Leadenhall Market — London’s Best Kept Secret

Leadenhall Market – A Victorian Gem & One of London’s Best kept Secret

Explore another side of London — the city’s best kept secret! Tucked away from the busy streets and the high-rises of the financial district of London, with a rich heritage and incredible architecture dating back 700 years is Leadenhall Market, a Victorian gem easily missed and less visited by occasional visitors to the city. This remarkable building is also Grade II listed, denoting its significant historic interest.

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Whilst we work hard to provide accurate and the best information possible, we also encourage you to please always check before heading out.


What to expect in this article on Leadenhall Market

In this article, you shall find top reasons that makes Leadenhall Market a notable place to visit in London, beginning with its rich history to the incredible things to do such as shopping, dining and getting your shoes shined at this Victorian marketplace. Practical tips are included on how to locate this marvellous destination as well as landmarks to visit which are located close by. You could skip ahead to a particular section by using the navigation below, if you prefer.

Leadenhall Market London's best kept secret

1 | The origins and history of Leadenhall Market, London

The stunning Leadenhall Market has a rich history dating back to 1321, at the heart of what we now know to be Roman London. Underneath the arches and cobblestones of Leadenhall Market today are the remains of the Roman Forum and Basilica. As well, Bishopsgate, Cheapside and Leadenhall Street follow the Roman roads that once existed.

History tells us that the Romans loved their markets! It is thought that a market existed at this location since their settlement but not much is known about the market place after they left. Thereafter, the Anglo-Saxons returned and used the same location to set up a marketplace to boost the economy.

1.1 | Medieval history of Leadenhall Market

Eventually, the Leadenhall manor fell into the ownership of Lord Whittington, the Lord Mayor of the City of London. In 1411, he gifted the manor to the City of London.

1.2 | Leadenhall Market through the centuries

In 1440, Simon Eyre, the then Lord Mayor commissioned the skills of John Croxton, a master mason to redesign the manor house. The manor house was converted to two levels, and housed a large public granary along with lots of storage spaces. Trade was brought into the building, away from the streets nearby. The marketplace became the focal of medieval economy. By 1600s, trading involved cheese, milk, butter and eggs alongside poultry, meats, grains, leather and metal ware.

Following the Great Fire of London, Sir Horace Jones was commissioned to redesign the stone building. He designed and built Leadenhall Market in 1881 that continues to exist today. The nearby markets of Billingsgate and Smithfield were designed by Sir Jones also. The architecture embodies space, and light with wrought iron and glass. More recently, in 1991, Leadenhall Market underwent extensive renovations but the eye-catching Victorian architecture of brightly painted wrought iron beams of the main roof was preserved.


Recommended: 7 Key benefits of the London Pass that you need to know.


2 | Leadenhall Market today

This large covered area of what was once a marketplace has evolved to be a modern retail hub. Set amidst a Victorian roof, cobbles and preserved buildings and architecture, Leadenhall Market provides a wide range of shopping and a variety of dining options. Located in the centre of the financial district of London also means that it is a busy hub for the men and women in smart suits and the savvy financier.

The many entrances are decorated with stone carvings of dragons, swags and shields of varying sizes. The larger stone pediments reflect the main entrances to the market. Some have the market’s name and date inscribed upon them.

2.1 | Fashionable boutiques and Fine dining at Leadenhall Market, London

Housed within the Victorian architecture are upscale shops such as Barbour, Reiss, Hobbs, Waterstones and many more.

In addition, there is a selection of restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs offering unique dining experiences from fine dining, mid-range dining or to take-aways and sandwiches. There is Cheese of Leadenhall for cheese lovers and for wine lovers, the Brokers Wine Bar is an excellent choice.

The Lamb Tavern is highly recommended. It is a traditional pub, a restaurant and lately, popular as a wedding venue. Occupying three-floors of impressive decor, this grand old pub serves traditional British food and ales. The Lamb Tavern has been a public house since the Market buildings were completed in 1881.

Visiting this beautifully clean and vibrant Victorian setting ordinarily on a working day or at Christmas is highly encouraged. Truth be told that it is extraordinarily special at Christmas. It is lit-up bright with Christmas lights and a 20-foot high Christmas tree takes the centre-stage of this Victorian market setting. Shoppers with Christmas shopping bags, the vibrancy of modern dining, the bars and pubs overflowing with beer drinkers in smart attire amidst chatter and laughter. Added to this are the Christmas crafts, music and the aroma of mulled wine. It is hard to imagine the smell of meat and poultry that this Victorian market once was!

Christmas Lights 2021 switching-on ceremony is scheduled for November 19. December 8 signals the beginning of Christmas workshops, music and late-night shopping

2.2 | The Shoe-shiners of Leadenhall Market

When I visited Leadenhall Market a couple of years ago, I was fascinated to discover that it was home to talented actors who run the London City Shoe Shine Co. in between their engagements at West End.

These actors have been shining shoes in this Victorian setting since 1991, come rain or shine! Although, if the leather shoes are wet on a rainy day, you will probably not find the shoe-shiners sitting at their station.

The actors work in pairs and this beautiful advent afternoon was no different to any other. There was a steady flow of customers, mostly regulars, I suspect. As Leadenhall Market is situated in the centre of the banking industry and bankers were traditionally their most regular customers.

I saw a window of opportunity to steal a quick chat with them, with an assurance that they remain anonymous. It was an interesting chat, one of them have an upcoming role in a movie while the other is involved mainly in theatre performances. Soon, two customers arrived, and I stayed to watch briefly.

