White Tower

Almost 1,000 years old and right at the heart of the Tower of London.

Almost 1,000 years old and right at the heart of the Tower of London.

When

  • Open daily

Ticketing information

Included in palace admission (members go free)

Britain's most famous castle

Instantly recognisable, the White Tower is the most famous castle keep in the world. It was built to awe, subdue and terrify Londoners, and to deter foreign invaders. It is an iconic symbol of London and Britain.

Along with the rest of the Tower fortress, the White Tower is part of a World Heritage Site. Inside is a unique Romanesque chapel, the beautiful 11th-century Chapel of St John the Evangelist.

Home of the Royal Armouries

The White Tower showcases the historic and world-class Royal Armouries collections, including the 350-year-old exhibition, Line of Kings, as well as other treasures.

There are many unique and extraordinary arms and and armours on display, including the magnificent royal armours of Henry VIII, Charles I and James II.

White Tower tours

Enjoy a tour led by one of our expert warders. Find out about the exquisite Chapel Royal of St John and hear all about Henry VIII's famous armours.

Find out more about White Tower tours
Photograph of the Tower Warder speaking to visitors
The White Tower detail, looking south. The focus of this image is on the first floor arches. 

The White Tower was begun in the reign of William the Conqueror (1066-87) and completed by 1100. The fortress was originally faced with huge blocks of pale marble-like Caen stone imported from Normandy. In 1636-8 the external appearance of the White Tower was significantly altered with the replacement of much of its cut-stone work and window surrounds with Portland stone. 

The primary role of the White Tower was as a fortress and stronghold but it also served as a royal residence and as the setting for major governmental and ceremonial functions.

Torture at the Tower

On the top floor of the White Tower you will find an original executioner's block of the 18th century, with an axe that possibly dates back to Tudor times. They were once incorrectly labelled as the implements used to behead Anne Boleyn. However, she was actually executed by sword.

It is now believed that the block and axe were used at the last public beheading on Tower Hill in 1747. 

The basement of the White Tower is traditionally thought to be the site of the torture and interrogation of prisoners such as Guy Fawkes and the Jesuit Priest John Gerard.

The Beauchamp Tower, looking south towards an arrow loop window. A large wooden cross positioned on the floor can be partially seen in the foreground. 

The Beauchamp Tower was built between 1275-81 by King Edward I (1239-1307). It is named after Thomas Beauchamp, 12th Earl of Warwick who was imprisoned in the tower in 1397, accused of high treason.
Things to see

Learn why people ended up as prisoners in the Tower of London, in the very rooms where some of them were held.

Open daily

Tower of London

Included in palace admission (members go free)

A woman and child interact with an armoury exhibit in Armoury in Action within the White Tower of the Tower of London
Families Things to see

Shoot arrows, assemble firearms and brandish a sword in this exciting, hands-on experience in the White Tower.

Open daily

Tower of London

Included in palace admission (members go free)

The Bloody Tower, looking north towards lattice windows. The windows are set in a white-painted brick alcove.

The Bloody Tower was built by King Henry III (1207-72) and was originally named the Garden Tower.
Things to see

Explore the stories of the Princes in the Tower and Sir Walter Raleigh in the infamous Bloody Tower.

Open daily

Tower of London

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