Guide to a London Tower – Tickets and Tours

This post covers how to visit the Tower of London, including tips on tickets, discounts as well as an overview of what you could see.   You can skip this post and purchase tickets to the Tower of London and Crown Jewels here.

 


PLAN YOUR VISIT

With nearly 1,000 years of history, the Tower of London is at the top of almost everybody’s list when they come to London. However, far from being just a singular Tower, Her Majesty’s Fortress, the Tower of London is a series of buildings, towers, turrets, and walls.

In this section, we cover the best times to go (directly below), a brief explanation of ticket types, security, and how to get here.  

Top Tip: Entry into the Tower of London is included for free in both the London Pass and the IVenture London Card.


When Should I Visit?

As with any popular attraction, there are going to be times when the Tower of London gets very crowded. With that in mind, it will be important to consider some of the best times to come and see this historic landmark. Before we get into those details, you’ll need to know the operational hours:

Summer Hours (March 1st – October 31st)

  • Tuesday – Saturday
    • 9:00 – 17:30 (5:30 pm)
  • Sunday/Monday
    • 10:00 – 17:30 (5:30 pm) *last entry at 5 pm

Winter Hours (November 1st – February 28th)

  • Tuesday – Saturday
    • 9:00 – 16:30 (4:30 pm)
  • Sunday/Monday
    • 10:00 – 16:30 (4:30 pm) *last entry at 4 pm

With that out of the way, let’s talk about how you might want to plan your day at the Tower of London.

The first thing you should know is that this location gets very busy during weekends. The best time to visit is definitely during the weekday, but even then you should probably arrive early in the morning to beat the crowds.

Even during the weekends, this attraction is typically much easier to visit during the morning. Speaking of which, one of the best ways to avoid the crowds is to take an early bird tour. This option will provide admission before 9 am, allowing you to see the opening ceremony from inside the gates. Make sure to check our early bird section for more information.

 

Best Time to Go to Tower Bridge

 

Even during the weekends, this attraction is typically much easier to visit during the morning.

 

Weekdays Tower Bridge Experience

 

Speaking of which, one of the best ways to avoid the crowds is to take an early bird tour. This option will provide admission before 9 am, allowing you to see the opening ceremony from inside the gates. 

Another detail you should consider is how long you plan to stay in the Tower of London. There are a lot of things to see and do here, and most visitors suggest giving yourself at least 3-4 hours to explore the area.

Considering that the crowds start to get really large at about 12 pm, an early morning trip really is your best option. If you have to visit later, consider arriving at about 1:30 pm and staying until they close. It will still be very busy when you arrive, but the crowds will begin to dissipate at about 3 pm.


Ticket Options

When it comes to purchasing tickets, you will have two different options to consider.

The first option is the most obvious, and that would be general admission. Although you can get tickets upon arrival, we recommend ordering them ahead of time in order to skip the queue at their ticket booth.

 

Tower of London Tickets

 

Ticket lines aren’t as long when they open, but they can get much longer during the middle of the day. Even then, most visitors indicate that you probably won’t have to wait any longer than 20-30 minutes in the queue.

If you plan to arrive midday, it will be a good idea to pre-purchase your tickets.

Your second option is to get a tourist pass such as the London Pass and the IVenture Card. These tourist passes include admission to the Tower of London in addition to other attractions.

London Pass

 

If you plan on seeing a lot of things while on holiday in London, this might be the easiest and most affordable choice. This option includes skip-the-queue access which will allow you to avoid the ticket line.

You can partake in a free tour of the Tower by the famous Beefeater guards, but if you want to get in even earlier than everyone else, there are early bird tours which grant early access to the Tower of London, when you’ll have the opportunity to see the Opening Ceremony.

Early Bird Tours also allow you to see the Crown Jewels before anyone else. If you’re looking to get in ahead of the crowds, consider one of these choices.


Security Information

As with most historic landmarks, there are certain items that you will not be allowed to bring with you into the Tower of London. All visitors will be required to undergo a bag check before entering this site. In addition to things like weapons, the following items are also prohibited.

Prohibited Items

  • Tripods
  • Selfie Sticks
  • Large bags

Non-prohibited Items

  • Smartphones
  • Personal cameras
  • Small bags
  • Buggy/pushchair

Although you are allowed to bring cameras and take photographs, there are a few locations at the Tower of London where no photography of any kind is allowed:

  • The Jewel House
  • The Martin Tower
  • The Chapel of St. John (in the White Tower)
  • Inside the Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula

You may also be prohibited from taking photographs of certain items. If you aren’t sure whether or not pictures are allowed in a specific area, please ask a staff member for more information.


