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Tower of London

One of England's first Norman castles, as well as its most feared prison and the home of the Crown Jewels.

TravelCurious Tip

Take notice of the extravagantly dressed Beefeaters, more properly called Yeoman Warders. They have been the royal bodyguards of the Tower and the crown jewels since 1509 and still wear the Tudor State Dress when royalty comes to the castle.

Norman power

Since 1066 AD, the year of the momentous Norman invasion, the Tower of London has stood as a sign of the strength of England and a fearsome reminder to anyone who challenges the security of the realm or the authority of the king.

When the Norman Duke William the Conqueror took control of England he went about establishing his authority across his new kingdom. He immediately began building castles throughout the country, bringing the impressive fort-building skills of Normandy with him, the likes of which England had never seen. These huge stone structures represented the might of the Norman lords and their armies, and struck fear and awe into the conquered English.

The most important of these castles was the Tower of London. Around 1078 the Conqueror added what has come to be known as the White Tower, which is also where the castle gets its name. Located on the north bank of the River Thames, surrounded by a moat and high stone walls, it was in an ideal location to defend from attack, and, at least for the first century or two, also reminded rebellious Londoners who their new overlords were.

Princes, wives and twins

For over 800 years the Tower was also England’s most dreaded prison, and in its time has held some of the most high-profile names in European history. During the Wars of the Roses, the Tower was the site of the mystery of ‘The Princes in the Tower.’ When King Edward IV died his 12-year-old son became Edward V. However, young Edward’s uncle and guardian went to Parliament, had Edward and his younger brother legally declared illegitimate, and took the crown for himself, becoming Richard III. The young princes still had many powerful supporters, so in order to prevent them becoming a figurehead of rebellion Richard had the boys locked in the Tower. Shortly after they were imprisoned it was reported that the boys had mysteriously disappeared. They were never to be seen again.

To this day historians still argue over the fate of the Princes in the Tower. Was Richard III the murderous hunchback of Shakespeare or did the conspiracy go even deeper? The Tower is also where Henry VIII’s wives, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, were notoriously executed along with their alleged lovers. In 1952, East End gangsters the Kray twins were among the last prisoners to be held here.

Ravens, jewels and poppies

Despite its often grim history, the castle has always been primarily a royal palace. During the Middle Ages it was tradition that before the coronation ceremony of a new monarch the next king or queen would spend the night in the Tower of London in preparation for the big day. It was also probably the first zoo in England, housing the royal menagerie, which visitors can see today. The menagerie has been empty since 1835, but there are still seven ravens - cared for by the resident Raven Master - to be found living next to Wakefield tower. Legend has it that if the birds leave, the Tower will fall.

Visitors may also see the magnificent Crown Jewels of England, which have been on public display since 1960. From November 2014 the Tower has been the site of Paul Cummins and Tom Piper’s Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, a deeply moving installation of 888,246 ceramic poppies in commemoration of the lives lost in WW1. The castle, host to compelling historical mystery and brimming with stories of kingship, romance, and murder, remains a vibrant and fascinating destination.

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Related Tours

Royal London: Private Half Day Highlights (with entrance tickets)
A whistle-stop tour of London's iconic landmarks and stunning landscapes. 
 
  • Visit the Tower of London, one of the world’s most important historic castles. 
  • See the magnificent Crown Jewels.
  • Experience stunning views of London’s attractions on a scenic cruise
  • Gaze at the Tower Bridge from the water and hear the fascinating history of its construction. 
  • View the iconic London Eye, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
  • See the grandiose residence of Queen Elizabeth II, Buckingham Palace, and see London’s best Gothic architectural marvel: Westminster Abbey. 
Tower of London
 
Experience the best of London in just four hours with an expert London guide. Your tour will begin at the Tower of London where you will explore this 900-year-old castle. Learn about the kings and queens who lived and died in the Tower, as well as its role as a fortress, prison, zoo, and observatory. The highlight of the tour is viewing the famous Crown Jewels, where your guide will tell you about the many attempts to steal these beautiful diamonds!
 
