Tower Bridge London, the world’s most recognizable suspension bridge, is one of those tourist spots that you just can’t miss in London. Standing majestically over the River Thames since 1894, this iconic landmark consists of two towers and two walkways. Its grand Victorian staircase, unique glass floor and beautiful panoramic views on the walkway make it to the top of any Londoner, so much so that 40,000 of them pay a visit each day. Here's everything you need for a hassle-free visit to the Tower Bridge.
Tower Bridge London In A Nutshell
Know Before You Go
Best time to visit - Early morning on weekdays
Suggested duration - 30-50 minutes
Starting Tower Bridge London Tickets price - £10.60
Opened on - 30 June 1894
Closest subway station - London Bridge Station
Open daily from 9:30 am to 6 pm
Walk of Fame
Victorian Engine Room
Tower Bridge Address
Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 2UP, United Kingdom
Why You Must Visit Tower Bridge London?
There are 33 bridges across the River Thames, yet Tower Bridge London happens to be the most iconic one. The bridge is older than a century and is the first to come to the minds of people when they think of London. It is 250 meters in length, 7 meters wide, and each of the towers measures 65 meters in height. It is also the only bascule bridge in all of London and one of the first moveable bridges powered by a hydraulic mechanism.
People often think that the bridge gets its name from its two enormous towers, but in reality, it gets the name from being in close proximity to the Tower of London. The bridge is famous in pop culture and has shared its beauty with the world in movies such as Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Sherlock Holmes, episodes of Friends. Owing to its legacy, the Tower Bridge welcomes over 40,000 visitors each day.
Tower Bridge History Under a Minute
The Tower Bridge London was built during the late nineteenth century as the demand for a new river crossing in east London. The builders had to keep in mind not to cut off access to the sailing ships to the port facilities between the London Bridge and the Tower of London. Although the committee was formed in 1877, the design of a moveable bridge was not finalized until 1884.
The construction of the bridge began in 1886 inaugurated by Edward Ⅶ and was open to the public on 30 June 1894. In the early twentieth century, the tower bridge was seen as a major target for enemies of World War Ⅰ and Ⅱ. The management had to raise the level of security at the port and the bridge’s strength. Yet the bridge was prone to minor attacks but did not affect its sustainability. In 1982, the Tower Bridge Exhibition opened, giving visitors a deep insight into Tower Bridge’s unique and rich history. Today, it is visited by more than 40,000 visitors every day, making it one of the top attractions of London.
Beat The Crowd With Tower Bridge Tickets
Note: The Tower Bridge is freely accessible to the public whereas access to the sky bridge and the Tower Bridge exhibition requires admission.
We need not mention again the huge crowd Tower Bridge London has to welcome each day. But worry not, we have you covered on scoring the best Tower Bridge tickets and surpassing the long waiting lines. Here are some tricks:
Spend about 5 minutes getting your hands on timed entry tickets. Tickets get sold out sooner than you’d expect. So, make sure you have your Tower Bridge tickets at least 3 days prior to your visit.
Buy Combo Tickets
Purchasing timed entry combo tickets of the Tower of London and Tower Bridge London can save you time and dime. You get to explore the two most symbolic landmarks of London, learn their history, and save a few pounds too!
Choosing The Right Day And Time
Arriving early and on a weekday will not only let you get past the tourist swarm sooner but also give you the opportunity to explore the attraction without having many people buzzing around. Also, make sure to check the weather forecast before booking your ticket.
Your Tower Bridge Experience
Located in the bridge’s twin towers, the Tower Bridge Experience or more popularly known as Tower Bridge Exhibition, gives visitors a deep insight into the Tower Bridge’s unique and rich history, as well as panoramic views of London from its famous walkways. Dive deeper into the story of the bridge by visiting the Victorian Era engine rooms which originally powered the Bridge and allowed it to be raised. The Tower Bridge Exhibition is also famous for its Glass Floor which offers an incredible view of the city below, and the River Thames – you might even get to see the bridge being raised! The Tower Bridge Exhibition’s interactive displays, like the short animation film describing the architecture of the Bridge, are also worth watching.
Ascend the unique Victorian staircase to the North Tower of the Tower Bridge Exhibition, where you will get a detailed lesson on the history of the Tower Bridge, as well as its significance to London culture. A fully accessible lift is also available for those who require it.
Move forward to the East and West walkways where you will experience the famous Glass Floor. Not for the faint-hearted, this see-through window looks directly down onto the bridge, and the River Thames. The walkway also presents panoramic views of famous London landmarks, like St. Paul’s Cathedral, The Monument, and St. Katharine’s Docks.