The shine-box method

I was captivated with the use of the old-fashioned shine-box method – where the customer raises one foot onto the footplate for it to be shined and then the other shoe gets done afterwards. These modest shoe shiners exuded a relaxed sense of style and their buoyant energy in a carefully crafted skill of vigorous hand-movement, first brush, then focusing on the toe for extra shine – a pair of shiny shoes will always set a man apart as a man that knows how to take care of himself – appearance matters! Definitely! Don’t you think so?

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2.3 | Leadenhall Market is a popular filming location

For the ardent Harry Potter fans, you will be delighted to know that there were several scenes which were filmed at Leadenhall Market. One of the most memorable scene is when Hagrid and Harry Potter go shopping for wands. This scene was filmed outside of Leadenhall Market.

You may also recall the area of London which led to the wizarding pub, the magical shopping street of Diagon Alley (in the first Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone) and the Leaky Couldron (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire). The highly recognisable blue door entrance to the Leaky Couldron at 42 Bull’s Head Passage is actually an opticians office at Leadenhall Market.

Recommended: An interactive Harry Potter Guided Walking Tour

Leadenhall Market has also been used as a filming location in other movies for example:

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy;

The Imaginarium of Doctor Pernassus;

Hearafter;

Love Aaj Kal


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3 | The Story of Old Tom at Leadenhall Market

As we know, Leadenhall Market was once a place for the sale of poultry, and this required for chickens and geese to be slaughtered in the market. However, Old Tom, the little goose had a different tale to tell.

One day, in early 1800s, thousands of geese were brought to the Market to be slaughtered but one little gander from Belgium managed to escape. The story goes that he was not only clever to escape his fate on one occasion but he did so over several occasions on a number of days. Eventually, he was allowed to live happily and was named “Old Tom”. Old Tom became a beloved resident of Leadenhall Market. He was fed by the market workers with scraps of food and lived to the age of 37. Old Tom passed of natural causes in 1835 and was given a proper burial. He is buried inside the Market.

Old Tom was much loved and his Obituary appeared in the Times Newspaper, on April 16, 1835:

In memory of Old Tom the Gander

Obit 19th March, 1835, aetat, 37 years, 9 months and 6 days

This famous gander, while in stubble,

Fed freely, without care or trouble;

Grew fat eating corn and sitting still,

And scarce could cross the barn-door sill;

And seldom waddle forth to cool,

His belly in the neighbouring pool;

Transplanted to another scene,

He stalk’d in state o’er Calais-green,

With full five hundred geese behind;

To his superior care consign’d;

Whom readily he would engage,

To lead in march ten miles a-stage,

Thus a decoy he lived and died,

The chief of geese, the poulterer’s pride.

You could always raise a glass to Old Tom when you visit Leadenhall Market. His burial spot is marked by the Old Tom’s Bar at 10-12 Leadenhall Market.

Old Tom’s Bar serves traditional British dishes and craft beers.


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4 | Best London attractions nearby to Leadenhall Market

While visiting Leadenhall Market, you may also wish to make a day of it by visiting other attractions in the financial district and nearby. The following attractions are located within a few minutes of each other and easily reached by foot. Click on the links to learn more.


5 | Practical tips and Useful information

If you plan to visit this part of London, you will note two entirely differing cultures depending on when you elect to sightsee. During the week, The City is abuzz with white collar workers hurrying along to get on with their business and at weekends, it becomes a quiet haven for visitors to explore.

5.1 | Where is Leadenhall Market located?

This prominent destination is located at the triangle that is made up of Gracechurch Street, Fenchurch Street and Leadenhall Street.

Address:  Gracechurch Street, London, EC3V 1LT

5.2 | Opening hours

Public areas are open 24/7 for 7-days a week.

For shops and restaurants, opening hours varies, please check individual      stores.

5.3 | Transport:

Trains 

London Fenchurch Street Station    (8-minute walk)

London Cannon Street Station         (8-minute walk)

Liverpool Street Station      (13-minute walk)

Moorgate Station     (13-minute walk)

Underground

Monument Station    (4-minute walk)

Bank Station     (6-minute walk)

Aldgate Station   (8-minute walk)

Moorgate Station  (13-minute walk)


6 | Planning a trip to London?

You may find the following resources helpful. I use them in my travel plan and happily share them with you to save time and money.

Travel resources at a Glance

Planning your dream vacation? Excellent! Here are all the Resources and Practical information you need for your self-guided or guided vacation.

Legal entry/Tourist travel Visa

Check Visa requirements with iVisa, a leading independent company in the travel documentation industry.

Flights

I have a few choices. Search Google flights because they offer very competitive prices. You could also try Opodo for cheap airfares. For special experiences, go to On the Beach and Jet2Holidays. My all time favourite has been Qatar Airways for long-haul flights for the comfort and their first-class service. I use British Airways as well. For all other global deals >> kiwi.com

Accommodations

My favourite website for booking hotels is booking.com – I love their flexible cancellation policy which means I’m covered till the last minute. I also like that the totals show up for the whole stay so it helps me budget better. Other favourites of mine are Millennium & Copthorne Group of Hotels and Resorts for their consistent high quality accommodations and service. You could also take a look at the Radisson Hotels chain that caters for all budget. For accommodations in UK that has a personal touch and affordable luxury, stay at Hotel du Vin.

Unique experiences & tours

My all time go to resource for unique experiences and tours is Get your Guide. I am also a fan of Viator for their special deals. You shall find suggestions on recommended tours sprinkled throughout TTS on each experience I write about.

Travel insurance

Never travel without travel insurance and never overpay for travel insurance! I use and recommend World Nomads for your travel insurance needs. They even insure on the go. Before purchasing any any travel policy, read through the terms to ensure that the plan is right for you and your trip.

