Raise your expectations
With its two towers and magnificent bascules rising up and down over the Thames, Tower Bridge is an instantly recognizable landmark. Big Bus Tours takes you across it, treating you to far-reaching views of the Thames, HMS Belfast and London’s skyline.
Don’t miss the Tower Bridge exhibition, which grants access to the splendid Victorian engine rooms that once controlled the rise and fall of the bridge, and enjoy the thrill of Tower Bridge’s suspended walkways with panels of thick glass – give yourself an unbroken view of the river and road below if you dare.
The history of Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge’s medieval appearance makes you think it’s much older than it is. In fact, it’s less than 150 years old, only opening in 1894 and purposely designed to complement the castle-like architecture of its close neighbour, the Tower of London.
All rise to the bascules!
The section of river where the bridge was built used to be a very busy port. Tower Bridge’s design enabled the two halves of the central span to lift up and allow large vessels to pass through. These days, boats must book a raising of Tower Bridge in advance, but it is still raised several times a day – you might be lucky enough to see it happening when you’re there.
Other interesting facts about Tower Bridge
- It’s the only bridge on the Thames that can be raised and lowered – allowing ships to pass upriver to the wharves and docks of what used to be the Port of London
- Although it appears to be constructed from stone, the bridge’s core framework is made of more than 11,000 tonnes of steel
- The high-level walkways were closed down in 1910 due to lack of use by pedestrians, before re-opening in 1982 as part of the Tower Bridge Exhibition