On the banks of the Thames, the Tower of London is one of the most famous monuments in the United Kingdom. Nearly 3 million tourists visit every year this exceptionally preserved medieval Norman fortress. There are several ways to visit the Tower of London: if you prefer to see it at your own pace, you can buy a skip-the-line ticket, but if you'd rather learn more about its history and understand every corner, here are the best guided tours of the Tower of London.
Tour inside the Tower of London with an expert guide just for you
Perfect for an intimate and totally exclusive experience when touring the legendary Tower of London. Take the opportunity to ask the expert guide for tips and recommendations.
If you really want to soak up the history that emanates from the walls of the Tower of London and it is your first time visiting it, the best way to do it is with this :private tour of the Tower of London. With this option, you will have a guide dedicated exclusively to you and your group, which allows you to focus on the points of interest or information that interests you most, make a much more personalized tour, etc...
With a duration of between 2 and 3 hours, this guided tour will give you the best route to see the most essential of this immense architectural complex, including the Crown Jewels exhibition, and will explain step by step everything there is to know about the 'Tower of London'. In addition, if you wish, this tour includes the transfer to the attraction, picking you up at the accommodation where you are staying.
This tour includes a private English-speaking guide who will accompany you as you walk around the interior and learn about its history and legends in a guided tour.
Why I like this option: this option will allow you to visit the inside of the Tower of London with an expert guide who will accompany you and your group exclusively, without having to be part of an organized tour with other participants.
Recommended if... you want to know the best-kept secrets of the mysterious Tower of London with an expert guide.
The best attractions in London, at the best price with the Tourist Card
If the Tower of London is just one of the many attractions you want to visit during your trip, consider purchasing the City Sightseeing Pass
Another way to visit the Tower of London (the most economical if you are going to visit several of the city's attractions), is to do it with one of the various London Tourist Passes, which you can learn about in this article I have written about :London Pass.
Being one of the most important attractions in London, the Tower of London is included in several of the existing London Sightseeing Passes. The London Pass includes everything you can visit in London in terms of cultural and historical sightseeing. With this card, you will have access to over 80 attractions, the Tower of London among them, and a day on a sightseeing bus. With this pass, you will save time by skipping the queue at the attractions and money by not having to pay the individual ticket for each one. It also gives you access to special offers in restaurants, stores, and theaters.
The price of the London Pass varies according to the number of days of use. The maximum duration is 10 days, but you can customize it and pay only for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 days. To visualize its convenience: for example, with a 6-day London Pass for adults, priced at approximately 240 dollars, you can visit several attractions that if paid separately would add up to more than 800 dollars.
If you want to know the essential London in a minimum of 4 days, but you would also like to spice up your trip with other leisure activities, such as a visit to Madame Tussauds, the London Dungeon or the London Eye, the London Explorer Pass will be your best option.
With this pass you choose the number of attractions to visit, avoiding long queues at each tourist attraction and with a saving of up to 35% on the entrance fees. In addition, you will be able to tour the city in one day by tourist bus and guide you on your tour with the useful digital guide included.
Why I like this option: If you are planning to visit several attractions, the London Pass will most likely pay off financially. Plus, you'll save time as you'll be able to skip the ticket office queues at each attraction.
Recommended if... you want to complete your trip with other visits such as Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral or the Royal Albert Hall.
Buy tickets to the Tower of London at the ticket office
Another option is to go to the entrance and buy tickets at the ticket office. There you can choose the ticket that includes access to the Crown Jewels. It gives you the possibility to see in one day its glittering collection of Crown Jewels or explore the place on your own and at your own pace, but you will have to wait in long queues at the entrance.
You can also tour inside with a free guided tour by an authentic 'Beefeater' guard. If you feel like joining this tour, they start every half hour and last 60 minutes. You'll tour the interior of the Tower through the intriguing tales told by these 'Yeomen Warders', guides dressed as the guards who once guarded the Tower's prisoners and guarded the safety of its royal jewels.
What to see at the Tower of London
The monumental complex that encompasses the 'Tower of London' can be unmanageable if you do not have much time for your visit, so I want to recommend some of its essential areas.
The White Tower is the main tower of the complex, which is said to have been used as the king's lodging and houses the best collection of royal armor and another of its watchtowers, the Beauchamp Tower, whose walls can still be seen writings of several of the prisoners who passed through there.
The Crown Jewels: You will be dazzled by the unique collection that comprises its House of Jewels, some of which are still worn by Queen Elizabeth II.
Wakefield Tower: at the bottom, you can see an exhibition of how prisoners were tortured with replicas of the objects used by their executioners and around which lives the most famous colony of crows on the planet. These birds were known at the time as the guardians of the Tower of London.
Opening times of the Tower of London
The Tower of London is open every day of the year, except on December 24, 25 and 26 and January 1.