Travel essentials

Never travel without these! I use and fully endorse all the products on this page but especially: High powered wireless power bank, Universal travel adapter and unlimited portable pocket wifi.


7 | Finally

Leadenhall Market is a little gem, covered and tucked away in the middle of bustling London financial district. It always seems busy during the week but you can get a quiet place in a pub or a restaurant after the busy lunch hour 😊

Have a great time discovering, and exploring Leadenhall Market, London’s best kept secret!

Georgina xx


FAQ’s on Leadenhall Market

Here are some frequently asked questions about Leadenhall Market which you may have thought about as well:

1 | Is Leadenhall Market worth visiting?

Absolutely! Without a doubt, Leadenhall Market is worth visiting. It’s historic significance, unique architecture, the many food scenes, the vibrant, bright and airy atmosphere along with the cobbled floors all add to the feel of being “elsewhere” in London. A destination that must be experienced.

2 | What is special about Leadenhall Market?

While its rich heritage and stunning architecture dates back 700 years, it is a ‘marketplace’ with all the clinks and clanks, the noise of chatter and the buzz. Added to this unusual atmosphere in the City of London are modern high-end shops, bars and eateries. Absolutely a special place to visit.

3 | Who designed Leadenhall Market?

The architect behind the design of Leadenhall Market that we see today was Horace Jones.

4 | What borough is Leadenhall Market?

Leadenhall Market is located in the prominent City of London financial district. It is one of the oldest markets in London since early 1400s.


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Leadenhall Market — London’s Best Kept Secret via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/Leadenhall Market — London’s Best Kept Secret via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/

72 Fun Christmas Highlights in London

Christmas in London 2021 – Guide to top 72 Fun & Magical Christmas Highlights in London

72 Fun & Magical Christmas highlights in London 2021?

Christmas highlights in London

Experience London like never before with these Magical Christmas highlights in London

Christmas highlights in London
Christmas highlights in London

1 | The best dazzling London Christmas Lights 2021

magical Christmas highlights in London
magical Christmas highlights in London

1 | Immerse in the kaleidoscope of shimmering neon fluttering butterflies exemplifying transformation, change and hope at Carnaby Street.

2 | Don’t forget to look up when at Regent Street! You will be totally enchanted with the 300,000 lights as the angels glow across the street!

3 | Marvel at one of London’s premier shopping area at Oxford Street as it glows amidst the famous brands.

4 | When shopping in London, venture to the revered Bond Street. Experience the spectacular display of lights by some of the renowned brands. Tiffany’s, Cartier, and Mulberry are just a few of the unmissable displays that must be experienced.

5 | The magical Christmas highlights in London’s South Molton Street is also a must-see. Those blue arches of bright lights are completely captivating against the darkness of the skies.

1.1 | More glorious Christmas lights …

6 | More glorious Christmas lights awaits those who make their way to Chelsea. The Duke of York Square is wonderfully dressed in festive lights.

7 | Be dazzled by the twinkling Christmas highlights at the quaint streets of Seven Dials. Enjoy the array of shops, restaurants and bars.

8 | Christmas highlights in London is never complete without a visit to the infamous Covent Garden. Its spectacular 16.7m/55 feet Christmas tree in the centre of the piazza, all dazzled up offer a perfect photo backdrop.

9 | All throughout London, you will see Christmas trees decked in lights but there is One that you should not miss! Head to Trafalgar Square to see the magnificent Norwegian spruce in the centre of the Square. This 25m/82ft is decorated in Norwegian splendour of vertical strings of lights.

11 | Head a little out of town to Wembley Park, home to the iconic Wembley Stadium. The annual Winterfest at Wembley Park showcases light and art installations across the area.

1.2 | Recommended:

Best Christmas Lights in London


2 | Experience Christmas highlights in London at London’s popular attractions

christmas highlights in London
Christmas highlights in London

In addition to the stunning Christmas lights around the City of London, there are also venues and activities across the metropolis and nearby that are iconic, and magical at this festive time. The following are highly recommended and are totally unmissable events, activities and Christmas highlights in London to get into.

2.1 | Go on a fun and festive cruise


3 | Food experiences in London at Christmas

magical Christmas highlights in London
magical Christmas highlights in London

The food scenes are an absolute Christmas highlights in London!

24 | Visit the historic Chinatown next to theatreland and click-away some striking and vibrant photos. You may find some restaurants are open on Christmas Day.


4 | Highly recommended activities for fun family Christmas in London


5 | Highlights of Christmas Markets in London

35 | Pop in at Leicester Square Christmas market to pay Santa a visit and to tuck into food or drink. There is a good selection of crafts that makes ideal gifts for friends and family. November 12, 2021 to January 9, 2022

37 | You are sure to find the Selfridges Christmas Market on the Mews fascinating! Tucked around towards the back of the world famous department store, this Christmas market is the destination for perfect festive gifts, decorations or a great selection of street food. From hot dogs, sweet waffles to seafood and curries. From Nov 5, 2021 to Dec 23, 2021. Weekdays: 4:00 – 9:00 pm. Weekends: 12:00 – 9:00 pm. Dec 24, 2021 – 12:00 to 4:00 pm.

Southbank, London Bridge and Borough Market also gets festive …

38 | With stunning views of the exemplary Tower Bridge, Tower of London and London’s skyline, Christmas by the River returns this year at Southbank and London Bridge. Along with extended hours at Borough Market, you shall find stalls decorated with twinkly lights and tinsels, offering their daily selections as well as the festive additions. From Nov 16, 2021 to Jan 2, 2022. Sunday to Wednesday, 11:00 am – 9:00 pm | Thursday to Saturday, 11:00 am – 10:00 pm


6 | Soak up the festive vibes at these Christmas highlights in London …

christmas highlights in london

40 | Witness the dramatic Blessing of the Crib in Trafalgar Square, the best nativity in the City. Experience the music, carols, prayer and a real donkey. Dec 5, 2021 at 5:30 pm.

