Nearly 1,000 years of history await you at the Tower of London. Built by William the Conqueror in 1078, the fortification has played a key role in some of the most important events in Britain’s past and is home to the Crown Jewels.
Now one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country, the Tower attracts millions of visitors each year. Here’s everything you need to know:
The Tower of London is located on the bank of the River Thames in the Borough of Tower Hamlets (postcode EC3N 4AB). Tower Hill tube station (Circle and District Lines) is just a short walk away, while Tower Gateway (Docklands Light Railway) and Fenchurch Street rail station are also close.
As it is such a popular attraction, it’s advisable to buy tickets for the Tower in advance from its website or over the phone. However, you can still purchase tickets on the day from the ticket kiosks on Tower Hill. Your ticket provides access to the Tower and Crown Jewels display, as well as several exhibitions, guided tours and any historical reenactments that may be taking place on the day of your visit.
The Tower is open all year round except for December 24th to 26th and January 1st. Its opening hours are:
November 1st – February 28th (winter)
- 09:00 – 16:30 (Tuesday to Saturday)
- 10:00 – 16:00 (Sunday to Monday)
March 1st – October 31st (summer)
- 09:00 – 17:30 (Tuesday to Saturday)
- 10:00 – 17:30 (Sunday to Monday)
It’s possible to take a number of tours during your visit to the Tower:
White Tower Tour
This guided tour will take you around the White Tower, the oldest part of the fortress. Marvel at the architecture that has stood for nearly 1,000 years and find out how the building became one of the most feared prisons in the country. This tour is included with your admission fee.
This tour will see you guided around the Tower by the iconic Yeoman Warders, who are more commonly known as Beefeaters. Included in your admission, the tour will tell you all you need to know about the Tower’s fascinating past.
Tower Twilight Tours
Not for the faint-hearted, this spooky after-hours guided tour will take you around the Tower in the hours of darkness, teaching you all about the fortress’ bloody past.
Tower of London facts
Want to know more about the Tower before you visit? Here are just a few fascinating facts:
– The Crown Jewels, which are still used by the Queen today, are housed at the Tower. They have been kept at the fortress, surviving the threats of theft and fire, since the 17th century. Be sure to see them during your visit.
– For hundreds of years, the Tower served as a prison for some of most notorious figures in British history. In the 15th century, boy-king Edward V and his younger brother Richard were taken into the fortress, never to be seen again. What became of the Princes in the Tower remains a mystery to this day. Around 50 years later, Queen of England Anne Boleyn was beheaded in the Tower grounds on the orders of her husband Henry VIII. Her ghost is one of several rumoured to haunt the fortress.
– The Beefeaters have been present at the Tower since the 15th century. Modern-day holders of the position must have served in the armed forces with an honourable record for at least 22 years before taking up the role.
– The Tower has been home to a flock of ravens for hundreds of years. Seven currently reside in the fortress and legend says that the kingdom will fall should they ever leave. Look out for the impressive birds during your visit.
– From the 13th to 19th centuries, the Tower hosted the Royal Menagerie, a collection of exotic animals from across the world. During the reign of Henry III in the 1200s, it was home to a polar bear that would be taken swimming in the Thames! The Royal Beasts exhibition looks at the history of this zoological collection.
Other attractions nearby
There are plenty of other attractions within easy distance of the Tower:
HMS Belfast: This historic warship has been converted into a fascinating museum and is moored in the river opposite the Tower.
Tower Bridge: One of London’s most famous landmarks, this bridge leads directly to the Tower. A museum is housed inside, while the glass-floored walkways provide stunning views of the city and river.
St Katherine’s Docks: Central London’s only marina, this is an atmospheric place to enjoy some food and drink and is just a short walk away from the Tower.
The Tower of London can be easily reached from each of Montcalm’s luxury London hotels.