Next up is the South Tower, where you will be showed a short feature film on the unique architecture of the Tower Bridge, like its ‘bascule’ or see-saw bridge structure. From here, take the staircase down to the ground level, go through the ‘Walk of Fame’. On the bridge, you will see ornamental bronze plaques with names of those who helped build, maintain and operate the Bridge. Pay homage to those whose toil has helped erect this magnificent structure.
The Engine Rooms once powered the Tower Bridge and required nearly 80 people to raise the bridge and work the steam-powered machines. The bridge, now heavily used, was raised 20-30 times per day in the Victorian Era. Now operated using electricity, the engine rooms stand as a testament to the men who worked to keep the structure functioning for daily use.
Tower Bridge vs London Bridge
Coming to the age-old confusion, London Bridge and Tower Bridge are not one and the same. London Bridge is the most famous bridge in the whole world, but people often confuse it with Tower Bridge. They are located very close to each other, ever share the same subway station. However, while you take a close look, you will realise that they do not look the same.
For context, London Bridge stands on the western end of the Pool of London and carries the A3 road with the London Shard at a distance while Tower Bridge is a bascule bridge with two identifiable towers and carries passengers by foot. While equally historic, the London Bridge is less picturesque than the Tower Bridge, yet worth a visit.
Visiting Tower Bridge London
Getting to Tower Bridge Exhibition
The Tower Bridge Exhibition is easily accessible by public transport. Moreover, the London Hop on Hop Off buses also stop at the Tower.
- Tube: The closest tube station is Tower Hill (Circle and District lines)
- Bus: 15, 42, 78, 100, and RV1
- Train: The closest stations are Fenchurch Street, Tower Gateway DLR and London Bridge
- Boat: The closest riverboat stops are St Katherine Pier, Tower Pier or the London Bridge City Pier
- Cycle: Cycle hire docking points are available at St Katherine Way and on Tooley Street. From both these points, the Tower Bridge Exhibition is a short walk away
- Car: The nearest car park is at Tower Hill Coach
Tower Bridge Exhibition Hours
The Tower Bridge Exhibition is open daily except between 24th-26th December and 1st January.
Summer (April - September)
Monday to Sunday - 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Last admission - 4:30 PM
Winter (October - March)
Monday to Sunday - 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM
Last admission - 4:00 PM
London Tower Bridge Map
You can use the below map to navigate your way to and around Tower Bridge London.
- Toilets are not immediately available near the entrance from the Ticket Office in the North Tower. However, adapted toilets are available in the South Tower
- There are no restrictions on eating/drinking inside the Bridge and the Engine Rooms.
- Assistance animals are allowed entrance
- A self-guided visit around the Tower Bridge Exhibition should take you around 90 minutes
- If you do require to ask for assistance, look out for hosts in blue uniforms available for guidance at each key stage of the visit.
Insider Tips For First Time Tower Bridge Exhibition Visitors
- Try to visit the bridge when it is being raised, so you can catch a view through the Glass Door. It is generally opened between April – September from 10:00 – 17:30, and October – March from 9:30 – 17:00
- From the west walkway, you can also see The Monument, commemorating the Great Fire of London. If you plan on visiting, joint tickets are available to save money.
- Download the free Tower Bridge app to learn more about the Bridge and even play games!
- Buy the London Pass to get free access to this iconic landmark.
- Some of the interactive displays within the Engine Room allow you to experience what it used to look, sound, and even smell like! Don’t miss this incredible display.
- To witness the Tower Bridge lift, you can look up the timings on the official website before planning your visit
7 Interesting Tower Bridge Facts You Never Knew
- Each levered section of the bascule weighs over 1,100 tons.
- A huge secret chamber lies under the bridge to balance the bascule where occasional private concerts are organised.
- The foundation of the tower used 70,000 tons of concrete to support the structure.
- It took 8 years and 432 labours to build the London Tower Bridge.
- The cost of construction was £1,184,000 in 1894. In today’s money that equals £152,616,515.39.
- The bascules are opened 1000 times in a year and at least once each day.
- A man parachuted off the bridge in 1917 to prove its benefits to RAF Pilots. This then led to the founding of the Royal Parachute Regiment.
Tower Bridge London Reviews
Wonderful bridge. Amazing architecture and vibrant colours. Very interesting area as well coming from the Tower of London to the city. Very interesting activity - people watching and observing the boats pass by. Comfortable pedestrian areas and you can tour the tower as well.
Definitely my favourite place in London. It’s like a home to many on just glancing at this magnificent structure. Visiting the tower is a must do if you are around the place. This is probably one of the best iconic landmarks of London both for residents and the tourists alike.