41 | Sing-a-long to carols and festive songs under the magnificent Christmas tree at Trafalgar Square. More than 40 groups perform each year for an hour each in the run-up to Christmas. This takes place in December but exact dates are not published yet.

42 | Be part of a unique experience at Trafalgar Square! Celebrate the lighting of the Norwegian Christmas Tree along with candlelight, carol singing and Christmas readings. Dec 2, 2021 at 7:30 pm. Note: This is a ticketed event.

6.1 | You might like this instead?

44 | For that special warm and fuzzy Christmassy feeling, head to Battersea Carols. The Battersea Christmas Carols Concert is very special as you will be welcomed by a special guard of honour formed by the Battersea Dogs. Money raised goes towards work carried out by Battersea for dogs and cats. You could enjoy mince pies, mulled wine and purchase gifts. Takes place at St Luke’s & Christ Church, Chelsea at 7 p.m. on Dec 2, and Dec 3 2021. Ticketed event.

6.2 | More unmissable carol events …

46 | One of my favourite places to experience Advent is at Christopher Wren’s architectural masterpiece, St Paul’s Cathedral. This London landmark hosts free carol concerts throughout Advent. A great experience for everyone but you do need to get there early! From Dec 1, 2021 to Dec 31, 2021


7 | Explore some of the magnificent Christmas shopping highlights in London

47 | Be dazzled with some of London’s splendid departmental stores. Head to Selfridges, Liberty, Fortnum & Mason and Harrods where you can go crazy in their dedicated Christmas shop, or shop for gourmet Christmas treats and hampers.

48 | Visit London’s most famous shopping destination at West End. You will find most flagship stores on Oxford Street, Bond Street for opulence and sophistication at Regent Street.

52 | When exploring all the above mentioned shops, spend some time as well to admire and click-away the spectacular window displays. Some of these displays takes imagination to a whole new level!


8 | Watch a festive film or visit filming locations this Christmas in London

54 | Sing along to popular musicals at The Prince Charles Cinema. One of Londoner’s favourite independent cinema, The Prince Charles is tucked away behind Leicester Square and offer tickets at reasonable prices.

56 | For a truly vivid experience in a historic cinema, head to Regent Street Cinema, “the birthplace of British cinema”.

8.1 | How about film locations walking tour?

If you want to give cinemas a miss this year, go on a walking tour of film locations instead. We recommend the following:

57 | Love Actually film locations

58 | Notting Hill Walking tour

59 | Harry Potter Filming Locations Walking tour

60 | 007 James Bond Bus tour

61 | Downton Abbey Filming locations & Highclere Castle tour – day trip


9 | Immerse in a London Christmas musical

62 | From the all time favourite Lion King to incredible The Nutcracker, or Frozen, The Musicalbook ahead for a warm and festive celebration at a London musical.


10 | Ice-skating at Christmas in London

There is something very special about ice-skating and creating unforgettable memories amidst beautiful surroundings.

63 | The Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink offer a Christmassy experience like none other amidst the magnificent backdrop of the King Henry VIII’s castle. While here, you may wish to visit the Hampton Court Castle and its immaculate gardens as well.

64 | Show off your skills and glide across the 18th century courtyard at Somerset House and immerse in truly festive vibes.


11 | Go Somewhere new for the festive season

Do something different and begin a new Christmas tradition. How about venturing to the English countryside on a day trip from London during this festive season?

65 | Spend a day exploring Oxford and the Cotswolds Villages

66 | Explore Windsor, Stonehenge and Bath in a day from London

67 | Visit the renowned white cliffs at Seven Sisters and South Downs on a day trip


12 | Treat yourself to a Special Evening


13 | Stay in London and experience the buzz of the City

London is enormous! Finding a place to stay could be a task as London’s best attractions are dotted throughout the city. In addition, it could be expensive as well during the festive season. Nevertheless, it all depends on one’s budget and what you wish to experience. Here are just a few suggestions for you to consider:

71 | For fabulous Christmas highlights in London, stay at the Copthorne Tara Hotel Kensington for a remarkable stay. Located in the heart of Kensington, this accommodation is within a few minutes walk of Hyde Park, Kensington Palace, and Royal Albert Hall. It has easy connections to London Underground to get you to places or hail a bus for that quintessential London experience. Alternatively, the London taxis are at your disposal, just ask the Concierge to get you one.

Book a stay at Copthorne Tara Hotel Kensington

Reserve a stay at Radisson Hotels London


My thoughts …

London is a great city to experience at any time of the year but it is especially fun, magical and festive at Christmas. While there are so many things to do in London as one could imagine, the city is alive with Christmas lights, festive markets, iconic attractions, and ice skating. The music, wonders of the museums, cinemas, theatres and the fabulous array of shopping arcades are special at this time of year also. The mouth-watering international food scene is undeniably an unmissable experience in London.

My sincere wish is for this article on the top 72 Christmas highlights in London to be a valuable guide in your plans to experience London at Christmas and at any time of the year.

What do you think …

It’s your turn 🙂 What do you think? Are the suggestions on this article valuable to you in planning and experiencing a magical, fun and festive Christmas in London? Have I missed any that you would like included here? Do let me know and I shall gladly include then as Reader Recommendation.


Finally …

That is all I have for this article on fun & festive Christmas highlights in London. Have an awesome Christmas with family and friends! Till next time.

