Has anyone taken Rick's suggestion in buying their Tower of London Tickets at the Trader's Gate gift shop or purchased fast track tickets to beat the crowds at the entrance. Any other suggestions?
I've visited the Tower three times and have never purchased the fast track tickets. It's true, there is a bit of a line to purchase tickets, but my experience has been that after your ticket is purchased, it's not much of a line to actually enter. In fact, my most recent visit was during peak season (August, during Paralympics), in the middle of the afternoon, and our wait to buy a ticket was just 10 or 15 mins, then we showed my bag to security and walked right into the Tower w/o any additional wait. One suggestion, though, is to try to use a 2for1 pass. Days Out has tons of 2for1 vouchers available on their website. Before our most recent trip to London, I printed out vouchers (from various websites) for all of the sites that were remotely interested in visiting. We used them all over the city and it seemed like we never paid full price for any tourist attraction. The Tower of London one is here: http://www.daysoutguide.co.uk/tower-of-london. It does indicate that you need to show a national rail ticket to redeem the voucher, so we just hung on to our gatwick and heathrow express tickets (that we had bought online ahead of time). They did ask to see that proof at the Tower of London, but in most places they didn't even ask to see the national rail ticket.
Final thought, for what it's worth: aside from the train ride to and from the airport, we didn't reserve tickets for anything while we were still Stateside. I found that with all the vouchers we were saving as much as we would have if we had made more concrete plans and reservations ahead of time, but the vouchers allowed us more flexibility in our itinerary.
On the other side of the coin I've been to the Tower twice and bought tickets at Trader's Gate both times. Both times I bypassed a line and walked right in.
Emily - you were lucky not to be challenged, see the link for details of tickets that are and are not valid for the 2 for 1 deals http://www.daysoutguide.co.uk/ticket-types.aspx
I buy my ticket from the London Original Bus Tours and then go straight to the gate.
We were at the Tower of London this past Tuesday. We got there right as it opened and there was already a line that I would not have wanted to stand in. We have a membership so we did not have to buy tickets but I don't remember seeing anyone in line for tickets at the booth you mention. We went right to the Crown Jewels and were glad for it. We took our time looking at everything in there and before we were finished, it was packed. I got bumped into several times. To be fair, there were many school groups there that day and you might not run into that problem, but I would get there early and buy tickets ahead of the main line. Also, Rick says to allocate 3 hours but we spent 6 including time eating lunch. We saw pretty much everything in that time. We are the types to really read things in exhibits though. If you are a breeze through and get the highlights type, you will probably be ok with 3 hours.
I purchased tickets online on my phone the day we went. We arrived before the opening time, walked past the very long line into a special pre-purchase building. There was no line. We picked up our tickets and headed for the Crown Jewels. There was no line to get in and stayed as long as we wanted. By the time we came out there was a long line in the pouring rain.
I purchased my tickets online and had them mailed to me. It took about a week to get them and no postage charge. I believe there is a small discount for ordering online. They are valid for seven days from the date you plan to visit. So if by chance you don't make it on the day you plan, you have the next six days to tour the Tower. We're going in mid June. Cathy
Get there right when it opens. Then, head straight to the crown jewels. After that, enjoy the rest and the Beefeaters tour.
Sounds like purchasing on line is the way to go. Thanks for all of the comments!
I think it would be good to buy tickets early then get there right when it opens. We were in line about 30 minutes early and were some of the first people there. We took the first Beefeater's tour then saw the crown jewels (still well before the crowds). After that we wandered until we were done. Once outside we asked a local Bobby to recommend a pub for lunch.
The cafe at the Tower serves very good food. We ate there twice.