Fortress

When

  • Open daily

Ticketing information

Included in palace admission Buy Tower of London tickets

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

The Duke of Wellington, one of Britain’s greatest military leaders, 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.

Young boy looking towards the imperial state crown in the Crown Jewels exhibition
Highlights Things to see

Prepare to be dazzled by this breathtaking, world famous collection of 23,578 gemstones at the Tower of London.

Open daily

Tower of London

Allow one hour

Fountain Court, looking west. The courtyard fountain can just be seen through an archway on the left.
Member only Tours and talks

Get an expert’s guide of what there is to see and do at each palace with one of our State Apartment Warders at Hampton Court.

27 September 2018

Hampton Court Palace

11:00 and 14:00

The Triumphs of Caesar in the Mantegna Gallery of Hampton Court Palace
Things to see

See The Triumphs of Caesar, one of the great treasures of the Royal Collection, in the Mantegna Gallery at Hampton Court Palace.

Open daily

Hampton Court Palace

10:30-13:00 and 14:00-17:00

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