Georgina xx

Timeless Christmas in London | Christmas highlights in London
Christmas movie captions inspired by best holiday movies

Things to do at Christmas in London | What to do in London | London at Christmas | Christmas in London | Top fun things to do in London | Top magical things to do in London | Best things to do in London | Very best of London at Christmas via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/Things to do at Christmas in London | What to do in London | London at Christmas | Christmas in London | Top fun things to do in London | Top magical things to do in London | Best things to do in London | Very best of London at Christmas via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/

7 best ways to visit the Tower of London

Best Ways to Visit the Tower of London

Whilst we work hard to provide accurate and the best information possible, we also encourage you to please always check before heading out.

From medieval fortress, to unbelievable grim executions, infamous royal prisoners and home to the most famous and priceless of British treasures, the Tower of London has been the centre of London’s compelling history. Built by William the Conqueror, the historic castle has been the keeper of long-standing traditions and royal secrets. A visit to this iconic landmark and you will experience the remarkable architecture, the towers, and the defensive walls that makes this structure a formidable castle and the most secure one in the land.

Learn more about the secrets of the castle and the traditions at the Tower that continues to be observed till today by selecting one of the best ways to visit the Tower of London suggested below.

Grey turrets and a flag pole dominates the skyline at the Tower of London.
Grey turrets and a flag pole dominates the skyline at the Tower of London | Image: georgina_daniel

The Tower of London is conveniently located along River Thames with easy access to public transportation, with Tower Hill being within minutes of walking distance. As always, Timeless Travel Steps brings you only the best in information and offers to add value to your experiences in London when you visit. This page is dedicated to best ways to visit the Tower of London, bringing you carefully selected value for money experiences designed to enhance your visit. Further suggestions on activities to experience wider London is included also.

How best to visit the Tower of London

Ways to experience the Tower of London

As you may know, there are a number of ways to visit the Tower of London. From a standard stand-alone entrance ticket to the Tower to combined tickets together with other attractions in the city of London. Some combinations offer great value for money and it’s worth knowing which is best. At the same time, you may have to consider the length of your stay as well. For longer stays, it might be worth buying one of the city passes with discounted entrance to some attractions. However long you select to visit London or how many of London-sights you wish to visit, below is a guide to help you make the best of your visit.

7 best ways to visit the Tower of London

Good to know about your admission ticket to the Tower:

Your admission ticket to the Tower of London gives you access to all of the below:

>> Yeoman Warders at various points inside the Tower who tell captivating stories of the history and traditions of the Tower;

>> Special exhibitions and live re-enactments of historic moments;

>> The Crown Jewels;

>> The White Tower;

>> Battlements, Medieval Palace, Bloody Tower, Torture at the Tower exhibition, Fusiliers Museum and Royal Mint exhibition.

Here are the 7 best ways to visit the Tower of London.

1 | Standard Tickets to the Tower of London

Standard tickets are intended for single use, one time entry to the Tower of London. These are available for children, adults and seniors. You can purchase these either at the ticket offices at the Tower or online prior to visiting.

Ticket typeWith donation (£)No donation (£)
Adult (18-64)32.9029.90
Child (5-15)16.4014.90
Concession (age 65+|16-17|full-time student |disabled visitor)26.40 24.00
Family saver 1 (1 adult + 3 children – 5 to15yrs)57.5052.20
Family Saver 2 (2 adults + up to 3 children – 5 to 15 yrs90.4082.10
Prices are correct at time of writing April 2021 | Info from https://www.hrp.org.uk/

2 | Historic Royal Palaces Membership

One of the best ways to visit the Tower of London is with a Historic Royal Palaces annual membership. With an annual membership, you will enjoy free and unlimited visits to the historic palaces and gardens and this includes the Tower of London. An annual membership of a single adult is £59.00, Joint is £89.00, and family tickets includes up to six children are also available.

NB: Prices are correct as at time of writing April 2021

3 | The London Pass

best ways to visit Tower of London

The London Pass is an all encompassing digital ticket that gives you access to 80+ top attractions, museums and tours in the city of London. The purchase also includes a beautifully curated comprehensive 160 page digital guidebook, with information of attractions, money saving tips, and maps, making this option one of the best ways to visit the Tower of London because Admission to Tower of London is FREE with the London Pass.

Good to know about the London Pass

>> Touch-free digital London Pass available instantly;

>> The London Pass is a complete sightseer credits package giving you access to top 80+ attractions, tours and museums;

>> Includes an informative FREE digital guidebook with maps, tips and valuable offers on shopping, dining and West End theatre tickets;

>> Skip-the-line access to selected top attractions in London such as St Paul’s Cathedral and London Zoo in Regent’s Park.

>> One day hop-on hop-off bus tour, covering three routes with over sixty stops including stops at Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus and St Paul’s Cathedral.

>> Extra flexibility in case your travel plans change at the last minute – Valid for two years from time of purchase and before activation of first attraction visit.

Read > What you need to know and the benefits of London Pass

Buy London Pass from your preferred tour provider.

4 | London Explorer Pass

best ways to visit the Tower of London

The London Explorer Pass offers yet another best ways to visit the Tower of London. The London Explorer Pass is a money saver on combined admission prices to top attractions in London. You select from two, three, four, five or seven attractions. You choose where you would like to redeem your attraction credits from a list of top London attractions which includes Tower of London.

Select Tower of London as one of your preferred money saver combined attraction for FREE admission.

