About Tower BridgeTower Bridge is an iconic bridge located on River Thames that has become symbolic to London. During the earlier times, it was also called “Tower of London” due to a royal prison that was located inside this tower. This bridge has been built with a unique combination of bascule and suspension elements. It took eight years to construct this bridge, and it is exemplary to great engineering and design.
The bridge was opened for public on 30th June 1894 by the Princess of wales. It is 240 meters in length, and it’s twin towers rise 61 meters above the River Thames. The rising bascule and the grand towers of London Bridge make it one of the most recognized bridges in the entire world. The most striking feature of Tower Bridge is it’s two magnanimous towers that are connected through two parallel walkways.
The high-level walkways offer you a chance to have a panoramic view of the city life of London, and its Victorian Gothic design takes you into the era of Victorian London. The spectacular glass floors across the walkways give you a chance to gush over the pedestrians whizzing across the Bridge.
It operates through a computer control system and can be lowered down and raised remotely. The bascules are raised three times a day during which the ships need the notice to pass through the river on which this bridge has been built. It does not just serve as a medium of easy passage but has transformed into the historical and cultural landmark of London.
How to Reach Tower Bridge
The London City Center is well-connected with other parts of the city. The Tower Bridge is also an important landmark, and so there are various ways to go from the London City Center to the Tower Bridge. They are:
- By Car:
You can alternatively take the routes that reach the A100, through Tower Bridge Road, or New Kent Road, which add up to a total of 3.4 and 3.3 miles, respectively.
You can also reach Tower Bridge from London City Center by train through three alternative routes. The two routes start from the Southeastern line via the Gravesend and Hayes Stations. These routes take a total of 24 and 25 minutes to help you reach Tower Bridge, respectively.
What Not to Miss at Tower Bridge
There is a definitive sense of vibrancy at the Tower Bridge through multiple events running throughout the year. Some of them are:
1. The ‘See Inside’ Tour -
This tour gives a holistic experience of the bridge’s history and its significance. The interactive displays of Tower Bridge, like animation films describing the architectural significance of this bridge, can be witnessed on this tour.
2. Tower Bridge Engine Rooms -
Tower Bridge is known for organizing permanent exhibitions celebrating the lives of the men who played a pivotal role in the smooth functioning of the bridge before the bridge system was automatized in 1976. Short animation clips, as well as intimate stories of the people who worked over here, are on display on this exhibition.
3. Yoga -
Every Wednesday, there is a yoga class held on the Glass floor for £25. It is an amazing experience, and each one of you should attend at least one session.
4. Family Sessions -
Once a day, every month, the bridge devotes the entire upper walkway to conduct some fun family-oriented activities. In January, for example, they will be conducting an activity to discuss how an air-force officer, Frank McClean, flew a plane through the Tower Bridge. Parents will get to make paper airplanes and imitate that moment with a model of the structure.
5. Stunning Musical Evening -
Some of the most renowned musical performances are also held every week at the walkway of Tower Bridge. The acclaimed musicians and singers captivate the heart of the audience with their talent in these shows.
6. Bascule Chamber Events -
The bascule chamber that is mostly in disuse is opened up once every year, for public events. You can witness in this event soothing musical performances and interesting plays.
What is Inside Tower Bridge
There are multiple attractions inside Tower Bridge.
1. Glass Floor -
This is a relatively new addition to the tower bridge that acts as an enthralling attraction for the visitors. People love walking through the glass floor as it gives them the feeling of floating through the air. You can also have a bird’s eye view of the colorful life of London through it.
2. Victorian Engine Rooms -
The Victorian Engine Rooms were once in charge of managing the movement of people on the bridge, and they lifted the bridge around 12 times a day. But now it has become a shrine to the bridge’s history and significance. It displays the courage of the people who devoted their lives to building this important London landmark.
You can find here everything ranging from plaques and individual photos to short animation videos describing the historical significance of the bridge.
3. Exhibition on the West Walkway -
There are several informational stands held across the walkway, describing all the important events of the structure’s history. The big glasses on both sides of the Walkway have small sliding windows to help photography enthusiasts capture great pictures.
4. Exhibition on the East Walkway -
For those who take a complete tour of the bridge, this is one of the most popular attractions. This walkway offers better views of the London city, and it hosts the ‘Great Bridges of the World’ exhibition which is an absolute favorite of the tourists.
5. Bascule Chambers -
Right next to the control room is the Bascule Chambers, which are dysfunctional now. Every once in a while, musical shows and interesting plays are organized over here. This turns the chamber into an entertainment joint where you can spend the evening listening to some great music or poetry.
What is Inside the Engine Rooms
Inside the Engine Rooms once stood the machinery that was used to operate the bridges for many years, all the way till 1976. The Engine Room has now become an elaborately maintained space with a number of attractions available for all the guests to enjoy. Some of them are:
1. The Machinery -
The elaborate machinery that was used for the operation of the bridge is present inside the engine rooms. Experienced personnel are present here, describing how the machines are interconnected, and how they were designed to operate the bridge in the earlier times.
2. Personal Histories’ Exhibition -
You can witness the historical accounts of the men who constructed the Tower Bridge in this section of the bridge. It is adorned with individual personnel’s photos and video clips that recite the tale of the construction of thi bridge.
