The Thames, London
This picture was taken from the bridge itself and shows a good point for us to take a boat to cruise on the Thames.
Going across Westminster Bridge to the south bank, we now will find the London Eye, a massive ferris wheel that was the city's millenium gift to itself... I missed it... unfortunately I was there a little early...
Following back toward the Tower on the south bank, we will find the Royal Festival Hall, Gabriel's Wharf, and the Royal National Theater.
I presumed that a first timer in London should do a River Thames cruise. You only need to purchase the Original Red Bus ticket, and the Thames cruise is all inclusive.
You get to see all of London in one day.
Fondest memory: The Thames Cruise
Along from the London Eye is this Bridge which runs along side a railway track.
There are various bridges which you can walk along to cross the Thames, this one takes you between the South Bank at the Royal Festival Hall and Embankment Tube Station (Charring Cross Station is just up from Embankment).
For many centuries, the only crossing in Central London was London Bridge.
Many attempts to get authorization for building a bridge at Westminster were denied by the city council.
Finally in 1734 Charles Labelye, a Suisse, could present a plan that got their approval. 1736 the Earl of Pembroke and his “crew” granted the act. However raising funds to finance this construction was still a kind of an obstacle. No problem however as they combined pleasure with need and held a lottery to gain money. It would result in the nickname given “The Bridge of Fools”.
The works started in 1739. A lot of misfortune happened during the construction: financial problems, wars, sabotage, accidents, construction failures causing some stones fell down from one of the arcs, even a small earthquake happened to occur! Ten years later the bridge got finished and opened in 1750. However the Earl of Pembroke died just small time before and was not able to “enjoy” the inauguration. Labelye, tired after this decade of worries, retired and went to the South of France. He died there in 1781.
The 1.038 feet long and 44 ft wide bridge was never really stable and trusted, in time the foundations were so damaged that it became dangerous. James Walker (was that Johnny’s little brother? Joke!) started a 10 year long reconstruction. Together with Charles Barry, Thomas Page and George Rennie, he submitted a plan for a replacement bridge.
The new bridge became 827 ft long and 84 ft wide and opened in 1862, after 8 years of construction. Attention was given to the meaning of the colour in which the bridge got painted. It was painted green along the Common Benches of the House of Parliament, whilst the Lambeth bridge got red paint referring to the benches of the Lord’s.
Now that there was made a new trustful passage to the other side, the South Bank lied open for development.
Fondest memory: Leisure tip: You can embank at the Westminster Pier.
Panoramic picture!!! Click on the picture to enjoy the full view!
If there is as much money in your wallet as there is water flowing through the Thames, you might be seduced to take a trip on a cruise ship combined with lunch or even more romantic: combined with dinner while you enjoy London by night. You can book a trip at Bateaux London at Embankment Pier, Victoria Embankment. Phone +44 (0)20 7925 2215.
Trainstation: Charing Cross
Don’t worry, there are different kind of boats and boat trips and even with a smaller budget you might want to enjoy a trip on the Thames, if not by cruise ship, you can do it a cheaper way: with just touring without trop de tralala !
The boat on the picture is just departing from Embankment Pier and passing underneath the Hungerford Bridge.
Fondest memory: Watching the scenery from the City Festival Hall 2nd floor balcony!
IbPanoramic picture! Click on it to enjoy the full view!
When you have time left (and money) you might consider to visit the Tower Bridge inside.
I however lacked the time so I keep it for a next visit.
Do have a look at the official website! You will find already quite some information here!
Any visit of a week or more should include at least one walk across the Thames.
The city makes it easy, by offering a number of pedestrian bridges. Two favorites are the Waterloo Bridge (which you will share with road traffic) and the minimalist Millenium Bridge (pedestrians only, pictured here). To walk the circuit created by these two and their connecting walkways is a day's adventure. It spans the spectrum of London history.
Tower Bridge is one of the world’s most famous bridges. 150,000 vehicles cross it every day. Over 900 times a year the roadway parts and lifts to let tall ships, cruise liners and other large craft pass through.
Tower Bridge was completed in 1894, after 8 years of construction.
Tower Bridge has a fascinating history, which is explored in full in The Tower Bridge Experience. Here are a few interesting facts you may not have known:
1910 - the high-level walkways, which were designed so that the public could still cross the bridge when it was raised, were closed down due to lack of use. Most people preferred to wait at the bottom and watch the bascules rise up!
1912 - during an emergency, Frank McClean had to fly between the bascules and the high-level walkways in his Short biplane, to avoid an accident.
1952 - a London bus had to leap from one bascule to the other when the bridge began to rise with the bus still on it.
1977 - Tower Bridge was painted red, white and blue to celebrate the Queen's Silver Jubilee. (Before that, it was painted a chocolate brown colour).