Good to know about the London Explorer Pass

>> Save up to 39% on combined admission of regular door prices to over 50 attractions, monuments, river cruises and tours;

>> Create your own itinerary from a selection of attraction – 2,3,4,5,or 7 attractions and pay for what you select. In its simplest form, best to think of it as 1 attraction = 1 credit;

>> Skip the line access at selected attractions;

>> Select top attractions such as Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, The Shard, St Paul’s Cathedral, Thames River Cruises and one day hop-on hop-off bus tours;

>> Instant download digital London Explorer Pass;

>> Explore at ease – show your touch-free digital ticket at the gates and walk right-in;

>> Enjoy the flexibility – London Explorer Pass is valid for 60 days from the time of first activation giving you plenty of time to schedule your visits;

Read > What you need to know about the London Explorer Pass and the benefits of the Explorer Pass

Buy London Explorer Pass from your preferred tour supplier:

5 | Join a Small Group Guided Walking tour

Join a small group of visitors led by a London expert guide who will take you to the most popular sites in London depending on the type of tours you select. Get the real London experience from a local, and afterwards explore at your own pace.

Good to know about Small Group Guided Tours

>> Benefit from a knowledgeable guide who knows the city and its history well enough to give you an informative and fun tour. More often than not, they make history come alive with entertaining, gripping tales, and generally, about life in London.

>> Guided tours are generally good value for money as you get to see more within a few hours.

>> Meet new people and makes new friends!

There are several small group guided tours available as these are some of the best ways to visit the Tower of London but below are 3 that are curated to maximise your experience at the Tower of London.

1 | Meet the Beefeater! Skip-the- line to one of the oldest monuments in London and meet the Yeoman Warders. They are more popularly known as Beefeaters, a group of elite guardsmen who were historically responsible for the prisoners of the Tower and for protecting the Crown Jewels.

2 | Early Access Tour of the Tower

Skip-the-line and view the iconic landmark + Crown Jewels as soon as the Tower opens and afterwards, visit the Tower Bridge and the engine room. Tour lasts approx. 3 hours.

3 | Tower of London + Thames River Walk

In a group of no more than 30, visit the Tower + Crown Jewels + Armouries and, afterwards enjoy the walk along River Thames, with a stop at Borough Market, London’s oldest food market.

6 | Private Tours of the Tower of London

Get a personalised experience from a knowledgeable guide who will share all the gruesome details and the stories of the Tower which you will thoroughly enjoy as one of the best ways to visit the Tower of London. Walk the wall of the iconic formidable castle in the land and take-in the picturesque views of the marvellous city.

Peruse the following carefully selected three private tours as one of the best ways to visit the Tower of London.

7 | Tower of London + City highlights tour

Experience the best of London by combining spectacular sights of London and a visit to the Tower – explore the city by bus and on foot.


Other experiences alongside visiting Tower of London

When visiting the Tower of London and London, you may want to add one of the following destinations to your itinerary:

St Paul’s Cathedral, London

Visit one of London’s leading attraction, an architectural masterpiece and a historical monument in the very heart of London. Select one or more ways to explore this landmark and save money along the way.

St Paul's Cathedral
5 rewarding ways to experience st paul's

Greenwich, London

Visit the quintessentially English town of Greenwich, where Time began and spend the day exploring the 45 experiences that this town has to offer every visitor.

Greenwich in one day

Venture a little further and go on a day trip…

London has so much to offer visitors and there’s much more to be experienced by venturing out a little from the City – the following two destinations are highly recommended. Read more on Windsor, the royal palace and on Stonehenge, a sophisticated architecture by navigating via the images below. A complete guide on how to get to the respective destinations are also included:

Windsor + Windsor Castle in one day
Stonehenge - A sophisticated architecture

If you plan to visit any one, both or other destinations outside London city, you may want to consider taking the train to your destination. London has an extensive rail network and you are never too far away from a train station. Learn more about UK’s train network from this complete guide on Trainline in Britain. You could also enjoy a train ride onboard a royal steam train for timeless memories. Check your journey and its cost from the following Trainline graphic.

On a final note…

London is an amazing, a culturally rich City where history abounds and the Tower of London is pretty much the beginning of it all. While the Tower is one of the most visited landmark in London, the City offers much more to its visitors than the normal touristic destinations. From secret gardens to gardens in the sky, from royal palaces to walkie-talkie buildings, from street names to colourful tunnels, along with huge foodie experiences that will totally transform you, London is a city that must be explored.

Sincerely wish that this post has been valuable to you in planning your visit to the Tower of London and London. If so, do share your thoughts in comments below. Please also use the links embedded in this article and all related articles to book your visits. A commission is earned from qualifying purchases at no cost to you and this supports in maintaining Timeless Travel Steps. As always, your support is much appreciated.

Have a super awesome time exploring Tower of London and London.

Georgina xx

Quick facts about the Tower of London:

map with pin on london | ultimate guide to Tower of London
51.5081° N, 0.0759° W

Location: St Katharine’s & Wapping, London EC3N 4AB | London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Area: 16 acres

White Tower: Height: 27 metres (89ft);

Built: 1078

Expansion: Inner Ward: 1190s, rebuilt 1285;

Protected: UNESCO;

Importance: Cultural;

Guard: Yeoman Warders;

Managed: Historic Royal Palaces (charity)

Nearest Underground station: Tower Hill

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Bringing you only the best, here are 7 carefully selected value for money suggestions on Ways to Visit the Tower of London | Things to do in London | Ways to Experience London | Ways to Experience Tower of London | Visit the Tower of London | Beyond the Walls of the Tower | London Attractions | London Travel | Visit London | What to see in London | Things to do in London | Must visit in London | via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/Bringing you only the best, here are 7 carefully selected value for money suggestions on Ways to Visit the Tower of London | Things to do in London | Ways to Experience London | Ways to Experience Tower of London | Visit the Tower of London | Beyond the Walls of the Tower | London Attractions | London Travel | Visit London | What to see in London | Things to do in London | Must visit in London | via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/

London Eye 18 important facts you would love to know about this symbol of London

London Eye | 18 important facts you would love to know about this symbol of London

On any given day, the London Eye elegantly rotates over the River Thames along the beautiful Southbank. A long queue awaits anyone (if you don’t have a skip-the-line ticket) who wishes to experience the breathtaking 360-degree views across the City. While a trip to London Eye is a “must-do” for most visitors to London, many would not know all of the facts about the structure which has become a symbol of London. So, for added value to your trip to London, here is a list of 18 important facts which tells you all about the London Eye.