The opening hours of the 'Tower of London' vary at different times of the year, opening sometimes from 9 AM to 4:30 PM and sometimes from 10 AM to 5:30 PM, so I recommend you check them on its official website, according to the dates of the calendar in which you travel.
How to get to the Tower of London
The Tower of London stands in St Katharine's & Wapping (borough of Tower Hamlets), above the historic and financial center of London, the famous 'City', so it is well served by the city's public transport. On your arrival, get an Oyster Card, which can be purchased at any of its subway stations, to move in a more agile and economical way around the capital:
The nearest subway stop to the 'Tower of London' is, about 5 minutes walk, Tower Hill (District Line, Circle Line) You can also approach in its light rail, Docklands Light Railway (DLR), since right next to the Tower Hill subway station is the DLR Tower Gateway Station.
Most of London's sightseeing buses, which you will have access to if you choose a London Pass or London Explorer Pass, stop at the Tower of London. As for the city bus, you can get there by taking lines 15, 42, 78, 100 and RV1.
You can also get to the Tower of London by getting off at Fenchurch Street train stop, a 5-minute walk away, or from the London Bridge stop, a 15 minute walk away.
Several cruises on the River Thames, including the London Pass and London Explorer Pass, make stops to visit the Tower of London. The nearest pier is Tower Pier, which can be reached by taking Charing Cross, Westminster and Greenwich.
In general, to move from one end of the city to the other, I recommend that you consider taking a cruise on the Thames. There are different types of cruises, and I explain everything in this article on Thames River Cruises.
Other interesting details about the Tower of London
I must make an important note when visiting the Tower of London since, although it is an accessible place and that will interest any type of traveler, you should keep in mind that access is not possible with certain needs as a wheelchair.
It does, however, have several volunteers (subject to availability) to help visitors with special needs. For these, there is also the possibility of access with an assistance animal and information in Braille, in most of the attractions, for the blind or visually impaired, as well as the possibility of hiring a sign language interpreter for the deaf or hearing impaired.
There are also audioguides to take your visit to the next level (with a price of about $ 5), an elevator to access one of the most mythical places of the attraction, 'The White Tower', and seats to rest your legs at various points of the fortress, as well as several bathrooms, some of them, adapted (mainly those on the outside of the Tower).
A bit of history about the Tower of London
Built in 1066, this fortress overlooking central London has really been 'depreciated' over its more than nine centuries of life. It was once a terrifying prison of inhumane conditions, a place of execution of famous traitors to the Crown, and later became a Royal residence.
During its history, it has also been used as an armory, Royal Mint, and treasury and even as a place of custody of the Crown Jewels and as a zoo for wild animals. There is plenty of history to be discovered within its walls. In fact, the tour of the entire architectural ensemble, will not take less than 3 hours.
For all these reasons, the Tower of London was declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988.
What to visit around the Tower of London
Thanks to the exceptional location of the Tower of London, you can take advantage of your visit to discover other important places in the city. Just 960 feet from the Tower of London you will discover the City Hall, the futuristic style building that houses the City Hall of London and, a little further, at 1125 feet, walk across the most famous bridge in the city, the Tower Bridge.
Nearby, 1866 feet from the Tower of London, you can admire the Great Fire Monument, a 200-feet Doric stone column representing the great fire that ravaged London in 1666 and its subsequent reconstruction.
If you are interested in naval history you will enjoy very much (800 feet from the 'Tower of London') the HMS Belfast, a floating museum that was the flagship of the British Navy. Within this area, you will also have the opportunity to cross the London Bridge, the bridge over the River Thames that connects the City of London with the Southwark district.
Vicky's Traveller Tip
Make the most of your visit to this area to go up to the incredible perspective of The View from The Shard, on the other side of the river.
If you are interested in the Tower of London, you will also be interested in...
If in addition to the history and architecture of the famous Tower of London you are interested in visiting other key places in the history of England, I invite you to read this other article I wrote about Westminster Abbey Tickets, one of the most emblematic places in the city.
A smart way to get around the big city is the bus with free stops. Don't be swayed by the opinion that it's too touristy, because after all, it will allow you to move quickly between the city's sights while still enjoying the sights. I tell you all about it in the Hop on Hop off Bus Tours: guide.
Frequently asked questions
How long does a Tower of London tour usually take?
You should expect to spend about 2-3 hours at the Tower. The Crown Jewels queue can take about 20 minutes and a tour around the Tower will be about 1hr 30min.
What is the best time to visit the Tower of London?
As a general rule, it's best to visit during the morning mid-week, to try and avoid longer queues due to school visits. For the same reasons, you might want to avoid visiting the Tower during English school holidays.
Where can I go after I visit the Tower of London?
There's plenty of things to do around the Tower of London, such as crossing the Tower Bridge, admiring The Shard, visiting the beautiful Southwark Cathedral or wandering around Borough Market.