Tower of London, London

4.5 out of 5 stars 496 Reviews

Tower Hill, EC3 0 20 7709 0765

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  • No one there at 9:00 a.m
    No one there at 9:00 a.m
    by jlanza29
  • White Tower
    White Tower
    by jlanza29
  • We had the whole Tower to ourselves  at 9:00 a.m
    We had the whole Tower to ourselves at...
    by jlanza29
  • grayfo's Profile Photo

    Tower of London

    by grayfo Written Dec 22, 2014

    Building work for Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress was started by William the Conqueror in 1078 but the Tower has been extended and strengthened many times by succeeding monarchs. It has been a fortress, royal residence, an arsenal and more famously a prison. Facing the river is Traitor’s Gate through which many famous prisoners have entered the Tower, never to leave. These days the Tower is known for being the home of the Crown Jewels, Yeoman Warder Tours, the White Tower and the ravens, there is also a choice of eateries within the Grounds of the Tower.

    The Tower is a UNESCO World Heritage Site / Grade I and Grade II Listed

    Tuesday to Saturday: 9:00 am to 4:30 pm
    Sunday and Monday: 10:00 am to 4:30 pm

    Adults: £22.00
    Children (5-15): £11.00
    Children (Under 5): Free

    email visitorservicestol@hrp.org.uk

    June 2013

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    The Tower 1

    by littleman Written Nov 23, 2014

    I found the Tower of London to be the most interesting of all the historical places in London.I recommend getting there first thing in the morning to avoid the crowd.The crowds and line to get in are unbearable so make sure you buy your tickets from the ticket office.You can not buy a ticket at the entrance...they are only receiving tickets.I saw people waiting for a long time in line only to be told to go back up the hill to the ticket office!

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    The Tower of London

    by toonsarah Written Nov 23, 2014

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    Although it is some years since I was inside the Tower of London, it was a regular favourite London destination in my childhood and teenage years, and I have been a couple of times since when escorting visitors around the city. Certainly it is a sight no first time visitor to London should miss, and although expensive (even with the deals that can sometimes be had, especially off season), it has plenty to occupy you for some hours to ensure you get value out of that entrance fee. And besides that, if on a budget, a walk around the perimeter is free and offers decent views of the outer wall, some of the main buildings (including the central White Tower) and the famous Traitors’ Gate.

    The Tower is not in fact one tower but like most castles a whole series of them piercing a surrounding wall with a keep and other buildings protected inside. The most famous and distinctive is the White Tower, the keep, and that is the one you will recognise from countless images. This is also the oldest part of the structure, dating back to the time of William the Conqueror who soon after his conquest in 1066 built one of his first strongholds here as part of his plan to hold on to the land he had won in battle: “several strongholds were made ready in the City to safeguard against the fickleness of the huge and fierce population, for he saw that his first task was to bring the Londoners completely to heel” [quote found on the Tower’s website].

    Today the City of London has a skyline of high-rise buildings showcasing the latest in modern architecture. But in William’s day this fortress would have dominated the city, taller than anything that had ever been seen here. At its highest point it was 90 feet (27.5 metres) tall and must have been an impressive sight to the locals, recently invaded and defeated and coming to terms with a new ruler. This was not William’s residence, not a royal palace, but a true fortress-stronghold t protect what needed protecting and overawe the populace. And so it remained for centuries.

    Throughout the medieval period the Tower was expanded and fortified, and by the mid 14th century was much as we see it today. Gradually it was put to additional uses – as a prison, as the home of the Royal Mint, as secure storage for important documents, as a place of celebration marking coronations and victory in battle and even as home to a menagerie (which was later moved to a new site in the north of London, becoming London Zoo).

    But is its role as a prison and place of execution that most captures the modern-day imagination perhaps. Among the most famous former prisoners are the so-called Princes in the Tower – the sons of Edward IV who were held captive here by their uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester. He seized the throne that should rightfully have come to the older of the two boys, 12 year old Edward, and the brothers disappeared. It has never been established with certainty what happened to them, though murder at their uncle’s instigation seems the most plausible explanation. But this has never been proved, though in 1674 workmen at the Tower dug up a wooden box containing two small human skeletons which is the closest we have to any evidence.

