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Palace, prison, fortress trails

about these trails

KS1 | Subject: History | Topic: Castles, Normans, Medieval, Tudors | Session Type: Self-led trail

From its earliest days, the Tower of London has had many roles. Its three main roles during its 900-year history were as a palace, a prison and a fortress.

Royal palace trail

For hundreds of years, kings and queens have stayed at the Tower and stored their most precious and important items here. Some, such as the Crown Jewels, can still be found here today.

Follow in the footsteps of monarchs from the past and discover how they would have used the Tower and what life in a royal palace would really have been like.

Prison trail

Walk through the rooms where prisoners were held, find the graffiti that they carved into the walls and discover tales of surprising crimes and daring escapes.

Fortress trail

Discover the surprising features of William the Conqueror’s castle and imagine life as a royal knight at the Tower.

Hard copies of these three trails will be available on arrival.

Learning objectives

Each trail is structured to allow pupils to:

  • Explore history where it happened
  • Discover some of the Tower’s stories
  • Decide how useful the Tower is as a source of evidence

National Curriculum links

  • The lives of significant individuals in the past
  • Significant events beyond living memory

Booking Information

Monday to Friday (during term time).

Due to planned conservation work some areas of the site will be closed January -March 2024. If you are planning to use the Palaces Trail; Your exit from the Wakefield Tower (03) will bring you out by the Raven Cages (05) so you may want to adjust your route and do that section next.

Fortress Trail; There is no access to the Battlements (08) and no access to the walk through the Salt Tower (09), Broad Arrow Tower (10) and Constable Tower (11). Because of this, you’ll need to skip the “Defensive features and battlements” section of this trail.

Prison Trail; There is no access to the Battlements or Upper Salt (04) for the Prison trail.

Our trails are designed for your pupils to use in pairs or groups of three. We recommend splitting your class into three groups of ten, with two adults per group.

Please note: Your class will receive five trails each on the themes of Palace, Prison and Fortress. Each group will focus on a different theme and explore different parts of the Tower of London site. You will also receive three Teachers Packs that will provide further guidance and context for group leaders.

£4.10 per pupil, price includes admission.

book your school visit

Teacher notes for trails

Key information to support the use of our self led trails. Printed copies will be available on arrival at the Tower