3. Walk of Fame -
Between the Linking Tower Bridge's South Tower and its Victorian-Esque Engine Rooms, lies 122 plaques collectively known as the ‘Walk of Fame.’ It celebrates the courage of the people who were involved in the construction of this bridge.
Places to Visit near Tower Bridge
There are various important venues near Tower Bridge that you must visit. Some of them are:
1. St Katharine Docks -
This was formerly Central London’s only Marina that has evolved to become one of the most sought after waterside communities in all of London. There are swanky offices and private spaces, with shopping areas and restaurants located over here.
2. Tower of London -
The inspiration for the name of Tower Bridge came from the Tower of London. It is an important landmark of London having royal chambers and historically dreaded prisons that are around 1000 years old. Even the famed crown jewels are present here.
3. Girl with a Dolphin Fountain -
Set against the backdrop of the Tower Bridge, this bizarrely yet aptly named artwork is one that is deeply appreciated by all passersby. It is crafted beautifully, and it adds to the artistic rigor and charm of the entire venue.
4. Bridge Theatre -
The Bridge Theatre is the first wholly new theatre to be added to London’s commercial theatre scene in 80 years. It is extremely well decorated and meticulously designed. You can also witness over here some amazing shows.
5. Lady Daphne -
This is one of the classic wooden vessels of London that was built in England in 1923. It was initially used to carry cargoes, but now you can have an enthralling view of Thames river while sailing through it.
6. Sir Simon Milton Statue -
Dedicated to the memory of the Deputy Mayor Simon Milton, this statue commemorates his courage and endless service to the people of London. The statue shows Milton brooding with his legs crossed, and is one of the prime attractions for the visitors.
7. Shad Thames -
This is a cobbled riverside street located on the southern bank of Thames River. It is known for its spice warehouses and coffee shops. You can also find here cafes, bars, and restaurants for an elite dining experience.
Other Essential Information About Tower Bridge
Location: Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 2UP, United Kingdom
Total length: 244 m
The Architecture of Tower Bridge
The bridge has a highly composite design. It is a combination of both bascule and suspension design elements. The bridge was commissioned to aid the substantiate traffic between the North and the Southside of the city. Since the river traffic could not be hindered, the bascule design was accepted as the bridge’s leaves could be lifted to make way for larger ships to cross.
The side-spans of the bridge were designed in the suspension style, and the suspension rods were affixed to the abutments and the rods of the higher walkways. The construction was sanctioned by the Parliament, to be in the Gothic style. The bridge carries two-way traffic, with both sides having a fenced walkway to its ends.
The bridge also has a chimney that people often wrongly think to be a lamp-post. It connects to a fireplace of one of the guard-rooms of the tower, that is defunctioning now. Most interestingly, the bridge has separate walkways 44 meters above the river that can be accessed by lifts.
About Tower Bridge Glass Floor
The Glass Floor installed at the base of the elevated walkways is one of the most well thought out renovations to the tower bridge. It has renewed people’s interest in this iconic bridge. The glass floor of the walkway spans about 11 meters in length and 1.8 meters in width.
A strategically placed mirror over the glass walkway has made the entire expanse a highly sought after spot for selfies. The upper walkways are open from 11 AM to 11 PM, and it costs £9.80 to get admission to the area. The glass floor has, since its inauguration, become a major tourist attraction.
Many come to experience the surreal experience of vehicles crossing through the main bridge, and others love gasping at the ships passing by the river. A yoga class also commences on the glass surface every Wednesday and costs £25. This incredible structure offers visitors the bird’s eye view of the glittering life of London.
Facts about Tower Bridge
The bridge has certainly captured the larger public’s imagination for more than a century now. The following are certain interesting facts about the bridge:
1. McCulloch’s Mistake -
There is a popular urban legend, according to which Robert McCulloch, who bought the old London Bridge transported it to Arizona under the impression that he has bought the tower bridge. This legend stems from the long-known confusion that people tend to have between the two structures, and hence Tower Bridge is also known as London Bridge.
2. Dead Man’s Hole -
Located underneath the Tower Bridge is a mortuary where several Unionists' bodies were dumped. As time passed by, this area began to be popularly referred to as the ‘Dead Man’s Hole.’ Fortunately, there seems to be no use of the mortuary anymore.
3. The Bridge’s own Horses -
When the bridge was initially opened to the public, some were concerned that certain horses would not be able to draw their gigs up the slant Bridge because they were not powerful enough. The bridge, therefore, had its own horses to break the notion of the people.
Travelers' Tip before Visiting Tower Bridge
There are a few tips that you must follow before visiting Tower Bridge for an incredible experience.
- Book tickets beforehand:
Tickets to the main areas inside the tower or even the lift to the upper walkways aren’t always readily available. It is always recommended that you book your tickets beforehand so you can access all areas of your choice, without much hassle.
- Look up the times for the Bridge Opening:
Regardless of whether you wish to watch the bridge rise and fall from the ground floor or you wish to attend the yoga classes or exhibitions, always lookup for the correct time of the events.
- Always apply a sunblock:
If you’re visiting this iconic landmark in summer, then make sure to carry sunblock and goggles to protect yourself from suntan and heat rashes.
- Carry a camera:
You should always carry a good camera to capture the enthralling moments as a memoir of your trip. The sights from the walkways are some of the best in London, and you should definitely have a snap of it on your camera.