It might seem strange that a British (Northern Irish) guy would wait until he is 34 before touring the Tower of London in England. In fact, I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve walked past the beast and thought “someday I should go in there”. Then in November 2014, on yet another return trip to London town, it was on. Inspired by the fantastic poppy display, and while staying at the nearby Mad Hatter Hotel, I decided to tour the Tower of London this time.
Getting a Ticket for the Tower of London
To get a ticket there are two main options.
1. Buy your ticket in advance from Attractions Tix Website (you’ll need to go to the ticket desk with your reference and swap it for your real ticket on the day).
2. Turn up and buy them on the day.
If you’re doing option 2, bear in mind that there may be queues at various times of day and of year. To avoid this, go at 9am, when it opens. You’ll be served pretty fast most of the time and should be inside the Tower of London by 9.05am.
The current prices are (November 2014):
– £22 for an adult ticket.
– £59 for a family ticket (1/2 adults and up to 3 children)
– Free for a child under 5
– £11 for a child aged 5-15
– £18.70 for concessions (students, disabled, OAPs, unemployed etc.)
(please note that ALL of these prices INCLUDE a voluntary donation. You can ask for the voluntary donation to be removed – it’s about 10% of the price, so the adult ticket can cost £20)
Opening Times are as follows
Sunday – Monday 10 am – 16.30 pm
Tuesday – Saturday 9am – 16.30 pm
Tower closes at 16.30 pm every day (this means you should aim to get there by at least 3pm as it takes a couple of hours to get round it – an hour and a half would be rushing it, but it’s doable).
Getting to the Tower of London
It’s not rocket science here. Getting to the Tower of London is ridiculously easy. Head on the London Underground tube to Tower Hill station, or on the DLR Tower Gateway. To save money on the tubes, use an Oyster card or buy an all day travel card. Once at the correct tube station, everything is signposted to the Tower of London. You can’t miss it. Alternatively if you fancy a walk, it’s a short walk from Monument, Bank or indeed Liverpool Street.
Top 10 Sights at the Tower of London
The thing about the Tower of London is that it’s so big. This means once you’re inside you might not be sure what to do, what order to see things in and what not to miss. With your ticket you get given a map and a brochure which has a quick map and guide to the key sights of the tour. You can also buy a book which is worth it for the history buffs, but I didn’t. I wanted to go with my best mate Millwall Neil, but he was busy writing essays and teaching so I went alone. I made my way round the sights myself and have highlighted these top 10 as my pick.
1. The Crown Jewels
You have to see the Crown Jewels. World famous, sparkling, extravagant and worth far too much money. Whether you’re a fan of the Royals or not, these are worth a look and there is a massive Crown Jewels exhibition at the back. There is a lot of information inside but one thing – they don’t allow photos to be taken inside and are strict on it, so bear that in mind.
2. The Line of Kings
Inside the White Tower the lasting impression I had was the “Line of Kings” where several former kings of England have their own glass boxes with their armoured suits in them. Horses, weaponry and information accompany the display and photography is allowed.
The Royal Mint exhibition gives an insight into the coinage history of England and the UK. You can see how the coins are made and the progression of British coinage over the years.
Massive black ravens reside at the Tower of London and you can get up close to photograph them. You didn’t expect to see wildlife here!
5. Royal Beasts
The Royal Beasts display is great as it gives a thorough history of the animals that were brought to England from abroad – elephants, snakes and even kangaroos were all once here!
6. White Tower
The central White Tower is a must on your visit – it’s the largest display and museum part and takes a good hour to see it all.
7. Bloody Tower
This tower is famous for the wrong reasons, as the title suggests. Horrifically , the sons of King Edward IV were murdered here.
8. The Lower Wakefield Tower (Torture Tower)
The Lower Wakefield Tower was used to torture those guilty of offences not deemed bad enough for death but for torture sessions. You can see the deadly mechanisms used to torture people back in the day.
9. Yeoman Warder Presentation
If you’re lucky you might get to see a Royal – it’s all about the right place and the right time. Check this cool photo of the presentation of a wreath to the Queen on the Facebook page from the Yeoman Warder Presentation.
10. Tower Gardens
The pretty gardens show that it’s not all about Towers, bricks and cement.
By the way, I just rounded this up to a quick top 10 while I’m on the move as I was so inspired by my visit. There is a lot to see inside the Tower of London that will keep you occupied for hours. For up market rooms on higher budgets than mine, check out Executive Rooms London Kensington.
Here are my videos from my day touring the Tower Bridge in London, England. I loved it!: