The ancient stones reverberate with dark secrets, priceless jewels glint in fortified vaults and ravens strut the grounds. The Tower of London, founded by William the Conqueror in 1066-7, is one of the world’s most famous fortresses yet despite its grim reputation as a place of torture and death, there are so many more stories to be told.
The Crown Jewels
The world famous collection of fabulous finery and regalia – the Crown Jewels housed in a Jewel House, fit for the 21st century, explores the importance of the Crown Jewels to the British monarchy, the role of the Tower in protecting these treasures and the long and fascinating tradition of coronations in England. The priceless collection holds some of the most legendary and extraordinary diamonds in the world. The Crown Jewels at the Tower of London are a unique working collection of royal regalia and are still regularly used by the Queen in important national ceremonies, such as the State opening of Parliament.
The White Tower
A castle built to strike fear and submission into the unruly citizens of London and deter foreign invaders - today you cannot miss the iconic White Tower, a symbol of London and Britain, overlooking the River Thames. From July 2013, inside you will find the world’s oldest visitor attraction, The Line of Kings. A line of wooden horses, their garish colours and wild expressions somewhat incongruous in amongst the majestic suits of armour, this is the surviving remnant of one of the oldest - and oddest - collections at the Tower. From murky beginnings as the Horse Armoury it is part propaganda, part fantasy, and the longest running visitor attraction in the world.
The Royal Beasts return to the Tower, London's original zoo! See sculptures of the lions, baboons, an elephant and even a polar bear; discover how they came to be at the Tower and what became of them in a fascinating exhibit in the Brick Tower. Hear the amazing tales of how the animals were fed, watered and housed as well as various unfortunate incidents when the public got a little too close!
Coins and Kings; The Royal Mint at the Tower
Coins and kings; the Royal Mint at the Tower, originally located for over 500 years an exhibit devoted to telling the history of the Mint at the Tower will open in May 2013. Explore six key 'moments' including Isaac Newton's efforts to rid London of counterfeiters when he was Warden of the Mint, learn of Edward I's harsh punishmentsfor people who tampered with his coins, Elizabeth I's restoration of the coinage following her father Henry VIII’s disastrous meddling, and Charles II's rejection of Commonwealth money.
Share the secrets of one thousand years of royal gossip and intrigue with a Beefeater, or to give them their proper title ‘Yeoman Warder'. This body of men and one woman has guarded the fortress for centuries. Take one of their tours and you'll be amazed and possibly appalled by tales that have been passed down for generations. Pain and passion, treachery and torture, all delivered with their inimitable style!
This is just a taster, there is much more in the Medieval Palace, Bloody Tower, on Tower Green see the Ravens and walk along the ancient walls………
1st March to 31st October
Tuesday to Saturday: 9:00am to 5:30pm
Sunday & Monday: 10:00am to 5:30pm
(Last admission 5pm)
1st November to 28th February
Tuesday to Saturday: 9:00am to 4:30pm
Sunday & Monday: 10:00am to 4:30pm
(Last admission 4pm)
All internal buildings close 30 minutes after last admission
24th - 26th December & 1st January (Closed)