The Tower of London was home to the kings and queens of England for many years. (Buckingham Palace has been the official London residence of Britain's sovereign since 1837.)
The Tower of London was a prison and many famous prisoners were held there including Sir Walter Raleigh – he was held in the Bloody Tower for 13 years but made use of his time by writing The History of the World (published in 1614) and growing tobacco on Tower Green. The Tower of London held prisoners from the middle and upper classes so there are no dungeons.
Public executions were held on Tower Green, including two of Henry VIII's wives: Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard.
The Tower of London was once surrounded by defensive walls and a moat. The moat is now drained and in the summer there are events and concerts held here and in the winter there is the Tower of London Ice Rink.
The White Tower was the original Tower of London and now houses a display of weapons and armory. It was built by William the Conqueror from around 1080 to 1100. He brought his own secondhand stone from France to build the Tower.
The Tower of London tour guides are the Yeoman Warders
who live at the Tower. They are better known as Beefeaters, which we think comes from when their job was to taste the king's food to check it wasn't poisoned. The Yeoman Warders are the experts on the Tower and are happy to answer your questions. They also provide free guided tours, included with your ticket.
The Ravens are one of the 'must sees' for a trip to the Tower of London. Legend says that if the ravens ever leave then the monarchy will fall, the White Tower at The Tower of London will crumble and a great disaster will befall England. Ever superstitious, we don't take any chances and Ravens have lived at the Tower since Charles II was told this tale. They are even protected by a royal decree.
Each of the ravens has a color-coded leg band. Pick up the Raven identification leaflet
so you can check their names.
- Tower of London Introduction
- Opening Hours
- How To Get There
- Visitor Facilities
- Audio Tours and Guidebook
- Family Activities
- Disabled Access
- Unlimited Access to Historic Royal Palaces
- Crown Jewels