The Tower of London is one of the most important landmarks in England and is one of the city’s most popular attractions. The tower was originally built as a royal palace and defense system by William the Conqueror in 1066. It has been used as an armory, a treasury, the home of the Royal Mint, a public record office, the home of the Crown Jewels of England, and most famously as a prison. The tower was never supposed to be a prison. It was used a Prisoner of War Camp during World War II.
The Tower of London is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the few intact medieval buildings in the world.
The Tower of London isn’t a single building. It has multiple buildings and outdoor spaces, surrounded by a wall. It has been a fortress, a palace, and most famously, a prison. The most important and interesting buildings in the Tower of London:
White Tower – The White Tower is the most recognizable building at the Tower of London. It’s a massive fortress built to protect and provided accommodation for the king and his representatives. It now houses the Royal Armories, showcasing the armor collection of royalty.
Jewel House in the Waterloo Barracks – the Crown Jewels are stored and guarded by Queen’s guard. This is the most visited and crowded place.
Traitor’s Gate – Prisoners were brought by barge along the River Thames through this gate.
Queen’s House built in Tudor style architecture – these building now houses the Yeoman Warders and their families
At least six ravens are kept at the Tower of London at all times. Legend says, “If the ravens leave the Tower, the kingdom will fall…”. According to the stories, Charles II was the first one who insisted that the ravens of the Tower should be protected.
How to get to the tower of London
The Tower of London is located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. The closest tube station to the Tower of London is Tower Hill, which is serviced by both the circle and District lines. The entrance/exit to this station is right across the street from the Tower of London entrance. Nearest National Rail station is London Bridge which is served by Southern, Southeastern and Thameslink lines.
How long should you stay?
Plan to spend at least three hours at the Tower of London. There is so much to see and learn that you can easily spend many hours there. They have some Tours in evening and night also. So, if you wish to join those tours plan your trip accordingly.
Yeoman Warder tours
To get a good overview of the Tower’s history and highlights, be sure to participate in one of the Yeoman Warder tours. The Yeoman Warders tour is included in the cost of your ticket and begins every 30 minutes throughout the day. The tour lasts for approximately 60 minutes and provides visitors with lot of inside stories entertainment and great information. Yeoman Warders are former non-commissioned officers in the British Army and they are ceremonial guardians (and tour guides) of the Tower of London.
If you choose to take a self-guided tour of the Tower of London, the palace is well signposted which makes it easy to navigate and information kiosks are everywhere to learn about its history.
Here are the best tips for visiting the Tower of London to help you make the most of your trip.
Buy your ticket online
Purchase your tickets online and avoid time in queuing outside the ticket office. You can buy your tickets online at the official website. You can choose to choose to collect the ticket at site from Ticket Office or save time by printing your tickets at home. Please note that there is no skip the line or fast track entry tickets. There is a discount of 10% if you purchase your ticket online.
Be there right at opening time
In order to get a head start be there right at opening time (9 am Tuesday to Saturday and 10 am on Sundays and Mondays) to avoid the crowd of school children groups, organized group tours and general visitors. This way, you’ll have more time to explore before it gets crowded.
Head to the Crown Jewels exhibit first
The biggest attraction at the tower of London is the Crown Jewels exhibit. If you arrive early at the tower of London then head straight to the Crown jewels exhibition room. You’ll be able to get a close view of over 100 ceremonial items worn by British kings and queens at their coronations. The collection of Jewels is huge and worth billions of Pounds. Spend inside as much time as you want and admire the priceless collection.
If there is a long queue at the time of your arrival, consider visiting another spot in the palace first, while keeping an eye on the queue until it gets a little shorter.
Note that photography is prohibited inside the exhibit.
Walk the perimeter wall
After you have visited the crown jewel and the white tower, go for a walk on the elevated outer perimeter wall. You will get a fabulous view of the London skyscrapers and tower bridge.
Watch the change of guard
The Queen’s Guard are tasked with guarding the official royal residences in the UK, which include Buckingham Palace, St. James’s Palace, Windsor Castle, and the Tower of London. Other than Ceremonial Opening in morning and Ceremony of the Keys at night, you can see the guards change regularly after every 2 hours.
Learn about the Tower of London before visiting
Learn as much as you can about the Tower of London before your visit. There are plenty of things to see and learn inside the tower of London, which you will pick up during your visit which otherwise you would miss. This will definitely enhance your experience.
Wear comfortable walking shoes
The tower of London is spread on a huge area and it Involve lots of walking. If you wish to see each and everything, the tour will last for many hours, so wear a comfortable walking shoe.