River Cruise & the Houses of Parliament
 
After leaving the Tower you will travel along the Thames on a river cruise and look at some impressive sights, including Tower Bridge and the London Eye, finally docking in Westminster. Here, you will see the Houses of Parliament - the home of the British government, and the magnificent Big Ben. 
 
Buckingham Palace & Westminster Abbey. 
 
Your tour will also include a trip to see Buckingham Palace (we can't go inside, unfortunately), the home of Queen Elizabeth II (where you might witness the Changing of the Guards ceremony). A short walk on, you will come to the exterior of the beautiful Westminster Abbey, where every English king and queen for the last 1000 years has received their coronation, and where Prince William and Kate Middleton were married. 
London's Full Day Highlights including London Eye Ride
This full-day tour is the perfect way to see London's iconic sites and experience a ride on the London Eye, as well as a Thames cruise. 

  • Start with a visit to the Tower of London, the oldest palace, fortress and prison in the whole of Europe.
  • Enjoy the wonderful scenery of Central London with a relaxing cruise down the Thames.
  • See London’s most famous buildings including St James’ Palace, Buckingham Palace, Horse Guards, the Palace of Westminster and Big Ben.
  • Visit London’s Gothic architectural marvel: Westminster Abbey.
  • End your tour with a relaxing ride on the London Eye, which offers the best views of the entire city at a thrilling 135m.
Tower of London:

What a day to remember! Learn more about the great city of London and explore its fascinating history with an expert guide. Your guide will collect you from where you are staying and take you to the famous Tower of London, where you will discover the many stories of one of the oldest buildings in London, and experience where some of the greatest events in English History occurred. Best of all, you will be able to admire the stunning Crown Jewels. 

River Cruise, Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace & Park:

On leaving the Tower you will travel to Westminster by river cruise for a walking tour past some of London’s most famous buildings including St James’s Palace, Buckingham Palace, Horse Guards, the Palace of Westminster and Big Ben. If you're lucky you might catch the Changing of the Guards ceremony, which is full of pomp and ceremony (this is dependent on the day and weather).

Westminster Abbey & London Eye:

After lunch in Westminster, you will continue your day with a private tour of London’s royal church, Westminster Abbey - the site of 38 coronations and the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Learn about the Coronation ceremony and enjoy the beauty of this 800 year old treasure. After a day crammed full of history and culture, the best way to end your highlights tour is with a relaxing ride on the London Eye (one of the world's biggest Ferris Wheels), which offers spectacular views across London.

The Very Best of London: Crown Jewels and Big Ben
 Experience a full-day tour of London's spectacular landmarks with a private and knowledgeable Blue Badge guide.

  • Start with a visit to London’s castle: the Tower of London
  • See the stunning Crown Jewels
  • Enjoy the wonderful scenery of Central London with a relaxing cruise down the Thames
  • Stroll around Westminster and take in the stunning sights: from Big Ben to the marvelous architecture of Somerset House
  • Learn about Westminster’s political history and see the outside of the Houses of Parliament
  • Look at the Prime Minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street
  • Experience the famous Trafalgar Square before wandering down The Mall to Buckingham Palace
    
    
 Tower of London
 
 
Your guide will collect you from where you are staying and take you to a spectacular castle. Here you will discover the many stories of one of the oldest buildings in London, and experience where some of the greatest events in English history occurred. Best of all, you will be able to admire the stunning Crown Jewels which are kept here behind extensive security in the aptly-named Jewel House.

River Cruise and Lunch

On leaving the Tower you will travel to Westminster by scenic river cruise. Travelling by river is the most relaxing (and often most efficient) way of getting through the centre of the city. You'll pass under London and Waterloo Bridge, spy the London Eye and view Somerset House on your right-hand side. After docking at Westminster Pier under the watchful gaze of Big Ben, your guide will recommend a number of restaurants and eateries where you can have a quick or leisurely lunch.
 
