The Ultimate Guide to visiting the Tower of London

Visiting the Tower of London
February 17, 2015

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Planning on visiting the Tower of London and want to get the most out of your visit – maybe even make a full day of it? Here’s everything you need to know for an awesome day out!

1. Getting to the Tower of London

London Underground

London Underground

  • Closest station: Tower Hill
  • Take the District line or Circle line to Tower Hill station, and the main entrance is a 5 minute walk from the station.

Train

  • Closest stations: Fenchurch Street & London Bridge
  • Fenchurch Street is about 5 minutes’ walk, London Bridge is about 15 minutes. There are direction signs to the Tower from both stations.

Bus

Boat

  • Closest river access: Tower Pier
  • Catch a riverboat to Tower Pier from Charing Cross, Westminster and Greenwich.
  • High-speed catamarans also depart daily every 20 minutes from London Bridge Pier and Tower Pier.

Bicycle

London Cycle Hire

  • There are a number of cycle routes throughout the area, and bikes can be hired for about £2 per day with the London Cycle Hire Scheme
  • There are 3 cycle stands at the Tower (next to the main shop), and more on the Wharf opposite the Perkin Reveller restaurant.

Docklands Light Railway (DLR)

  • Closest station: Tower Gateway Station
  • The main entrance of the Tower is about 5 minutes’ walk from the station.

Car

  • The postcode for the Tower is EC3N 4AB – get directions on Google Maps
  • The Tower of London does not have a car park. However there is a car park on Lower Thames Street, 2 minutes’ walk from the main entrance.
  • Please note that the Tower is within London’s Congestion Charging Zone.

2. Disabled Access at the Tower

Concessionary / free tickets

Visitors with a disability are eligible for admission at the concession rate. A carer or accompanying adult may enter free of charge.

Disabled toilets

Toilets with easy ramped access are located behind the Jewel House and next to the Salt Tower

Wheelchair users

  • As the Tower of London is an historic building, some areas have difficult stairs and passageways, with limited access for wheelchairs.
  • There are a large number of steps throughout the Tower and cobbles in some of the roads
  • The Jewel House and the Crown Jewels are fully accessible to all visitors
  • A virtual tour of the Medieval Palace and south and east Wall Walks is available, which can be viewed one room at a time, or as a complete sequence

Exploring the Tower of London

Blind or partially-sighted visitors

An audio tour written especially for blind and partially sighted visitors is available free with admission. This guide comes with a tactile map, guiding you around the Tower and visiting some of the key areas. It takes about an hour and half and reveals much of the hidden history of this iconic palace.

Deaf visitors or those with hearing loss

  • Induction loops are provided at various points wherever you see the icon
  • Multimedia guides can be used with hearing aids that have a T-switch

3. Must-see attractions

The Yeoman Warders

The ‘Beefeaters’, as they are nicknamed, are some of the most photographed guards in London and have long been symbols of London and indeed Britain. Their nickname is due to them historically being allowed to eat as much beef as they wanted from the king’s table!

The Beefeaters are full of knowledge about the Tower and are happy to answer any questions. You can even take a Yeoman Warder guided tour for free when you visit!

Beefeaters at the Tower of London

Image: flickr.com/photos/haemengine/

The Crown Jewels

This world-famous collection of priceless treasures is kept in the Tower of London! See crowns used by a variety of kings, queens and princes since 1661, jewels that are still regularly used by The Queen, and some of the most extraordinary diamonds in the world, as well as learning about their fascinating history.

The Royal Mint

Where money is made – literally! Discover some of the surprising stories and mysteries of the Mint over its 500-year history at the Tower and find out if you can manage the Mint with the new game, ‘Mint Master’.

The Ravens

The Royal Ravens are one of the most famous sights at the Tower, and legend has it that if they ever leave the Tower, the kingdom will fall! The birds all have their own names and very different personalities – you can meet them next to their lodgings on the South Lawn.

Ravens at the Tower of London

Image: flickr.com/photos/wolfsavard/

The Royal Beasts

For 600 years wild and exotic creatures were held captive at the Tower, from alligators to kangaroos, tigers to polar bears. Where did they come from? How did they get there? Did they ever try to eat anyone? Find out at the Royal Menagerie!

The White Tower

See the axe used at the last public beheading on Tower Hill in 1747. Find out where infamous prisoners like Guy Fawkes were tortured and interrogated. See the magnificent Royal Armouries collections, including the 300 year old exhibition Line of Kings. And lots more……

The Fortress

The Tower is a formidable Royal fortress which is still protected by soldiers. You can walk along its walls, find out what weapons were used to protect the Tower, and discover how a rabble of peasants breached the walls in the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381!

