Tower Bridge is one of London's most iconic landmarks and has a fascinating history spanning over 125 years. People often get it mixed up with London Bridge, which is a half mile to the west, and not nearly as impressive.
Tower Bridge was designed by Sir Horace Jones and was completed in 1894. The bridge was built to provide a solution to the problem of heavy river traffic on the Thames, which had previously caused significant delays and congestion. Jones designed a bridge that would be both functional and visually impressive. He drew inspiration from the nearby Tower of London to create the distinctive towers and turrets. He did well because they are now synonymous with London itself!
Tower Bridge visiting should be on your London list, no questions asked! This iconic symbol of London is a great spot. We’ll explain everything you need to know in this handy guide!
Today, Tower Bridge is still one of London's most popular tourist attractions, and visitors can take a tour of the bridge's towers and walk across the high-level walkways to enjoy stunning views of the city. The bridge also houses a museum that tells the story of its construction and history and a glass floor that allows visitors to see the bridge's mechanics in action.
The walkway between the two towers is a huge 42 meters above the River Thames, offering you amazing views of London and all the nearby landmarks. The distance between the two towers is 61 meters, so you get to have a good walk between them too! If you’re scared of heights, don’t look down as you pass over the glass floors!
Meanwhile, the engine rooms at Tower Bridge are a fascinating glimpse into the history of engineering and technology. These rooms house the original steam engines that powered the bridge lifts thanks to the hydraulic mechanism. You can see the massive coal-fired engines in action and learn about their operation and maintenance.
The engine rooms also feature exhibits and interactive displays that provide a deeper understanding of how the bridge works and its role in London's transportation history. They were in operation until 1976, when the bridge switched from steam power to electricity.
Planning on visiting this iconic London landmark? There are some things you should know and look out for. The bridge is open to visitors from 9.30 am until 6 pm every day, with the last entry being 5 pm.
You can book tickets at the ticket office at the base of the North West Tower, but booking online here is recommended to avoid being disappointed if it’s all booked out! There are various concessions for disabilities, senior citizens, etc. Still, the tickets are fairly cheap anyway at £12.30 for a full adult ticket, which gives you access to both Towers, the walkways, the glass floors, and the engine rooms.
There’s also the option of a guided tour. Upon arrival, all visitors are required to line up in a queue. The queues are located outside the Bridge, so it's advisable to check the weather before your visit and bring a rain jacket or umbrella if it’s bad weather!
Comfortable shoes are recommended for visitors who will be walking up the Tower. However, lifts are available for those who require them - indeed, the Tower Bridge is fully accessible for wheelchair access.
It's important to be aware that we have a strict bag search policy, which means that all visitor belongings will be thoroughly searched upon entry. As you’ll be doing a fair amount of walking up and down steps and stairs anyway, storing away any bags you have beforehand might be a good idea.
Nannybag luggage storage in London is, in our opinion, your best choice at London Bridge and all around the city. It is cheaper than other options, costing only £6 per bag per day, and this is a flat fee with no hidden charges.
Log into the website or app, enter your location, and then pick on the map from one of their many partners - shops, hotels, restaurants, etc. that have been verified as secure and have luggage storage facilities. Pick a drop-off time at one nearby and convenient, then enjoy London hands-free!
There’s also plenty to do and see nearby if you’re in the area for the day after completing your visit and tour of Tower Bridge.
The Tower of London, which is right beside the bridge's northern edge and gives it its name, is a historic fortress and royal palace that has played a central role in British history for over 900 years, the site of some grisly executions and political intrigue. Visitors can take a guided tour of the huge tower complex to learn about its history and see the Crown Jewels on display.
The nearby Design Museum is also a great place to visit if you have an eye for art and design. The museum showcases the best of contemporary design, from architecture and fashion to graphics and product design. There are also regular exhibitions and events that explore the intersection of design and society.
If you’re looking for a traditional London shopping experience, head to the nearby Borough Market, one of London's oldest and largest food markets. The market offers a wide range of fresh produce, street food, and artisanal products, and it's a great place to explore and sample some of the best food and drink in the city.
Also nearby is The Shard, the tallest building in the United Kingdom that really dominates the city skyline. Visitors can access the Shard's public viewing galleries, known as "The View from The Shard," which are located on floors 68, 69, and 72, and there are also many bars and restaurants where you can relax and enjoy the incredible view.
Finally, you must check out HMS Belfast if you’re a history buff. It is a historic warship moored on the River Thames, just a couple of hundred meters east of Tower Bridge. It served in World War II and the Korean War but is now a museum, offering visitors a chance to explore its decks, learn about naval history, and get a glimpse of life on board. Not only that, but it's a fascinating experience!
The bridge is a hybrid of suspension and bascule bridge designs, which means that it has both a fixed suspension section and a moveable drawbridge section that can be raised to allow tall ships to pass through. This innovative design was considered revolutionary at the time and quickly became a symbol of London's technological prowess and engineering excellence.
Since its opening, Tower Bridge has played an important role in the life of the city. During the Second World War, the bridge was an essential part of London's defense strategy, and it was fitted with anti-aircraft guns and searchlights to help protect the city from air raids. It has also been used in many public celebrations and events, including the London Olympics in 2012.
What if you could enjoy every minute in the city without the burden of your bags?