Tower of London – Everything you need to know to visit

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Carlos Laforet Coll
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One of London's most interesting sights in full. Learn about the Tower of London's dark past and find out all about the visit.

The Tower of London is a popular tourist spot in the UK's largest city, and it's always one of the first references people think of when they think of the Queen's land – plus, of course, other equally iconic places like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and the London Eye. 

What few comment on is the tower's “dark” past, and what its function was in the past. In this post, you will find out more about these curiosities, in addition to the basic information you need to know to visit it.

The Tower of London is one of the coolest and most interesting sights to visit in England, and adding this tour to your itinerary makes the trip even more complete.

In this post you will read:

  • History of the Tower of London
    • Prison and torture
    • zoological
    • Coin House
    • First and Second World War
    • UNESCO Cultural Heritage
  • How to get to the Tower of London
  • how is the tower
  • What to do in the Tower and how long does the tour take?
    • White tower
    • Fit for a King exhibition
    • Crown Jewels Collection
    • Other interesting sights of the Tower of London
  • Tickets for Tower of London
  • When to go to the Tower of London
  • Facts about the Tower of London
  • Tours with the Tower of London
    • Tower Bridge
    • Borough Market
    • St. Katherine Docks Marina
    • City Hall
    • Sky Garden
    • St. Paul's Cathedral (St. Peter's Cathedral)
    • Tower of London + London Eye
  • Internet chip in England
  • London Travel Insurance
  • Car hire in England
  • Flights to London
  • Frequently Asked Questions

History of the Tower of London

Prison and torture

At the time of feudalism, in 1066, a fortress and castle were built to house the monarchs on the northern banks of the River Thames. Over the following centuries, several towers were built under the command of English kings on the grounds inside the fortress.

Among them, the White Tower, or Tower of London, built under the command of William I, in 1078. For 900 years the castle was a symbol of arrogance, violence and abuse by the reign of the monarchs in question.

The castle was used as a prison, place of torture and place where many deaths took place. If at that time someone were arrested in the Tower of London, for contempt of the royal family or for some other kind of crime, very rarely would that person see the light of day again.

The fortress near the River Thames – Photo: Joseph Gilbey via Unsplash


The Tower of London was also the city's first official zoo, created around the 500th century. More than XNUMX animals from donations from other kings and leaders from other countries were placed inside.

These were ostentatiously displayed and were known as Royal Beasts. Among them were lions, bears, and animals of all kinds. This "zoo", unfortunately, also has a sad history, of instigated fights between animals to "entertain" the king and his court.

Coin House

In 1800, the tower began to be used as a Mint and, shortly afterwards, underwent a renovation that left behind some great traces of post-medieval architecture.

The architects involved in the project wanted to return to its original appearance, so features of medieval architecture returned to the towers. 

First and Second World War

During World War I and II, the site was once again a prison. It was the scene of some cruelties such as torture and murder of spies. 

UNESCO Cultural Heritage

Currently, despite the past with a dark charge, the Tower of London is considered a cultural heritage by UNESCO.

Rather than being used as a royal residence, it is home to and exhibition for a priceless collection (both financial and historical) of the English crown jewels. There are many pieces encrusted with diamonds, gold and the finest precious stones. Many armor from centuries past can be seen on display as well.

Take the opportunity and book your tour of the Tower of London!
Click here and check which tours will be available for the date of your trip through GetYourGuide.

Tower Bridge can also be seen from the Tower of London premises – Photo:
Julia Worthington via Unsplash

How to get to the Tower of London

The Tower of London address is EC3N 4AB, between Finsbury and Whitechapel. More specifically in City of London. The easiest way to get there is by subway. Tower Hill station is also very close to the tourist spot and you can reach it by the Circle and District Lines.


how is the tower

Restored in the XNUMXth century, The Tower of London displays many medieval features. It is a large fortress that surrounds a vast area with several towers, built by different monarchs during their reigns.

To visit the Tower of London, the most interesting thing is to do a guided tour. This can be in English, with the guides themselves, or you can choose to listen to translated, with special headphones.

If you scratch at English, it's worth trying to understand the guide in the original language, as they do some role-playing and interact with visitors at certain points on the tours.

Check out the best tours in the area and book your tickets on GetYourGuide.

The Tower of London is full of history and contrasts with the modernity of the city – Photo: adrian larkin via Unsplash

What to do in the Tower and how long does the tour take?

If you want to see everything that is possible on site, set aside a full day of visit.

There are many places, historical details and particularities in the architecture that easily make you spend about six hours inside.

To help you, below you will find the points that you cannot miss during your visit:

White tower

The main tower and the first to be built, are four floors of pure history.

Start organizing your trip and purchase your Tower of London tickets
buy your ticket and check tour availability by clicking here.

The White Tower has served as a royal palace in the past – Photo: Amy-Leigh Barnard via Unsplash

Fit for a King exhibition

With royal armor worn by the kings and guardians of the past. This exhibition has been going on for 300 years, imagine the age of the pieces displayed there. There are XNUMXth and XNUMXth century armor used by Henry VIII, Charles I, Prince Henry Stuart and James II.

