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Review: Tower of London Guided Tour (with Opening Ceremony & Crown Jewels)

👑 Discover an exclusive Tower of London Guided Tour which includes both VIP access to the Jewel House & the experience of witnessing the opening ceremony with a small group & accompanied by an expert tour guide.

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One of the most famous landmarks to visit in London is the Tower of London. With some parts standing for over 1150 years the Tower has been (amongst other things over the years) a royal residence, an arsenal, a royal mint, a prison, a place of execution and even housed a menagerie. Today the Tower is not only home to the Crown Jewels but also 40 Yeoman of the Guard and their families.

Exploring the Tower of London is one of the most popular things to do in many London itineraries and it is somewhere we have visited many times.

While it is possible to simply buy a ticket and explore the Tower without a guide there are some experiences which are not accessible in this way. One of these is the opening ceremony which is one of the oldest military ceremonies in the world and is only available to a small group of people each day.

If you wish to have exclusive access to not only the opening ceremony but also first access to the Jewel House to view the Crown Jewels before the crowds arrive you are going to love the exclusive Early Access Crown Jewels with Opening Ceremony and Complete Tower of London Guided Tour by Walks.

While we have visited the Tower many times we had not experienced the opening ceremony (or seen the Crown Jewels without standing in line) we were lucky enough to enjoy both when we took this exclusive tour with Walks. In this article, we share what to expect.

This is the perfect tour for those who enjoy history, who would like to see a little more and perhaps wish to have exclusive access to experience some of England’s traditions first-hand.

Yeoman Guard Warder escorted by the King's Guard at the
Witness the opening ceremony of the Tower of London

Overview of the Tower of London Guided Tour

The tour begins at 8.30 am when you meet your Walks tour guide at the entrance to the Tower of London. With your group (maximum 20) you then follow your guide through the gates and into the ground of the Tower where he hands you over to one of the 40 Yeoman of the Guard.

The Yeoman explains what you are about to witness and ensures everyone is standing in the correct places. Shortly afterwards you are privileged to be one if the few to observe the Opening Ceremony.

Following this you have first entry to the Jewel House. A guided tour of the Tower of London is next which includes the old execution site, the Bloody Tower and Torture Chamber, the restored bedroom of Edward I, and more.

The tour runs 2 hours 45 mins after which you are free to explore other parts of the Tower.

King's Guard escort a Beefeater at the Tower of London.
Watching the Opening Ceremony at the Tower of London

Highlights of the tour

The tour can roughly be divided into 3 parts – the Opening Ceremony, entry to the Jewel House and the guided tour. While there are a number of highlights what really makes this tour special is the knowledge that you are standing with only a few others that day to witness the opening of the Tower which was the standout moment for me.

During the opening ceremony, the Duty Yeoman Warder is escorted by 4 members of the King’s guard to officially open the Tower of London for the day. Both the middle Tower and the Byward Tower are unlocked and the public allowed to enter.

We had an excellent view of the ceremony and also had Chris (our Yeoman Warder guide at this point) explaining what was happening.

Once the ceremony was concluded we were escorted to the Jewel House where we had first entry before the crowds descended. This was fantastic as we were able to enter straight into the building and see the jewels without lining up. Often the wait can be up to one hour!

In fact, we took to the travelators (which take you past the jewels) a number of times so we could get a good look! This is just not possible when it is busy. While I have seen the jewels before I have never been able to spend as much time truly admiring their beauty!

And thirdly we were able to learn about the Tower from our guide. Whilst we had taken the free Yeoman Warder Guard tours previously we appreciated the ability to ask questions and engage with our guide in a small group. This is very difficult to do with a free tour due to the large number of people.

Yeoman Warder with the keys to the Tower of London.
Those are pretty impressive keys!
King's Guard.
Posing outside the Jewel House with a King’s Guard
Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula - the roses indicate where Anne Boleyn is buried.
Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula – the roses indicate where Anne Boleyn is buried

About your tour guide

Our experienced tour guide (Guy) was extremely knowledgeable about the Tower of London and its history and shared lots of interesting facts and stories which really brought the history alive.

He also illustrated many points with pictures (of the various historical figures) and it was fascinating to hear about some of the people who have resided in the Tower (whether voluntarily or not!) over the years!

We 100% agree with Walks when they say that their guides “are educators and story-tellers, not lecturers or script-readers. They live to share their passion with well-informed, curious travelers who want to learn and be entertained.”

Guy our Walks tour guide

Most memorable moment of the tour

The Opening Ceremony was such a special event to see. While it may happen every day it is not accessible to many so it did feel like such a privilege to witness.

This exclusive tour with Walks makes this experience possible and with a group of 20 as a maximum, there is no worry about actually being able to see or hear what is going on!

Yeoman of the Guard Chris at the Tower of London.
Our Yeoman Warder Guide Chris explaining what we are about to witness
Yeoman warder escorted by the King's Guard at the Tower of London.
Close up to the action!

Who should experience this tour?

If you want to see the Crown Jewels without the crowds and be one of only a few to witness the daily opening of the Tower of London – one of the oldest military ceremonies in the world – this tour is for you.

⭐️ Interested to find out more about this exclusive tour? Go to Walks to find out more details and book your own tour. Tickets start from $100 per person.

UK Travel Planning were guests of Take Walks on this tour. All opinions are our own – read more about our disclosure policy.

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