See the Crown Jewels of London, included with your Tower of London tickets
The site of political scheming, bloody beheadings, and the home of the Crown Jewels, the Tower of London is a terrific place to spend a fascinating – and slightly eerie – day. Enjoy one of London's most iconic sites with Tower of London tickets, and cross a world-famous landmark off your cultural bucket list.
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Tower of London
Symbol of London.
Located on the banks of the Thames, close to the famous Tower Bridge, the Tower of London is a major tourist site in the English capital. This fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, welcomes millions of visitors every year. Its typical architecture, its royal guards and the treasures it preserves offer a unique insight into the history of the British Crown.
A Yeomen Warders in front of the tower.
Tower of London.
A long history
The Tower of London has survived the centuries, to the point of being at the forefront of the conflicts that have taken place in England’s history. At times a strategic fortress, an administrative and financial centre, a prison, a royal residence, the uses to which it has been put over the years bear witness to its importance to the British monarchy. There is no doubt that if its walls could speak, they would tell us a lot about it!
A medieval fortress in the conquest of London.
The construction of this fortress was undertaken at the end of the 11th century. The keep of the Tower of London, known as the White Tower, was built by William the Conqueror. The King of England wanted to secure his power by fortifying his position at the gates of London.
Plan of the Tower of London in 1597.
At that time, the construction of the Tower of London was part of a larger project to build several fortresses and castles in order to establish its domination in England. The strategic location of the Tower of London, on the banks of the Thames, made it an essential command centre.
From Royal residence to prison
The Tower of London has had various uses, depending on the needs of the British Crown. Initially an administrative and strategic centre, it later became a royal residence thanks to the accommodation in the White Tower.
From the 16th century onwards, however, it was mainly used as a prison. As such, the Tower of London saw some of the country’s most important figures locked up within its walls: Elizabeth I, the future Queen of England, James I, King of Scotland, Thomas More, the famous philosopher and politician, and Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII of England.
The bloody myth of the Tower of London
As an important prison in the country, the Tower of London has acquired a sulphurous reputation. It is considered a cursed place because of the torture and executions that took place there. In reality, this image is more of a myth. It was constructed and popularised by English literature, particularly in the 19th century. Most executions were in fact carried out on Tower Hill, close to the fortress, and the conditions of the inmates of the Tower of London were, on the whole, superior to those of other prisons in the country.
Visit the Tower of London
With your ticket for the Tower of London you will be able to discover all the wonders of this great fortress. Behind the walls that surround it, you will find the White Tower, the emblematic building, but also many other towers, a royal chapel or the Waterloo Barracks.
View of the White Tower from the Thames.
In addition, there are special surprises such as the White Tower, the Crown Jewels, the meeting of the Yeomen Warders and the Tower of London’s crows.
The White Tower
The White Tower is the iconic landmark of the Tower of London. It is the source of the name given to the London fortress.
The White Tower houses the crown.
In this imposing castle, you will first find a magnificent Romanesque chapel, the Chapel of St. John the Evangelist.
Romanesque Chapel of St John the Evangelist.
t is also this White Tower that now houses one of the Royal Armouries’ collections, with its many historical armours and weapons, some of which belonged to former sovereigns.
The Royal Crown
The Tower of London is best known for housing the Crown Jewels. These are the attributes – crowns, sceptres, swords, etc. – These are the attributes that the Sovereign adorns himself with during great ceremonies, such as a coronation or a wedding.
The Royal Crown under heavy protection.
With your ticket to visit the Tower of London you have the opportunity to discover these treasures of the British monarchy, still used by members of the royal family. It is however forbidden to take pictures of them.
The Yeomen Warders
Recognisable by their red and black uniforms, the Yeomen Warders are the historic guardians of the Tower of London – since 1485! These members of the Royal Guard, also known as ‘beefeaters’, protect the Crown Jewels and even offer guided tours of the fortress.
Yeomen Warders on guard duty.
Held every 30 minutes and included in your admission ticket, these tours with a Yeoman Warder will immerse you in the thousand year history of the Tower of London. The presentations are obviously in English, but the Tower offers audio guides in several languages.
How to become a Yeoman Warder?
Becoming a Yeoman Warder is not easy! To join this Royal Guard unit, you must have served for at least 22 years in the country’s armed forces and prove your impeccable conduct. So don’t be fooled by appearances: behind the unusual attire of the “beefeaters” lie recognised military personnel!
Where does the nickname ‘beefeaters’ come from?
The Yeomen Warders are nicknamed ‘beef eaters’. This surprising expression has an uncertain origin. There are only a few hypotheses. For some, the name simply refers to the ‘English’ in slang. For others, the expression is linked to the fact that the Yeomen Warders ate mainly beef-based broth. So the mystery remains!
When you visit the Tower of London you may see some unusual birds: crows! There are seven of them, and all are fed by the guards and free to fly around the fortress.
The sacred crows of the lawn.
Legend has it that if they were to leave the Tower of London, the British monarchy would collapse. To avoid this bad omen, the crows are pampered! But be careful: it is forbidden to feed them.
Who should visit the Tower of London?
A visit to the Tower of London is suitable for everyone. For history buffs, the discovery of the sites of this fortress plunges us into the conflicts, secrets and habits of the British monarchy.
Children will also enjoy this visit, thanks to the anecdotes and myths that are told. For the youngest, as well as for the oldest, the entrance to the Tower of London offers a privileged way to discover the city of London!
Good to know:
Wheelchair access is therefore limited. Some parts of the fortress may impress a young audience. The Tower of London is a historic building, with stairs that are often difficult to navigate.