    Other famous prisoners include Sir (later Saint) Thomas More and two of Henry VIII’s wives, all of whom were also executed here, as was Lady Jane Grey , while Elizabeth I was also imprisoned here by her half sister Mary but lived to inherit the throne and become one of the country’s most successful and powerful rulers.

    The Tower’s modern appearance is due largely to the Victorian aesthetic and taste for cleaned-up history which saw buildings restored to their notion of medievalism and some even destroyed to improve sightlines to the White Tower. Gradually the Tower became mainly a visitor attraction, and today it remains one of the most visited sights in London.

    Attractions here include;
    ~ the White Tower itself, which houses the Royal Armouries Collections with arms and armour dating back to the time of Henry VIII
    ~ the Crown Jewels, top of most visitors’ must-see list, and a dazzling display of historic crowns, sceptres, diamond-studded necklaces and much more (with many of the pieces still in use today by the present Queen)
    ~ the Wakefield Tower’s exhibition about imprisonment and torture at the Tower
    ~ Tower Green, site of the scaffold where many famous prisoners were executed, including Anne Boleyn, which today has a memorial to all who died here
    ~ the resident ravens, a favourite sight of mine as a child - legend says that the kingdom and the Tower will fall if the six resident ravens ever leave the fortress (there are actually seven here at any one time, so as to have a spare!)
    ~ the Yeoman Warders, the Tower’s historic military force (nicknamed Beefeaters) who today offer popular guided tours of the main sights

    Admission is a hefty £22 for adults (a little cheaper if booked online), £11 for children 5-15 years old (under fives are free) and £18.70 for concessions (students, visitors with disabilities, over 60s). But this includes everything I’ve listed above and more, so if you’re able to spend half a day at least here you can definitely get real value out of that ticket. Also note that the Tower sometimes features on the list of attractions included in the Travelcard 2 for 1 deals. Travelling alone? Don’t let that put you off using this option, as you will probably be able to find another lone traveller in the queue who’d welcome your suggestion of pairing up to get in at half price! Note all my prices are correct as of November 2014.

    The White Tower Beefeater Poppies for the WW1 centenary
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    Removal of Poppies@ Tower of London Part 3

    by Galaxy31 Updated Nov 16, 2014

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    The time has come for the removal of the poppies, after the first installation on the 5th of August to remember the 888,246 lives that were lost in the First World War.
    I’m was surprised to see yesterday morning how fast they are going removing them but then again it’s so many volunteers on hand.
    The white tents it’s where they clean them and boxing them up ready to be removed to a warehouse and repacked ready for deliver to the people that bought them.
    All poppies have been sold at £25.00 each and all the money that has been raised it will go to six armed forces affiliated charities. Also in the Tower and by the traitor’s gate were people have been throwing money in the water it will be collected by volunteers and go towards the charities.
    Part of the exhibition will go on a National tour across the country for the next four years and after it will be a permanent exhibition at the Imperial War Museum.

    Removal of Poppies Removal of Poppies Removal of Poppies Removal of Poppies Removal of Poppies
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    Blood swept land and sea of red

    by EasyMalc Updated Nov 9, 2014

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    This is my first ever tip on London and I think it’s a good place to start. Not only is the Tower of London an iconic landmark it also has a temporary art installation that has captured the imagination of people from far and wide.
    As everyone knows the ‘War to end all Wars’ began a hundred years ago and Armistice Day in the UK this year has taken on a special meaning, and to mark the occasion the moat around the Tower of London has been covered with ceramic poppies.
    The ‘Blood Swept Land and Seas of Red’ creator is Paul Cummins with assistance from designer Tom Piper. The first poppy was planted in July 2014 and is due to finish on 11th November - Armistice Day. In actual fact it’s been so successful that an agreement has been reached where some of the poppies will remain here until the end of the month.
    The project involves selling the ceramic poppies for £25 each with the proceeds going to service charities.
    888,246 poppies have now been bought and planted around the moat - representing the number of British and Commonwealth fatalities during that horrendous war.
    It’s estimated that some 4 million people have visited this poignant artwork, and when I was here a couple of weeks ago I can tell you that although it was busy the crowd of people were very respectful. It has that sort of effect.
    The ceramic poppies are hand made in Cummins’ factory in Derbyshire where the unknown man who coined the words of the installation came from. In his will he wrote the words “ The blood swept land and seas of red, where angels fear to tread”
    If you are able to still make it here before it all disappears make sure that you look out for the ‘Weeping Willow’ and ‘The Wave’ which represents the ‘River of Red’
    I can’t think of a better introduction to London. It encompasses everything that the city represents from historical monuments, crowds, the art of queuing, modern art and respect for the past.
    Phew!

