Guide to a London Tower – Tickets and Tours

With nearly 1,000 years of history, the Tower of London is at the top of almost everybody’s list when they come to London. However, far from being just a singular Tower, Her Majesty’s Fortress, the Tower of London is a series of buildings, towers, turrets and walls. So just what is hidden away behind the outer facade? And just how should one go about visiting the Tower of London? For those looking to plan your Tower visit here in London – look no further! Our Tower of London Visitor Tips are all you need to know about visiting the Tower of London. You can skip this post and purchase tickets to the Tower of London and Crown Jewels here.

Top Tip: Entry into the Tower of London is included for free in both the London Pass and the London City Pass.


How to get to the Tower of London

Money Saving Tips

Other Things to See at the Tower


 

 


HOW TO GET TO THE TOWER OF LONDON 

The nearest Underground Station to the Tower of London is Tower Hill on the District and Circle Lines. Bus routes 15, 42, 78, 100, and RV1 will also bring you to the walls of the Tower. Those travelling on the Docklands Light Railway can get to the Tower via Tower Gateway Station.  We recommend using this link to get directions to the Tower of London from anywhere in London.

Where is the Tower of London

Be sure to check out our posts on navigating the London Underground and choosing which tube pass to buy.

If you are planning a visit to the Tower of London, there are several other nearby attractions that you might consider visiting on the same day.

 


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TICKET PRICES AND HOURS 

  • Tuesday – Saturday:  9:00 – 16:30 (last admission at 16:00)
  • Sunday and Monday: 10:00 – 16:30 (last admission at 16:00)
  • Adults:  £21.45 – Concession: £18.50 – Children (under 16): £10.75 – Under 5’s: FREE

Margaret’s Top Tower of London Visitor Tips:

Of course, the easiest way to get to the Tower is to come along on our morning City of London Tour – on Tuesdays and Thursdays – where the Tower is our last stop, leaving you free to explore for the rest of the afternoon!

When visiting the Tower you can explore on your own, with an audio guide (£4.00 for adults) or by joining onto a tour led by the world-famous Beefeaters – which is free of charge! [For more details on this, check out our blog post about the Yeomen Warders.]

 


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MONEY SAVING TIPS 

  1. Admission to the Tower of London is included for free in the London Pass.
  2. You can also visit the Tower of London at night and for free during the Ceremony of the Keys.
  3. The Tower of London participates in the 2 for 1 travel-card discount program.
  4. Discount London offers tickets at £1 off the window price.
  5. A family ticket, for two adults and three children is £57.20. And booking online will save you 5%, which may not seem a lot, but every penny counts whilst in London! Booking online also gives you a ticket that is valid for 7 days from the date you selected, so if your plans change, you don’t lose out!
  6. For more moving saving tips, check out our Guide to London on a Budget.

 


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THE CROWN JEWELS

Illuminated by brilliant light, nestled onto crushed blue velvet and kept securely behind spotlessly clean glass, the Crown Jewels are proudly on display in the Jewel House here at the Tower of London. In existence since the 11th century, and kept in the Tower since the 14th century, the Crown Jewels are one of the world’s largest collections of royal regalia. The entire collection is – literally – priceless and pieces are still actively used in ceremonies and events centred around our Royal Family.

 

 

Stored inside the Jewel House near the back of the Tower, the jewels are available for all visitors of the Tower of London to see. Passing through the vault doors (each one weighing 2 tonnes!), visitors are taken inside the darkness of the Jewel House where audio and video loops display pictures and films depicting famous coronations and close-up shots of some of the most famous pieces of the collection. Once inside the Jewel House guests will come face-to-face with some of the most famous gemstones in the world and get a close-up view of crowns, diadems, sceptres and dozens of pieces of golden plate. Wardens of the Jewel House are on site to answer any and all questions visitors may have, as well as regaling guests with some of the stories, legends, and fascinating facts about the most famous collection of royal regalia in existence.  For more information, please read our blog post on visiting the Crown Jewels.

If you will excuse the pun, the Jewel House is absolutely the jewel in the crown of the Tower of London!

 


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OTHER THINGS TO SEE 

The Tower of London is home to some of the most iconic and historic locations in the United Kingdom. Once you are inside the walls, the Tower is yours to explore! What follows is a brief guide to what you can see when you visit the Tower.

