The White Tower is the oldest component of London's iconic Tower of London, and it is also the city's oldest complete edifice. William the Conqueror erected the first portion of the tower, in part to pacify Londoners. He gave them land for a castle if they would help him defeat the current king of England, Edgar the Atheling. The victory made William I the King of England and the town surrendered without a fight.
The original construction of The White Tower was ordered by King William I after he returned from the Battle of Hastings. It was not built until 1071—nearly 30 years after the battle—but it was completed within two years. The White Tower has been through many changes over time and it remains an important sight today as it has done for hundreds of years now. It's even been used as a prison several times over the years!
You can visit The White Tower today at no charge, but there are some requirements you need to know before entering. You must check out the tower between 11:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., because it is used for state ceremonies and events. Also, remember to bring photo ID when you visit, as well as proof of your residence status (if required). Visitors under 18 years old are not allowed inside the tower without a guardian present.
The Tower of London is nearly a thousand years old, having been erected about 1070 and still standing tall today. It receives its name from the White Tower, which was completed in 1078 by William the Conquer. For the most part, the Tower has served as a jail. There are also some interesting museums inside including one that focuses on jewelry and another that features medieval weapons.
Outside of visiting the city museum, there's not much to do at the Tower except walk around and see the sights. If you're interested in seeing more of London, check out our guide to things to do in London.
William the Conqueror erected the White Tower in 1066 as a symbol of Norman strength, positioning it strategically on the River Thames to operate as both a stronghold and an entrance to the metropolis. It is Europe's most complete example of an 11th-century castle palace. The current building is not its original form; it has been remodeled several times over the years.
The tower is one of the world's largest fortified buildings. It measures 110 feet (33 meters) high and 220 feet (67 meters) wide at the base, with a total area of about 16,500 square feet (1,527 square meters). It is made up of alternating bands of stone and brick, with an exterior wall nearly 6 feet (180 centimeters) thick. The tower contains 18 rooms, of which six are more than 100 feet (30 meters) high. There are also three courtyards, one within the other. The first court is that of the lord chancellor, who presided over trials held in the tower. The second court is that of the king's bench, which heard cases involving crimes against the law. The third is that of the priest-king, whose role was mainly ceremonial. The tower was also used as a prison until 1752 when it became a residence for royal wardens instead.
William ordered the construction of the tower because he wanted a fortress that would protect his new kingdom from invasion.
The Oldest London Landmarks
The White House In 1996, much of this collection, which is managed as the Royal Armouries, was relocated to a new museum site in Leeds. The London Tower The White Tower is surrounded by a moat and two circular "curtains," or walls. The White Tower is the Tower of London's main stronghold. It was built before 1066 for King Harold II to replace an older wooden fortress. The new tower is made of stone taken from Caen in Normandy, and it is 55 feet high with 18 floors. It is the largest stone building in Europe.
The City of London has been inhabited since prehistoric times but wasn't named Londinium until after it had become part of the Roman Empire. The city was founded by the Saxons as a trading post on the River Thames and became one of the world's leading markets until the 19th century when it was surpassed by London. The city still contains many marketplaces and shops, making it easy to get around by foot.
The Tower of London was built between 1066 and 1485. The original tower was constructed by William I to protect his newly acquired kingdom from invasion. The White Tower is its most famous feature today; it was built using limestone taken from Caen in Normandy and is 55 feet high with 18 floors. The yard inside the wall is about 120 feet wide and 320 feet long.
In actuality, the Tower, which is actually a complex of multiple towers and structures, was erected in the late 11th century as a fortification to protect London, the British Empire's capital city. The Tower of London quickly became known for its other, more ruthless functions. It has been used for execution grounds since 1247, and during the English Civil War it was the site where Charles I was executed. After the war the tower remained in Royal use until 1752 when George II converted it into a home for imprisoned monarchs.
The oldest surviving part of the present tower is the White Tower, built by William the Conqueror in 1066 to defend against invasion from Scotland. It's easy to visit the White Tower today; however, it is also one of the most dangerous buildings in Britain. The only way to enter the building is through an entrance on the first floor with guards who will search your belongings and require you to sign a disclaimer if they find anything suspicious. During World War II, the tower was used to store gunpowder and other munitions so there are restricted access areas throughout the building related to these activities.
The word "tower" actually means "fortress" in Old English and that is what the White Tower was originally built to defend London against. However, over time it has become synonymous with the tower itself rather than its primary purpose.