Hotels Near Tower Bridge London
Tower Bridge sits in the centre of London and makes attractions such as the Shard, Museum of London, the National Gallery, the British Museum, Buckingham Palace, Up At The O2 and many others easily accessible by subway, bus or ferry. Staying here is ideal if you want to get around the city easily. Here are some hotels you should consider if you're interested in this happening neighbourhood:
If you are looking for a lavish stay, look no further than Vintry & Mercer. The hotel boasts its 92 rooms using contemporary style decor, top-notch amenities and hospitable service. It is suitable for a modern traveller who looks for their stay to represent the city vibes.
Distance from Tower Bridge: 1.4 km
Experience true 5istar service and lux at the Hilton London Tower Bridge. With modern amenities such as a fully equipped gym, interconnected rooms, wi-fi, a room with a wonderful London skyline view, and a rooftop restaurant overlooking Tower Bridge, this hotel is a globetrotter’s dream come true.
Distance from Tower Bridge: 0.5 km
If you are looking for a budget-friendly yet elegant hotel with all the latest facilities, the Tower Hotel is the perfect place. The suites are spacious, speckless and with the right amount of natural light. The hotel’s cafes look chic, have wifi availability, serve delicious food and overlook the Tower Bridge.
Distance from Tower Bridge: 0.2 km
Another gem of a hotel that does not burn a hole in your pocket is the London Bridge Hotel. It is located between the London Bridge and Tower Bridge. The suites are equipped with a minibar, wifi, air conditioning, refrigerator and a smart TV.
Distance from Tower Bridge: 0.9 km
Restaurants Near Tower Bridge London
Don’t miss out on a meal overlooking the picturesque Tower Bridge and take a picture for the gram. Here are some of the best restaurants serving lip-smacking treats with a view of the bridge.
The Ivy offers a fun and electric atmosphere and serves British & international-inspired classics. They have an indoor seating area that is modern yet elegant. The outdoor seating takes the cake for providing a wonderful view of the Tower Bridge and the Thames river.
Must try: Cheese Soufflé, Steak tartare
Coppa Club is a very elegant fine dining restaurant with ceiling-high windows that give you the sight of the picture-perfect side of Tower Bridge. They serve gourmet European delicacies and have an amazing bar menu. Vegetarian, Vegan-friendly, and Gluten-free options are also available. Ask for the Igloo for a more private time with your loved ones with the Bridge on the backdrop.
Must try: Lamb with potato puree, Crab linguine
Located near the sidewalks of the River Thames, Tavolino is another fine dining restaurant with a picturesque view of Tower Bridge. Their bar options are plentiful and they serve elegantly plated Italian treats. The taste is unparalleled by any other restaurant in the region.
Must try: Pizzas, focaccia
Butlers Wharf Chophouse is a Michelin star-rated restaurant serving modern British food that is locally sourced. The food, service, and views are of gold standards. They have both - neatly decorated indoor seating and an outdoor seating area with a wonderful view of the Tower Bridge and the London skyline.
Must try: Seafood Cocktail Crumpet, Artichoke Tart
Why is Tower Bridge famous?
The bridge is older than a century and is the first to come to the minds of people when they think of London. It is also the only bascule bridge in all of London and one of the first moveable bridges powered by a hydraulic mechanism.
Where is the London Tower Bridge located?
Tower Bridge London is located on the River Thames. The address is - Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 2UP, United Kingdom.
Why is Tower Bridge mistaken for London Bridge?
Since they are both located very close to each other, and Tower Bridge is the most recognizable bridge in the world, it is often mistaken for London Bridge.
Can you walk across Tower Bridge for free?
Yes, you can walk across the bridge for free. But if you want to access the sky bridge and the Tower Bridge Exhibition you’d need to buy the Tower Bridge Tickets.
What type of bridge is the London Tower bridge?
London Tower Bridge is a bascule bridge.
Is Tower Bridge and Tower of London the same?
No, Tower Bridge and London Bridge are not the same.
Is Tower Bridge worth visiting?
Tower Bridge is worth visiting because it is the only bascule bridge in all of London and one of the first moveable bridges powered by a hydraulic mechanism. The bridge is famous in pop culture and has shared its beauty with the world in movies such as Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Sherlock Holmes, episodes of Friends. Owing to its legacy, the Tower Bridge welcomes over 40,000 visitors each day.
How long does the Tower Bridge Experience take?
Tower Bridge Experience, also known as the Tower Bridge Exhibition, takes 30 to 60 minutes to explore.