London - Great Britain

TOWER OF LONDON: WHAT TO SEE

The Tower of London is one of the most famous attractions in London. It was a fortress, a royal palace and a prison. It’s been the house of kings and queens among the centuries and a symbol of royal power for all the world. 

Visiting the Tower of London is a must do experience if you’re visiting the city. You can explore every corner of this huge place discovering its story, myths and legends.

In our article you’ll find all the practical information to visit this place and many tips to plan your perfect tour of London!

PRACTICAL TIPS

To reach the Tower of London you just have to take the subway up to Tower Hill. You will find youself just outside this beautiful castle.

Ticket office is in front of the entrance. You can book your tickets in advance on the website or buy them once you get there. Online reservation is perfect to avoid long queues. Online it’s also possible to buy combined tickets including more than one attraction (usually 2 or 3). To get some more ideas about London’s highlights, have a look at our Harry Potter tour, our ride on the London Eye, our adventure at Winter Wonderland and the most beautiful London parks.

And now, let’s start this wonderful tour!

A blast from the past
A blast from the past

THE ROYAL PALACE

The original Tower of London was built as a stone fortress in the 1070s by William the Conqueror. Through the centuries they extended the structure and adapted it to different functions. It became a prison, a secure place for arms, armors and jewels, a zoo and a huge luxury palace. 

The palace was home for many famous kings and queens of England. Monarchs used to amaze their foreign visitors with majestic cerimonies and exotic animals. During the visit you can see the beautiful rooms re-built exactly as they were in the past. Fireplaces, curtains, candles and decorations. Everything displays the power and wealth of the nobles.

Walking through these rooms is like a blast from the past! Thanks to photos, videos and audios you’ll feel like living the original atmospheare of this place.

Palace of the Tower of London
Palace of the Tower of London

THE GUARDIANS OF THE PALACE

Outstide the palace you can see some of the exotic animals monarchs used to keep at the Tower of London. There are statues of monkeys, lions, bears and other animals which aimed to show off the great power of England. During your visit you’ll find out some of the stories of these wild animals too.

If you’re visiting London with kids, the Tower of London can be an good place to visit. It’s full of history and mistery and having a tour of the castle is amazing. For more kids destinations in London also have a look at our Harry Potter tour, our London Eye article and our adventure at Winter Wonderland.

Bear inside the Tower of London
Bear inside the Tower of London

But the most famous inhabitants of the Tower are for sure the ravens. Legend says that should the ravens leave the Tower, both it and British kingdom will fall. That is why the seven ravens living in the Tower have a flight feather trimmed.

These majestic and huge ravens have a dedicated Yeomen Warder who takes care of them: the Ravenmaster. 

Raven of the Tower of London
Raven of the Tower of London

THE WHITE TOWER

The original aim of the fortress was to defend the city and its inhabitants. In fact, it has two rings of defence around the main structure. The tower stays right in the middle of the castle and when Henry III made it painted white it became the White Tower.

Inside the White Tower you can still admire the weapons and armours they used to build and test here. At the Tower Mint they also made coins.

During your tour you will get to know how soldiers defended the Tower and the valuables inside it. This fortress had an important role also during World Wars. Recruits trained there and its walls were the place of execution for traitors, spies and enemies.

The White Tower
The White Tower

CROWN JEWELS

The Tower of London is worldwide known for being the secure place for Crown Jewels. Inside the House of Jewels you can see valuables collected during the centuries. There are crowns, robes, sceptres, bracelets, orbs, rings and swords. Diamonds, shappires and other precious stones embellish each object.

It is stunning to admire both ancient and recent regalia. A whole room is dedicated to Queen Elisabeth II and you get to know how and when monarchs use every crown or sceptre. It was really an interesting tour.

There’s always a bit of queue to enter the House of Jewels due to safety reasons and it is forbidden to take pictures inside but if you’re visiting the Tower of London you can’t miss this tour.

House of Jewels
House of Jewels

THE PRISON AND TORTURE ROOMS

Though its original function was defensive, the Tower of London soon became a prison and a place of murders, executions and tortures. Prisoners belonged to all the social classes, they could be common thieves or lord and princesses. In fact, one of the most famous prisoners was Princess Elizabeth. Her half-sister Queen Mary I imprisoned her in order to protect the throne. Needless to say, when Mary died Elisabeth became Queen of England.

Another famous prisoner was Anne Bolein, the second wife of Henry VIII. The accuse was incest and adultery and it lead to Anne’s execution in 1536 on Tower Green. If you’re visiting the Tower you can hear her story told by the Yeomen Warders next to the place where she was beheaded.

The Tower of London is well known for being the place of many unbelievable tortures. Torturing prisoner was common during interrogations as it happened during the gunpowder plot in 1605. Guy Fawks was one of the conspirators against Parliament and he got imprisoned and killed at the Tower.

Tower of London
Tower of London

TOWER BRIDGE

From the Tower of London you can get a fantastic view of one of the most beautiful bridges in London: Tower Bridge. You can easily get there by foot and, if you want, you can have a walk on its top. To visit the two towers and the bridge we recommend you pre-booking on the website.

Anyway you can cross this wonderful bridge by foot and have a spectacular view of London. This bascule bridge sometimes open to let ships cross Thames. Dates and times of these events are scheduled in advance so if you’re interested you can easily plan your visit on these occasions.

Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge

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Also, if you’re planning your next trip to London have a look at the other attractions: London Eye, Harry Potter Tour, London parks and Winter Wonderland. If you’re visiting European city, don’t miss our articles about Florence.