Take a walk across the top of London’s most famous bridge with only glass between you and the Thames, 42 metres below
One of the most famous river crossings in the world, Tower Bridge is actually only 123 years old. Still, the fact that it lifts up in the middle when large vessels are passing underneath makes it an icon that most children probably picture in their minds when singing ‘London Bridge is falling down’.
Planes have flown through it, David Beckham has steered a speedboat underneath it and in 1952 a double-decker bus really did ‘leap’ over the gap when the bridge started to lift without warning.
When it was finally finished in 1894 – working having begun in 1886 – Tower Bridge was steam-powered (seriously) and was considered a miracle of Victorian engineering. In 1974 it underwent a transformation, with an electro-hydraulic system installed, but you can still see the old steam engines inside the bases of the towers with a ticket to the Tower Bridge Experience. This also allows entry to the walkways overhead, where you can take in the stunning views, not just up and down the Thames, but of the road below as well. Since 2014 – the bridge’s 120th year – there’s been an 11-metre glass floor in place of the upper walkway, so those with the stomach for it can gaze 42 metres down, or for something special, take part in a morning yoga class.
Besides engines and walkways, your entry fee also includes an exhibition that honours the other awe-inspiring feats of engineering in global bridge design, as well as an art installation as you descend down the ornate staircase.
In peak visiting hours or during bridge lifts it’s not always easy to guarantee what time you will be able to access the walkways, and the bridge lifts actually take place more often than you’d think. Raising Tower Bridge’s two bascules is a service provided free of charge by the City of London Corporation, 365 days a year, night or day, to the relevant registered boats and ships. On average, Tower Bridge is raised 850 times a year, so next time you’re walking nearby, wait and see what happens, as it’s always a treat to see the bridge go up.
|Venue name:||Tower Bridge||Contact:|
Tower Bridge Rd
|Opening hours:||Open Apr–Sep 10am–5.30pm (last admission); Oct–Mar 9.30am–5pm (last admission). Closed Dec 24–26. Open 10am–5pm Jan 1.|
|Transport:||Tube: Tower Hill/London Bridge|
|Price:||£9 (online £8), £3.90 (online £3.50) under-16s, £6.30 (£5.65 online) students/over-60s, free under-fives, free disabled/carers, family from £14.10.|
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If I ever had to pick a favourite bridge in London then Tower Bridge would be it. Right across from London Bridge station and nestled just before the east end of London kicks in - this is the possibly the most photographed of all London Bridges in the World.
This is a wonder in the day and even more magical at night when it is lit up. There are a list of crossing details / bridge lifts, available on the web which means you can time your visit to here to guarantee that you'll get to see the road opening and a ship or two passing through underneath.
If you have the time then most definitely head up to the Bridge Walk, it's less than £10 and you get to see the city from a totally different angle and learn a lot about the design, installation and operation of one of London's favourite bridges!
You don't have to pay to go up and over the walkway though as the bridge is passable on foot from either Tower Hill underground station or from London Bridge station - just a short walk from either and you can head up and over the bridge alongside the cars and buses.
I cannot recommend spending time close to Tower Bridge whether you're a first time visitor or travel to London regularly, there's something about its majestic grand appearance that just doesn't get old.
Probably my favourite attraction, I love going there in the evening, when you can see all the buildings lighting up the thames, it looks like there's no other place where you want to be. I think this place has got something magic which envolves all your senses. I love walking on the south bank, the view is amazing. This is one of the places that made me fall in love with London.
The bridge itself is a must see! I haven't paid for the exhibition before and don't think you need to really, walking across this iconic bridge is enough on its own!