1982 - Tower Bridge opened to the public for the first time since 1910, with a permanent exhibition inside called The Tower Bridge Experience.
For more information have a look at the Tower Bridge official website.
Walk the South Bank of the Thames from the Houses of Parliament, under the London Eye, past Tate Modern and The Globe and on to Tower Bridge (pictured). You'll also get good photo ops of St Paul's and the Tower of London across the Thames.
It's a wonderful introduction to the city and makes a great excursion on a sunny day.
Is that the name by the way ? couldnt recall any other name..
However This bridge is just a few meters from Embankment station. walking at night on this bridge is really Lovely. the river and the lights are beautiful... everything feels really nice and romantic....
Fondest memory: I think it was in my first or second visit at that year... one night we walked at that area and my Bf wanted to walk on the bridge and show me its beauty... it was such simple walk and felt wonderful....
I miss this moments chamudi....
I have always loved cities/towns that are lucky to have a river running through them. The Thames gives a lot of character and beauty to London and I think one should take enough time to walk along the banks of the Thames. I would suggest to walk on the South Bank of the river, perhaps starting from the Waterloo Bridge (or Westminster Bridge if you don't mind walking longer) and going until the Tower Bridge. You will have some amazing views!
Another option is to take a boat trip/cruise along the Thames, although I don't think it can beat the walking option!
Favorite thing: This Millennium Bridge gleams aside the old Waterloo Bridge where only trains pass now. Walkers-by along the bridge can take in a very good view of both the London Eye and the Embankment buildings along the Thames.
I wish I could write like Joseph Conrad...
'The old river in its broad reach rested unruffled at the decline of day, after ages of good service done to the race that peopled its banks, spread out in the tranquil dignity of a waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth. We looked at the venerable stream not in the vivid flush of a short fay that comes and departs forever, but in the august light of abiding memories....The tidal current runs to and fro in its unceasing service, crowded with memories of men and ships it had borne to the rest of home or to the battles of the sea. It had known and served all the men of whom the nation is proud....It had borne all the ships whose names are like jewels flashing in the night of time....Hunters for gold or pursuers of fame, they all had gone out on that stream, bearing the sword, and often the torch, messengers of the might within the land, bearers of a spark from the sacred fire. What greatness had not floated on the ebb of that river into the mystery of an unknown earth!'
Now on the Themes River, There is MI-6, as known in the serveral James Bond Films. Also Parliment is located on the Themes, there are many things on the Themes that is shown in 007 Films, such as Die Another Day. MI-6 is a small tan building behind many tall skyscapers.
Fondest memory: My Friends and MI-6
The real name of the new bridge that, with Peter's Hill, links St Paul's to Tate Modern is the Millenium Bridge because it was built for the Millenium celebrations. However, in the mind of Londoners, it is doomed to be remembered as the Wobbly Bridge. This is all due to a well-known physics problem.
The bridge was meant to be revolutionary in terms of construction. It is a suspended bridge. Nothing exceptional there. However, the suspension cables are not suspending the bridge from above, as is normally done, but from the sides. This gives the bridge a low and very slender profile. And it was the first bridge to be built on the Thames for decades. Perfect for a great PR campaign and a pompous opening.
What really happened was rather unexpected.
Fondest memory: The bridge had a natural swinging phase of approximately one second, which is very close to the natural human step. It was therefore asked whether the army regiment phenomenon would apply.
Any person walking on a bridge makes it swing, albeit very slightly. But when an infantry regiment, walking in step, crosses a bridge, the effect is magnified and the bridge starts swinging violently, until it breaks. This is why infantry regiments always break step before stepping on a bridge.
Thus, the question was asked whether this would apply here. The answer was that, because the bridge would never have army regiments crossing it in step, there was no problem. This was counting without the human body's built in behaviour.
The bridge was open, with the due amount of newpapers and famous people doing speeches with the word 'Millenium' in it. Then, they started crossing it. Obviously, being members of the public, they were all walking at their own step. However, the natural phase of the bridge being 1 second, close to the human step, an interesting phenomenon occured. The bodies of the people crossing the bridge automatically reacted to the swing and, to make the walk more comfortable, automatically synchronised with the bridge. Thus everybody, unexpectedly and without realising it, started walking in phase with the bridge and with each other, like an infantry regiment. And the bridge started to swing and swing, making people physically sick.
No need to say that the bridge was closed just after being officially opened. Newpapers threw the expected amount of verbal fire and satire to everbody responsible, deploring the state of a country where such gross mistakes could be made at the expense of the taxpayer, and so on. Everything newpapers would do on such an occasion. Some expensive works were done to stiffen the bridge and significantly shorten its natural swing phase. It re-opened in 2002, with no PR campaign, having missed the Millenium celebrations.