Tower of London Frequently Asked Questions

Here you’ll find the answers to your questions about the famous Tower of London, one of London’s most-popular historic attractions.

What is the Tower of London?

Also known as Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress, the Tower of London is a 1,000-year-old castle in the heart of London. It consists of several buildings standing within two rings of fortified walls and is surrounded by a dry moat.

Who built the Tower of London?

The Tower of London was founded in 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest. Later, the White Tower, from which the Tower of London derives its name, was completed in 1078 by Gundulf of Rochester as ordered by William the Conqueror.

Why was the Tower of London built?

William the Conqueror ordered the construction of the fortress to establish and strengthen his rule over the newly conquered citizens of London. It was built in a strategic position along the banks of the River Thames, providing a defensive military presence to combat any potential attacks from the water. The Tower of London has a rich history and has served many functions since its creation. During its lifetime, it has been used as an arsenal, home of the royal mint, a menagerie (zoo), and keeper of the Crown Jewels. For many centuries, up until 1952, it was famously used as a prison.

Who was imprisoned in the Tower of London?

Famous inmates of the Tower of London include royalty such as Lady Jane Grey, the young princes Edward and Richard, and two of Henry VIII’s wives, Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard. William Wallace was also held captive in the Tower prior to his execution in the 14th Century. On occasion, notable ‘commoners’ were also kept in the Tower of London, such as Guy Fawkes and The Kray Twins, who were the last people held prisoner in the Tower.

Tower of London crown jewels - The Crown Jewels
The Crown Jewels

What is Tower of London used for today?

Today, the Tower of London is one of England’s most visited tourist attractions and is home to the Crown Jewels.

Who lives at the Tower of London?

Although the Tower of London remains a potential royal residence, it is not currently inhabited by any members of the Royal family. However, all Yeoman Warders and their families live inside the walls of the Tower, following a tradition dating back 700 years. Presently, roughly 150 people live at the Tower of London.

Where is the Tower of London?

The Tower of London stands on the north bank of the River Thames, close to Tower Bridge. Its central location makes it easy to get to the city’s popular tourist attractions by walking, bus or tube. You can also catch the river ferry from the Tower of London to the London Eye and other riverside attractions.

The Tower of London address is St Katharine’s & Wapping, London EC3N 4AB.

What is the Tower of London’s nearest tube station?

The Tower of London is easily accessible by London underground. The closest London tube station to the tower is Tower Hill, which is a five-minute walk away.

The Tower of London
The Tower of London as seen from the River Thames

Is the Tower of London for kids?

Children can enjoy a fun-filled day at the Tower of London, with activities ranging from training to defend the Tower at ‘Knight School’, shooting arrows and brandishing swords in the hands-on ‘Armoury in Action’ experience, to marvelling at the dazzling Crown Jewels.

Who guards the Tower of London?

The Yeoman Warders, also known as Beefeaters, are the formal guards of the Tower of London. They also provide Tower of London tours at select times.

Why are there ravens at the Tower of London?

The presence of at least six resident ravens at the Tower of London is based on tradition. Superstition claims that “if the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it”.

The current ravens are called Harris, Rocky, Erin, Poppy, Merlina, Gripp and Jubilee. The ravens can fly but with plenty of food and a comfortable enclosure, they are considered happy to call the Tower of London their home.

Tower of London – can you pay on the day?

Pre-booking is not required. However, you can enjoy discounts by booking in advance. It’s not possible to enter the Tower of London without a ticket.

The Tower of London - The Tower Ravens
The Tower Ravens
Find Tower of London Tickets