Tower Bridge, a Bristish Landmark
DINKtravelers have collected a long playlist of touristic songs since childhood. How could we forget “London Bridge is Falling Down”? This nursery rhyme talks about, precisely, London Bridge, which has been reconstructed several times throughout history since it was first built in Roman times. Until the eighteenth century, it was the only path that made crossing the Thames possible, but nowadays, there are over 200 bridges, 27 tunnels and even a cable car crossing the river!
One of said bridges is the famed London Tower Bridge, whose structure is so beautiful and distinctive that, equivocally, some travelers confuse it with the more simple and modern London Bridge. We’ll help you tell them apart and we’ll tell you all about the history of the Tower Bridge.
Tower Bridge Engineering
After you visit the Tower of London, the place where Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife, was beheaded, walk toward the Thames and look to your left. There you’ll spot the monumental bridge that stands out thanks to its tall towers. This construction represents quite an engineering challenge because experts had to come up with a way of building it without interrupting traffic across the river. For this reason, they analyzed over 50 designs until in 1884 they finally accepted Horace Jones and John Wolfe’s project. Eight years later they finished the bridge that was built with over 11,000 tons of steel.
This is the only bridge above the Thames that can be lifted to allow ships to cross, but it’s so rare that this happens, that people say that if you witness this event, it will bring you good luck! Of course, you can also cheat and simply check the bridge lift schedule on its official website.
The Tower Bridge Experience
At first, elevated walkways were built in order to allow pedestrians to cross the bridge even if it was lifted. Yet, most people preferred to wait for the bridge to close so the walkways were closed in 1910. Fortunately, they were roofed and reopened to the public in 1982, but this time as an in situ museum that harbors the permanent exhibit Tower Bridge Experience. Don’t miss it! Especially now that it offers great views of London from its 42 meter-tall crystal floors.
Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee
The bridge was originally painted dark brown, but in 1977 it was painted red, white and blue to commemorate Isabel II’s silver jubilee as queen of United Kingdom –and to think that in 2012 she celebrated her diamond jubilee! Now, it’s painted blue and gray.
Crossing the bridge
You’ll get the best pictures if you photograph the bridge from the financial district’s riverside.
How to get to Tower Bridge
By bus: Routes 15,42, 78 and 100
The tube: Circle line, Tower Hill station