In the early 1080s, William the Conqueror began to build a massive stone tower at the centre of his London fortress. As a royal palace, fortress, prison, place of torture and execution, armoury, Royal Mint, royal zoo and jewel house, the Tower of London has witnessed many great events in British history.
Today the Tower is most well known for housing the Crown Jewels. The Tower is also known for its iconic architecture, Beefeaters, the ravens and royal armour.
MUMMY’S GIN FUND SAYS:
We walked from Cannon Street station. It took about 15 mins. with little legs and we got to walk past The Monument and discussed the Great Fire of London which was a good start to discussing London’s history.
We bought sandwiches from Prêt-a-manger outside which sells kids’ ham and cheese sandwiches as we weren’t sure what the food options were inside. There are many benches for sitting and eating picnics. There are water fountains for filling up drinks bottles.
You can pick up kids’ trails from the ticket office on arrival. These seem to be geared at different age groups. Ours, for the youngest, was probably best aimed at ages five to seven but gave us a good idea of what to notice and discuss with our four year old in the towers.
The queue for the Crown Jewels gets longer and longer. If it’s still within the snake ribbon then it’s probably worth queuing, if it’s heading to the restaurant then don’t bother. We didn’t as the four year old was happy to see the paste Crown Jewels and other crowns in one of the towers.
The beasts exhibition is worth visiting and finding out about the animals which lived in the towers including a polar bear and an elephant.
The Line of the Kings exhibition was interesting as you could see a range of armours including a child. At the end there is a big dragon made out of guns. If you’re really lucky you may be chosen to polish the ‘ruby’ or the dragon’s heart. This was a magic moment for us.
Walking around the wall gives great views but it is narrow and there are a lot of stone spiral staircases and not many opportunities to change your mind.
Going home we walked over Tower Bridge to London Bridge. This was a nice end to the day as you could see the Tower of London and be amazed that you climbed the towers and walked around the wall.
Address: Tower of London, London, EC3N 4AB.
Cafe: The ‘New Armouries Restaurant’ serving hot and cold food and cakes, snacks and ‘Apostrophe’, a small outdoor cafe with a range of teas, coffees, ice creams and muffins etc.
Toilets: There are several toilets around the wall, clearly marked on the map. Baby change is available.
Pram / wheelchair / mobility friendly: There are buggy parks around some with chains for attaching locks. The cobbles and steps make even the general areas a bit of a nightmare with a buggy. The wall walk is narrow and the towers full of stone spiral staircases.
Train: Fenchurch Street or London Bridge stations.
DLR: Tower Gateway Station is located adjacent to Tower Hill station.
Tube: Tower Hill underground station.
Bus Routes: 15, 42, 78, 100, RV1.
Riverboat: Tower Pier. Riverboats for Tower Pier depart from Charing Cross, Westminster and Greenwich. Thames Clippers’ fleet of hi-speed catamarans operate daily with departures every 20 minutes from both London Bridge Pier and Tower Pier. A variety of tickets are available including single journey and River Roamer tickets.
Phone: 0844 482 7777.
Email: [email protected].
Line of Kings exhibition – figures of armoured kings, displayed with life-sized wooden horses.
Coins and Kings exhibition – Discover the people and stories behind the coins that were minted at the Tower for over 500 years.
Royal Beasts – For over 600 years, exotic animals were held captive at the Tower. Discover more about their extraordinary stories and what life was like for them in the Royal Menagerie.
Yeoman Warder tours – Join a Yeoman Warder tour and you’ll be entertained by tales from the Tower; pain and passion, treachery and torture, all delivered with a swagger and a smile!
Ravens – Legend says that the kingdom and the Tower will fall if the six ravens ever leave the fortress. The ravens have become one of the Tower’s most famous sights.
The White Tower – An iconic symbol of London and Britain, the White Tower is currently (2015) housing ‘Power House’, a fascinating exhibition about the national institutions founded at the Tower of London.
Medieval Palace – Discover what life was like and experience the sounds and smells of life in a surprisingly luxurious medieval household.
Prisoners’ exhibition – There have been prisoners at the Tower almost since it was built. For nearly 900 years, traitors, kings, queens, saints and sinners have been held here against their will.
Tower Green – Discover how execution inside the Tower was a privilege for those of high rank.
Family fun activities – They have a wide range of activities and tours to entertain families. Choose from a range of family trails, raven talks and much more!
There is an ice rink in the winter.
Adult £24.50 (£23.10 online)
Child aged five to 16 £11 (£10.50 online)
Concessions £18.70 (£17.60 online)
Family £60.70 (£57.40 online)
There is also the option of membership to six Royal Palaces.
Review by Vanessa Legouix