For 600 years, wild and exotic creatures were held captive here by kings and queens
Surprising animals kept at the Tower of London
Explore the tales of the many exotic animals kept at the Tower, from lions, tigers, monkeys and elephants, to zebras, alligators, bears and kangaroos, in the Royal Beasts exhibition at the Tower of London.
Learn about the polar bear who fished in the Thames for his lunch, the ostrich who ate nails and many other surprising stories.
Experience the sights, sounds, and even smells of the animals through interactive displays and find out what happened when the royal beasts escaped...
Status symbols and extravagant gifts
Founded by King John in the early 1200s, the Royal Menagerie became home to more than 60 species of animal. This began a long tradition of kings and queens keeping exotic animals as symbols of power and for the entertainment and curiosity of the court.
Animals were also exchanged throughout Europe as regal gifts, but sadly, they were often mistreated.
Life-size animal sculptures
As you explore around the Tower of London, you will see many life-size sculptures of menagerie animals by artist, Kendra Haste.
What animals can you find?
Other institutions at the Tower
The Royal Menagerie is one of the many institutions founded at the Tower of London. Others include The Royal Mint and The Royal Observatory.
While some organisations moved out and other functions ceased, many operated for hundreds of years.
Discover books inspired by the palaces in our care, learn about fascinating periods of British history, including our official palace guide books, children's books and more.
Shop our products inspired by the almost 1000 years of history at the Tower of London.
Shop medieval gifts
Explore one of the most exciting times in history with our high end range of arms and armour and medieval fancy dress.