Tower of London review for families
In a nutshell
A must-visit 1,000-year-old castle housing the Crown Jewels, with historic buildings and exhibitions that provide a rich insight into the past, although children over 8 will get more out of the visit
What we tested
- Fun for kids
4.0A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
- Fun for parents
3.7A star rating of 3.7 out of 5.
- Worth the money
5.0A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
3.5A star rating of 3.5 out of 5.
- Family friendliness
3.6A star rating of 3.6 out of 5.
- Iconic historical London gem, good value for a full family day out, plenty to see, easy to navigate, close to other family attractions
- Very limited accessibility for buggies and wheelchairs, smaller children may struggle with the many stairs, free activities and exhibitions aimed at older children, no picnic tables.
COVID safety update
Some facilities and attractions restricted due to COVID and there may be extra safety rules, pre-booking requirements or one-way systems in place. Please check the Tower Of London website before travelling or booking.
Showing item 1 of 4
Who and when we visited:
Gabrielle visited with her husband and 2 sons aged 5 and 2, on a busy Sunday at the end of June.
Fellow reviewer Anna also visited on a sunny and breezy Sunday in May. She took her 6 and 8 year olds.
What age is the Tower of London best for:
Best for: Older children (over 5 and ideally 8+).
Still good fun for: Under 5s
Avoid if: You’ve got babies who won’t go in a sling, or kids who struggle with queues or crowds.
How much does it cost in 2023?
Although there is no difference price-wise, it’s recommended you pre-book your ticket and time slot (where applicable) online before you visit. You can also buy on-the-day tickets from the ticket office on Tower Hill. Prices are:
- Adults, £29.90
- Children aged 5-15, £14.90
- There are a number of Family saver tickets available: £52.20 (1 adult, up to 3 children) or £82.10 (2 adults, up to 3 children)
Although costly for a family, the entry ticket represents good value when you consider that all the exhibits are included and you can easily stay for a whole day.
Exclusive Expedia discount code
Fancy an exclusive discount code on your next family holiday?
MadeForMums is offering special discounts to our registered users booking their next family break with travel website Expedia.
These exclusive offers are only available to our MadeForMums registered users — find out more by simply clicking the link and using our special discount code to enjoy up to 7% off your bookings.
Are there any cheap or discounted tickets available for the Tower of London?
- You can get 2-for-1 tickets with Days Out (you will need a copy of your Days Out voucher and your train ticket).
- Tower Hamlets residents can visit for just £1.
- Book via Picniq and receive a £5 Picniq voucher as well as discounts for nearby restaurants.
- Check out Kids Pass for any ticket offers.
- If you plan on staying overnight, save money on a ticket and accommodation package with Holiday Extras.
Any extra charges once I’m there?
- There are Audio Guide Tours (£5 for adults; £4 for children; £14 for a family) – very reasonable but better to suited to older kids.
- There are 4 gift shops in total, and a couple of them are as you exit a particular exhibit, such as the Crown Jewels, so you can’t entirely avoid them.
- The best is the children’s gift shop, which stocks a huge variety of items both for children to buy themselves and for adults to buy for them.
- Look out for the sizeable ‘pocket money’ section with items for a few pounds alongside pricier items like the Princess Elizabeth dress-up costume for £35.
- Our boys (2 and 5) have not stopped playing with their knight swords, which my husband reckons is the best £5.99 he’s ever spent on a toy.
How long will you spend at the Tower of London?
A minimum of 3 hours to see everything but really you should allow for a full day, especially in the busy summer holidays or if you want to spend longer at some exhibits. We arrived at 10.30am and around 4 hours later had managed to see about two thirds of the exhibitions and catch a play, as well as stop for lunch.
What does the Tower of London offer for families?
Billed as a must-see for school children and tourists alike, the Tower of London is an integral part of British history and the home of the world-famous Crown Jewels. Its fact-filled exhibitions and impressive structure make for a great family day out, and older kids in particular will love learning about its rich history as a secure fortress, a royal palace, and an infamous prison.
Fellow reviewer Anna also loved the fact that it is such a unique setting in the heart of London – the juxtaposition of the very old Tower and the gleaming new of the surrounding skyscrapers is truly unique and awe-inspiring. Although, she did feel there could be a few more daily activities for families at such an impressive historical landmark.
What shouldn’t be missed?
Highlights for us were:
- The sense of ceremony and majesty is tangible as soon as you enter through the gates – even stroppy teenagers will be awed by the towering ancient brick walls. Just walking on the ramparts and cobbled paths gives you a sense of wonder at the scale and grandeur of the place.
- The exhibits provide plenty of detail for history buffs and almost endless visual stimulation for children who may not be able or have the patience to read.
- The bling! Arrive early and make a beeline for the Crown Jewels (the most popular and easily accessible exhibition) on display in the Jewel House, diagonally opposite the main gate, to avoid long queues and get the best view. We arrived after lunch and by then there was a lengthy wait in the blazing sun. You view the jewels from a travellator, so be prepared to lift up younger or smaller children as the jewels are on display at adult height.
