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Exploring Tower Bridge in London - The Complete Guide for Visitors

9 mins. read

Located above and across the River Thames, Tower Bridge is worldwide famous for its unique design and neo-gothic architecture. Constructed in the late 1800s, this stunning bridge was designed to provide better access to the East End of London. It spans the Thames River to connect two boroughs of London - Southwark (south bank of the river) and Tower Hamlets (north bank of the river). While this spectacular bridge is confused with the London Bridge, another popular bridge in the vicinity, the Tower Bridge, is considered to be more majestic and visually appealing. This striking bridge is used by pedestrians and vehicles regularly, but the architectural magnificence and history (over 125 years) make it a popular tourist attraction in London. The name Tower Bridge is derived from the Tower of London, situated nearby. A London trip is incomplete without visiting this iconic architecture. Here's everything you need to know for a hassle-free visit to the Tower Bridge.

Exploring Tower Bridge in London

  • Tower Bridge – History
  • Tower Bridge – Architecture
  • Tower Bridge Tickets
  • Things to See at Tower Bridge
  • Things to Do near Tower Bridge
  • Tower Bridge at Night
  • Facts about the Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge – History

Built between 1886 and 1894, the Tower Bridge was constructed in the Victorian era as a new river crossing in East London. It took around 430 workers to design the Bridge in Gothic style to complement other landmarks in the city. This stunning bridge was constructed as a drawbridge or bascule bridge to help ships travel to St Katharine’s Dock while helping in transportation from one side of the river to another. After 8 years, the bridge was eventually completed and officially inaugurated by the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1894. Later, in 1982, the Tower Bridge Exhibition was introduced, allowing visitors to get a deep insight into the rich history of the bridge. Today, the bridge is not only used by vehicles and pedestrians but visited by above 40,000 visitors daily, making it a highlight of London city.

Tower Bridge – Architecture

Located in the central area of the city, the Tower Bridge offers striking views of the winding Thames River on each side. Like Petronas Twin Tower Bridge in Kuala Lumpur, Tower Bridge is also a twin tower bridge, each constructed on piers with 213 ft (65 m) height. Designed by famous architect Horace Jones and engineer John Wolfe Barry, this magnificent tower bridge in London was designed thoroughly using British materials, Portland stone, Glaswegian steel, and Cornish granite. The bridge has a road and a pathway on each side for pedestrians.

Before the construction of this tower called Tower Bridge, a design competition was held to select the best concept for the new bridge design. Many renowned engineers and architects sent their design plans, and Sir Horace Jones was declared the winner. His design displayed a classy and urban bascule bridge and suspension system that would enable the bridge to be elevated for passing ships while maintaining a steady and firm crossing for vehicles and vehicles. Tower Bridge has gone through many changes and engineering upgrades since 1894.

Tower Bridge Tickets

Visitors should buy tickets to access the engine rooms and the Tower Bridge Exhibition. While prices for Tower Bridge Tickets may vary, it is recommended to check the official website of the tower for rates and availability.

Remember, Tower Bridge tickets are sold out sooner than expected. So, book your tickets in advance, at least 3-4 days before the visit. You can go for combo tickets for the Tower Bridge and Tower of London to save time and money.

Things to See at Tower Bridge

One of the best places to visit in London, Tower Bridge transports visitors to the Victorian era, depicting the tale of London's significant landmark from its establishment. The inside attractions in Tower Bridge include: -

North Tower

It is the place from where the tour of this bridge starts. In North Tower, visitors get to experience the history of this bridge, right from the selection of designs to its construction, maintenance, and significance.

Glass Walkway

The famous glass floor in this bridge offers unmatched views of London and the ultimate thrill to adventure lovers. From 33.5 meters above road level and 42 metres above the Thames River, the see-through glass walkway allows visitors to look directly down onto the bridge. While looking down from the glass is not easy for the faint-hearted, you can simply choose to enjoy the panoramic views of nearby London attractions.

South Tower

Next on the bridge is the South Tower of the Tower Bridge. Here, visitors are shown a short film about Tower Bridge, including its unique architecture, see-saw bridge structure, etc. From South Tower, visitors take the lift or staircase to reach the ground level and go through the ‘Walk of Fame’.

Engine Rooms

Today, the engine room of the Tower Bridge serves as a gateway into the past. However, it used to power the bridge and required around 80 people to elevate the bridge. In 1976, this Twin Tower bridge switched from steam to electricity.

Tower Bridge Exhibition

One of the major attractions for tourists in Tower Bridge is its exhibitions, placed within the tower and walkways. Through films and images, the exhibition provides visitors with a glimpse of the creation of the bridge and power sources behind the hydraulic bascules. The interactive exhibition elucidates the history and making of the bridge.

Things to Do near Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge is located in the heart of Central London and offers easy access to many historic landmarks and nearby attractions, such as:

Design Museum

It is a perfect place for tourists interested in art and design. The Design Museum near Tower Bridge displays excellent modern designs for fashion, architecture, and graphics. In addition, the museum is also known for having many exhibitions and events.

Borough Market

Another highlight near the Twin Tower Bridge, Borough Market, is heaven for those looking forward to enjoying the traditional shopping experience in London. One of the oldest food markets in London, Borough Market offers a wide range of products, including fresh produce, artisanal products, and street food and drinks.

Tower of London

The iconic castle and World Heritage Site, Tower of London, is a royal fortress and famous tourist attraction in London. Currently, it houses the Crown Jewels, sceptres, and other exquisite treasures. It is next to Tower Bridge, on the edge of the River Thames.

HMS Belfast

Originally a Royal Navy light cruiser, HMS Belfast is a must-visit place for history buffs. It is a Town-class light cruiser permanently moored on the River Thames near the Tower Bridge. Built for the Royal Navy, HMS Belfast served in the Korean War and World War II. However, this warship is a museum now, allowing visitors to learn about naval history, explore the decks, and get a glimpse of life on board.

Moreover, you can also visit The Shard (a skyscraper in London), Hay's Galleria, Southwark Cathedral, etc.

Tower Bridge at Night

Tower Bridge at Night

The Tower Bridge is well-illuminated after dark, and it is a different experience visiting this iconic structure at night as compared to daylight. Well-lit by thousands of LED lights, Tower Bridge is transformed into a striking art piece at night.

Facts about the Tower Bridge

  • Tower Bridge got its name from the Tower of London.
  • The Tower Bridge is 65 metres high and 244 metres long
  • The Tower Bridge is used by more than 40,000 people every day
  • Tower Bridge took centre stage as part of the celebrations for the 2012 Olympic ceremony and it was decorated with the Olympic rings.
  • In 1977, Tower Bridge was painted blue, red, and white to celebrate the Queen’s silver jubilee.
  • The architect Sir Horace Jones could not see the final structure as he died in 1887, 7 years before the bridge’s completion on June 30th, 1894.
  • A gigantic 13-metre-high Lego structure has a record of being built with little building blocks. Around 5,805,846 pieces of Lego were used to complete the bridge.

So now that you know everything about Tower Bridge, it is time to indulge in the mesmerising beauty of this stunning architectural marvel in London. You can plan your visit by exploring the best tour packages from Veena World and book the one that suits you the best.

May 20, 2024

Author

Veena World
Veena World

We are an Indian travel company founded in 2013 and excel at domestic and international tour packages including guided group tours, specialty tours, customized holidays, corporate MICE travel, inbound travel and destination weddings.

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