The Tower of London World Heritage Site

The Tower of London World Heritage Site

HM Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London (the Tower) is one of England’s most evocative ancient monuments. There is a tangible sense of history in every tower and around every corner, making it an endlessly fascinating place for visitors from all round the world.

The buildings and layout that we see today stand as the culmination of a sequence which started around 1067, and have developed dynamically ever since in line with the changing needs of the site’s occupants, users and visitors.

A World Heritage Site

The Tower was inscribed onto the World Heritage List in 1988 under two of the required criteria for inscription. 

The justification was: 

Criterion (ii):

A monument symbolic of royal power since the time of William the Conqueror, the Tower of London served as an outstanding model throughout the kingdom from the end of the 11th century. Like it, many keeps were built in stone, e.g. Colchester, Rochester, Hedingham, Norwich or Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight.

Criterion (iv):

The White Tower is the example par excellence of the royal Norman castle in the late 11th century. The ensemble of the Tower of London is a major reference for the history of medieval military architecture.

Further detail on the Tower as a World Heritage Site (WHS) can be found at

World Heritage Site Management Plan

All World Heritage Sites are required by UNESCO to have a Management Plan.

The purpose of the Management Plan is to ensure the effectual management of the WHS for present and future generations and to provide an agreed framework for long-term decision-making on the conservation and improvement of the Tower. 

The current Plan was adopted in 2007 and it sets out the management objectives for the Tower, supported by actions, which reflect the opportunities, challenges and issues faced.


The Updated Plan – Public Consultation (12 January - 8 February 2016)

Historic Royal Palaces has recently been through a process of revising and updating the WHS Management Plan for the next five years, in line with UNESCO’s requirements. 

The updated Plan has been drafted in consultation with the Tower of London WHS Consultative Committee, a group including on-site partners, the relevant local authorities and heritage specialists. The Committee provides a forum for consulting on issues affecting the Tower and its environs. 

The Plan, once agreed at national level by Historic England, who advises the DCMS, will be submitted to UNESCO World Heritage Centre and then forwarded to ICOMOS for review.  Local planning authorities in the UK are expected to take relevant policies in the WHS management plans into account in developing their strategy for the historic environment and in determining relevant planning applications.

Members of the public are invited to view the draft Plan from 12 January – 8 February 2016 and to feed comments back to the WHS Coordinator by 8 February.

The draft revised Plan is available to download and review here:  

WHS Draft Management Plan 2016 (low res) (PDF, 4.9MB)

Feedback, comments or questions can be sent by email to

Or by post to: Natasha Taylor, WHS Coordinator, Historic Royal Palaces, Apt 21 Hampton Court Palace, KT8 9AU. 

(If you require a high resolution copy of the plan, please email

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