Tower of London and the Crown Jewels - London
Tower of London
Founded by William the Conqueror in 1066, the Tower of London is one of the world’s most famous and spectacular fortresses. The Tower of London was built as a secure fortress and a royal palace. The iconic castle attracts millions of tourists every year from around the globe. Since 1485, the Yeoman Warders, more popularly known as London’s famous Beefeaters, have guarded over the royal fortress. In September 2007, after 522 years, the Tower of London welcomed its first female Yeoman Warder. Sir Walter Raleigh was imprisoned in the Bloody Tower for 13 years. Seven prisoners were executed on Tower Green, including three queens of England – Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard and Lady Jane Grey. Plan to spend at least 2-3 hours at the Tower of London, so you can be sure to see everything.
Ceremony of the Keys
The Ceremony of the Keys is the ceremonial locking and unlocking of the gates of the fortress. The Chief Yeoman Warder carries the keys and is escorted by soldiers during this ceremony which has been taking place since the 14th century. This is a very popular attraction. Tickets are free but must be pre-booked in advance, online only.
The White Tower Royal Armories’ Collection
Armor and weapons of medieval English Kings (Henry VIII, Charles I and James II) and their armies are displayed in the White Tower. It’s the oldest medieval building at the Tower of London. The top floor of the White Tower houses an original executioner’s block of the 18th century and an axe that is believed to have been used at the last public beheading on Tower Hill in 1747. White Tower Tours are offered to the public.
The Medieval Palace Rooms
St. Thomas’s Tower, The Wakefield Tower and The Lanthorn Tower were used by England’s medieval kings (King Henry III and his son Edward) during their visits to the Tower, dating back to the 13th century.
Tower of London “Ravens”
For 350 years, the Tower of London has kept six black ravens in its inner courtyard. The birds are favorites among the many tourists who visit the Tower every year. As legend has it, Kings Charles II was told that if the Ravens died or ever left the Tower, the Tower and the Kingdom would fall. Today, visitors can see seven ravens (the required six, plus one spare) at the Tower.
The Crown Jewels
Since the 15th century, The Tower of London has housed the priceless Crown Jewels, which have been seen by over 30 million people from around the world. The most dazzling Crown Jewels include St. Edward’s Crown, worn by Queen Elizabeth II during her coronation in 1953 and the Imperial State Crown (with 2,868 diamonds, 269 pearls, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds and 4 rubies), plus some of the world’s most exceptional diamonds and an exquisite blue Stuart Sapphire. Sacred regalia include The Sovereign’s Orb, The Sword of Offering, The Sovereign’s Sceptre and Rod, The Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross, The Sovereign’s Sceptre with Dove, and an 11th century Coronation Spoon. Don’t miss this spectacular permanent exhibition.
Book London Sightseeing Tours, Day Trips and Fun Things To Do
Get Tower of London Entrance Tickets including Crown Jewels and Beefeater Tour. See Britain’s famous Crown Jewels. Explore the Tower of London at your own pace or follow a Yeoman Warder “Beefeater” guard on a guided walk. Or choose from a variety of fun Tower of London Combo Tours.