Tower of London

Attractions , Historic buildings and sites Tower Hill
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(24 user reviews)
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The Tower of London (© Jonathan Perugia)
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© Jonathan Perugia
A beefeater (© Jonathan Perugia)
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© Jonathan Perugia
The towers (© Tove K Breitstein)
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© Tove K Breitstein

Experience London’s multifarious history, from the flamboyant to the frightful, with a nosey around this eleventh-century fortress

Despite the exhausting crowds and long climbs up stairways, the Tower of London remains one of Britain's finest historical attractions. After all, who wouldn’t want a close-up with the crown of Queen Victoria or the prodigious codpiece of King Henry VIII?

Located beside the equally impressive Tower Bridge in Tower Hill, the buildings of the London landmark span a whopping 900 years of history. Within the bastions and battlements are a series of interactive displays about the lives of British monarchs, and the often excruciatingly painful deaths of traitors. There's easily enough to do here to fill a whole day, and it's worth joining one of the entertaining free tours led by the Yeoman Warders (or Beefeaters). 

Make the Crown Jewels your first stop, and as early in the day as you can: if you wait until you've pottered around, the queues will be humungous. Another big draw to the tower is the Royal Armoury in the White Tower, with swords, armour, poleaxes, halberds, morning stars (spiky maces) and other gruesome tools for separating human beings from their body parts. There's also a redisplay of the Line of Kings – an original exhibition dating back to the 1680s – which includes wooden horses carved by the prolific sculptor Grinling Gibbons, Henry VIII's armour and a scale model of tilting knights.

For the little ones, there are swordsmanship games, coin-minting activities and even a child-sized longbow.

Venue name: Tower of London
Contact:
Address: Tower Hill
London
EC3N 4AB
Opening hours: 9am–5.30pm Tue–Sat; 10am–5.30pm Sun–Mon
Transport: Tube: Tower Hill; DLR: Tower Gateway
Price: £25, £19.50 concs., £12 children (ages 5–15), £45–£63 family
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Average User Rating

4.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:12
  • 4 star:10
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|24
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Chesca R
Tastemaker

This is, if you will excuse me, a real gem in the crown of London's history. Tickets can be pricey but there is often a 2-4-1 deal with train tickets. Get on a free tour with one of the beefeaters their knowledge and passion for the place is infectious. You can't beat seeing the crown jewels in real life even if your viewing time is minimal. The armoury and torture devices are captivating. It is a prime tourist hot spot so try to visit out of season or first thing, but make sure you leave enough time as it is deceptively big. 

Nick M

Like many other reviewers I was surprised at just how big this place is, it's a mini medieval town, and just how much there is to see.  It almost justifies the admission price!  My daughter is studying the Tudors at school so really enjoyed herself, but there's more to learn about than just Tudors, there's ravens, the Fusilier museum, exotic animals, torture and of course you can stand on a conveyor belt and drift slowly past the crown jewels.

Tom
moderatorStaff Writer

Be prepared to spend longer here than you might think! Best to avoid school holidays if possible, but even without queues you could easily spend a whole day here immersing in a London icon - you can literally feel the history!

GeorgeX
Tastemaker

Love this place! If you are a Tudors/English history fan, you are going to love this place too.

Be prepared; a whole day spent here is not enough! There are so many things to do and see.

Such a variety of different attractions - the Crown Jewels, the White Tower with the huge armory collection, the torture building with all the torturing equipment of that period, the mint where all English coins were minted till the 1800s etc. I would totally recommend the Beefeaters tour that run every half an hour and is included in your ticket price. The tour lasts 45min roughly and gives you a good overview of what was once happening inside the walls of this marvelous tower.

This London attraction is a must & truly worth its admission ticket.

Kirsty S

The Tower of London is rightly known as one of the must see sights of London. I have been there a few times, most recently in December to enjoy the ice skating rink outside.. It is a good idea to get to the Tower as early as possible (not sure what time it actually opens though) and head straight for the Jewel House.

