Explore the Royal Menagerie dressed for Christmas at the Tower of London

1 December – 3 January

1 December – 3 January

This Christmas, a spectacular world of twinkling animals will be brought to life at the Tower of London as part of a brand new magical festive experience suitable for all the family.  Throughout December, the famous fortress will be dressed for the season, with stunning seasonal decorations bedecking Christmas trees across the site, accompanied by a series of festive installations based on the story of the Tower’s famous Royal Menagerie. 

The Tower housed a royal menagerie for over 600 years and rather unexpectedly has been home to a range of animals – including a polar bear!  From 1 December families can enjoy magical displays of glittering decorations and illuminated animal-themed areas across the site, telling the stories of some of the exotic animals that once called this historic place home. Begun as a result of medieval monarchs exchanging rare and exotic animals as gifts, Edward I established a permanent new home for the Menagerie - known as the Lion Tower - during his reign. By 1622 the collection had been extended to include everything from leopards, pumas, lions and eagles! 

The Menagerie closed for good in 1835, but this Christmas it will be brought to life once more, with everything from naughty ravens to majestic elephants featuring in the new festive display. Visitors can marvel at a shimmering winter wonderland scene where a polar bear roams, before stumbling upon a set of golden wolves that guard the piles of coins and money bags along the famous Mint Street, once home of the Royal Mint. The centrepiece of the display will be a large and imposing Christmas tree on Tower Green, bedecked with ornate decorations linked to stories from the Tower including crowns, carriages and the famous Royal Jewels. Nestled among the presents at the base of the tree, little ones can have a go at spotting golden animals from each of the illuminations across the site. Finally, the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula will also be lavishly decorated with beautiful fleur de lis, crown, angel and cherub motifs to reflect the Chapel Royal’s grand architecture, where special Christmas services have been held for hundreds of years.  

The perfect winter treat, Christmas at the Tower of London will run daily (excluding Mondays) from 1 December – 3 January and is included in general admission. The event has also been generously supported by the ‘Let’s Do London’ campaign launched by the Mayor of London to support the economic recovery of London following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, said: “London is the best place in the world to celebrate the festive season. There are so many exciting activities and events taking place across the capital, as part of the Mayor’s Let’s Do London campaign.

“Our ‘Winter Lights’ season brings together a host of outdoor events that capture the magic of winter through a series of incredible light installations. This includes a new enchanting display at the Tower of London where visitors can be lost in history and immerse themselves in the Christmas spirit.

“There is something for everyone to enjoy and it’s yet another brilliant reason to come and experience the best that London has to offer.”

Emma Bell, Interpretation Officer, said,

‘For the first time in several years, we’re delighted that the Tower will be properly dressed for Christmas, with historic royal decorations to get visitors into the spirit.  We’re looking forward to welcoming families to the fortress to enjoy the festivities this December!’

Once families have enjoyed the magical lights, there is nearly 1,000 years of history still waiting to be explored throughout the day. The Yeoman Warders will be delivering their famous tours, regaling people with stories of intrigue, imprisonment, execution, torture and much more. Visitors can also spot one of the Tower’s resident ravens, who have been shrouded in myth and legend since Charles II decreed that at least six must remain or the kingdom will fall. Finally, no visit isn’t complete without a visit to the iconic Crown Jewels, where the magnificent world-famous collection of over 25,000 gemstones are just waiting to be admired.

 

Notes to editors

For further information or further images please contact Sophie Lemagnen in the HRP Press Office via [email protected] / 020 3166 6166

Christmas at the Tower of London

1 December – 3 January (Closed 24, 25, 26 December)

Included in palace admission: Adults £29.90 / Children (aged 5-15) £14.90 / Concessions £24.00 / HRP Members go free

 

Historic Royal Palaces is a team of people who love and look after six of the most wonderful palaces in the world. We create space for spirits to stir and be stirred. We want everyone to feel welcome and accepted. We tell stories about the monarchs you know and the lives you don’t. We let people explore and we set minds racing. We are a charity and your support gives the palaces a future, for everyone.  

Registered charity number 1068852. For more information visit www.hrp.org.uk

Let’s Do London is a £7m initiative launched by the Mayor of London, Visit London, Transport for London and backed by industry, bringing together the capital’s world-leading hospitality, culture, nightlife and retail venues to promote all London has to offer. Let’s Do London aims to reinvigorate central London and welcome back visitors from across the UK back to the capital with a curated programme of seasonal events and cultural activities designed to suit a range of age groups.

For more information, please visit: Let's do London - Things to Do - visitlondon.com