Royal beasts

For 600 years, wild and exotic creatures were held captive here by kings and queens

For 600 years, wild and exotic creatures were held captive here by kings and queens

When

  • Open daily

Ticketing information

Included in palace admission (members go free)

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.

Learn more about the Tower of London menagerie

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? 

Sculpture of a baboon made from galvanised wire
Sculpture of a polar bear made from galvanised wire. Kendra Haste was commissioned by Historic Royal Palaces to create a series of sculptures as part of an exhibition 'Royal Beasts' celebrating the history of the Royal Menagerie at the Tower of London.

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.

Iron spikes descending from a stone arch, a portcullis, on the Bloody Tower
Things to see

Explore the Tower of London’s early years as a formidable fortress and discover why it has been both feared and revered.

Open daily

Tower of London

Included in palace admission (members go free)

Two medieval knights, in civilian clothes, talk in the Medieval Palace
Things to see

Step inside the luxurious lodgings of two kings, meticulously re-created in the Medieval Palace at the Tower of London.

Open daily

Tower of London

Included in palace admission (members go free)

A Yeoman Warder gives a tour to a group of visitors outside the chapel of St Peter Ad Vincula at the Tower of London
Tours and talks Highlights

Discover captivating stories of pain and passion, treachery and torture on the Yeoman Warder tours at the Tower of London.

Daily

Tower of London

Tours begin every 30 minutes

Included in palace admission (members go free)

Gift selection of products inspired by the Tower of London from Historic Royal Palaces shop

Shop Tower of London gifts

Shop our products inspired by the almost 1000 years of history at the Tower of London

From £9.99

Gift collection of Medieval inspired gifts from Historic Royal Palaces Shop

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

From £6.99

The Royal Mint - Raven coin

Raven Gifts

Legend has it that if the six ravens ever leave the Tower of London, the Tower and the kingdom will fall. These products have been inspired by the Ravens that live at the Tower of London.

From £7.99