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Tower Bridge, London

Tower Bridge is a late 19th century bridge spanning across the River Thames in Central London and located nearby the Tower of London. The bridge is a combined bascule and suspension bridge, featuring a drawbridge and two Gothic bridge towers connected at the top by two separated walkways. The central span can split into two and rise at an angle to allow river traffic to pass through.

Tower Bridge spans a length of 240 metres and the two towers reaches 65 metres (213 feet) at the top. The bridge is accessible to vehicle as well as pedestrian traffic and has been a major crossing point across the River Thames even after over 100 years. The drawbridge rises several times a week to allow mainly cruise ships and naval vessels to pass through. Visitors often confuse Tower Bridge with London Bridge, which is another bridge located about 0.8 km (0.5 miles) away.

 Tower Bridge by Guenter Wieschendahl

About

Sir Horace Jones designed Tower Bridge and construction began in 1886, which took eight years to complete. The design of the bridge allows it to withstand the horizontal tension exerted by the suspended sections of the bridges. In 1976, an electro-hydraulic drive replaced the original steam powered engines and in 2008, the bridge underwent refurbishment costing £4 million and took four years to complete. Refurbishment works included renovating the interior of the walkways and stripping off the existing paint to bare metal and then repainted.

See & Do

Tower Bridge is one of the most recognisable landmarks in London though many were critical of its aesthetics during the early years of the bridge. Visitors take the lift to get to the top and then walk across the glass-sided walkways for eye-catching views along the River Thames. From the walkways, you can also see several major sites in London including the Tower of London. There is also a glass-floored section of the walkway to give you a feeling of vertigo as you walk across!

The walkway on Tower Bridge by Phillip Perry

The Tower Bridge Exhibition areas include the bridge's twin towers, walkways and the engine rooms. The exhibition gives an insight into Tower Bridge including its history, architecture, mechanics and operations. The exhibition includes hands on mechanical displays, digital interactive displays, films, photos and information panels. You can visit the Victorian Engine Rooms located in a separate building on the south side of the bridge. Here you can see the original steam engines, coal burners and accumulators that once powered the drawbridges as well learn about the people responsible for the engines.

The Victorian Engine Room by Adrian Pingstone

Visiting Tower Bridge

Walking across the pedestrian deck of the bridge is free but there is an admission fee to the exhibition areas. From the months of April to September, the Tower Bridge Exhibition opens at 10:00 a.m. with the last admission at 5:30 p.m. From October to March, it opens at 9:30 a.m. with the last admission at 5:00 p.m. You can purchase tickets from the ticket office or online from the official Tower Bridge website. Entrance is from the northern tower and from here take the lift to get to the top.

Tower Hill (Underground) Station is the nearest station from Tower Bridge and located on the north side of the bridge. The station serves the District and Circle Lines. Another London Underground station located within walking distance is London Bridge Station on the south bank off the River Thames and serves the Northern and Jubilee Lines. Riverboats under the London River Services stop at Tower Pier and St Katherine Pier and on the north bank and London Bridge City Pier on the south bank.

Tower Bridge on the Map

Tower Bridge Road, London SE1 2UP, UK

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