TOWER BRIDGE ULTIMATE GUIDE
April to September: 10:00AM to 5:30PM
Time Needed: 1,5 hours
October to March: 9:30AM to 5:00PM
You’ve probably seen it in the Harry Potter and James Bond films, or maybe even heard about it in a London history lesson, but to see the Tower Bridge with your very own eyes is an experience in itself.
The Tower Bridge was first built in 1894, and since then has become an iconic symbol of London thanks to its Victorian Gothic design. The construction of the bridge required more than 11,000 tons of steel, five contractors, and 450 workers to complete. Once construction was finished, the Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII) and his wife The Princess of Wales (or Alexandra of Denmark) opened the bridge in an official ceremony on June 30th, 1894.
Since then it has become one of the most recognizable landmarks in London, (as well as one of the most photographed bridges in the world), and is marvelled upon by both history and architect fanatics alike
Believe it or not, there’s more to seeing the Tower Bridge than just walking across or taking photographs from afar. Visitors can now go inside the bridge and view London from a walkway between the towers, and also learn more about the construction of the bridge inside the Tower Bridge Exhibition Room.
Thanks to its glass walkways, visitors can look down at the River Thames from 42 metres above, and even watch passing boats and cars pass under the bridge. Along the East Walkway, which is higher than the West Walkway, visitors can view the spectacular skyline of London and spot various museums and historic buildings along the Thames (such as the Tower of London, the HMS Belfast, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Monument and even St. Katharine Docks leading to Canary Wharf). The East Walkway also contains a “Great Bridges of the World” exhibition so visitors can learn more about other historic bridges all over the world.
Tower Bridge Exhibition visitors can also see the Victorian Engine Rooms which contain coal-driven steam engines that were once used to power the bridge lifts. Inside the Victorian Engine Room, visitors can also learn about the technology behind the Tower Bridge via photographs, films and other media, and there are even interactive displays which allow you to experience what a real historic steam engine would have sounded and smelled like.
If you plan on visiting the Tower Bridge make sure you download the free Tower Bridge app beforehand. On the app you can learn more about the construction of the bridge, watch an animated video of the bridge lifts, and even play games and book tickets to the landmark online. Make sure you use the £2 voucher from the app at the Tower Bridge Exhibition gift shop!
If you plan on visiting The Great Fire of London Monument as well as the Tower Bridge, make sure you purchase a joint ticket so you can see both attractions (and save money while doing so).
Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 2UP, United Kingdom (See map).
The nearest station is Tower Hill which is an eight-minute walk away
The nearest station is London Bridge.
You can get to the Tower Bridge via routes 15, 42, 78, 100, RV1.
Pedestrians can walk across the Tower Bridge for free (except when there is a bridge lift to allow larger boats on the River Thames to go by). If you want to access the glass walkways or steam engine room, you will need to purchase a ticket for the Tower Bridge Exhibition beforehand.
Keep in mind that entry into the Tower Bridge’s walkways may not always be guaranteed during bridge lifts; (you can find out what time the bridge will be lifting by visiting The Tower Bridge’s official website). However, if you can, try to schedule your visit so you can watch the lifting of the bridge up close.
If you want to avoid the big crowds, try to arrive at the Tower Bridge as soon as it opens, or just before last admission.
All visitors must pass through a security check, and children under the age of 15 must be accompanied by an adult.
The Tower Bridge is open to visitors from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (from April to September), and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (from October to March).
Tickets cost £9 for adults, £3.90 for children, and £6.30 for students, and children under the age of five can get in for free.
There are also discounted tickets available on the Tower Bridge’s official website, which includes group discounts for families and seniors, as well as joint tickets for The Tower Bridge and The Monument. Joint tickets cost £10.50 for adults, £7.20 for seniors and students, and £4.70 for children under the age of 16.
If you want to pay for a tour, there are a few different options available which range in price depending on which one you purchase.
There are personal guided tours available which include a detailed tour throughout the Tower Bridge as well as to the Monument (which is only available for selected tours). If you are in a group of six or more people, there is a “Behind-The-Scenes Personal Guided Tour” which leads you through the Walkways, Victorian Engine and Tower Bridge Exhibition.
There are also “Personal Guided Tours” available for £56 per group (of up to 16 people) in addition to standard ticket prices, and a “Private Evening Personal Guided Tour” for £21.50 per person (with a minimum booking of 10 people).
If you plan on visiting the Monument as well as the Tower Bridge, you can purchase a “Joint Visit” ticket which costs £11 for adults, £7.50 for students/seniors, and £5 for children.