Fortress

When

  • Open daily

Ticketing information

Included in palace admission (members go free)

Explore the Tower of London's reputation as a formidable fortress with displays along the impenetrable defences, including a reconstructed fighting platform on the Battlements.

Discover what it was like to be part of the medieval garrison defending the Tower as you stand beside life-size metalwork soldiers and their weapons on the wall walks.

Peer through the gate and imagine what it was like to be a medieval soldier working in this cramped but beautiful space.

The Peasants' Revolt and other battles

In 1381, a rabble of peasants managed to successfully attack the Tower in the Peasants' Revolt of 1381 — this was one of many battles at the Tower of London.

However, the Tower of London's role as a formidable fortress isn't just about the past. The Tower remains a working fortress today, with a strong military presence.

You will see soldiers guarding the Jewel House and Queen’s House, as well as the famous Yeoman Warders (or 'Beefeaters') who have been guarding the Tower for 500 years.

Wellington's modern fortress

Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, born 1 May 1769, was one of Britain’s greatest military leaders. He became the Constable of the Tower in 1826. He remained Commander-in-Chief of the British Armed Forces and became Prime Minister twice while serving as Constable at the Tower.

Besides draining the filthy moat, where possible, Wellington adapted the fortress for modern warfare and a more professional army. He closed the Tower pubs in favour of an army canteen and erected purpose-built barracks for 1,000 soldiers with a new officers' mess.

Wellington also demanded the closure of the Royal Menagerie at the Tower and the removal of all the animals following a series of vicious attacks.

Under Wellington's command the number of visitors soared, despite his reservations about public access to a military site.

Wellington dealt with the aftermath of a major fire at the Tower in 1841 and strengthened the ancient fortress at a time of civil unrest, when the government feared that rioting and revolution would spread to London.

Royal Beasts exhibition at the Tower of London

Siege engines on display

The perrier, a stone-thrower, is one of the least complicated medieval siege engines, made of a simple frame and a mighty 17-foot throwing arm with a sling.

The perrier’s energy is supplied entirely by its operators. With a downward heave on the ropes visitors have hurled a water balloon 50 metres. However, with greater force, a perrier can easily throw a rock the size of a grapefruit hundreds of metres.

Our perrier is operated by four people but history has recorded perriers large enough to need as many as 16 men pulling on the ropes!

The relatively simple design made the perrier an ideal weapon for both attack and defence. Attackers could build one quickly (provided they could find a straight enough tree trunk for the throwing arm) and use it to damage castle walls and bombard the defenders inside.

Defenders used perriers to launch stones from their walls, often targeting the enemy’s own siege engines. In 1192 Richard I's government spent more than £100 (more than £50,000 in today’s money) building similar stone-throwers to defend the walls of the Tower of London.

A Yeoman Warder stands outside the White Tower during a Twilight Tour or the Tower.
Tours and talks

Dare you visit the Tower at night and take one of our Twilight Tours? Discover secrets of the Tower's history with after-hours access.

Selected Sundays in January-April

Tower of London

19:00

Separate ticket (advanced booking required)

Still from The Favourite showing Emma Stone as Abigail Masham in white Tudor kitchens, wearing a denim maid's outfit. Staff cook on the historic cooking equipment in the background
Highlights Things to see

See costumes created for Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz and other cast members of The Favourite on display in the Cartoon Gallery.

Daily until 10 March 2018

Hampton Court Palace

Included in palace admission (members go free)

The Great Hall, looking east.
The hall was constructed by King Henry VIII to replace a smaller and older hall on the same site. It had two functions. First to provide a great communal dining room where 600 members of the court could eat in two sittings, twice a day. And secondly, to provide a magnificent entrance to the state apartments that lay beyond.
Highlights Things to see

Experience the splendour of the Tudor court in Henry VIII's Great Hall, complete with his magnificent tapestries.

Open daily

Hampton Court Palace

Included in palace admission (members go free)

Official Tower of London guidebook shows the many faces of the Tower from menagerie and jewel house to fortress and prison.

Official Tower of London guidebook

Official Tower of London guidebook shows the many faces of the Tower from menagerie and jewel house to fortress and prison.

£4.99

Featuring a sculpted designed of the Tower of London and an axe-shaped handle, this novelty mug makes a great gift.

Tower of London mug

Featuring a sculpted designed of the Tower of London and an axe-shaped handle, this novelty mug makes a great gift.

£10.99

Prisoners of the Tower uncovers the unpublished the history of the Tower of London as a place of torture and state prison.

Prisoners of the Tower

Prisoners of the Tower uncovers the unpublished the history of the Tower of London as a place of torture and state prison.

£8.99