Crown Jewels Collection

This one is a must! The pieces are mainly connected to the religious ceremonies of coronation of the monarchs. Even better, some of the jewelry on display is still worn by the current Queen of England, Elizabeth II. 

Other interesting sights of the Tower of London

  • The place where the Royal Beasts were kept; 
  • The site of the executions that took place in the past: Yes, it is possible to visit it, even now there is a memorial dedicated to the victims who were beheaded in the tower, which even includes Anne Boleyn, a historical figure of the English monarchy and second wife of Henry VIII , murdered at the behest of her own husband for an alleged betrayal with her brother. That is, she was accused of treason and incest;
  • The tower's pet crows;
  • The Capela de São Pedro, built in 1520.

Remember to wear comfortable clothes and shoes, as there is a lot of walking. If you only want to see specific points, such as the crown jewels and the White Tower, it is possible too, but the cool thing is that you can see everything. Although tiring, the tour is worth it and the ticket is not the cheapest, so take advantage of the opportunities and see all the corners and details of the tower.

Check out the best tours in the region and book your tickets at GetYourGuide.

Tickets for Tower of London

This tour is not one of the cheapest tourist spots in London. It costs approximately £24 for adults, £10 for under 16s, £20 for seniors and children under 5 are free to enter. But one thing is for sure, it is worth every penny. Do not let to go! You can buy tickets on the Tower of London's official website, or book your tours directly through GetYourGuide

A good tip is also the London Pass, which works as an online ticket. You pay a certain amount and have access to many sights and tours in London, including the Tower of London. It's worth it if you want to visit many places and save some money. You even have the option to choose how many days the London Pass will work for, depending on the length of your trip.

It's really worth buying the ticket to the Tower of London – Photo: Amy-Leigh Barnard via Unsplash

When to go to the Tower of London

Regarding when to visit, in summer and spring the place is open for an hour more on traditional days and for more days during the week, so you have more time to fit the tourist spot into your itinerary. Spring is a perfect season to visit, with mild weather and beautiful days for beautiful photographs and strolls through the gardens.

The place is open from Tuesday to Saturday, from 9 am to 17 pm, and on Sundays and Mondays from 10 am to 17:30 pm. During winter (November to February) the tower is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 9 am to 16:30 pm. 

Facts about the Tower of London

Now that you already know the main information and the history of the Tower of London, know that there are even more curiosities about the place.

  1. Capela de São Pedro: The chapel is beautiful, the architecture is super interesting and it still works for masses, but what not everyone knows is there are remains of people decapitated in the Tower of London, in the past, still in the chapel.
  2. Guards: Tower guards are officially called Yaeomen Warders, or “beefeaters”. Despite the strange nickname, one of the explanations is that, in times of wars and food rationing, these guards received a greater amount of meat, as they were important for the security of the place.
  3. Theft: In 2012, someone managed to steal the key that gave access to the interior of the tower, a place that tourists not can enter. The person was never caught and access was switched so that no one other than security could enter the place.
  4. Residents: There are, on average, 150 people who live in the Tower of London. But don't worry, they're not trapped. They are people who work there and do the maintenance, cleaning and security service of the place. 
  5. Seven crows are kept within the Tower of London, each with a name and a servant. The reason? Legend has it that they were drawn there by the stench of the corpses. Charles II, King of England in the XNUMXth century, wanted them killed, but he heard that if the crows were killed, the tower would be destroyed and he would lose his kingdom. He then ordered the animals to be kept in the castle, and to this day seven are preserved there. A rather bizarre legend, isn't it?

The crows are one of the most unusual facts about the place! – Photo: Kasturi Roy via Unsplash

Tours with the Tower of London

The Tower of London is in an area full of other classic tourist attractions in the English capital, which can be easily reached on foot, or even by subway. When you arrive at your destination, you'll already have a privileged view of the River Thames to enjoy – and from there, just choose which places you'd like to visit on the same day.

Below we give you some itinerary suggestions, which involve the Tower of London, for you to choose what you find most interesting for your trip.

Don't waste time and book your London itinerary now!
Access the main city tours and book your tickets na GetYourGuide.

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge is one of England's postcards, being one of the most essential places to visit in the United Kingdom. Before reaching the Tower of London, or even after visiting the fortress, it is possible to visit it on foot, as the two sights are very close to each other.

Tower Bridge is one of the must-see places near the Tower of London – Photo: Susan Q Yin via Unsplash

Borough Market

Borough Market is one of the most delicious places in London, and another option super close to the Tower of London. It's worth heading straight to it, after a day exploring the region, to get rid of the hunger that will surely have appeared by now. There you will find delicious fruits, snacks from any corner of the world, as well as several restaurants.

St. Katherine Docks Marina

The boats on the River Thames are part of London's public transport network, and for that reason, go to the St. Katherine Docks Marina after knowing the Tower of London is a great idea. By the waters, it is possible to go to other corners of the city and observe the outdoor scenery along the way.