While we work hard to be accurate, and provide the best information possible, we also encourage you to please always check before heading out.

The London Eye facts

Facts about the London Eye you would love to know …

1 | How did London Eye come about

London Eye was an idea put forward by husband and wife, David Marks and Julia Barfield. The couple responded to a competition in 1993 which asked Londoners to design a new landmark for the City celebrating the millennium. The idea of a wheel caught on and the official opening of London Eye was on 31 December 1999 in time for the millennium. However, due to a capsule clutch problem, the iconic observation wheel did not open till March 2000. A little late but that’s quite alright!

2 | The London Eye should not still be here

As the above, the structure was built especially for the Millennium. Therefore, it was meant to be a temporary attraction. It was planned to stand on the River Thames for no longer than 5 years. However, due to its financial success, Lambeth Council granted a permanent licence for its operation.

There was yet another challenge for its continued presence. The Southbank Centre served an eviction notice to the London Eye in 2005. The dispute centred around a strut hovering over a bit of concrete owned by The Southbank! After a lengthy legal battle, a 25-year lease was finally agreed between the parties in February 2006, ensuring the landmark’s survival. With the judgment, The Eye just needs to pay The Southbank 500k a year. The monies supports the centre’s comprehensive annual arts programme, which is not a bad thing.

3 | What is London Eye? Is it a “ferries” wheel?

Contrary to popular assumption, the London Eye is Not a Ferries wheel!

London Eye: Capsules.London Eye

The London Eye is ​one of the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel. This is because the Eye is supported by a single A-frame. As well, the capsules are outside the wheel rim instead of hanging low, hence the difference with a ferries wheel.

4 | How heavy is the London Eye

The entire structure weighs 2,100 tonnes. The structure was assembled flat and moved onto eight temporary islands on the River Thames. It was raised into place in September 1999.

5 | How tall is London Eye

Although it stands at 135 metres (443 feet) high and has a diameter of 120 metres (394 feet), the Eye is not the tallest structure in London! The tallest building in London is the Shard at 310 metres (1,004 feet). The circumference of the London Eye is 424 metres (1,391 feet) which means if it weren’t a wheel, it would actually be taller than the Shard.

Even though it is not the tallest structure in London at present, it was the tallest structure and observation wheel when it was constructed. It is now the 4th tallest observation wheel in the world.

The top three tallest observation wheels are: High Roller at 168 metres (550 feet) in Las Vegas; The Singapore Flyer at 165 metres ( 541 feet) in Marina Bay; Star of Nanchang at 160 metres (525 feet) in Nanchang Star Amusement Park.

6 | Who owns the London Eye

This iconic landmark of London has seen a few ownership pass-by. Originally owned by British Airways, Marks Barfield and the Tussauds Group, led to the Tussauds Group becoming the sole owners in 2006. The Tussauds Group was sold to Blackstone in 2007 which became Merlin Entertainments Groups. So, London Eye is now owned by Merlin Entertainments Group (Merlin).

Merlin signed a sponsorship agreement with lastminute dot com who took over from Coca-Cola as headline sponsors of London Eye. It is a three-year deal which took effect as of February 2020. This gives lastminute dot com full naming rights and will see the landmark lit up in the travel brand’s corporate pink colour.

7 | How long does it take to ride the London Eye

A full rotation of the London Eye takes 30 minutes to complete. It travels at a leisurely speed of 0.6 miles per hour. This leisurely ride gives visitors the opportunity to enjoy breathtaking views over London. The slow rotation also allows for visitors to board and disembark at ease without the wheel coming to a halt.

8 | How many capsules on the London Eye

The Eye has 32 capsules. Each represents the 32 boroughs in London. but they’re numbered from 1 to 33.

9 | Superstitious

Whether you believe in superstition or not and as with many buildings and structures, there is no number thirteen. The capsules skip from 12 to 14.

10 | Capsule #2 is Coronation Capsule

The second passenger capsule on the London Eye is known as the Coronation Capsule. This is in honour of the 60th anniversary of the coronation of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Yeap, you got it – its Red! The only capsule in colour.

11 | Is London Eye a popular attraction?

Very popular! Without a doubt, the London Eye is the most popular paid attraction in London welcoming almost 4 million visitors a year. The most popular Free attraction in London is the British Museum which sees more than 6 million visitors each year.

Amongst it’s visitors are celebrities who have taken more than one ride! Jessica Alba has gone on the Eye 31 times and Kate Moss, 25 times.

On average the Eye supersedes the Taj Mahal and the Great Pyramids of Giza in annual visitor numbers.

12 | Can you hire the Eye for private events?

Absolutely yes! The Eye has been a popular venue for engagements, weddings, pop-up dining spots and a rotating nightclub!

According to records held by the organisers, there had been more than 500 weddings and more than 5,000 people have held their engagement on the Eye since it opened. The first wedding is recorded to have been held in 2001.

13 | Upgrade for a “sparkling” experience!

To really make your London Eye experience sparkle, enjoy a glass of Pommery Brut Royal champagne while you relax and enjoy the sublime views of London.

