Her Majesty’s Palace and Fortress, better known as the Tower of London, is a historical castle known for its grim history of famous executions. You can find it in the aptly-named Tower Hill area of London, by St Catherine’s Dock and opposite HMS Belfast. Age most suitable for is 5-7 year olds and 8-11 year olds
What’s on offer
Don’t just expect one tower, expect 20! The Tower of London is huge; bursting with a thousand years of British history. Expect to learn a lot about Britain’s medieval past and royal reign.
It’s home to the Crown Jewels, numerous historical exhibitions, the famous Yeoman Warders (the Beefeaters) and their popular walking tour, the six ravens and even an old zoo. You can also walk the wall around the Tower and witness amazing views of London.
There’s plenty of colourful history to discover, including the Fusiliers museum and an exhibit sponsored by the Royal Mint Museum.
There are also several activities for children to take part in. During school holidays, special events are usually available aimed at primary school level children, such as arts & crafts and costume-guided events. There’s also a multimedia guide for the Tower of London specifically designed for children and a free booklet, which will help to keep little minds occupied in any queues.
Make sure to check the official website to see what’s on while you’re there.
One of the most popular parts of a trip to the Tower for parents and older children is the walking tour with the Beefeaters. It’s been described as “informative”, “entertaining” and “funny”. Of course, seeing the magnificent Crown Jewels is a highlight, if you can survive the long queues.
For younger children, seeing the ravens and using the interactive Royal Beasts displays should be a real delight – especially if your child is an animal lover. The Fortress reveals what it was like to be there in medieval times and there’s even a Knight school for budding 1390’s warriors.
What to watch out for
– It’s a very popular and busy tourist site. Expect to queue.
– A lot of the surfaces around the Tower of London are cobbled and therefore, not buggy-friendly. There are designated areas to leave buggies in a few places, but it’s ‘at your own risk’. Some areas may charge £1. The White Tower does not allow pushchair access at all.
– Be prepared for lots of walking – and lots of little steps, steep stairs and uneven surfaces. With so much to see, little feet could easily become tired here, so take lots of sit-down breaks. Fortunately, there are lots of benches around the Tower.
– It’s also very much an outdoor attraction, so don’t forget to pack the umbrellas. When packing raincoats etc, keep in mind that The Tower of London doesn’t have luggage or cloakroom facilities.
– There is a baby-changing facility, and a female-only changing facility, but that’s it. So prepare for it to be busy.
– The kids’ menus at the Tower’s café are not extensive. Save money by bringing a picnic.
– While the Tower of London is relatively child-friendly, it’s also a landmark famous for beheadings. Therefore, some areas of the Tower, like the Torture Exhibition at the bottom of the Wakefield Tower, are obviously not suitable for some young children.
– Finally, be warned – there are some parts of the Yeoman Warder tour that could also potentially be frightening. Make sure to ask a member of staff what’s included in the tour before using your own judgement.
– The Crown Jewels is usually one of the busiest exhibits. To avoid the long queues, arrive when the Tower opens and visit the Jewels first.
– If your child has a short attention span, The Tower of London website recommends buying a special ‘family member’ ticket, which allows you and the kids to take in the historic sights at your own pace, perhaps over several days. Either that, or select a few exhibits to visit and cut down your visiting time.
What the owners say
“Families have always lived and worked in this famous fortress, from royal families to guards and servants, even prisoners! Now you can join them for an exciting day of discovery. However old your children are, there is plenty to see both inside and out that will entertain them, whatever the weather.”