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  • Galaxy31's Profile Photo

    Poppies @ Tower of London Part 2

    by Galaxy31 Updated Nov 8, 2014

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    I have been following the installation of the poppies at Tower of London since they have started back in July.
    The installation it’s called Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red and it’s the work of ceramic artist Paul Cummins.
    There will be 888,246 ceramic poppies installed all around the moat of the castle with every poppy represents the loss of life of each British and Commonwealth death during WW1.
    I have seen it grown over the months with regular fortnight or weekly visits but the last couple of weeks it has been extremely busy as it gets near to the date of the removal of the installation. By the Traitors Gate the poppies are floating because of the tide of the Thames.
    I have visited last weekend at 7.00a.m and it was busy but not as busy as it was during the day and this week I went at 10.30pm and again it was busy.
    The installation will be extended until the end of November so more visitors can see these amazing and memorable
    Exhibition and reflect our minds back those people that they have lost their lives during the WW1.

    http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/p/m/23dd5c/

    Remembered Poppies @ nighttime Poppies @ Tower of London Poppies @ Tower of London Floating poppies @ Tower of London
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  • Galaxy31's Profile Photo

    Poppies at Tower of London Part 1

    by Galaxy31 Updated Nov 8, 2014

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    In the moat of Tower of London are hundreds of volunteers helping to plant the red poppies to commemorate the 100 anniversary of the start of the First World War.
    The display of 888,246 is called Blood swept lands and seas of red and each poppy represent each of the British and Commonwealth military person that died in World War 1.
    Each poppy has been designed by ceramic artist Paul Cummings and stage designer Tom Pipper and they will go for sale at £25 each after the 11th of November when the display is complete to raise money for different military charities.
    The first two pictures I have taken them 2 days after they have started plantning the poppies.
    I will keep updating the page with more pictures as time goes.

    Poppies at Tower of London Poppies at Tower of London Poppies at Tower of London Poppies at Tower of London Poppies at Tower of London
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  • Khamsangla's Profile Photo

    Tower of London

    by Khamsangla Written Nov 7, 2014

    The Tower of London was built by William the Conquerer and is a fortress on the banks of the Thames River. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is symbolic of the British royalty. The tower contains the crown jewels of England. The fortress has many aspects but was used mostly for royal prisoners. Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I and Thomas More were all tried and imprisoned here. There is a dungeon, motes, the white tower, and beefeaters guarding the entrance. It is a n afternoon well spent. crowds are inevitable as it is one of the main tourist attractions in London.

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  • jlanza29's Profile Photo

    Still magical after 1,000 years

    by jlanza29 Written Oct 15, 2014

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    The Tower of London is one of those places on earth that no matter how many times you have walked by it or been it …. it still remains a mystical and magical place of interest.

    Come early as soon as the gates open and you will have the entire Tower to yourself. We arrived at 9:00 a.m and were literally the first ones in when they opened the gates … if you come 1 hour later your fighting with tons, and tons of people trying to see the sites inside.

    The guards dress in there old uniforms are friendly and willing to answer all and any questions.

    The Magical "Crown jewels" of the British Monarchs are held here and since we were the first ones in we were able to see them up close and personal for minutes without the crowds.

    You can literally spend an entire day here …. we got here at 9:00 am and left at noon ….

    A must do for any tourist or traveler coming to London.

    I would also recommend buying the entrance tickets online … helps you skip the massive lines that form to get tickets. You print your tickets out approach the group desk as indicated on your print out and they give you the formal entrance ticket and off into the Tower you go.

    Cost is a bit steep 20 pounds … about $32 US … but it is well worth it !!!!