White tower of londonThe White Tower  (above photo) – The oldest building in the Tower of London. The scene of a famous murder mystery (the Princes in the Tower) as well as a scene in one of Shakespeare’s most famous works (Richard III), the White Tower also holds a beautifully preserved 11th century chapel.  The White Tower also holds the Line of Kings, an awe-inspiring exhibition of suits of armour and arms that have been on display for over 300 years. If you’ve ever wondered what Henry VIII wore when he was jousting, you will get an up-close view of his armour (and his famous codpiece!) here in the White Tower. In addition to items worn by famous monarchs, you will come face-to-face with a number of them quite literally as the White Tower holds masks of our medieval monarchs, carved into their actual likenesses!

A Medieval Palace – Recreating amazing rooms such as the bedchamber of King Edward I, the Medieval  Palace in the Tower shows visitors exactly how our historic Kings and Queens would have lived.  A recreation of the 13th Armour of Henry VIIIcentury palace built by King Henry III and his eldest son, you can experience the comforts of medieval luxury, culminating in a visit to the Lanthorn Tower which houses objects of great value and historic interest that belonged to the kings who previously lived here.

Mint Street – Commemorating the fact that the Royal Mint used to be based in the Tower of London (before being moved to Wales!) the Mint Street exhibition highlights and details the history of the Royal Mint in the Tower. The Coins and Kings experience gives visitors a hands-on experience, showcasing not just the history of Mint Street, but displaying many of the actual artefacts that have been produced here. Tales of ransom, thievery, and even an appearance from Isaac Newton, make Mint Street an exciting (new!) addition to the Tower exhibitions.

Tower Green – Arguably the most famous execution site in the world, Tower Green contains a beautiful memorial to all those who lost their lives within the walls of the Tower. Two of Henry VIII’s wives, a 16 year old ‘queen,’ and even Margaret Pole, the Countess of Salisbury who was an elderly woman at the time of her execution (famously botched by the executioner, who took many strokes – oftentimes hitting her back or shoulders – to finally end her life), and even those who were executed on charges of espionage during World War II are all commemorated here.

Click here to view the official top things to do and see in the Tower of London.

The Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula – A Chapel Royal, in existence since the 12th century, St. Peter ad Vincula is the final resting place of those executed within the walls of the Tower. It is the designated place of worship for all of those who work (and live!) inside the Tower. With memorials and statues designated to famous faces of the churches history, buried inside are two of Henry VIIIs wives, as well as two saints: Sir Thomas Moore and Bishop John Fisher.

Tower of London Visitor Tips: To get inside the Chapel, one can only enter as part of a Yeomen Warder led tour, so make sure to find a group to join before you go inside!  As always, check out the Tower of London’s Google+ page for images, updates and reviews from others who have already experienced it.

The Towers within The Tower – There are actually 9 Towers within the Tower of London. Many of these towers  would’ve held various prisoners throughout their use during centuries past. Queen Elizabeth I, Robert Dudley, Lady Jane Grey, Sir Walter Raleigh – and the list goes on. Hundreds of people (and not just those with famous names) were kept prisoner behind the walls of the various towers within the Tower of London. Visiting The Salt Tower, The Bloody Tower, and The HRP_16_06_05.tifBeauchamp Tower gives visitors an opportunity not just to see the surroundings that prisoners would have been kept it, but it also provides a unique experience to read the prisoner’s final thoughts in their own words. Many of these towers contain graffiti left by prisoners in their final days and hours.

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History of the Tower of London

Originally built by William the Conqueror in 1078, the Tower of London has been a royal residence, a royal mint, a prison, a zoo, an armoury…just to name a few! Originally designed to be both a home and a fortification, the Tower has been an un-missable part of the London skyline since its’ very beginnings almost 1,000 years ago. Many kings added onto the Tower, expanding it greatly over centuries to form the massive complex that stands today. Some of the biggest moments in our history passed within these walls:  the site of Royal Coronation Processions for centuries, perhaps the location of the murder of the Princes in the Tower (sons of King Edward IV, reportedly murdered on the command of their uncle, King Richard III),  a site of execution of three queens, the secure hold of the treasures of the Crown Jewels, and a living space for those responsible for the security of the Royal Family and all their regalia (in the unlikely form of both the Yeomen Warders and the Ravens of the Tower!).

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