City Hall

City Hall, London City Hall, is a round, super modern and thought-provoking construction, which is on the opposite side of Tower Bridge from the Tower of London. While strolling around, check out the architectural details up close – especially if you're a fan of the subject.

Sky Garden

The Sky Garden is one of the skyscrapers with a panoramic view to see all of London from the heights, for those who enjoy this type of tour. There is a fee to climb to the top, and you can also choose to go to one of the restaurants in the building and enjoy the view with your meal.

St. Paul's Cathedral (St. Peter's Cathedral)

One of the most famous Anglican churches in London is St. Paul's Cathedral, St Peter's Cathedral, where Prince Charles married Lady Di. There is a dome there, from where it is also possible to have a beautiful view of the surroundings of London – however, the entrance is paid.

Tower of London + London Eye

We also have a different proposal for a day of your travel itinerary: Tower of London + London Eye. The two tourist spots are relatively far away, but they can be a great option to spend the day in the region. You can start the tour with a good brunch and head to the Tower of London before noon, spending about 5 hours there (if you want to see everything).

Then, before sunset, have dinner at a nearby restaurant and head to the London Eye soon after, taking the tube, or even a taxi or bus.

The distance between the two places is about 3,5 km, which takes about 50 minutes to walk, so it is best to travel with a means of transport. By tube you can leave Tower Hill station (Tower of London) and stop at Westminster station (London Eye), on the Circle line.

A good tip is that you arrive at the London Eye before sunset, to see the sunset from the Ferris wheel cabins. We even made a text about the basic information about the London Eye that you need to know before visiting it. Check it out to find out more about the hours, how it works, how much the ticket is and other necessary information.

Internet chip in England

It's getting easier and cheaper to have unlimited internet throughout your trip to England. Nowadays you can buy an international cell phone chip online while you're still here in España. We always use and love it!

You receive the sim card at your address and then just insert it into your cell phone to reach your destination with unlimited 4G internet working.

Also read more chip tips:

  • International Cell Phone Chip – Which is the Best and How Much Does It Cost?
  • America Chip Discount Coupon – 10% OFF on Travel Chip

Want to have unlimited internet throughout your trip?
Compare prices and buy your international travel chip in advance at America Chip.

London Travel Insurance

Taking out travel insurance for London is an excellent way to ensure a smooth trip and avoid worries. Having the assistance of insurance gives you the peace you need to enjoy your destination and know that you have support if you need it. Also enjoy our Insurance Promo discount coupon. - SEE PRICES

Read all about travel insurance:

  • What is the Cheapest Travel Insurance – Tips on How to Save
  • How to Get Travel Insurance – 5 Easy Steps [DISCOUNT]
  • Which Travel Insurance to Choose – 3 Infallible Tips to Help
  • International Travel Insurance – Step-by-step How to Hire

Get your travel insurance quote at Promo insurance and get 5% off with our coupon FORTRAVELOVERS

Car hire in England

Renting a car in England is a great idea for those traveling to other regions of the country, in addition to London. In addition to optimizing your time a lot, you will be able to enjoy it more without having to depend on public transport.

We really like Rent Cars to find the cars we use on our travels. It is the only one in Spain that compares the best rental companies in the world, but lets you pay in reais, without IOF. In addition, it is also the only one that lets you pay in 12 interest-free installments. It is worth it!

Haven't rented a car for your trip yet?
Guarantee the best price, without IOF, and pay up to 12 interest-free installments at RentCars.

Flights to London

Looking for a good deal and flight prices? When buying tickets to London, it is worth taking a look at the website. Promo Tickets.

It is quite common to find cheaper and better flight options than on other sites. We always use and it's worth it 😉

Photo: Isaac Struna via Unsplash

Tell us what you think of the Tower of London! Interesting story, right?! Did you feel like visiting the tourist spot? If I were you, I wouldn't miss it!

Frequently Asked Questions

What to see at the Tower of London?

There are many points of interest to see in the Tower of London, such as the White Tower, the Crown Jewels collection, armor exhibitions, the site's crows, among other attractions.

What time does the Tower of London open?

The Tower of London is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 9 am to 17 pm, and on Sundays and Mondays from 10 am to 17:30 pm. In winter, it closes half an hour earlier.

Is it worth going to the Tower of London?

It is certainly one of the most essential tours to do in London, especially for those who love history and beautiful views. It is worth booking at least one afternoon of your itinerary to visit the Tower of London.

How to get to the Tower of London?

To get to the Tower of London, the easiest way is to go by tube, taking the Circle and District Lines towards Tower Hill station. Check out more information.

How long to stay in the Tower of London?

If you're short on time in the city, with a minimum of three hours it's possible to take a quick tour of the Tower of London's main sites. However, it's easy to be enchanted and spend hours admiring the space, so book a full day if you have time.

What to do near the Tower of London?

Some of the closest sights to the Tower of London are Tower Bridge and Borough Market, but you can extend your tour to the London Eye if you feel like it. See more about London's sights.

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