It is each time a pleasure for me to see again the emblematic bridge of London. This time the metallic structures had been repainted in blue, white and some touches of red.
Best views on Tower Bridge are from the wharf alongside the South Wall of the Tower of London.
Last year, sitting on the balcony of the Dickens Inn, I saw the bridge go open to let pass the tall ship Stavros S Niarchos. This is a brig, a two mast square rigged school ship (photo 3). The (apprentice) sailors were standing on the sail yards. Quite spectacular for the public and the young sailors.
After that the tall ship moored alongside the HMS Belfast.
The views from Tower Bridge are stunning and for a ticket price for adults of just £5.50 this is a definite "Must Do" for any visitor to London! The ticket price includes a visit to the Engine Room and there are lifts to the East and West Walks with interactive displays and videos. The history of the bridge is fascinating and includes lots of interesting little details. The staff are friendly and helpful and will even escort you to the correct lift if they have mis-directed you! (There are different lifts for going up and down - sometimes the staff get it wrong :))
The bridge was built between 1886 and 1884 and is a modern steel structure clad in stone to complement the Tower of London.
To find out what times the bridge is being raised, phone: 020 7940 3985
StopPress!!....For all the information and stats you could ever need about all the Thames Bridges, this is a brilliant website!Thames Bridges
And for an excellent, historic and informative, 3 mile circular walk of the area... check out the london-footprints website!
The Tower Bridge was built to deal with increased traffic in the east end of London during the late 1800s, with the bridge construction lasting from 1886 to 1893. Unlike the other city bridges further upsteam on the River Thames, this bridge had to be designed to allow shipping traffic to pass to the busy Port of London area upstream of the proposed location.
The overall length of the bridge is 800-ft and two distinctive 65-m (213-ft) towers support a 200-ft span between them which can open in the middle and each be tilted upward within a few minutes to let ship traffic pass. The towers also house the equipment needed to raise the ship span and they provide support for the suspension spans which make up the remainder of the bridge. One of the most beautiful bridges in the world with its Victorian Gothic style, the towers have steel skeletons and are covered with granite from Cornwall and limestone trim from Dorset.
Another unique feature of the bridge is an elevated walkway (143-ft above the Thames) which allows unimpeded pedestrian traffic, even when the lower part of the bridge is raised for shipping. However, this upper level soon became an unsavoury hangout for pick-pockets and prostitutes as well as a site of frequent suicides, resulting in it's closure in 1910. It was still closed when I visited in 1979 but soon afterward, the walkway was glassed-in and it was re-opened to pedestrians in 1982. The second photo shows the view toward the Tower of London from the lower level of the bridge.
This is one of the iconic structures of London – so much so that an urban myth has it that the rich American who bought London Bridge to erect in the Arizona desert actually thought he was getting this one and was disappointed when he realised what he had purchased! I’m not sure if that’s true, but if you think about bridges over the Thames this one will inevitably come to mind.
Tower Bridge was completed in 1894, and was considered one of the great engineering marvels of its age. It was the first to be built east of London Bridge, and its design was a response to the problem of constructing a bridge over a stretch of the river where shipping was so busy. The road crosses the river on two “bascules” – sections which can be raised to allow for ships to pass through. High above these a walkway was intended to allow pedestrians to cross even when the bascules were raised, but was closed as it was found that most people preferred simply to wait. Nowadays this walkway houses an exhibition about the history of the bridge and offers great views of the river (or so I’ve heard – I’ve yet to visit myself).
Although river traffic is not as busy as it once was, the bridge is still lifted approximately 1000 times a year to allow tall ships, cruise ships, naval vessels and other large craft to pass through. If you want to time your visit to coincide with a lift, check out the schedule on the website.
You can see the bridge at any time of course, but if you want to visit the exhibition and check out the views, opening hours are 10.00 – 18.30 (last admission 17.30) 1st April - 30th September and 09.30 – 18.00 (last admission 17:00) 1st October - 31st March. Admission costs £8 for adults, £3.40 for children (5-15) and £5.60 for concessions. There are various deals for family groups of different sizes, so make sure you ask about these.
Update March 2013: prices corrected
Crossing the River Thames is the Tower Bridge. The TB is a combined Bascule and suspension bridge and one of the most recognizable landmarks in London. It contains 11,000 tons of steel, and sophisticated engineering raises its middle portion to allow tall ships through. The bridge opens around 500 times a year, taking about 90 seconds to open fully.
We took a short walk (1/2 mile including the approaches) across the bridge to the Tower of London side. Nice views up and down the Thames. Only odd thing was the cables and upper walkway being a really bright color blue!
The structure contains the Tower Bridge Experience, an exhibit detailing the history of the bridge and explaining how the mechanisms work. (April - September 10:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m., November - March 9:30 - 6:00 p.m. Tower Bridge Exhibition is closed 24 - 26 December and open from 12.00 on the 1 January.)