Accessibility

Although the Tower of London is accessible for most visitors, it is important to note that certain areas of this landmark are paved with cobblestone. Due to the bumpy texture of this surface, it is not ideal for wheelchairs, prams or a buggy.

In particular, disabled visitors may have trouble seeing the Cradle Tower and the back of the Jewel House. Due to this uneven ground, guests who are not disabled will also want to consider wearing comfortable shoes.

Buggy parks are provided next to the Salt Tower, the Middle Drawbridge, and the White Tower. Baby changing areas can be found at the New Armouries Café, the brick toilets behind the Jewel House, and near the Salt Tower.

Free wifi is available to all visitors, so you won’t have to waste any data while enjoying this historic site.


How to Get to the Tower of London  

The nearest Underground Station to the Tower of London is Tower Hill on the District and Circle Lines. Bus routes 15, 42, 78, 100, and RV1 will also bring you to the walls of the Tower. Those travelling on the Docklands Light Railway can get to the Tower via Tower Gateway Station.  

We recommend using this link to get directions to the Tower of London from anywhere in London.

 

Where is the Tower of London

 

Be sure to check out our posts on navigating the London Underground and choosing which tube pass to buy.

If you are planning a visit to the Tower of London, there are several other nearby attractions that you might consider visiting on the same day.

 


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TICKETS FOR THE TOWER OF LONDON

  • Adults:  £21.45 | Concession: £18.50
  • Children (5-16): £10.75 | Under 5: FREE
  • Pre-purchase tickets to skip-the-queue

Margaret’s Top Tower of London Visitor Tips:

When visiting the Tower you can explore on your own, with an audio guide (£4.00 for adults) or by joining onto a tour led by the world-famous Beefeaters – which is free of charge! For more details on this, check out our blog post about the Yeomen Warders.

Of course, the easiest way to get to the Tower is to come along on our morning City of London Tour – on Tuesdays and Thursdays – where the Tower is our last stop, leaving you free to explore for the rest of the afternoon!

MONEY SAVING TIPS

You can also purchase a tourist pass and use that to enter without waiting in line for tickets. In particular, the London Pass and the IVenture Card offer the easiest ways to visit the Tower of London.

London Pass

All they have to do is scan your card and you’ll be allowed in ahead of everyone waiting in line for a ticket.

The London Pass also includes several additional attractions including nearby destinations such as the Tower Bridge, London Bridge, and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Read our post about this and other London tourist passes for more information.

  • You can also visit the Tower of London at night and for free during the Ceremony of the Keys, but you must plan well in advance.
  • A family ticket, for two adults and three children, is £57.20. And booking online will save you 5%, which may not seem a lot, but every penny counts whilst in London! Booking online also gives you a ticket that is valid for 7 days from the date you selected, so if your plans change, you don’t lose out!

 


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TOWER OF LONDON TOURS

Tours of the Tower of London will include admission in their ticket price. Only Blue Badge tour guides and the Beefeaters are allowed to provide tours at this famous landmark, so you can rest assured that they will do a good job. Blue Badge guides must train extensively before earning their badge.

 

 

The main tour offered at the Tower of London is led by the world-famous Beefeaters – and it is free of charge! For more details on this, check out our blog post about the Yeomen Warders. Alternatively, you can also take a private tour provided by the Tower of London which will give you an exclusive look at the landmark.

In addition, a few companies offer early access to the area, allowing visitors to see sites such as the Crown Jewels and the Opening Ceremony before the gates officially open. For more details on this opportunity, check our early bird section.

 


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EARLY BIRD TOURS

If you want to get into the Tower of London before anyone else, consider taking an early bird tour. These excursions are provided by licensed tour companies with blue badge tour guides. Visitors are allowed to enter this historic landmark before the gates officially open and experience one of the most popular sites in London before it gets too crowded.

One of the best options combines not just an early bird Tower of London Tour, but also adds in a River Thames Cruise and a tour of Royal London.
 

 

  • Tickets: £74.50/Adults | £69.50/Kids
  • Availability: Tue, Thu, Fri, Sat at 8:15 am
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Click here to buy tickets and/or read the reviews.

TIP: This is the only way to see the opening ceremony from inside the Tower of London. If you have your heart set on experiencing this moment, you will need to take an Early Bird tour.

 


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THE CROWN JEWELS

Illuminated by brilliant light, nestled onto crushed blue velvet and kept securely behind spotlessly clean glass, the Crown Jewels are proudly on display in the Jewel House here at the Tower of London.

