This moving bridge is one of London’s icons—a place you must see while
visiting the capital!
More than a hundred years old, it was constructed at the end of the 19th
century. As industry in the city developed, it needed more connections across
the River Thames. However, a static bridge would limit cargo ships sailing on
the river. That’s why Sir Horace Jones, together with engineer Sir John Wolfe
Barry, designed a bridge that not only allowed vehicle traffic across the
bridge, but that could open to allow large ships to pass along the
river—called a bascule suspension bridge. Its total length is 800 ft (244 m)
and each of the two towers is 123 ft (65 m) tall. Tower Bridge is often
mistakenly referred to as London Bridge, which is actually one bridge upstream.
The lifting system works hydraulically. In the past, it used to be powered by
steam engines, which were replaced by electricity recently. The original color
of the bridge was greyish until 1977, when it was painted red, white, and blue
for Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee.
Many pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles cross the bridge daily and it lifts
2–3 times a day. The Tower Bridge Exhibition is held on the upper walkways.
Though the exhibitions come and go, the stunning panoramic views of London are there to
stay—St Paul’s Cathedral, the Monument, and all the way to Canary Wharf!
But don’t forget to check out the old steam mechanism that used to be used for
lifting the bridge.
When visiting Tower Bridge, note that the main entrance is in the North West
Tower. The nearest underground stations are Tower Hill and London Bridge.
Railway stations London Bridge, Fenchurch Street and Tower Gateway aren’t far.
Tickets need to be bought to see the exhibition and are available online should
you wish to avoid the lines. But if visiting in a group or as a family, you have
to purchase your tickets on site.
And remember, the exhibition is over 137 ft (42 m) above the river; some
people may not enjoy the height.
April - September: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
October - March: 9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
The bridge lift times can be found on the official website.
Child (aged 5-15): £3.40
Over 60/Student: £5.60
Phone: +44 20 7403 3761