Tower of London Tickets & Tours – Best Ways To Visit

Remember 1066? William the Conquerer and all that? Well, William not only conquered, he also built — starting work on what would become one of the world's most famous and spectacular fortresses, now a UNESCO-designated heritage site. Let's take a look at Tower of London tickets & review the best tours.

Today the Tower of London still stores the British monarch's Crown Jewels, just as it has done since 1303.

The Tower of London's 1,000-year history holds dark secrets as a royal palace, a prison, and a place of execution — as well as a royal mint, an armoury, and a menagerie! Our best advice is to bypass the long lines by booking skip-the-line Tower of London tickets before you leave home, or by booking a tour that combines the best of the Tower of London with other top London attractions.

VIP Exclusive – Tower of London + St Paul's Cathedral

VIP Insiders Tower of London + St Paul's Cathedral

Arrive at the Tower before it's open to the public and have one of the Beefeaters personally guide you around.

Afterwards you'll have an insiders view of the traditional opening ceremonies, including a military march around the Tower. Spend as much time as you like, exploring all the fortress' nooks and crannies.

"Loved the whole day and all the secret places we went, too……you'll have to do the tour to find out!!!!!"
– 5-Star Review

Then, walk to nearby St Paul's Cathedral where you'll have an exclusive chance to see the Triforium, an area closed to the public. You'll also want to see the Dean's Staircase, featured in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Visit the Whispering Gallery and the Crypt where many of England's most famous lie.

The VIP tour includes Tower of London tickets, all other entrance fees, and a certified, expert guide.

Tower of London Tickets + Thames River Cruise

Tower of London + Thames River Cruise

This one-day pass lets you skip the ticket line at the Tower of London plus gives you a Thames river sightseeing cruise, and at a pretty reasonable price.

Explore the 900-year-old Tower's history as a royal palace and fortress, a prison and place of execution. In fact, stay as long as you like since cruise boats leave at all hours of the day, and from 4 different docks.

"We really enjoyed both elements of this tour. On the boat cruise… we were able to see all of the major sites of London along the Thames. Fantastic!"
– 5-Star Review

Depending on the cruise you choose you'll spend from 30 minutes to over 2 hours viewing London riverside. See the splendour of the blend of historic and modern as the boat weaves its way through London, with history abounding at every bend.

Tower of London + City of London Tour

Tower of London + City of London

See everything on one glorious tour!

Visit Sir Christopher Wren's masterpiece, St. Paul's Cathedral, where Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer wed. Next stop is the Tower of London where you see the Crown Jewels and coronation regalia.

You're not done yet! Continue to the City of London, the ancient Roman city where skyscrapers now soar. In the City's narrow streets you can feel the antiquity, especially when visiting sights like the Lord Mayor's House. Did you know the City of London is actually a city within London?

Tower of London Skip-the-Line Entrance Ticket

Tower of London Skip-the-Line Entrance Ticket

Show up at the Tower with this ticket and you skip the long lines by going to the Group Ticket window. From experience, we always recommend that you opt for skip-the-line whenever possible.

Once at the Tower you will discover the brooding ravens, turrets, and chambers. See where Anne Boleyn was beheaded, see the Crown Jewels, and St Edward's Crown — used at coronations since 1661. Explore on your own, with an audio-guide, or on a free tour led by a Yeoman Warder or Beefeater.

An option we like is to upgrade to the Royal Palaces option with priority entrance to Hampton Court Palace, Hampton Gardens, and Kensington Palace (the former royal home of Princess Diana).

Royal London Walking Tour

Royal London Walking Tour

This tour includes the Tower, the Changing of the Guards, and a Thames cruise. It packs a lot into one day, but in a good way!

See the Crown Jewels, still used today by Queen Elizabeth II, and stroll along the East Wall Walk to see the famous ravens of the Tower.

Then head to a nearby pier where a cruise boat awaits. Soak up the sights — St Paul's Cathedral, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament — on your Thames River cruise.

