Coming to the Tower of London is like stepping back into town. The crown jewels are held within fortified vaults, and uniformed Beefeaters wander the tower grounds. The gardens themselves are beautiful – there are 12 acres of land within the fortress. There are many things to see and do at the Tower of London, but the White Tower is the centerpiece.
Attractions at the Tower of London
- The White Tower
- The Chapel of St Peter and Vincula
- The Fortress Battlements
- The Fusilier Museum
- Tower Green
- Medieval Palace
Unique Things to See and Do at The Tower of London
- See the Crown Jewels
- See the “Traitor’s Gate” where prisoners entered
- Listen to tales from the Yeoman Warders (Beefeaters)
- Find the ravens
- Learn about Tower torture
- Walk the Wall
Tower of London History
William the Conqueror first established the Tower of London 1066 to keep hostile forces at bay. Locals were initially wary of the Tower, thinking that it represented an increasingly oppressive government. William did a good job inspiring fear and respect – it stood over 27 metres high and was built with Caen stone. In the following years, William’s successors (especially Henry III and Edward I) continued strengthening the fortress during medieval times. The Tower was completed in 1350, with huge defenses, royal accommodation, a branch of the Royal Mint, and even a menagerie with lions.
The Tower’s history has a lot of darkness too. In 1483, 12-year-old Prince Edward and his brother Richard were imprisoned by their uncle, Richard III, and were never seen again. Two skeletons were later found buried beneath the stairs, and it’s believed the boys were murdered. Things got even crazier in the Tudor period when the Tower became a place of torture for political and religious prisoners. Among them was Anne Boleyn.
Over the years, the Tower became home to the Crown Jewels. It survived bombings from both World Wars, and was an execution spot for war spies. When you visit, you’ll learn all this and more. But keep your eyes peeled for the famous ravens – it’s widely believed that if the ravens leave the tower, the entire kingdom will fall.
Getting to Tower of London
The Tower of London is located in Central London, and is very easy to reach. Tower Hill underground is located on the district and circle lines, and is in zone 1 of the London Transport Network. By train, come London Bridge and Fenchurch Street are the nearest stations. If you’re bicycling, there are bike racks at the Wharf. Bus routes 15, 42, 78, 100 and RV1 will also take you there, or you can access the parking lot if you’re driving. You can even visit the site via riverboat – the nearest access point is the Tower Pier.
Did you know…?
The phrase “sent to the Tower” came about when prisoners and those who had “fallen into disgrace” were sent to the Tower of London in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Did you ALSO know…?
It’s believed that the ghost of Anne Boleyn can sometimes be seen walking the chapel of St. Peter and Vincula.
Best time of year to travel to Tower of London
The Tower of London is open year-round, but hours are extended during the busiest months (March to October). Your ticket price will include access to the Tower and the Crown Jewels, as well live historical reenactments, and more.
Ready to plan your visit to London? Check out these popular guides and trips.