- Head to the White Tower and the collection of the Royal Armouries, which will fascinate adults and kids of all ages, and spend some time at the Armouries in Action experience, which is interactive and great for kids tall enough to reach (our nearly 6 year old could just about manage).
- Anna and her 6 and 8 year olds loved the interactive space at the end of The Royal Armouries tour – some fun ways to bring the roles and challenges of a different era to life. They also enjoyed the ‘garderobe’ – or toilet on one of the levels of the armoury.
- Another highlight for her family was the guardsmen stationed outside the Crown Jewels exhibit. On the day they visited, it was two members of the Queen’s Ghurkha engineers patrolling, leaving the kids very impressed.
- The traitors’ gate is also worth a mention, as it’s such an evocative part of the Tower, but overall, just enjoy the sense of occasion and space of the Tower of London – every angle you look, there is something to spot, and the architecture is particularly impressive.
What’s the Tower of London like for younger children?
The very thing that makes the Tower so atmospheric is also what makes it difficult to manage for a family with young children. The building is hundreds of years old, so accessing parts of the castle with a buggy or very small children in tow can be tricky and sometimes impossible.
Besides the building restrictions, we found several of the exhibitions – including one billed as family friendly – were just too high up for our young children to be able to see or, in the case of the interactive exhibits, reach. We had to either pick them up or help them push buttons to see or interact with displays, which got quite tiring for us – though the kids seem to love it.
That said, there is plenty of space to run around and spotting Rocky the raven, Beefeaters and life-size animal sculptures will keep even the most rambunctious toddler amused.
Fellow MFM reviewer Anna loved the fact that many of the Tower exhibits are really immersive and use sound and images in a clever and engaging way. The videos and sound leading up to the Crown Jewels, for example, or to accompany the Royal Beasts exhibit, really add another dimension to the experience.
Any scary or unsuitable bits for younger or sensitive children?
Unless your kids are super patient and have a sophisticated sense of humour, skip the Yeoman Warder guided tours. They’re funny and very informative but last around 45 minutes and are aimed at adults, with sections that can seem frightening or scary to young children.
Time naps with visits to the exhibits unsuitable for young children, such as the Torture at the Tower exhibition, which some children – and even some adults – might find upsetting. Fellow reviewer Anna made an about-turn at this exhibit, as some of the illustrations were too much, even for her to stomach.
In other places too, there are very moving or disturbing pictures hanging on walls. For example, the upper floors of the Bloody Tower present the disappearance of the two young princes (Edward V and his younger brother Richard), which prompted lots of questions about their fate from our older boy.
Does the Tower of London cater well for a range of ages?
These historic buildings make for a great day out for adults as well as children, but they’re best suited to kids over 5 (ideally 8+) who can read and have an interest in history, royalty, battles and jewels. Under 5s can still enjoy parts of the Tower of London, depending on how well they cope with the queues and steps, and you’d need to avoid certain exhibits which may be frightening.
What you need to know before visiting the Tower of London:
- Look at the website and plan your visit in advance and prioritise which buildings and exhibits you and your family want to see. This way, you’ll have the enthusiasm and energy to see the things you want before you run out of steam.
- Use the detailed Tower of London map to plan your day beforehand, but there’s no need to print it out – you’ll be handed a map on arrival. It’s all in a square set around the White Tower, so it’s relatively easy to orientate yourself.
- Pre-book your tickets online to save money.
- Get a copy of Tower Power: Tales from the Tower of London by Elizabeth Newbery– it’s a great book that will get children of all ages interested in the history of the tower and excited about their visit.
- Download the free ‘Time Explorers’ app to your iOS or Android device for an interactive adventure – older children can meet characters from history, explore the buildings and complete challenges.
Is the Tower of London pushchair-friendly?
Not great, due to the historical structure of the buildings. Unless your little one can nap in your arms or a sling, one parent will have to stay outside with them as you can’t take pushchairs or buggies into most of the towers. However, if you do split up, it’s fairly easy to find a meeting spot and there are plenty of benches and stretches of grass to wait on. We got lucky – Rocco’s nap coincided with our visit to the Crown Jewels, the only exhibit easily accessible to pushchairs – so we could all go in together.
Unoccupied buggies can be left unattended at one of the 3 buggy parks around the Tower, but you’ll need a £1 or 1 Euro coin as a returnable deposit
What are the Tower of London’s free activities like?
Normally there are free performances on certain days, which you can sit down on the grass and watch. Others, such as the immersive ‘Medieval Mayhem, are special events running for a limited time (in this case 1st-31st August) that you need to plan your visit to coincide with.
Fellow reviewer Anna was disappointed that there were no performances or free activities for kids when she visited with her family. The tours were on offer but were very crowded and would not have held her kids’ attention. It would be great to have some sort of print-out discovery trail, she suggested, which would lend additional fun and direction to the visit, and allow the children to discover some lesser known facts about the place.
What to bring:
- A pushchair that can handle cobblestones – they line the streets outside the attraction and inside, between the buildings.
