If you are a traveler looking for a unique and exciting way to explore the historical city of London, then look no further than the Tower of London Beefeater Tour.
As one of Britain’s most iconic monuments, it offers visitors the opportunity to explore over 900 years of rich history through guided tours by a local Beefeater.
What is a Beefeater?
Beefeaters is the nickname given to Yeoman Warders who began serving back in 1485 under Henry VII to help guard the Tower of London.
At the Tower of London, they were in charge of protecting the crown jewels and watching the prisoners kept in the Tower.
During the Tudor time, the Yeomen wore a red formal uniform, with a high collar & plumed hat.
This formal uniform has been replaced with an everyday Blue uniform consisting of a dark blue jacket, pants, and a tall hat.
At the present, the Beefeaters serve as Tower of London tour guides!
They share knowledge about the Tower of London while taking groups through the complex.
Interesting fact: Today’s Yeoman Warders must be between 40-55 years old, have at least 22 years of military service, and have reached the rank of warrant officer in order to be considered for this prestigious role.
What You Will See on a Tower of London Beefeater Tour
1. The White Tower
Built by William the Conquerer, the tower was eventually painted white. Inside the enormous tower, you will find exhibits on the rather cruel history of the Tower of London.
Along with with the execution tools, you will also find the Royal Armoury.
There is a substantial collection of Royal armor, including those of Henry VIII, Charles I, and James II.
2. The Crown Jewels
You will need to queue up for this exhibit and it can be long. Be aware that there is no photography here.
Inside you will find the Scepter and Orb, St Edward’s Crown, and the Imperial State Crown made for the coronation of Queen Victoria, among other crowns and jeweled pieces.
3. The Ravens
If you didn’t know before you arrived, you will learn that there is a steep history of Ravens at The Tower of London.
During the time of King Charles II, it was forewarned that if the ravens left, the White Tower would fall and a great disaster would befall the kingdom. Thus, the raven’s wings were clipped to keep them from leaving.
Today’s Ravens are taken care of by a Yeoman Ravenmaster who is in charge of their feedings.
The names of the current Tower ravens are Jubilee, Harris, Gripp, Rocky, Erin, Poppy and Merlina. They have unique personalities and have developed quite keen skills.
4. Medieval Palace
While the Tower of London was a fortress, it was also a royal residence.
Constructed by Henry III and his son Edward I, you will find the King’s bedroom and throne room in the St. Thomas Tower, the Wakefield Tower, and the Lanthorn Tower.
5. Traitor’s Gate
This is the famous entrance to the Tower for those brought to the Tower of London by the River Thames.
Henry VIII’s 2nd wife, Anne Boleyn, would have been taken through this gate on her way to her stay in the Tower prior to her execution.
6. The Bloody Tower
This tower is so named for being where 13-year-old future King Edward V and his younger brother were murdered so that their uncle King Richard could usurp the throne.
This is also where Sir Walter Raleigh was imprisoned for 13 years by King James. His cell remains as it did while he lived there and contains the first volume of History of the World that he penned while here.
7. Tower Beasts
For nearly 600 years, the Tower has a menagerie of animals that were gifts from other dignitaries.
Not just your typical cats and dogs, there were lions, elephants, grizzly bear, kangaroos, and even a polar bear.
While gone today, you will find markers explaining facts about the animals that once were kept here.
8. Tower Green
This green space was where men would have practiced jousting or just enjoyed some peace & quiet, that is unless there was an execution.
While the actual block and ax are in the White Tower, they were once here at Tower Green.
Among those executed on or near the site are the three Queens of England: Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, and Lady Jane Grey.
9. Wall Walk
Your Tower of London Beefeater tour isn’t complete without walking the walls of the fortress. There is no better view than from above.
Not only can you appreciate the expansiveness of the fortress, but you also have beautiful views of the Tower Bridge.
How Much is the Tower of London Beefeater Tour
The Tower of London Beefeater Tour is free and occurs every 30 minutes.
The first tour starts at 10:00 (Tuesday to Saturday) and at 10:30 (Sunday and Monday). The final tour of the day starts at 15.30 (summer) or 14.30 (winter).
The Tower of London Beefeater Tour starts at the main entrance to the Tower of London.
It is a great way to hear facts about the Tower of London while also being entertained with some wit and cheekiness.
Tower of London Tickets
Have you made a day trip to the Tower of London? What was your favorite part?