Walk in the footsteps of kings, queens and villains
Listen to sinister tales of treachery and revenge. Discover jewel-encrusted crowns and gleaming suits of armour. Big Bus will drop you off right by the entrance to the famous Tower of London – a treasure trove of history spanning a thousand years.
The bloody history of the Tower of London
From when it was first constructed by William the Conqueror in 1066, this World Heritage site has witnessed some truly shocking events. Once a royal residence and place of imprisonment and execution, it’s now home to the Royal Mint and the sparkling Crown Jewels.
Keep an eye out for the ghost of Anne Boleyn - she was second wife of Henry VIII, beheaded by him in 1536 and now said to haunt the tower. And listen to stories regaled by the resident red-coated Yeoman Warders – commonly known as Beefeaters. They’ll tell you about the Princes in the Tower, Colonel Blood’s devious attempt to steal the Crown Jewels, and famous prisoners including Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir William Wallace, Guy Fawkes, Rudolph Hess and the only American Prisoner ever incarcerated here – Henry Laurens.
Other interesting facts about The Tower of London
- The last execution took place in 1941, when Josef Jakobs, a German spy, was shot by firing squad
- “If the ravens leave the Tower, the kingdom will fall…” is the old superstition. Today, 7 ravens (including Baldrick and Marley) are kept at the Tower – their wings safely clipped to prevent them escaping
- A royal menagerie filled with exotic creatures was kept here by King John in the early 1200s. The animals moved to Regents Park in 1835, which became London Zoo
- Today there are 23,578 jewels stored in the Tower