It is said that the views from the high walkways on the Catwalk are magnificent, but I was a little nervous about doing that!
Admission for Exhibition:
Children (aged 5-15) £3.40
Discounts for seniors, students, families.
Admission for the Exhibition and Monument (http://www.themonument.info/):
Children (aged 5-15) £4.00
Discounts for seniors and students.
Prices valid until 31 March 2012. Children aged 15 years or under must be accompanied by an adult.
Tickets may be purchased on the day of visit or in advance on the website listed below.
Please note that all visitor information is correct as of this update.
Although I, personally did not go on the Tower Bridge Exhibition tour, after doing my homework, I have discovered that it is definitely on my "must see" list for the next visit. Tower Bridge took 8 years to complete, with 432 construction workers, and 11,000 tons of steel for the framework alone. It was opened in 1894. The bascules were powered by steam, but since 1976, oil and electricity replaced the ancient steam concept, for more efficiency. Also, there are unique windows that allow spectacular photographs without being obscured by glass, according to the web-site.
Interesting facts you may not be aware of:
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 color) (colour).
2003 - Tower Bridge Exhibition came of age celebrating its 21st Birthday!
For more interesting facts:
Tower Bridge Facts
Adults ~ £5.50
Children (aged five to fifteen) ~ £3.00
Students (with identification) ~ £4.25
Seniors (aged sixty or above) ~ £4.25
1 Adult & 2 Children ~ £10.00
2 Adults & 1 Child ~ £12.00
2 Adults & 2 Children ~ £14.00
Under fives ~ Free
Disabled/Carer ~ Free
NOTE: Prices valid until 31st March 2005.
You may view and download for free, several views of Tower Bridge at:
FREE Tower Bridge downloads
Please click on the photo, courtesy of VT member A5floor. Thanks Janka! :-)
I like the old story surrounding Tower Bridge & London Bridge - it goes something like this - The USA wanted to buy Tower Bridge but mistakenly asked for London Bridge and their offer was accepted = so glad they got it wrong!!
Tower Bridge was constructed in 1894 & used to be a brown colour until The Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977 when it was painted Red White & Blue.
One of the most instantly spotted landmarks of London, the Tower Bridge, offers a tour called "Tower Bridge Experience".
It's a real treat to take this tour. I discovered that the people of London presented petitions to have a new bridge built as a crossing below London Bridge. It was a successful petition, and Tower Bridge was completed in 1894. It's a bascule bridge; in other words, it opens to allow big ships to pass below.
On the tour, we saw a few films about its history and construction. Then we visited the upper walkways. There are two walkways. They were originally built for pedestrians to cross the bridge when the bascules were in a raised position. These walkways were closed in 1909 because of the manysuicides that happened from there; fortunately, these walkways are now enclosed in glass, and they can once again be used by the public.
Wow! The views from the walkways are excellent! In the downstream walkway, they have an exhibit of old photos of Tower Bridge over the last 100+ years. Don't miss a visit of the engine room of this working bridge. The old boilers (coal-fired) have been saved for this exhibit. They now raise the bascules via electricity.
It was quite an enjoyable learning experience.
The Tower Bridge spans the Thames River next to the Tower of London. Tickets are purchased at the north tower; then one takes the left to the walkway.
The jewel in the crown of London bridges is the beautiful Tower bridge. After a lovely but long walk from Westminster bridge along river Thames seeing the magical Tower bridge appear is quite a sight.
Tower bridge gets its name from the Tower of London which is next to the bridge. It is built in a lovely Victorian gothic style to harmonize with the Tower of London, and was opened in 1894 by Edward VII.
It is a must crossing this bridge, it is somewhat so magical walking so close to the towers - and the view from the bridge is spectacular.
It is quite a spectacle seeing Tower bridge open up to river traffic, I have waited on one side of the bridge when it opened. Each one of the drawbridges weighs ca 1.000 tons and it takes 1,5 minute for it to open up.
The Tower bridge has been the landmark of London, even though London Eye is catching on now.
It is a common mistake to call The Tower bridge London bridge - I add a photo of London bridge just for the comparison ;)
There is an exhibition in Tower Bridge "The Tower Bridge Experience".
When in London, one of the major landmarks is Tower Bridge. It is the second bridge over the thames (with the queen elizabeth suspension bridge being the first). It is what is known as a Bascule bridge which is a draw bridge operated by a counterweight.
This is the only drawbridge over the thames and it gets its name from the tower of london which sits next to it on the north side of the river. The drawbridge is raised every now and again to allow boats to pass through and this causes major traffic tailbacks...
the bridge has two towers and is connected near the top end by two corridor type rooms with lots of glass to view out over the thames.
at night time the bridge is lit up beautifully and it's worth taking a visit when the sun goes down.