- A sling for babies and younger toddlers. Virtually all the exhibits are inside towers that can only be accessed by small doorways and several steps, often in the form of spiral staircases.
- Flat shoes, not only for the walking around but also for the aforementioned steps, many of which are narrow (tricky to balance on when you’re carrying a baby or toddler).
- Packed lunch and some drinks, to save time and money.
- A parasol to shade kids from the sun as most of the queues, although fast-moving, are exposed.
What are the food and drink facilities like at the Tower of London?
The main restaurant – New Armouries Café – gets busy, so get there early to ensure you get your first choice of hot dish; you’ll also find baby food and children’s meals on sale. Or grab a gourmet sausage from Ravens Café for under £5.
Ice cream kiosks in summer are placed strategically by the longest attraction queues; a scoop will set you back £2.50. If the kids need a treat or some encouragement to keep going, send them into the children’s gift shop for a giant chocolate coin for a quid. And if you’re in need of a caffeine fix, a filter coffee is £1.90 from Jewels Snacks, opposite the children’s giftshop.
Can we take a picnic?
Yes, but it’s best on a sunny day. Annoyingly, there are no picnic tables but there are lots of benches around, some of which are under cover, making them prime spots for a packed lunch in the sun or rain.
Fellow reviewer Anna remarked that she would have loved a few more areas for a picnic, to sit on grass – just to give the family a break from standing up.
What are the toilets like?
For small children, the toilets are frustratingly far from the entrance. If they can hold on, you’ll find the female loos clean, well-stocked and queue-free but getting more than one child into a cubicle with you is beyond awkward and the sinks and soap aren’t in reach for younger children.
For the not-yet-potty-trained, there are 3 open-access baby changes, including a unisex facility in the New Armouries café. There is also a wider baby-change cubicle in the toilets by the exit to the Crown Jewels. There are 4 accessible loos in three locations.
How well does the Tower of London cater for disabled visitors?
- The large number of steps, stairways and cobbles mean wheelchair access is limited, and doesn’t make for an easy day out for those with restricted mobility.
- 4 accessible loos: 2 in the Brick Tower; 1 in the New Armouries restaurant; 1 in the Salt Tower.
- The Jewel House has a ramped entrance/exit with displays on one level.
- Many buildings have a large numbers of steps, spiral staircases and small doorways.
- See the downloadable access guide to visiting the Tower of London for more information
Opening dates and times:
The Tower of London is open daily except between 24-26 December and on 1 January. Opening hours are from 9 or 10am to 5:30pm in summer, and 9 or 10am to 4:30pm in winter.
Best time to visit:
The Tower of London is normally quietest on a Tuesday, Thursday and Friday before 11am, and all of Wednesday. Predictably, it is busiest on Saturdays and Sundays.
Is it worth a long car journey?
Yes, the Tower of London is an educational and entertaining must-visit attraction that draws crowds to London for good reason. However, keep an eye out in case your kids are likely to see it soon on a school trip.
Which hotels or holiday accommodation are near the Tower of London?
The Tower of London’s central location means there are plenty of accommodation options nearby, including:
- Marlyn Lodge Serviced Apartments, just 650 yards from the Tower of London, with family rooms including flat-screen TVs and kitchens.
- A 5-minute walk from the Tower is the swish DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel London – Tower of London, which also has family rooms, plus a children’s menu, cribs and highchairs available to help children feel at home.
- For a home-away-from-home feel, look for deals on Vrbo and Airbnb.
- Find family-friendly hotel deals near the Tower of London on Booking.com
Check out our round up of the best family-friendly hotels in London.
Nearby attractions for a longer day out:
How to get to the Tower of London:
- The Tower of London is located in the centre of London, with good public transport links.
- The nearest tube station is Tower Hill. It has a lift to get to street level, and you can go a round-about way to cross the main road towards the Tower of London if you want to avoid long, steep flights of stairs to access the connecting underpass.
- You can also use Fenchurch Street or London Bridge and walk a bit further.
- If you’re taking a bus, the 15, 42, 78, 100, RV1 stop nearby, as do all major sightseeing bus tours.
- Driving? There are no parking spaces at the Tower (Tower Hill is a vehicle free zone) and the National Car Parks site is around a ten-to-15-minute-walk away. Watch out for the Congestion Charge.
This unique and educational attraction is well worth a visit, though families with older children (8 years+) will almost certainly get more out of the experience than those with younger ones. It’s not impossible to come with a buggy, but it will require careful planning and a fair amount of determination. While I found negotiating cobblestones, steps and stairs with 2 small boys and a buggy stressful and tiring, the kids barely seemed to notice and both had a great day out, delighting in the atmosphere of the place as much as in the exhibits. I’d visit again – but I think I’d wait a few years and join them on a (secondary) school trip.
See more reviews of the Tower of London on TripAdvisor
Gabrielle Nathan has been a journalist for 20 years, writing lifestyle features for publications including Red, Women’s Health, Wildflower and Condé Nast Traveller. She has been writing about parenting since 2012, the year she became a mum.