4. What not to miss on your visit

Yeoman Warder guided tours

Daily, every half-hour

This is definitely one of the most entertaining and popular attractions for visitors!

The Yeoman Warders, also known as “Beefeaters”, stand guard at the Tower and are full of tales of intrigue, imprisonment, execution, torture and much more. The best bit is, the tours are free with your Tower of London tickets.

The tours are fabulously entertaining and highlight the more gory aspects of the Tower’s history, with lots of interaction for children!

Find out more about the Tower of London Beefeater Tours

Yeoman Warder guided tours last around an hour and start every 30 minutes near the main entrance, until 3.30pm in summer or 2.30pm in winter.

Tower of London Yeoman Warder tour

Image: flickr.com/photos/roubicek/

The Ceremony of the Word

Daily at 2.45pm

But what is “The Word”?? Issued daily by the MOD, this secret word allows access to the Tower for those wishing to leave or return after the Ceremony of the Keys in the evening,

See the inspection of the Military Guard as they march to the Byward Tower to collect ‘The Word’ of the day and any special orders.

The Ceremony of the Word takes place daily at 2.45pm outside the Jewel House

5. Make a day of it!

There are so many excellent attractions and things to do in London, and many of these are within walking distance of the Tower. Why not make a day of it and team up your visit with one or more of these:

The London Eye

Enjoy spectacular 360° views over the city whatever the weather from your climate-controlled capsule!

See London Eye tickets

Afternoon Tea on the Thames

Feeling hungry? See some of London’s biggest sights from the river while enjoying an indulgent afternoon tea.

See Thames Afternoon Tea tickets

London Zoo

With fabulous interactive experiences and opportunities to get closer to the animals, kids and adults can have a great time discovering more about wildlife, both at the zoo and out in the wild.

See London Zoo tickets

The London Bridge Experience

See, hear, feel, taste and even smell what London Bridge was like over the ages as you scream, laugh and cheer your way through 2000 years of horrible history!

See London Bridge Experience tickets

The View From The Shard

This is one of the most exciting ways to experience London, with stunning views over the city from the top of Western Europe’s tallest building.

See View From The Shard tickets

Ripleys Believe It Or Not!

Ripleys London celebrates the weird, wonderful and bizarre in all its forms in the heart of London’s West End, with authentic artifacts and astonishing interactive exhibits.

See Ripleys London tickets

London Aquarium

See 6 different shark species from a floating glass platform, take a walk along the ocean floor and even go behind-the-scenes!

See London Aquarium tickets

6. Places to eat near the Tower of London

The Perkin Reveller

The Perkin Reveller

Located right outside the Tower of London, the Perkin Reveller is a great place to stop off for some gastronomic delights whatever time of day it is! Their seasonal British menus include dishes like risotto with Jerusalem artichoke & confit garlic, cod with orange vanilla salsify & parsnip puree, and good old fish & chips.

Breakfast is served til 11am on weekends, and they also serve afternoon tea with an impressive selection of teas such as Palace English Breakfast, Jasmine with Flowers or Superior Darjeeling Second Flush.

This restaurant gets very busy so it’s highly recommended that you book ahead.

Find out more about the Perkin Reveller

Borough Market

Borough Market

Image: flickr.com/photos/aguichard/

Use the opportunity to pay a visit to London’s most renowned food market! Borough Market is a short walk across London Bridge or a riverboat ride from Tower Pier to London Bridge City Pier.
You’ll find all kinds of delicious morsels, from seafood to charcuteries, bakeries to butchers, plus chocolates, wines and cheeses. There’s also a Lunch Market with ready-to-eat dishes from all over the world.

Plan your eating with an interactive map of Borough Market

7. Where to stay near the Tower

There are loads of hotels in central London to choose from, so we’ve listed a few to give you an idea of what’s available:

Hotels near the Tower of London

8. Taking kids to the Tower of London

The Tower of London is a brilliant attraction to take the kids – not just because they’ll learn about British history (though that’s a bonus!) but because there are actually loads of bits they’ll enjoy too!

See which bits of the Tower of London kids will love the most

9. Fun facts about the Tower of London

The Tower’s 1000-year history is a mixture of scary, gruesome, amusing and sometimes totally unbelievable! See the 10 most fascinating facts about the Tower of London’s History.

About the author

Farrah Hedwat

Farrah is AttractionTix’s resident Copywriter. A city girl at heart, her best-loved travel moments are exploring new cities across the world like Barcelona or Los Angeles. Farrah’s favourite things are eating, sleeping, shopping and animals (but mostly animals). Her pet hates are bad grammar and other writing-based “offences”.