 Westminster and Buckingham Palace
 
 
The second half of the day will be dedicated to walking around Westminster and taking in the grandeur of Buckingham Palace. 
 
 First, you will be guided around the outside of the Houses of Parliament, with a lengthy stop outside Big Ben, and learn about the political history of Parliament Square. This will be followed by an exhibition of the outside of Westminster Abbey and, if time permits, you will be able to go inside (entrance tickets not included). This is London’s royal church which has been the site of 38 coronations and was where the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton took place. Your guide will then take you on a walk up Whitehall to No. 10 Downing Street, the Prime Minister's residence, ending up at Trafalgar Square.
 
 Finally, we will walk down to take in the view of Buckingham Palace and then up and down The Mall, where jubilant crowds have historically greeted news about the royal family in this scenic tree-lined avenue.

We built this tour because 
it invites travellers to explore London's sites with a Blue Badge guide, with plenty of space for adaptability and personal preferences! 
Your Tour, Your Way: Spontaneous Tour
What better way to explore the historic city of London than with your very own personal tour guide?  Plan your day with an expert, visit the places that excite you most and spot the hidden gems you might have otherwise missed along your way.

  • Experience the city at your own pace
  • Focus on what interests you: get off the beaten path at a local market or check out the sights, the choice is yours. 
  • Discover the hidden gems you may have missed with an expert tour guide.
  • Get specialised recommendations for what to do in your own time.

Our professional, hand-picked guides are experts at designing tours around you.  Meet your guide at your hotel, talk through London's spectacular sights and hear about all the great possibilities for the day ahead.  The choice is up to you.  Do you want to take in the royal highlights?  Just say the word and you’ll be swept off to the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace, where you may even see the famous changing of the guards ceremony.  Or maybe you’re looking to get a little further off the beaten track?  That’s fine too, you could look at street art in Camden or discover a historic pub in the square mile.  Either way, our guides tailor the tour directly to your interests to make sure you get the most out of your time in the city.

Ultimately, you’ll discover the London you want to see, at the pace you want to see it, all with the knowledge and expertise of a local friendly guide.
Private Guided Walk of London with Thames River Cruise
  • Marvel at the outside of the Tower of London, Royal Palace and Fortress. 
  • Jump aboard a river cruise and float effortlessly down the Thames.
  • Enjoy beautiful views of Tower Bridge, St Paul's Cathedral and more.
  • Disembark at Westminster, London’s grand governmental quarter.
  • See the outside of the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and walk to Buckingham Palace.
Infusing gorgeous architecture, fascinating history and the relaxation and serenity of a river cruise, this tour covers London’s most unmissable sites in a comfortable 3 hours.  You'll begin outside the notorious Tower of London, a 1000 year old royal fortress on the banks of the Thames. Enjoy expert narration and storytelling by your guide, hear of the executions that took place here and learn about Kings’ an d Queens’ who lived and died within its walls. 

Next embark on a beautiful 45 minute river cruise through the heart of London. See some of London’s most beautiful palaces, cathedrals, bridges and buildings as you make your way upstream.

Disembark at Westminster and explore London’s governmental quarter, walking past the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey at your own pace.  Discover  where Prince William and Kate Middleton were married while your guide tells you stories about royal splendour and scandal alike. Slowly amble through the Royal Parks to Buckingham Palace - the Queen’s official London residence - and if you are there by 11.45am you will also be able see the Changing of the Guards ceremony.
Kings and Queens: Royal London For Kids
  • Visit the Tower of London, and see the Crown Jewels within. 
  • Take a river cruise along the Thames past  iconic bridges, cathedrals and palaces.
  • Next see Buckingham Palace, and see Gothic architectural marvel: Westminster Abbey.
  • Also see Tower Bridge,  the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.
  • Our team will match the perfect guide to entertain and inspire all ages.
  • Safely navigate the City, avoiding traffic and busy crowds. 

