants in a beautiful setting – we highly recommend the Dickens Inn.
What to do after seeing the Tower of London
After spending some time at the Tower, you could cross the famous Tower Bridge. Fun fact, a lot of people confuse Tower Bridge with London Bridge – but Tower Bridge is much more impressive. You could then walk along the River Thames – passing the London City Hall, HMS Belfast, London Bridge and The Scoop (where you’ll find lots of events including a mass karaoke sing-along in the summer.)