    No one there at 9:00 a.m We had the whole Tower to ourselves  at 9:00 a.m Beautiful Uniforms worn by the Tower Guards White Tower

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  • Lennyx's Profile Photo

    Tower Poppies

    by Lennyx Written Sep 16, 2014

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    Never will you see such growing art: The first time i saw it the poppies only surrounded the Tower. But now they've grow wild and spread beyond the edges to the fields. But it'll all be plucked out by the 11th of November. A tourist delight.

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  • Drever's Profile Photo

    Tower of London

    by Drever Written Apr 28, 2014

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    The Tower of London dates from Roman times. The present building contains nearly 1,000 years of history within its forbidding walls. One of the most popular tourist attractions in England, it is according to paranormal experts the most haunted location in the world.

    The Tower holds the royal gems because it's still one of the royal palaces, although no monarch since Henry VII has called it home. Its most renowned role has been as a jail and place of torture and execution. The Tower has been the site of bloody events ranging from famous beheadings to the murders of two royal family teenage boys. The last executions being from the early 1940s of WWII German-Nazi spies.

    The closest Tube station is Tower Hill only a short walk away. The ticket booths sit across from the entrance. Once you pass through the entrance there is a sign displaying when the next tour starts. Allow at least three to four hours at a minimum to tour this tower.

    The 39 Yeoman Warders, known as Beefeaters, conduct the tours. Resplendent in navy-and-red Tudor outfits, these are ex-soldiers with a gift for storytelling. Beefeaters have been guarding the Tower since Henry VII appointed them in 1485. One of them, the Yeoman Raven master, is responsible for making life comfortable for the Tower ravens (six birds plus reserves) - an important duty, because if the ravens were to desert the Tower, goes the legend, the kingdom would fall. Today, the Tower takes no chances and clips the raven’s wings.

    In prime position stand the oldest part of the Tower and the most prominent of the buildings, the White Tower. William the Conqueror began this central keep in 1078. Henry III (1207-72) had it whitewashed, which is where the name comes from. Here are the Royal Armouries, with a collection of arms and armour. Henry VIII armour shows his massive size.

    The Chapel of St. John the Evangelist, downstairs from the Armouries, is an example of 11th-century Norman style - rare, simple, and beautiful.

    Across the moat, Traitors' Gate lies to the right - a forbidding entrance through which many prisoners saw the last of the outside world. Opposite Traitors' Gate is the former Garden Tower, better known since about 1570 as the Bloody Tower. Its name comes from one of the most famous unsolved murders in history, the saga of the "little princes in the Tower." In 1483 their uncle, Richard of Gloucester, left the uncrowned boy king, Edward V, and his brother Richard here after the death of their father, Edward IV. He had himself crowned Richard III, but in 1674 workers discovered two little skeletons identified as the princes under the stairs to the White Tower.

    On Tower Green only the high-ranking qualified for beheaded in the peace and seclusion here instead of before the mob at Tower Hill. Only seven people qualified - among them Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, wives two and five of Henry VIII's six; Elizabeth I's friend Robert Devereux, earl of Essex; and the nine-day queen, Lady Jane Grey, age 17.

    The little chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula the second church on the site conceals the remains of some 2,000 people executed at the Tower, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard among them. Queen Victoria ordered that their remains be given a Christian burial here.

    The most famous displays are the Crown Jewels in the jewel house located in the Waterloo Barracks in the Inner Ward. Before you see them, you view a short film that includes scenes from Elizabeth II's 1953 coronation. Then standing on a conveyor belt, you pass a series of jewels their sparkle increased by special lighting. Each carries a brief history of the crown jewels. You can also see Charles II and Mary II coronation balls, 4 of the Consort's sceptres and several spectacular and priceless diamonds, including the largest in the world, the First Star of Africa, which weighs over 530 carats.

    Although I had visited the Tower many years ago it on this occasion entranced me once again. The Beefeaters are a star act and most of the history of England is contained within these walls. No wonder it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in England.

