The Tower of London is one of London’s most iconic buildings- and that is saying something. It attracts thousands of visitors per week all year round, and is one of the most fascinating pieces of history in the entire city. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the home of The Crown Jewels, it has served under many guises during its life.
Mainly used as Royal apartments and lodgings The Tower has been an armoury, a King’s menagerie, an execution site and even a prison. In fact the infamous Kray Twins were amongst the last prisoners to be held in the keep. The Tower is haunted in a major way by some celebrity ghosts, and the ravens are crucial to its structural integrity. See I told you, it’s an incredible place. If it wasn’t already at the top of your list of places to visit, then it absolutely should be!
The Tower has stood for over a thousand years, and although it was originally intended to dominate and impose fear, it now inspires awe and attracts people from all over the world. If you are visiting London and staying in one of the incredible Park Grand London Hotels then you are in the perfect position to visit The Tower. So let’s take a look at everything you need to know for your visit.
Here are some quick facts so you can hit the ground running when you arrive…
- The Tower of London was completed towards the end of 1066 after the Norman invasion of Britain.
- The White Tower was completed in 1078 by William the Conqueror himself, and is actually where the structure’s name comes from.
- There is a rule which states that 6 ravens must remain at The Tower at all times. If this is not adhered to, The Tower will fall and so will London.
- The Beefeaters, or Yeoman, are the resident guards for the tower. They are also the Raven Keepers, tour guides and carers for the premises.
- As one of the most famous castles in the world it is estimated that The Tower of London attracts over 2 million tourists per year!
- Henry VIII’s wife Anne Bolelyn was executed on the grounds in 1536, and it is said that to this day, you can see her headless ghost leading a procession of guards through the grounds.
So now we know a little bit about this building’s incredible history, we need to know how to get there in the modern era. Thankfully for us, it is situated in the heart of London so the transport links are amazing.
Arriving by Car
Although it is not advisable to drive in central London if you can avoid it, you can park near the Tower, but spaces will be limited! Tower Hill Coach and Carpark is a 2 minute walk away, whilst Minories Carpark is approximately 10 minutes walk. If you are with a coach group then you will arrive at the former.
Arriving by Bus
Bus numbers 15, 42, 78, 100, and RV1 stop near the Tower, and pretty much all of the Hop-on, Hop-off bus tours include the tower on their route.
Getting the Tube
The closest Tube Station is of course Tower Hill on the District and Circle lines. If you have booked a room in the best Kensington Hotel London, the Park Grand London Paddington, then all you have to do is jump on the tube at Bayswater on a District Line train. Easy!
Arriving on Foot
If you intend to arrive on foot, then simply follow tourist signs to Tower Bridge, it’s hard to miss if you are on the banks of the Thames!
Arriving by Boat
Arriving via boat is one of the coolest ways to arrive at the Tower. Hop on a river taxi and look out for Tower Bridge Quay. It drops you right at the door!
There are two entrances for the public. The main entrance is the West Gate entrance; if you have booked tickets in advance, which is highly recommended, then you can collect your tickets here and enter. This gate gets very busy, so try to arrive early.
The second entry is the Middle Drawbridge entrance, reserved mainly for pre-booked groups and disabilities. This gate can be much quieter, so if you have pre-purchased your tickets then you might be better off heading here to collect them. The wait can be significantly shorter, but only if you’ve pre-booked!
The ticket fees vary by season and event, but at the moment the price for an adult is £29.90 with no donation included. Kid’s tickets are £14.90 and 65+ is £24. There are multiple options for family saver tickets that start at £52.20 for 1 adult and 2 kids. If you are travelling as a group then the family savers are an obvious choice!
The Tower of London can get incredibly busy, so here are a few tips to ensure you don’t miss out on your visit!
- Try to arrive early to avoid the multitudes of people. If you arrive just before the gates are due to open, you have a great chance of beating the waiting line at the Crown Jewels.
- In the same vein- try and avoid visiting at the weekend. You won’t believe the sheer amount of people!
- Grab a free map on entry. It is clear and easy to read and will help you plan your day!
- Give The Tower some time. The site is actually rather massive and there are many buildings and attractions. Don’t underestimate the time you’ll need to see it all.
- Join a Yeoman Warder tour. They are 45 minutes long and encompass the entire site, you will learn about the resident ghosts, The Tower Ravens; and best of all? It’s included in the price of your ticket.
So there you have it. The Tower of London should be top of your to-do list when in London, the gruesome history, the fascinating stories and the magic of the building itself make this an unmissable spot. Even if you’re in town for a day or two and have booked the best Executive Stay Heathrow Airport has to offer, you’ll have the time to hop on the tube and visit this London icon.