"Guide was very knowledgeable. He had us in all the right spots at the right time. thank you!"
– 5-Star Review

Your boat docks at Embankment Pier and sends you on your way to Buckingham Palace. Watch the Changing of the Guard or the Horse Guards Parade. See the balcony where, for centuries, the British Royal Family has appeared during major events. Includes all tickets and entrance fees.

Royal London Walking Tour + Afternoon Tea

Royal London Walking Tour +  Afternoon Tea

Get the royal treatment… plus! Like the Royal London Walking Tour (above) you see and do a lot in one tour.

Meet your expert guide at the Tower of London and hear all about the Tower's fascinating history, then, since you'll have Tower of London tickets, slip inside to see the Crown Jewels.

Next you glide along the Thames on a river boat to see the major bridges, monuments and landmarks.

"Absolutely fabulous from start to finish! Our tour guide was so knowledgeable, but entertaining in his delivery of the sights we were seeing. We would highly recommend this tour!!"
– 5-Star Review

At Buckingham Palace, watch the Changing of the Guard or the Horse Guards Parade. See Trafalgar Square, home to the National Gallery and the church of St-Martin-in-the-Fields. Don't foget about Westminster Abbey, where Prince William wed Kate Middleton were married.

You're not done yet — reward yourself with a traditional afternoon tea at the 4-star St Ermin's Hotel. What a perfect way to end your day in London!

Tower of London History

Tower of London History

Built in 1066 by William the Conqueror, the Tower of London was a symbol of his Norman power.

He chose to build the imposing tower strategically on the River Thames to act as both a fortress and gateway to the city. Londoners initially resented it and considered it as a symbol of oppression by the new ruling force.

During the 12th and 13th centuries, the Tower went through many phases of expansion, notably by Richard the Lionheart, Henry III, and Edward I. From the 14th century until the reign of Charles II (1630 to 1685), at the coronation of a monarch, the royal procession would start at the Tower and continue to Westminster Abbey.

The Tower is home to the famous resident ravens who have lived on the grounds since the reign of King Charles II. The superstitious king believed the Tower would fall if the birds left. Today the Tower of London is protected as a World Heritage Site and cared for by the Constable of the Tower.

More About the Crown Jewels

the Crown Jewels

The tradition of housing the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London dates from the reign of Henry III (1216 – 1272).

However, during the English Civil War following the execution of Charles I in 1649, all symbols of monarchy were marked for destruction. Most of the gold and silver from the crowns were melted down and made into coins at the Mint, also located at the Tower of London.

When the monarchy was restored in 1660, the only surviving items of the coronation regalia were a 12th-century spoon and three ceremonial swords. The rest of the Crown Jewels had to be recreated.

After the coronation of King Charles II in 1661, the Crown Jewels were locked away, but on display to the public under the protection of a custodian. It was a Colonel Thomas Blood who bound and gagged the custodian and attempted to steal the Crown Jewels! Since then the Crown Jewels have been kept in a part of the Tower known as Jewel House, where armed guards defend them. In 2012, a new display of the crown jewels was created to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of the Queen.

The Truth About Executions in the Tower of London

Executions in the Tower of London

Despite its reputation as a place of torture and death, only seven people have ever been executed within the Tower, including three English queens — Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard and Lady Jane Grey.

Don't get us wrong, there were executions, but they took place on Tower Hill to the north. And only 100 people lost their lives there during a 400-year period.

During the 16th and 17th centuries the castle was popular as a prison. Famous inmates include Elizabeth I (before she became Queen), James I of Scotland, Henry VI, Margaret of Anjou, and Edward V. Josef Jakobs, a German spy was the last person executed at the Tower of London in 1941.

It is said that the ghost of Anne Boleyn, beheaded in 1536 on order of her ex-husband Henry VIII, haunts the White Tower, carrying her head under her arm. In January 1816, a sentry guard claimed to have witnessed an apparition advancing towards him — he died of fright a few days later.