    Beefeater addressing a crowd Traitor's Gate White Tower Tower Green where beheadings took place
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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Tower of London

    by Dabs Updated Apr 23, 2014

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    Last visit April 2014, got 2 for 1 entry with a valid travelcard

    The Tower of London is my #1 must see attraction, I have visited at least 7 times now on different trips to London and still find it fascinating. The Tower has a long, intriguing, sometimes bloody history, full of colorful characters from the 9 day Queen Jane Grey, the two Princes killed and buried in the Tower by their evil uncle, King Henry VIII and his 6 wives, two of which were beheaded inside it's walls.

    While I've always had good luck arriving first thing in the morning before the crowds arrive, on my last visit we got there around 1:30pm on a Thursday and no ticket line and no line for the crown jewels. You want to make sure you have a good weather day as much of the visit is outdoors. On our visit in June 2013 we got there around 10:30am on a Monday, there was a 10-15 minute line to get tickets and no line to see the Crown Jewels, not even later in the day which is not my usual experience. I still like to go see them first just in case the lines grow later in the day so you can spend as much time gawking at the baubles as you please. I then double back to the entrance and take one of the amusing and informative beefeater tours, not to be missed. That was also crowded but the beefeaters have loud voices. If you are not engaged in the 1st few minutes, you might think about coming back for a different guide, I've had some really great ones and some that were just OK.

    Several of the buildings are open to visitors, the White Tower has the armoury and the Hands on History Exhibit which is an interactive section for kids, you can walk along the walls and visit some of the towers, visit the Medieval Palace and check out the ravens, legend has it that the kingdom would fall if the ravens ever left so they've ensured a few stick around by clipping their wings and having understudies!

    Be sure to check out the visit planner on the attached website and check to see if there's anything special going on while you are there, we almost missed the siege weapons demostration in the moat that is exclusive to the summertime and only performed a couple of times during the day. Budget at least 4-5 hours here, 3 hours was not enough as the beefeater tour alone is an hour. I've eaten lunch here a couple of time but you can also bring a picnic lunch as they food here is just OK.

    White Tower Lines for the Jewel Tower Tommy takes aim Siege weapons Raven
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  • Empty in December

    by jimmysheva Written Apr 21, 2014

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    Went there in December 2011 and it was empty! We arrived around 11 AM and there were only two other people in front of us at the ticket office. We had 2 for 1 from National Rail so it was cheap. We went to the White Tower, there were hardly anyone there. After lunch we went to the Crown Jewels, again, no queue. It was just us and 2 other couples in the room. We then just explored the grounds, saw the ravens, sat on the benches. I don't think I can ever go in the summer again.

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    Crown Jewels.

    by breughel Updated Apr 9, 2014

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    First thing when visiting the Tower is to hurry up to the Waterloo block where the Crown Jewels are on exhibit. Do it before 09.30 am. to avoid the lines. Visitors are whizzed past the Crowns on a moving walkway.
    If you are early you can go back and look again if they are real or fakes because that is an often asked question.
    As I believe what the authorities, especially Royals, say and as the jewels are surrounded with Beefeaters, an armed guard at the entrance (photo 2) and also some canons (photo 1) in front of the building they must be real?!
    Furthermore the motto on the Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom being "Honi soit qui mal y pense" (= shamed be he who thinks evil of it) I can't imagine Elisabeth II making me pay 22.00 £ (2014) to see fake diamonds?!
    But another thing is sure; replicas of the British Crown Jewels exist because they were shown on an exhibition in Hannover in 1997.

    Photos being not allowed inside I took pics of the guard at the entrance. Actually this guard is from the same battalion as the guard at Buckingham Palace.
    When I visited the Tower Guards battalions alternated with the 2nd Battalion of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (PWRR) an infantry regiment for the south east of England, known as "The Tigers" (photo 3).
    It must be terribly boring to stay in front of the Crown Jewels not even smiling to the pretty girls passing by, just from time to time moving riffle from one hand to another and doing a few steps.

    If you want to see more militaria, on the right of the Crown Jewels building has opened the Fusiliers' Museum (photo 4).

    Canons protecting Crown Jewels! Guard from 2nd Battalion PWRR PWRR Fusiliers Museum on the right.
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    The Tower

    by Balam Updated Mar 18, 2014

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    Visited the Tower of London On My Birthday in 2013, You have to buy your tickets from the Ticket offices on Tower Hill before you go into the Tower of london. You can spend hours here just looking around this fantastic historic place!

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