In existence since the 11th century, and kept in the Tower since the 14th century, the Crown Jewels are one of the world’s largest collections of royal regalia. The entire collection is – literally – priceless and pieces are still actively used in ceremonies and events centered around our Royal Family.

 

 

Stored in the Jewel House near the back of the Tower, the jewels are available for all visitors of the Tower of London to see.

Passing through the vault doors (each one weighing 2 tonnes!), visitors are taken inside the darkness of the Jewel House where audio and video loops display pictures and films depicting famous coronations and close-up shots of some of the most famous pieces of the collection.

Once inside the Jewel House, guests will come face-to-face with some of the most famous gemstones in the world and get a close-up view of crowns, diadems, scepters and dozens of pieces of golden plate.

Wardens of the Jewel House are on site to answer any and all questions visitors may have, as well as regaling guests with some of the stories, legends, and fascinating facts about the most famous collection of royal regalia in existence.  

For more information, please read our blog post on visiting the Crown Jewels.

If you will excuse the pun, the Jewel House is absolutely the jewel in the crown of the Tower of London!

 


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HIGHLIGHTS 

The Tower of London is home to some of the most iconic and historic locations in the United Kingdom. Once you are inside the walls, the Tower is yours to explore! What follows is a brief guide to what you can see when you visit the Tower.

The White Tower White tower of london

The oldest building in the Tower of London. The scene of a famous murder mystery (the Princes in the Tower) as well as a scene in one of Shakespeare’s most famous works (Richard III), the White Tower also holds a beautifully preserved 11th-century chapel. 

The White Tower also holds the Line of Kings, an awe-inspiring exhibition of suits of armour and arms that have been on display for over 300 years. If you’ve ever wondered what Henry VIII wore when he was jousting, you will get an up-close view of his armour (and his famous codpiece!) here in the White Tower.

In addition to items worn by famous monarchs, you will come face-to-face with a number of them quite literally as the White Tower holds masks of our medieval monarchs, carved into their actual likenesses!

A Medieval Palace 

Recreating amazing rooms such as the bedchamber of King Edward I, the Medieval Palace in the Tower shows visitors exactly how our historic Kings and Queens would have lived.  A recreation of the 13th-centuryArmour of Henry VIII palace built by King Henry III and his eldest son, you can experience the comforts of medieval luxury, culminating in a visit to the Lanthorn Tower which houses objects of great value and historic interest that belonged to the kings who previously lived here.

Mint Street 

Commemorating the fact that the Royal Mint used to be based in the Tower of London (before being moved to Wales!), the Mint Street exhibition highlights and details the history of the Royal Mint in the Tower.

The Coins and Kings experience gives visitors a hands-on experience, showcasing not just the history of Mint Street, but displaying many of the actual artifacts that have been produced here. Tales of ransom, thievery, and even an appearance from Isaac Newton make Mint Street an exciting (new!) addition to the Tower exhibitions.

Tower Green 

Arguably the most famous execution site in the world, Tower Green contains a beautiful memorial to all those who lost their lives within the walls of the Tower.

Two of Henry VIII’s wives, a 16 year old ‘queen,’ and even Margaret Pole, the Countess of Salisbury who was an elderly woman at the time of her execution (famously botched by the executioner), and even those who were executed on charges of espionage during World War II are all commemorated here.

Click here to view the official top things to do and see in the Tower of London.

The Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula 

A Chapel Royal, in existence since the 12th century, St. Peter ad Vincula is the final resting place of those executed within the walls of the Tower. It is the designated place of worship for all of those who work (and live!) inside the Tower. With memorials and statues designated to famous faces of the churches history, buried inside are two of Henry VIIIs wives, as well as two saints: Sir Thomas Moore and Bishop John Fisher.

Tower of London Visitor Tips:

To get inside the Chapel, one can only enter as part of a Yeomen Warder led tour, so make sure to find a group to join before you go inside!  As always, check out the Tower of London’s Google+ page for images, updates, and reviews from others who have already experienced it.

The Towers within The Tower 

There are actually 9 Towers within the Tower of London. Many of these towers would’ve held various prisoners throughout their use during centuries past. Queen Elizabeth I, Robert Dudley, Lady Jane Grey, Sir Walter Raleigh – and the list goes on. Hundreds of people (and not just those with famous names) were kept as prisoners behind the walls of the various towers within the Tower of London.

Visiting the Salt Tower, The Bloody Tower, and The Beauchamp Tower gives visitors an opportunity not just to see the surroundings that prisoners would have been kept it, but it also provides a unique experience to read the prisoner’s final thoughts in their own words. Many of these towers contain graffiti left by prisoners in their final days and hours.

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