The Tower of London began after the Norman Conquest in 1066, by 1070 William the Conqueror (1028-87) started to build the White Tower which is the part that gives the whole structure its name. The Palace itself comprises many buildings lying within defensive walls and a moat.
The other Sections are the Innermost Tower, the Inner Ward and the Outer Ward. The Inner Ward was added during the reign of King Richard I the Lionheart (1157-99), this is located to the south of the White Tower and is protected by a large wall encircling the grounds. The Outer Ward was added by King Edward I (1239-1307). Although the Tower may have been used as a prison its original function was accommodation for Royalty.
During the 16th and 17th Centuries it was well known for the confinement and tortures of prisoners. Notable prisoners include Queen Anne Boleyn (1507-1536), Lady Jane Grey (1537-1554), Guy Fawkes (1570-1606). During the first and second world wars prisoners of war were held here and some were executed. On 15 August 1941 German spy Josef Jakobs born in 1898 was executed after being caught parachuting into England. He was seated in a chair and shot. The chair can be seen today in the Royal Armouries artefacts store. The Crown Jewels have been here on display to the public since 1669. After the Jewel House was demolished The Crown Jewels were moved to the Martin Tower. The value of the Crown Jewels is estimated to exceed £20 billion.
Open: 1 November – 28 February (winter), Sunday – Monday 10 am – 4:30 pm, Tuesday – Saturday 9 am – 4:30 pm, Last admission 4 pm. 1 March – 31 October (summer), Sunday – Monday 10 am – 5:30 pm, Tuesday – Saturday 9 am – 5:30 pm, Last admission 5 pm.
Price: Adult £28, Concession Full-time student (16 years and over), disabled visitor, over 60 with ID £22, Child 13 (5-15 years), Under 5s are Free of charge. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Family Up to 2 adults and 3 children (aged 5-15 years) £70.
Where is the Tower of London? It is a 5 minute walk from Tower Hill Station in zone 1. Tower Hill serves the District, Central, DLR lines.
What is nearby on foot? HMS Belfast 14 mins, St Katherine Docks 8 mins, Tower Bridge 9 mins, Golden Hinde II 17 mins, Clink Prison 18 mins, Winchester Palace 17, The Anchor Tavern 21 mins.
Did you know? According to superstition The Tower will fall if the ravens leave, 6 ravens are kept at the Tower of London at all time. The Tower even has a spare Raven just in case. The Tower was the very first zoo in London and was once home to a collection of weird and wonderful beasts, including lions and a polar bear given as royal gifts. Over time the collection of animals grew, the lions were joined by a polar bear in 1252 and an African elephant in 1255. Henry III’s Plantagenet crest featured three lions; ancestors of those on the England football team strip today.