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.
Tower Bridge Highlights
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).