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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 30 April, 2023
Expert travel writer: Sarah Barrell

The Tower of London is one of the UK’s most iconic and impressive historical attractions. Yes, it’s stuffed with tourists but for good reason: inside, you’ll get up close to the Crown Jewels, including the Queen’s crown and the armour of the great Tudor King, Henry VIII. Its White Tower is the oldest intact building in London, built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century.

The resident Yeoman Warders (or Beefeaters) give excellent free tours of the various wings, uncovering some gruesome stories from the Tower’s role as a prison in the Middle Ages. This is where ‘traitors’ were executed – the water gate entrance, built by Edward I, witnessed a stream of prisoners enter the Tower for execution, including Anne Boleyn, Sir Thomas More and Catherine Howard. The unfortunate’s head would be displayed on a spike at London Bridge afterwards.

Look out for the resident ravens – legend has it that if they desert the tower, the kingdom will fall.

Logistics

Price from: £25
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 4+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

The nearest Underground station is Tower Hill (District & Circle line). If you’re coming by river bus, get off at Millennium Tower Pier.

Save a spot and avoid the entry queues by booking tickets in advance on the Tower of London website. The Beefeaters (more politely called Yeoman Warders) are integral to any Tower visit; their free tours begin at the gates every half hour. There is no formal ticking in or out: just join a group.

When to do it

It’s open all year round, seven days a week.

Summer holiday season (July to August) can be unbearably packed, as are weekends. Go during the week if possible, and arrive before 9am to watch as the military guards and Yeoman Warders unlock and open the hefty wooden doors. You’ll also score the best viewing spots of the Crown Jewels.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Destination guides

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

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