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 Crown Jewels have been stored and displayed at the Tower of London since 1661, continuing a long tradition of storing precious objects here. Explore 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 Royal Family 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. Inside you'll 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's part propaganda, part fantasy, and the longest running visitor attraction in the world.
For 600 years, wild and exotic creatures were held captive here for Kings and Queens. 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!
The Tower's Mint For over 500 years, the Mint made the majority of the country’s coins. Explore the vast history of the Mint, learn about Isaac Newton's efforts to rid London of counterfeiters when he was Warden of the Mint, find out what Edward I's harsh punishments were for 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 women 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 4:30pm
Sunday & Monday: 10:00am to 4:30pm
(Last admission 5pm)
All internal buildings close 30 minutes after last admission
24th - 26th December & 1st January (Closed)
Early closure at 2pm on 5th Sept