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The Tower of London is among Britain’s top tourist attractions. Although it’s mainly known as a place of imprisonment and execution, this remarkable building has also served as palace, mint, archive, armory, barracks and royal menagerie over the years. See the legendary crown jewels and learn about the tower’s often brutal history.
Be sure to check out the central White Tower, the oldest part of the complex and its most eye-catching building. The White Tower was built by William the Conqueror beginning in 1078. Inside you’ll find the Armories, with an excellent collection of arms and armor. Look for Henry VIII's large suit of armor, as well as various historic swords, morning stars and halberds.
On the far side of the White Tower, find the Bloody Tower. This tower takes its name from the famous murders of the uncrowned boy king, Edward V, and his brother Richard, who were imprisoned here by their uncle, Richard of Gloucester, after the death of their father. The boys were never seen again and Gloucester was crowned Richard III. Don’t miss the displays dedicated to some of the Tower’s other famous prisoners, including a reconstruction of Sir Walter Raleigh’s study.
The highlights of the tour are the iconic Crown Jewels, consisting of stunning crowns, glittering orbs and staffs housed in the Waterloo Barracks. This collection features the ceremonial objects of the British monarchy, some of which date as far back as the 12th century. Look for the magnificent Imperial State Crown, which is decorated with more than 3,000 jewels, including the fourth-largest diamond in the world. You’ll also see the platinum crown of the late Queen Mother, adorned with the 105-carat Indian Koh-i-Noor (Mountain of Light) diamond, which is said to bring luck to women.
The Tower of London is open daily, with hours varying by day. There is an admission fee. Free guided tours leave regularly from the bridge near the main entrance. To get to the tower, take the Tube to Tower Hill Station.
Want to be sure to get the most out of your time here? We've put together some popular things to do that will help you:
Check out our London things to do page to discover even more activities in the area.
Located in London City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Tower Bridge, Tower of London and HMS Belfast. The Shard and Excel Exhibition Centre are also within 9 mi (15 km). Tower Gateway Station is 6 minutes by foot and Tower Hill Station is 7 minutes.
Located in London City Centre, this spa hotel is steps away from Southbank Centre Book Market and Florence Nightingale Museum. St. Thomas' Hospital and Sea Life London Aquarium are also within 5 minutes. Waterloo Underground Station is only a 4-minute walk and Lambeth North Underground Station is 6 minutes.
Located in London City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Borough Market, London Bridge and HMS Belfast. Globe Theatre and Tate Modern are also within 1 mi (2 km). London Bridge Station is only a 2-minute walk and London Bridge Underground Station is 2 minutes.
Located in London City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Sky Garden, The Gherkin and Tower of London. Tower Bridge and Liverpool Street are also within 15 minutes. Tower Hill Station and Tower Gateway Station are within a 5-minute walk.
Located in London City Centre, this spa hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Sky Garden, The Gherkin, and Tower of London. Liverpool Street and Tower Bridge are also within 15 minutes. London Fenchurch Street Station is only a 2-minute walk and Tower Hill Station is 3 minutes.
Located in London City Centre, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Tower of London and London Bridge. St. Paul's Cathedral and Covent Garden Market are also within 3 mi (5 km). Tower Hill Station is only a 2-minute walk and Tower Gateway Station is 2 minutes.
Located in London City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Tower Bridge and Tower of London. Borough Market and Museum of London are also within 2 mi (3 km). Tower Gateway Station is 5 minutes by foot and Aldgate East Station is 6 minutes.
Located in London City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Tate Modern and Coca-Cola London Eye. The Shard and Big Ben are also within 1 mi (2 km). Southwark Underground Station is 8 minutes by foot and Blackfriars Underground Station is 8 minutes.