Tower Bridge

London’s Tower Bridge spans the River Thames just east of the iconic Tower of London. Some 800 feet long, this London landmark is defined by its twin 200-feet-tall towers. Visitors to Tower Bridge can stroll across the structure’s two high-level walkways while enjoying striking views of London and its many famous attractions. These walkways are approximately 140 feet high and feature glass floors that enable guests to stare straight down at the street and water below. Tower Bridge’s historic Engine Rooms may also be toured.

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History of Tower Bridge

In the second half of the nineteenth century, city leaders decided they wanted to construct a bridge across the Thames that would complement nearby London Bridge. A committee was formed and a design contest launched to solicit ideas for the new structure. In 1884, a collaborative design courtesy of architects Sir Horace Jones and Sir John Wolfe Barry was selected.

Work on Tower Bridge would last for eight full years and require the services of over 400 construction workers and five distinctive contractors. When all was said and done, over 10,000 tons of steel were used to build the Towers and the Walkways. This massive amount of steel was then finished with a layer of Portland stone and Cornish granite for aesthetic purposes. Tower Bridge was completed and opened in 1894.

Tower Bridge – London

Tower Bridge Highlights

One of the best parts of a visit to Tower Bridge is gaining access to its incredible high-level Walkways. Tower Bridge’s two Walkways run for roughly 200 feet, spanning the bridge’s North and South Towers at a height of approximately 140 feet above the River Thames. Each one of these Walkways features a state-of-the-art glass floor that permits guests the ability to peer down at the road and river below in unprecedented fashion. The Walkways’ glass floors were installed in 2014, and consist of six individual panels of glass, each one weighing over 1100 pounds.

Once you’ve taken in the breathtaking scenery on view from the Towers and the Walkways, you’ll want to be sure and follow the so-called Blue Line of Fame to the historic Engine Rooms. Not only does the Blue Line mark out your path, it pays tribute to the unheralded men and women whose hard work made the construction of maintenance of Tower Bridge possible.

The Engine Rooms were once the beating heart of daily activity at Tower Bridge. In the early years of Tower Bridge, these steam engines were responsible for raising the bridge up and down, something that typically needed to happen between 20 and 30 times each day. This took some 80 employees and required approximately 20 tons of coal each week. In the late 1970s the bridge was converted from steam power to electricity, and nowadays Tower Bridge is only opened a couple times each day.

More to See and Do at Tower Bridge

In order to make the most of your visit to Tower Bridge, it’s useful to be aware of a few more nuggets of information.

•Along the Blue Line of Fame you’ll find a series of 80 bronze plaques. While half of these plaques pay tribute to those individuals whose labors were essential to the development of London Bridge, the other half are decorative. They were installed in 2016, and feature designs courtesy of students from the City of London Academy Southwark and the London Sculpture Workshop.

•Tower Bridge’s Bascule Chambers are considered the hidden treasures of the attraction. These eerie underground spaces are almost 90-feet tall. They were built below the river to carve out an area where the structure’s massive counterweights could move when the bridge was being raised. Special guided tours of the Bascule Chambers are available to those interested in learning more.

•Tower Bridge proudly bills itself as offering amazing views of many of London’s numerous other landmarks. As a result, when visiting Tower Bridge and its Walkways, you’ll want to keep an eye out for such attractions as the London Eye, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, the Shard.3, and Wembley Stadium, just to name a few. If you’re having trouble trying to identity a landmark, ask a Tower Bridge staff member and they’ll be happy to help you spot what you’re looking for.

•Tower Bridge is home to a themed gift shop that sells souvenirs, clothing, toys, games, books, and more. It’s located below the bridge on the south side of the Thames.

Why Tower Bridge Should Be on Your Must-See List

When most people think of London, a few major landmarks spring immediately to mind. For many individuals, Tower Bridge is one of these unquestioned symbols of London life. In order to be able to say you’ve experienced one of London’s iconic destinations while also enjoying stunningly scenic views of the city, you’ll definitely want to make time to visit Tower Bridge for yourself.