Follow “Tower of London” signs down the steps to a tunnel that takes you under busy Tower Hill Street. Take a right after the tunnel and follow signs to “Tickets.” Soon you’ll see the ticket booth for the Tower of London.
NOTE: Be the first to arrive at the Tower of London in the morning. You’ll be glad you did. Arrive twenty minutes before opening time, especially if you did not order tickets online or pick them up early. Lines will form quickly and ticket kiosks open exactly at nine.
2. Tower of London.
Visitor Information. Tues-Sat 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Sun-Mon 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; last admission 5:00 p.m. Adult £20.90, Child (under 16) £10.45, Family (up to 2 adults and 6 children) £55, Children under 5 are free. Audio guides £4. Tickets can be booked ahead online or by phone. Be aware that some prices include a “voluntary donation.” www.hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon. 08444827799 (from UK); +44(0)2031666000 (from outside UK).
Have you ever wondered what life was like inside a moated fortress? Visitors to the Tower of London are often surprised to find that it is exactly that: a thousand-year-old fortress complete with moat, armory, torture chambers, a dungeon – and not just one but dozens of towers.
William the Conqueror built the Tower in the 11th century as a way of demonstrating his strength and frightening his new subjects into submission. Through the years it has been a place of torture, confinement and execution but also a place of refuge for kings and a royal palace. Many of Britain’s most innocent and infamous prisoners were held and executed here, from Lady Jane Grey – a queen for just nine days, whose only crime was being born on the wrong side of the royal family tree – to the notorious criminal Jack the Ripper.
Full of mystery and intrigue, the Tower is bound to top the list of every family’s favorite London destinations. Little princes of all ages will enjoy exhibits of ancient weaponry, squirm in fascination at the gruesome details of imprisonment and torture while little princesses will delight at the yeoman warder’s romantic tales of prisoners in love, shiver at the heartbreaking stories of innocent victims held captive within the towers and gaze in awe at the glittering crown jewels.
Did You Know? The Tower of London is home to a whole community of yeoman warders and their families. They live here full time in a little village around Tower Green, complete with a church, a doctor and their own little pub, the Yeoman Warders’ Club.
Fun Fact. The Tower of London, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, welcomes over 2 million visitors every year.
If you arrive early enough and have your tickets in hand, be at the main entrance by 8:45 am to witness the unlocking ceremony. It isn’t an elaborate ceremony but features a small military contingent escorting the Yeoman Sergeant as he opens the Tower gates for the day.