Grandparents' guide to the Tower of London
1st June 2023
The Tower of London is a global icon packed with history, intrigue, and fascinating things to see. As one of the UK’s best loved attractions, the Tower of London is also a popular choice for grandparents to visit with their grandchildren. So if you are looking for things to do with your grandkids, this guide introduces the Tower of London, explaining what you need to know when bringing the grandchildren for a visit.
In this guide, discover helpful information such as where to get tickets, the Tower of London opening times, how to get to the attraction and what you can look forward to seeing. For visitors with limited mobility or who might use a stairlift at home, you can also learn about how accessible the Tower of London is. So, click the contents links below to get the information you need and start planning a fascinating trip to the Tower of London.
Where is the Tower of London?
The Tower of London is located on the north bank of the River Thames in Central London.
The Tower of London postcode and address is Tower of London, London, EC3N 4AB.
Travelling by train or tube to the Tower of London
The nearest Tower of London tube station is Tower Hill Underground Station, just a 5-minute walk from the tower.
There are other nearby tube stations to the Tower of London, making the underground one of the easiest and most convenient ways to visit the attraction. The tube, DLR and mainline train stations listed below are all within a 20-minute walk of the attraction:
- Tower Hill
- Aldgate East
- London Bridge
- Liverpool Street Station
Which tube station you choose for the Tower of London will depend on where you are travelling from.
Travelling by bus to the Tower of London
Once in London, the bus is an option as several routes stop close to the Tower of London. Routes that have stops near the Tower of London include 15, 42, 78, 100, 343 and RV1.
You can plan your tube and bus route on the Transport for London website.
Travelling by car to the Tower of London
While driving in London isn’t always the easiest option, there are some car parks near the Tower of London:
- Tower Hill Coach and Car Park (2-minute walk) – 50 Lower Thames Street, London, EC3R 6DT
- Minories Car Park (10-minute walk) – 1 Shorter Street, London, E1 8LP
You should be aware that driving to the Tower of London could mean that you are charged a fee for travelling through the Ultra Low Emission Zone. Further travel advice can be found on the Tower of London's website.
The Tower of London opening times
The Tower of London is open Monday to Sunday, with varying opening times throughout the year.
Typical opening hours for the Tower of London: 10am – 5.30pm (Monday and Sunday) and 9.30am – 5.30pm (Tuesday to Saturday)
Last admission for the Tower of London: 3.30pm
The last Yeoman Warder (also known as ‘Beefeaters’) guided tour: 3.30pm
Where to get Tower of London tickets
Buying tickets for the Tower of London is easy, simply visit their website and head to the Tickets and Prices page.
Click the ‘buy ticket’ button and select the date you would like to visit and the type of ticket you require before proceeding to the checkout. There is also a ticket office at the landmark where you can purchase tickets on the day but these will be subject to availability and can be more expensive.
The National Rail 2 for 1 admission voucher promotion allows two visitors to the Tower of London to gain entrance for the price of one adult.
Tower of London tickets prices
The price of tickets at the Tower of London varies depending on what type of ticket you want to buy. There are adult tickets, children’s tickets, family tickets, and discounted concession tickets for students, over 65s, and disabled visitors. The price of a standard ticket is around £30.
How accessible is the Tower of London
While the Tower of London’s accessibility is naturally limited due to the historic nature of the building, the attraction has made efforts to do what it can for those with disabilities.
Tower of London wheelchair access is restricted due to the historic tower featuring stairs, passages, and low doorways. However, there is a lift in the White Tower, and ramps can be found in the café and shop.
In terms of the key attractions at the Tower of London, those with limited mobility will find that the Jewel House, which contains the Crown Jewels, has level access, while other locations contain steps of varying quantities and difficulties.
Free carer tickets are available for those who require a companion, and you can purchase reduced Tower of London disabled tickets.
There are also accessible toilets at the Tower and guide dogs are welcome. There are descriptive tours and audio guides for the blind or partially sighted, and induction loops are available for the deaf and hard of hearing.
Tower of London accessibility
- Restricted wheelchair access
- Level access in the Jewel House
- Lift in the White Tower at the basement level
- Ramps in the café and shop
- Free carer tickets and reduced disabled tickets
- Guide dogs welcome
- Descriptive tours and audio guides
- Induction loops
- Accessible toilets
What is there to see and do at the Tower of London
There is so much to see and do around the Tower of London, but this section looks at some of the best things you can do at this iconic attraction.
The Tower Moat
The Tower of London Superbloom was an event that took place in the summer of 2022 to mark the Platinum Jubilee of the late Queen Elizabeth II, which saw the Tower Moat transformed from a barren and flat lawn into one that was filled with wildflowers, growing from 20 million seeds.
This was not just an event for 2022 and was, in fact, the first year of a permanent transformation of the Tower Moat. Over the next few years, the moat will become a permanent biodiverse landscape with different habitats providing different species with a home.
The summer is the best time to visit this attraction, as you’ll be able to walk along the green space with your Tower Of London ticket from May to September.
See the Crown Jewels
The Crown Jewels are one of the biggest attractions in the Tower of London, and they have been on display here since 1661.
The world-famous collection consists of more than 23,000 gemstones as well as crowns and jewellery, which are still used by the Royal Family in ceremonies today.
When you see the Crown Jewels, you will see that they are under armed guard, and you will learn about the history of the jewels, including how they were destroyed after the Civil War and remade for Charles II’s coronation in 1661.
Kalyn, the writer behind Girl Gone London, highly recommends visiting the Crown Jewels exhibition. She says: “The best part about the Tower of London is the Crown Jewels exhibit. To see these famous jewels that have been used throughout much of the history of the monarchy is breathtaking, and the display creates the perfect atmosphere of wonder and excitement as you enter the doors to see them.”