14 | How many people can the Eye accommodate

Each capsule can take about 25 people. This means that the London Eye can carry 800 people each rotation.

15 | What to experience on a day ride

There are many places to see on the River Thames or as you stroll the Southbank but none can compare to the views from the top – onboard the London Eye.

You will see most of London landmarks. Unobstructed views of Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Royal Parks and so many more, as far as your eyes can see!

At its pinnacle of 135 metres, this largest cantilevered observation wheel gives you mesmerising 360-degree views of the City, laid out before you with views reaching as far as Windsor Castle, 25 kilometres away, on a clear day. Being so high up means that you can watch the River Thames stretch all the way to the horizon and the edge of the city limits.

16 | The London Eye is not the first big wheel in London

The London Eye had a predecessor. Simply known as The Great Wheel which was in working order from 1895 – 1906. It was a 40 car ferris wheel modelled on the original design from Chicago. It was 94 metres (308 feet) in height and 82.3 metres (270 feet) in diameter.

17 | A popular feature in movies

The London Eye had been featured in many movies. In 2002, it was in 28 Days Later, 2004’s Thunderbirds and in Harry Potter, 2007 – Order of the Phoenix and in 2011, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Part 2.

Harry Potter Tour from Kings X

If you are planning on a Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio Tour when visiting London, note that this tour is a sold out event. You Must prebook well in advance to secure a visit. Take a look at availability below:

Book Harry Potter Studio Tour from London:

London Eye | Harry Potter Studios
London Eye | Harry Potter Studios
London Eye | Harry Potter Studios

18 | View the exact replica of the wheel

A short journey from London, about 48 kilometres (30 miles) away an exact replica of the wheel can be found, in miniature form.

Legoland - Picture from Get Your Guide
Image: GYG

Explore options to experience Legoland Windsor from London

Legoland Windsor has a scale model of the Eye as part of its Miniland exhibit, which also features models of the Palace of Westminster, the Millennium Bridge, and Buckingham Palace.


Practical information for when visiting the London Eye

Location and opening times as follows:

The London Eye
Riverside Building
County Hall
Westminster Bridge Road
London
SE1 7PB

Opening times varies due to Covid-19 lockdown measures, This space will be updated as soon as the attraction reopens.

Nearest Underground stations

The London Eye is located within easy walking distance from several London Underground stations: Waterloo, Embankment, Charing Cross and Westminster.

Waterloo is the closest tube station and is located about five minutes walking distance. Exit the station following signs for the South Bank.

Embankment and Charing Cross stations are close together on the north side of the River Thames. Both tube stations are a ten-fifteen minute walk to reach the destination.

Westminster tube station is the closest station to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. From Westminster tube station, take exit one and follow signs for Westminster pie

Purchase your tickets before your visit

With almost 4 million visitors a year, the London Eye is a very popular attraction. It is strongly recommended that you purchase your tickets online prior to your visit. Pay a little more and buy the skip-the-line ticket so you don’t have to wait in line. Sometimes queues can be for an hour or more. You do not want to spend long periods of time waiting when you can be maximising your time to sightseeing. In addition, if you are travelling with kids, you may not want to put them through the wait as well.

Peruse the following ticket choices and buy them before you travel. Enjoy the 24-hour cancellation rights afforded to travellers by our trusted partner, GYG and Viator

London Eye facts
London Eye fast track
London Eye | London Pass | City Card

Recommended read: The 7 key benefits of the London Pass & What you get to see for one encompassing price.


On a final note…

To be honest, in terms of London landmarks, London Eye sits alongside St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower of London and the British Museum. It is big, it is the number one paid attraction by visitors and the views are spectacularly beautiful. To top it off, you can hire a capsule all for yourself and your group of friends for special occasions or simply upgrade for a personal experience over a glass of champagne. Design your experience for your next visit and have a fabulous time.

While visiting London, don’t miss out on the countryside – do a day trip to Stonehenge, or Windsor and combine it with a visit to the Cotswolds or Bath. If you have more time, go to Isle of Wight, the largest island on the south coast of England. Here are some choices for you.

london eye | windsor stonehenge bath day trip
The London Eye | oxford + cotswolds day trip from London
London Eye | leeds castle + canterbury cathedral + dover | day trip from london

If you are from abroad and plan to visit some of the iconic English Heritage sites across England, you may find the English Heritage Overseas Visitors Pass to be of great value – free access to 100+ sites for one price. A great value membership of the English Heritage is also available for UK residents. Peruse choices by navigating the links below.


Sincerely hope that this post is valuable to you in planning your visits to the London Eye? If so, please use the links embedded in this post and related posts to book your experiences. TTS earns a commission from qualifying purchases, and as always your support is greatly appreciated to keep this blog going. We would love to hear your thoughts, please share them in comments below or via Contact Form.

Stay connected and Subscribe to join us at Timeless Travel Steps to receive all the latest news and events.


Have a great time exploring London 🙂

xoxo

map with pin on london | ultimate guide to Tower of London
London | Latitude 1.509865, and Longitude is -0.118092

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London Eye 18 important facts you would love to know about this symbol of London first published at timelesstravelsteps.com in June 2020 and is regularly updated. Last update October 30, 2021

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Sitting at 135m along the beautiful Southbank and handsomely rotating over the River Thames is the delightful London Eye, a masterpiece, and a symbol of London. But there are some facts you did not know about this cantilevered observation wheel via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/Sitting at 135m along the beautiful Southbank and handsomely rotating over the River Thames is the delightful London Eye, a masterpiece, and a symbol of London. But there are some facts you did not know about this cantilevered observation wheel via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/
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