Ceremony of the Keys | Tower of London Night Tour
To visit the Tower of London for free requires some planning but you’ll be a part of a historic ceremony that has taken place every night, without fail, for the past 700 years. Yeah, that’s not a typo – 700! Each night after they kick the tourists out and the families who live inside the walls are tucked in bed, the Yeoman Warder let’s a few selected ticketed guests back inside to witness the “Ceremony of the Keys” – the ceremonial locking up of the Tower Of London.
Tip: Full entry to the Tower of London is included for free with the London Pass. For more ways to save, check out our London Night Tours, as well as our post on how to visit Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral for free.
You won’t get to see the Crown Jewels or the centuries old graffiti carved in the prison cells – but you do get to tell people you were locked in the Tower of London.
The Chief Yeoman Warder locks up the doors and passes on the Queens Key’s for safekeeping and then the lost post is sounded. And that’s it – you’re locked inside. Don’t worry, though, they do let you out through a small not so secret tour.
This ceremony has taken place at 9:53 every night since the 14th Century, except once during bombing of the Tower during WWII when the Warders were knocked off their feet during the ceremony – they even wrote an apology to the King for the ceremony being late! (Read our full post on nighttime activities in London)
Tickets are free, but are required and advance application is needed for this once in a lifetime event!
You most post your contact information, two dates of your choosing and a self addressed stamped envelop. And they fill up fast, months in advance even!
Application Details can be found at the Ceremony of the Keys website.
For general information visiting during the day, take a look at our main Tower of London post. Also, be sure to check out our free London tours. These tours operate on a pay-what-you-like basis and are as affordable as you want them to be, even free!