If you are looking to go on a Tower of London tour, the twilight tours are a great option. With this tour, you will have after-hours access, courtesy of the famous Yeoman Warders, and will be told stories about some of the secrets kept within the walls of the attraction, stories about the prisoners once held here and plenty of royal gossip.
During the tour, you will visit some of the most iconic attractions at the Tower of London, including the likes of Traitors’ Gate and the Bloody Tower.
Tracy, from The Disney Cruise Family Travel Blog, has been to the Tower of London with her family and mentions tours with the Yeoman Warders as a major highlight: “My favourite part of visiting the Tower of London was the tour given by the Yeoman Warders. The guided tours were entertaining and had fascinating information about the Tower, including a story about the discovery of Richard III's remains in the car park. We also enjoyed visiting the Tower's Chapel Royal of St. Peter Ad Vincula. It is the burial spot of Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard and Lady Jane Grey, the three Queens executed at the Tower of London.”
Tracy also offered a top tip for those visiting with children: “My top tip for travelling to the Tower of London is to get them interested in the history of the Tower. Before visiting the Tower, my daughter and I watched a documentary about Lady Jane Grey. She was very interested in the history of the Tower of London and found the tour more meaningful, knowing the history of the Tower and that it was where Lady Jane Grey spent her last days.”
Kalyn from the Girl Gone London blog loved the Beefeater tour: “Definitely take the children on one of the Beefeater tours (free of charge) as the Beefeater guides are fantastically engaging and will make sure that the children are excited about learning about the Tower of London.
“Plan some breaks in the Tower of London café, or just some time people-watching as you sit on benches throughout as there is a lot to see.”
Watch the Tower Guard ceremonies
The Tower Guards, Yeoman Warders, and Tower Wardens protect the Crown Jewels and ensure the Tower of London is secure and safe.
Three daily ceremonies take place, and it is highly recommended that you go and watch at least one of them. The ceremonies are the Ceremonial Opening, the Ceremony of the Word and the Ceremony of the Keys.
These ancient ceremonies are a great watch as you can admire their wonderful dress code and their precise marches that are so synonymous with London.
Sue Cockell, the travel writer behind the Sue Where Why What blog, said: “My favourite thing about visiting the Tower of London were the Yeoman Warders (Beefeaters). I would advise to anyone to seek them out & ask them questions. They are all great characters and have some special insights into the history surrounding the Tower.
“I visited during Covid which meant they were not conducting tours but this gave me the chance to speak to several of the guards. Each one told me their favourite story or piece of trivia about the Tower of London. All were equally entertaining and fascinating.”
Meet the Ravens
Ravens at the Tower of London are iconic, and you can meet these famous residents and learn about their history and how they are the guardians of the Tower. They live on the South Lawn and the current Tower ravens all have names; Jubilee, Harris, Poppy, Georgie, Edgar and Branwen.
You can meet the ravens during your visit, and you will learn about how intelligent the birds are as they can mimic sounds, play games and solve problems. You will also learn about the stories around these birds, as it is said that the kingdom and the Tower of London will fall if the six resident ravens ever leave the fortress.
How long does the Tower of London take to see?
This depends on what you want to see and do, but it is widely recommended that you set aside at least three hours to see all of the Tower of London and its attractions. If you are wondering how long the Tower of London tour is, it usually takes around 60 minutes.
Be aware that, if you plan on seeing the Crown Jewels, there is often a queue of at least 15-30 minutes, so you should factor that into your time keeping.
Food and drink at the Tower of London
There are plenty of Tower of London restaurants that you can head to, and each one is slightly different. This section looks at each café and restaurant.
The Ravens Café is an outdoor café which serves snacks and food when you are on the go. As the name of the café suggests, it is located close to the Raven’s sanctuary, and it offers some great views of the Tower.
New Armouries Café
The New Armouries Café serve hearty meals that range from fish and chips and soups to salads and pastries. There is a children’s menu, and you can enjoy hot and cold drinks.
If you are going to see the Crown Jewels, you can grab a snack from the Jewel Kiosk as well as hot and cold drinks. This kiosk is open daily from 10am-3pm.
Restaurants near the Tower of London
- Tower of London Café – You can enjoy great views of the Tower and the River Thames whilst having a hot or cold drink. You can also pick up snacks like sandwiches.
- Peter’s Café – Located near the Tower of London, this restaurant is renowned for its much-loved Full English breakfasts, bacon sandwiches, and vegetarian and vegan dishes.
- Byward Kitchen & Bar – Located next to the All Hallows by the Tower of London church, this restaurant has a breakfast menu serving classics like Full English, Vegetarian English, and Eggs Benedict. You can also enjoy a lunch and dinner menu, depending on whether you want to eat before or after your trip to the Tower of London.
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Hotels near the Tower of London
There are lots of hotels near the Tower of London, and here we take you through some of the best and closest hotels where you can stay.
- DoubleTree by Hilton Tower of London - This hotel is just a five-minute walk from the Tower of London and a 15-minute tube ride from the city centre. There is also a rooftop bar that boasts skyline views of London.
- citizenM Tower of London Hotel – You can enjoy some spectacular views of the Tower of London from the hotel. It is located close to the Tower Hill tube station and is the perfect base for exploring London.
- Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square – Overlooking the Tower of London and the Tower. Bridge, this hotel is one of the best hotels to stay at if you want to explore the Tower of London. It is a five-star hotel, so you can be assured your stay will be one you remember.
Visiting the Tower of London as a grandparent
Hopefully, this grandparents’ guide to the Tower of London will help you to plan a trip with your grandchildren to this famous and iconic old attraction.
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