If driving on the bridge please be aware of the new 20mph speed limit that is enforced by average speed cameras. The camera reads your numberplate before crossing (looks like a cctv camera with two boxes sticking out from the sides) and then records it again after crossing, it then works out the average, and if it's over the limit you'll get a ticket. Hundreds of people have been caught out by this system so far because the speed limit used to be 30 and the signs aren't very clear.
But i digress... the funny thing about Tower bridge is that many people confuse it with london bridge, which is a little further down the river. The Americans bought london bridge in 1962 for 2.5 million and each stone was shipped to Arizona funny thing was, they thought it was tower bridge they were buying.
You can purchased a combined ticket for the Tower Bridge Exhibition when you climb The Monument. I have visited this attraction three times and I've seen changes made to the exhibitions. I found, personally, the exhibitions more disappointing on my 2nd and 3rd visits there and I feel the tours are somewhat shorter.
The Gothic bridge was built during the Victorian Era in the late 1800s. The purpose was to ease traffic congestion to the Pool of London Docks. It took 8 years in total to build and two million rivets were used to hold the bridge.
You learn all about the history of the bridge through the exhibits. The bridge's high-level waterways are reached via a lift where you can get panoramic views of the River Thames 42 meteres down below. From the west walkway you can see views of: The London Eye; Tate Modern; HMS Belfast; St Paul's Cathedral; The Monument; The Gherkin; Tower of London and from the east walkway you can see views of:
St Katherine's Dock; Canary Whaf; Royal Observatory.
There is an opportunity to visit the Victorian engine rooms. The engines were once used to lift the bridge and how steam was a big thing during the Victorian era.
Combined Ticket with The Monument: 8.00 GBP
The Walkways offer fantastic views of many of London's most famous sights, including St Paul’s Cathedral, sky-scraping Canary Wharf, maritime Greenwich and The London Eye. Special viewing windows make photography easy.
Films, displays and hands-on exhibits chart the fascinating history of Tower Bridge and how it has operated over the years.
Victorian Engine Rooms house the original steam engines, awesome machines whose immense power once raised the bascules of the bridge. A “virtual bridge lift” shows how the bascules still rise today to let ships pass beneath the Walkways.
The Walkway is situated 42 meters above the River Thames.
Admission prices for the Tower Bridge Exhibition Adults £6.00
Children (aged five to fifteen) £3.00
Students (with identification) £4.50
Seniors (aged sixty or above) £4.50
1 Adult & 2 Children £10.00
2 Adults & 1 Child £12.00
2 Adults & 2 Children £14.00
Under fives Free
One of the most beautiful and recognizable bridges in the world is London's TOWER BRIDGE. Completed in 1894, it took 8 years and 11,000 tons of steel to build.
Spanning the Thames River, the overall length of the Bridge is 800 feet and two distinctive towers support a 200 foot span between them which can open and be raised upward in the middle to allow ships to pass.
Directly South of the Tower of London, spanning the Thames River is Tower Bridge.
The bridge was built between 1886 and 1894 by the City of London Corporation to link the sourtheastern suburbs with the city of London.
The Tower of London, however, was built almost a thousand years ago and has endless stories and tales about its past. It is the oldest palace, fortress, and prison in Europe.
William the Conquerer created this great fortress at the place the Roman Emperor Claudius had built a fort almost a thousand years earlier. Traces of the Roman Wall can still be seen in the Tower.
Famous personalities imprisoned in the Bell Tower include, Sir Thomas More, two of Henry VIII's daughters, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Mary and Sir Walter Raleigh.
Modern day prisoners are the Ravens. Their wings are clipped so they cannot fly. The legend is that when there are no ravens in the Tower the British Commonwealth will fall.
Probably the most impressive thing I saw there was the collection of Crown Jewels.
Even William the Conquerer would be awestruck by the fact that 2.5 million visitors tramp through the Tower of London. The "travelators" a slowly moving conveyer are an Ingenious way to accommodate the ever-growing crowds as they que along to see the jewels. They provide everyone with a good, equal look at the collection.
I added a website that is really quite good and tells much, much more about what has gone on over the centuries here at the Tower of London.
The world famouse Bridge doesn´t need much introduction. But for you who don´t know, It´s a great gothic bridge called Tower Bridge, this bridge is the most magnificent bridge in London. It was build in 1886 and was completed in 1894. The bridge was built because it was so much trafic over the river Thames.
You can go up in the two towers and look at the wiew over the river of Thames. See my tip of the Tower Bridge Exhibition
Don´t miss all of my videos of the Tower Bridge
Also don´t miss my travelogues of Tower Bridge