This tour is ideal for those families who would like a taste of London in half a day. See London’s unmissable attractions and finest Royal sites in an exciting four hours. Whether your family are interested in history, river cruises, experiencing iconic British traditions or marvelling at beautiful Royal Palaces and Parks. You will experience a bit of everything on this tour.  

Keep your kids and younger family members excited throughout. We will ensure a perfect match of guide, ensuring all ages are inspired. Get a peppering of tales, fun facts and stories about London, British Culture and tradition. Hear of the Secret tunnels which lie beneath Buckingham palace, the many attempts to steal the Crown Jewels. And the infamous 14 year old cat-burglar caught stealing Queen Victoria’s underwear. See London’s famous palace guards, royal cavalry and maybe even the Queen herself if you are lucky!

On this excursion you will also avoid the rush and busyness of a group tour, and enjoy a more intimate, flexible experience. Your personal guide will help you easily navigate the City, and ensure you have the smoothest, most enjoyable day possible. Enjoy a day out that is fun for the whole family!
Private Family-Friendly Tour of London
Perfect for those families who would like a full experience of London in a day. See London’s unmissable attractions, parks and finest Royal sites with an expert guide. Learn about fascinating English history, British tradition and London's incredible past. From the plague, the great fire of London to the Blitz. You will experience everything that London has to offer on this fantastic tour.

  • Enter the Tower of London, see the Crown Jewels and visit the old prison.
  • Board a river cruise and enjoy jaw-dropping panoramas across the City and its sites.
  • Pass Tower Bridge,  the iconic London Eye, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and Somerset House.
  • Disembark at Westminster - London's grand governmental district. See Whitehall and 10 Downing Street.
  • Next visit Buckingham Palace, and Westminster Abbey via the beautiful St James Park and Trafalgar Square.
  • Safely navigate the City, avoiding traffic and busy crowds. 
  • Our team will match the perfect guide to entertain and inspire all ages

Keep even the most easily distracted entertained! We know how important it is to inspire all ages, and work hard to ensure a perfect match of guide.  Get a peppering of tales, fun facts and stories about London, British Culture and tradition. Hear of the Secret tunnels which lie beneath Buckingham palace, the many attempts to steal the Crown Jewels. And the infamous 14 year old cat-burglar caught stealing Queen Victoria’s underwear. Hear tales of Shakespeare, Charlie Chaplin and Winston Churchill. And learn how their lives intertwined with this fabulous City.
Also see London’s famous palace guards, royal cavalry and maybe even the Queen herself if you are lucky!

Avoid the rush and business of a group tour and take centre stage with your guide. There are no other groups or noise to drown out the experience. As such, you will also enjoy a pace adjusted to you and your family. Your personal guide will help you easily navigate the City, and ensure you have the smoothest, most enjoyable day possible. Enjoy a day out that is fun for the whole family!
Premier Classic London Tour (in a traditional London Black Cab)
Enjoy a panoramic sightseeing trip of London in the quintessentially British black cab, with running commentary from an expert guide. Discover the real London – from a well-informed cabbie who knows London like the back of his hand, with many hidden secrets for you to discover! 

Your guide will meet and greet you at your central London hotel (or preferred pickup location) and at the conclusion of your 4-hour tour, you can be returned to your hotel or any central location of your choice. 

  • Begin your tour by being whisked away in your iconic black cab
  • Stop at several quintessential London must-sees, including Buckingham Palace and St James' Palace
  • Hop back in for an easy drive to Westminster Abbey and Parliament
  • Drive alongside the Thames to the Tower of London, where true stories seem more like fiction than fact!
  • Stop for a coffee or tea along the way, if you need a pick-me-up
On our 'Premier Classic Tour of London' your guide will stop at a minimum of 6 popular locations to tell you about the fascinating history of these iconic attractions. This is less of a whistle-stop tour than most of the London highlights tours, and invites you to slow down, while those around you hop on and off of buses without enough time to truly appreciate the layers of history and wild stories that surround so many London icons. There will be plenty of opportunities throughout your tour to take those treasured photos – and if you want to take time out, your London guide knows all the best places to grab a coffee. 
The Dixon's Private Royal Half Day Highlights
A whistle-stop tour of London's iconic landmarks and stunning landscapes. 
 