It is quiet at this time of day and gives you an opportunity to get in and see the Crown Jewels without a crowd around you 'oohing' and 'aahing' After that you can set your own pace and explore the walls and the various buildings. I have never joined one of the Beefeater tours as I have a great love of history and therefore know a lot about events and people who inhabited the Tower. However the tour is the only way you can get into the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula and having never managed to do that before I tagged on to a tour just before they got to the chapel and was able to get inside. The restaurant inside the Tower is quite good but I did see all the school parties tucking into their packed lunches so that is also an option. Bottom line - it's expensive but well worth the visit.

NakedPRGirl Claire
Tastemaker

As a history fan, I have to give this five stars because it is rammed full of information on its bloody past. First things first, the ticket price is fairly steep so make sure you have plenty of time to spend here - at least half a day. Secondly, try and go when it is likely to be quieter - avoid school holidays if poss. Third, you're around the corner from Borough Market, Tower Bridge and Southbank so go and explore afterwards. The building itself is super impressive and you can have a guided tour for free (which I did!) The Crown Jewels are so impressive and you will literally be in the place that poor Anne Boleyn was beheaded and the famous Princes in the Tower were found. There's also a cafe within the grounds if you fancy lunch. If you like this, and you have time, make sure you visit Hampton Court Palace too.

Jojuj
Tastemaker

Look, you've got to do it. Yes, it's jam-packed with tourists, but it's well worth braving the throngs, the steep entrance fees, and the ridiculousness of the conveyor belt around the crown jewels, because this is a legitimately fascinating slice of British history. Allow plenty of time and, for the love of god, don't go on a weekend.

Paula - ToT
Tastemaker

The Tower of London is a must for any history buffs, especially those interested in medieval/early modern history.I would definitely recommend taking a Beefeater tour, which is free, as you are able to access areas otherwise inaccessible.The Crown Jewels are also beautifully displayed, but the queues can be long and you will only get a quick glimpse.

Martin C
Staff Writer

Most people visit as schoolkids but a return visit is worthwhile. I'd forgotten how big it is – not just the famous towers but a whole mini town is enclosed within its ancient walls. Sure, there are crowds, especially during the summer but the place is actually large enough to cope with them and there's really enough to see to spend at least half a day here. Seeing the crown jewels entails a long, slow shuffle in the dark. Walking the walls that encircle the Tower was more of a highlight, not least because fewer people seem to get up to the top and you get a glimpse of 'real' life – the day-to-day goings on of the Yeoman Warders and their families who live there. One minute your considering 900 years of history, the next your looking at a rotary washing line and wondering if it's part of some elaborate experiential display.

Victoria A

Always like the visit to the Tower of London. The tour is amazing. The guide was informative but not boring. 

Landl N

This was utterly fabulous, i mean, Wow! The whole place reeks of rich history and (golly gosh) i learnt so much about myself from this unforgettable joyous journey of an experience!

Paula Pearson

My family and I have never been to The Tower of London before, my youngest son (8 yrs old) is learning about The Tudors and Henry 8th at school, so we are thinking of visiting soon to learn more and see Henry's Armour. The review was clear and helpful. Thankyou

Claire Redfer

A Fantastic day out! Well worth having the guided tour with a Beefeater, you learn so much more than simply wandering about just looking. Crown jewels a must too!

bigsands

This is easily one of the most popular attractions in London. My best photo of the Tower was taken from a boat cruise on the river Thames and there was a wedding taking place at the same time. Before visiting the Tower you need to practice being calm and patient as there are slow moving queues. If you need something to amuse yourself while waiting, you could check out the Party Ideas Incubator on YouTube from your smartphone.

klara cort

I think it was a great day out but the crowd is sometimes suffocating and there's huge queues everywhere....obviously it's plenty to see but should have choosen a cold rainy day :)

PS

If you can handle the queues and crowds, it is well worth a visit.

Lyndon

Excellent museum. The kids especially enjoyed the yeomen's tour. Food and drink is reasonable too.

Pirjo

It was really crowded at the end of July, but very interesting for me and my 11-year-old daughter. History alive! Also the shops were good and there were enough toilets (which is important when travelling with a child).

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