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Visit the Tower of London and Enrol at Knight School

The infamous Tower of London is one of the oldest and most historical places to visit on a trip to the capital. Although actually a castle made up of 22 towers, its history is both gruesome and compelling. The former royal residence, treasury, mint, armoury and menagerie, is now most remembered as the prison where a king, three queens and many nobles were beheaded.

visit the tower of london

Disclosure: We were guests of Historic Royal Palaces, however, all views, opinions and photos are my own and remain a copyright of the Curious Pixie. This post also contains affiliate links whereby I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. It helps with the costs of running my blog so I can keep my content free for you. Thanks as always for your support! See my disclosure policy here.

Today the iconic landmark draws in millions of intrigued tourists looking for an insight into its past and of course to jump on the travelator for a glimpse of the spectacular Crown Jewels.

A visit to the Tower of London never disappoints as there are always a variety of activities running bringing the iconic attraction to life.

Knight School

This February half term sees the return of Knight School. Enrol the kids and watch your brave defenders rise through the ranks from page, squire and finally Knight. Medieval characters amuse families with jokes and dance moves throughout the session.

Eager trainees can expect to develop their knightly skills from manners, etiquette and entertainment to martial skills and fitness.

All the action happens outside the striking central White Tower, built by William the Conqueror almost a 1,000 years ago. An incredible backdrop for the kids to practice their swashbuckling sword skills and charge at a quintain.

If they make the grade, the finale is a glorious knighting ceremony amongst rapturous applause as they join the Tower garrison.

The live interactive history lesson, combined with actors enacting one of the most highly regarded professions in the Middle Ages, is a brilliant way to educate young minds. If only my history lessons at school were as fun!

There is plenty on offer indoors too with drop-in activities like creating catapults, dressing up and designing flags and shields just to name a few. The adventure doesn’t need to end here either. Explore the Royal Armouries within the White Tower. Take a closer look at the real armour worn by King Henry VIII and the gilded armour of Kings Charles I and also James II.

Crown Jewels

I don’t think anyone can leave without heading to the Jewel House. Queues can be long, but we were lucky and wandered straight in. Enter the dark rooms, walk past videos showing monarchs wearing the glittering jewels. The spectacular collection of crowns, orbs and sceptres, ceremonial swords, robes and dining vessels encrusted with thousands of gemstones is astonishing.

The jewels are all behind glass, and you can catch a good glimpse guided through the collection on the travelator. We were completely bedazzled by the platinum crown of the late Queen Mother, set with the 106-carat Koh-i-Nûr (‘Mountain of Light’) diamond, and the Imperial State Crown, worn by the Queen at the State Opening of Parliament. You can’t take photos inside the building, so you’ll have to take my word for it – they’re definitely worth visiting.

Guards at the Tower of London

Spot the guards outside Jewel House and the half-timbered Queen’s House which faces Tower Green. Queen’s House looks distinctly different from the rest of the complex. It was built around 1530 in the reign of King Henry VIII for his second Queen Anne Boleyn, who was executed soon afterwards.

There are three daily ceremonies to look out for – the Ceremonial Opening, the Ceremony of the Word and the Ceremony of the Keys.

The Ceremony of the Keys is a 700-year-old ancient ceremony that occurs daily from 21:30 to 22:05 hours. Tickets are free but must be pre-booked online. The event is really popular so make sure you book your tickets months in advance. 

The ravens

Meet the Ravenmaster, who takes care of the most important members of the Tower of London – The Ravens. Legend goes that if the the six ravens ever leave the fortress, the Kingdom will fall. To be on the safe side there are actually seven ravens at the Tower. The ravens are free to roam the grounds during the day and preside over four different territories within the Tower’s walls.

Visitors aren’t allowed to feed them and shouldn’t approach too closely as they can be aggressive if their territory is being threatened. If you’re lucky you may see them snacking on treats of mice, chicks and blood soaked biscuits.

Yeoman Warders tour

Many people also hop onto a Yeoman Warders tour, if they don’t fancy using an audio guide. Also known as Beefeaters they originally formed King Henry VIII’s personal bodyguard. The entertaining 45 minute tours begin near the main entrance daily, every 30 minutes. It’s a great way to discover all the captivating stories of ardor, treachery and torture that went on behind the walls.

Useful Information

Historic Royal Palaces run regular family activities during the school holidays, so it’s worth checking to see what’s on when you want to visit.

The tours and activities like Knight School is included in the Tower of London general admission ticket. Knight School takes place at different times between 11.00 and 16.00 each day from the 15th – 23rd February. The activities are suitable for children aged 5 – 12 years.

For more information and to buy tickets visit  the Tower of London website.

other things to do near the tower of London

  • Tower Bridge
    Combine a visit to Tower Bridge on the same day, as the Tower of London is located just in front of the bridge. The Tower Bridge exhibition gives you the opportunity of seeing London from the high-level walkways
  • Sky Garden
    London’s highest public garden offers incredible views of London. Only a 10 minutes away from the Tower of London is a great place for a drink and a bite to eat too with two onsite restaurants. The entrance is free for the gardens but you need to book your ticket in advance at Sky Garden website.
  • Dunstan-in-the-East
    A beautiful, tranquil spot in the city of London is the ruins of an old Parish church, now a public garden. Read more about it in 5 Hidden Gems to Discover in London.
  • The Shard
    This is the tallest building in the UK standing 309.6 metres (1,016ft) high. It’s observation deck, The View from The Shard, offers 360 degree panoramic views of the city. Book tickets here.

    There are also plenty of places to eat within the building, for a real real try the Mary Poppins Afternoon Tea at the Aqua Shard.

Read more on London day trips: London for Free – 10 Money Saving Experiences

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10 Comments

  • Zenbabytravel 11th February 2020 at 2:47 pm

    Knight school looks so cool Sima! We’ve been jousting with the boys last year in spring at Blenheim Palace and they totally love it and would be up fo some more! And of course the Crown Jewels & all that fun at Tower of London – thanks for the fabulous inspiration linked on #CulturedKids!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 11th February 2020 at 2:48 pm

      The kids loved it as well as the adults. Highly recommend it of your boys loved jousting

  • Scarlett Roitman 12th February 2020 at 6:30 pm

    I wish I’d done Knight School with my girls once upon a time – it’s such an incredible backdrop. Top of my list is the Ceremony of the Keys – and a visit to that Beefeater pub! #CULTUREDKIDS

    • Sima Sthanakiya 12th February 2020 at 8:28 pm

      I really want to do the Ceremony of the Keys. Looks fascinating being able to watch such an old tradition still in practice.

  • Nancy | MapandFamily 15th February 2020 at 2:22 pm

    That really does look fun! Time for another visit to the Tower of London and I too would love to see the Ceremony of the Keys.

    • Sima Sthanakiya 15th February 2020 at 8:02 pm

      We all had so much fun Nancy. And yeah a trip to the Tower of London is always a good idea.

  • Megan Morgan 15th February 2020 at 4:06 pm

    What a view whilst learning to be a knight! Such a fab activity for kids #culturedkids

    • Sima Sthanakiya 15th February 2020 at 8:01 pm

      It was fabulous Megan. Highly recommend!

  • Angie Silver 16th February 2020 at 7:15 pm

    Well this is such a cool idea!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 16th February 2020 at 9:22 pm

      We all had so much fun. I love all the school holiday activities Historic Palaces run.

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