  • Your guide will meet you in The Dixon's lobby, and from there you will embark on your Royal Half Day Highlights tour.
  • Visit the Tower of London, one of the world’s most important historic castles. 
  • See the magnificent Crown Jewels.
  • Experience stunning views of London’s attractions on a scenic cruise
  • Gaze at the Tower Bridge from the water and hear the fascinating history of its construction. 
  • View the iconic London Eye, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
  • See the grandiose residence of Queen Elizabeth II, Buckingham Palace, and see London’s best Gothic architectural marvel: Westminster Abbey. 

Tower of London
 
Experience the best of London in just four hours with an expert London guide. Your tour will begin at the Tower of London where you will explore this 900-year-old castle. Learn about the kings and queens who lived and died in the Tower, as well as its role as a fortress, prison, zoo, and observatory. The highlight of the tour is viewing the famous Crown Jewels, where your guide will tell you about the many attempts to steal these beautiful diamonds!
 
River Cruise & the Houses of Parliament
 
After leaving the Tower you will travel along the Thames on a river cruise and look at some impressive sights, including Tower Bridge and the London Eye, finally docking in Westminster. Here, you will see the Houses of Parliament - the home of the British government, and the magnificent Big Ben. 
 
Buckingham Palace & Westminster Abbey. 
 
Your tour will also include a trip to see Buckingham Palace (we can't go inside, unfortunately), the home of Queen Elizabeth II (where you might witness the Changing of the Guards ceremony). A short walk on, you will come to the exterior of the beautiful Westminster Abbey, where every English king and queen for the last 1000 years has received their coronation, and where Prince William and Kate Middleton were married. 

Your tour will end at Westminster Abbey.

We built this tour because
 it invites those short on time to see a variety of London's landmarks with the company of a knowledgeable and professional guide. 
Royal London Half Day Walking Group Tour with Tower of London tickets and River Cruise
Enjoy a highlight tour of London's iconic landmarks and stunning landscapes. 
 
  • Visit the Tower of London, one of the world’s most important historic castles. 
  • See the magnificent Crown Jewels.
  • Experience stunning views of London’s attractions on a scenic cruise
  • Gaze at the Tower Bridge from the water and hear the fascinating history of its construction. 
  • View the iconic London Eye, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
  • See the grandiose residence of Queen Elizabeth II, Buckingham Palace, and see London’s best Gothic architectural marvel: Westminster Abbey. 
Tower of London
 
Experience the best of London in just four hours with an expert London guide. Your tour will begin at the Tower of London where you will explore this 900-year-old castle. Learn about the kings and queens who lived and died in the Tower, as well as its role as a fortress, prison, zoo, and observatory. The highlight of the tour is viewing the famous Crown Jewels, where your guide will tell you about the many attempts to steal these beautiful diamonds!
 
River Cruise & the Houses of Parliament
 
After leaving the Tower you will travel along the Thames on a river cruise and look at some impressive sights, including Tower Bridge and the London Eye, finally docking in Westminster. Here, you will see the Houses of Parliament - the home of the British government, and the magnificent Big Ben. 
 
Buckingham Palace & Westminster Abbey. 
 
Your tour will also include a trip to see Buckingham Palace (we can't go inside, unfortunately), the home of Queen Elizabeth II (where you might witness the Changing of the Guards ceremony). A short walk on, you will come to the exterior of the beautiful Westminster Abbey, where every English king and queen for the last 1000 years has received their coronation, and where Prince William and Kate Middleton were married. 
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