The Fortress of the Tower of London is considered an important landmark in Britain and one of London’s biggest attractions. With several places to see in Tower of London, it also is the most visited attraction in the city. The remarkable UNESCO World Heritage site was once a place of confinement and a place of execution. It also served as a royal mint, a treasure vault, and an observatory for quite a long time. The imposing personality of the mighty Fortress with the wardens guarding it round the clock makes it an unbeatable experience.
In order to take full advantage of the tour, you need to keep a tab on the best places to see in the Tower of London. There are several highlights in the Tower that are worth exploring. You can start with The Jewel House which boasts a stunning collection of more than 23,000 gemstones making it a part of Crown Jewel. Once you gleam with pride at the shiny collection, the Line of Kings Exhibition should be your next stop. Considered one of the best places to see in the Tower of London, the exhibition showcases the tournament armour worn by Henry VIII and the gilded armour of Charles I and James II. The other major highlights include The White Tower, the Ravens who are considered the guardians of the tower.
With over 900 years of building history, Tower of London is one of the most significant landmarks in London. It is spread across 18 acres of land filled with interesting aspects and pieces of history attached to it. It started as White Tower but in the 1190s the Inner Ward became a part and a century later the Castle was rebuilt in 1285. Throughout its history, the Tower of London was used as a major prison that housed several overthrown monarchs as well as regular common criminals. Even the biggest and the most famous people including Princes Edward and Ricard, Lady Jane Grey, and Henry VIII’s wives Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard were imprisoned here.
The Tower of London is also known to house the Crown Jewels as well as was a repository of Royal Treasure back in 1303. Back then when the treasure was looted from the Abbey of St. Peter at Westminster, the Tower of London was considered a safe place to store it. It became a public attraction in the 17th century when the Line of Kings Exhibition was set up. It also set up the Royal Menagerie in the 1200s which was later removed from the tower and made into an offsite zoo in 1835. It is now considered a must-visit for the curious go-getters as there are multiple places to see at Tower of London.
When you are planning to visit an attraction like the Tower of London, it is always better to be prepared. There are several attractions within the Tower, filled with historical significance, where visitors can learn more about the diverse past of London city.
The Jewel House is one of the most precious attractions present in the Tower of London. Since 1968 this house have been host to the famous Crown Jewels of the Royal Family, displaying unique collections such as St. Edward's Crown, which is created from pure gold and is still used for the auspicious crowning ceremony. Initially the crown was designed for Queen Victoria’s coronation ceremony in 1837, and was decorated with 2,800 diamonds and various precious stones. Apart from that, The Jewel House also has numerous other items, such as the Golden Anointing Bowl and Spoon, which are the only relics of the original regalia that survived the historic Civil War.
The Line of Kings exhibition includes displays of royal armour and is acknowledged as the world's oldest attraction, established in 1652. The exhibition consists of a collection of hunting and sporting weaponry from mediaeval times till the 19th century. Some of the arms and armour present in the exhibition also belonged to World War II and Korean War.
The White Tower, situated in the centre of the Inner Ward, is one of the most exciting places to see in Tower of London. Built from white stones, the tower's construction started in 1078 and was completed around 1100. The building is four stories tall with 15 feet thick walls. In the 17th century, small cupolas were added to the structure, and the exterior was restored by Christopher Wren later. The building was used as the central fortified tower with the most protection compared to any other building in the castle. The tower was used as a fortress, royal accommodation, prison, and symbol of power.
The Yeoman Warders are the ceremonial guards for the Tower of London, given the responsibility to look after the prisoners in the Tower and safeguard the jewels. They are commonly known as Beefeaters, and today all the former members of the armed services with a minimum of 22 years of service are honoured here. They organise free guided tours throughout the day to help you visit the best places to see in the Tower of London.
One of the most popular places to see in Tower of London, The Ravens are two large black bird places in the tower with a fascinating history. The true story behind the Ravens is based on mythology and legends, so it does not point to any facts. However, one of the famous stories suggests that the ravens were placed to enhance the atmosphere at the executions on Tower Hill, as their flapping when overhead would undoubtedly lead to an execution. In the present, there are always six ravens kept captive and looked after by the Yeoman Warders as it is believed their captivity is tied to the prosperity of the Crown.
One of the unique places to see in Tower of London, which tells the tales of several exotic animals kept at the tower, such as lions, monkeys, elephants, tigers, bears, alligators, zebras, and kangaroos. This Royal Beasts exhibition tells several exciting stories about various incidents and was founded by King John in the early 1200s to house over 60 species of animals.
The Royal Mint Museum is also one of the popular places to see in Tower of London and showcases excellent Coins and Kings Exhibit. The mint was active from 1279 to 1812 and now portrays the lives of the workers and also tells the stories behind the minted coins. The museum is located at the original place of the mint and displays rare objects.
You can enter St. Thomas's Tower by following the wall along the battlements. This area is the part of the outer defences of the castle that Edward I added in the late 13th century. Moreover, an additional defensive wall is present that wraps around the outside of the original curtain wall with several defensive emplacements and a large tower. The St. Thomas's Tower, known as one of the best places to see in Tower of London for historic significance, was designed to serve two purposes. First, to house the river-level water gate entrance that offered direct access to the Thames and an upper floor to provide luxurious lodging for the Royal family. This gate also has a fascinating history as it later came to be known as Traitor's Gate as several Tudor-era prisoners would arrive there prior to incarceration.
Bloody Tower, earlier known as the Garden Tower, is one of the best places to see in the Tower of London. The tower acquired its name in the 16th century after two young princes, one of whom was the deposed king and his brother, were prisoned by the Duke of Gloucester, the future Richard III, also their uncle. Upon imprisonment, the tower became popular for mysterious disappearance and rumors about their murders. Moreover, in 1674 bones of two children of a similar age were also discovered beneath the staircase in the White Tower. There were other high-profile prisoners held in the Bloody Tower as well, giving the tower its gruesome name.
On the west side of the White Tower lies an expanse of grass and a memorial called the Tower of Green. The fact that this tower was the site of some of the most executions of high-class people in British history makes it one of the best places to see in the Tower of London. Only high-ranking officials were executed in this tower, and ten people were beheaded on the green including two wives of Henry VIII. There is also a memorial sculpture near the tower for the people whose lives were taken in the tower.