Firstly, Tower Bridge is not London Bridge - that bridge is currently in Lake Havasu City in Arizona (for real). Tower Bridge may not have such a catchy ditty about it falling down, but it is one of London's most iconic landmarks. It is an essential part of any tour of London's most iconic landmarks.

The Tower Bridge is located right by the Tower of London, and one can see one from the other. If one goes on the tour up the towers, then one is greeted with awe-inspiring views of the City of London - perhaps better than any of the other bridges in London.

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History of Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge was built between 1886 and 1894 and spans the River Thames (that slices London in half). It was built to provide better access to the East End of London. It was opened by Edward, Prince of Wales, and Alexandra, Princess of Wales in 1894 towards the end of Queen Victoria's very long reign at the height of the British Empire.

  • Listed: As a Grade, I Listed Building In the UK
  • Built: Between 1886 and 1894
  • Length: 800 Feet (or 240)
  • Height: The Two Bridge Towers Stand 213 Feet or 65 Meters High
  • New London Bridge: About 0.5 Miles Upstream From Tower Bridge

As the River Thames is an active waterway, the bridge opens in the center to allow ships to pass through. It was originally hydraulically powered but was converted to an electro-hydraulic system in 1972. Stick around and one may be rewarded with seeing the bridge open in the flesh.

During World War Two it was a target of German bombing. It was damaged in 1940 when a high-level span was hit, the hit severed the hydraulic mechanism and put the bridge out of action. In 1941 a parachute mine exploded close to the bridge. It caused serious damage to parts of the workings of the bridge. But in the end, it managed to survive the war.

  • Word War Two: Tower Bridge Was Damaged By Axis Bombing

Related: London In Two Days: How To Spend 48 Hours In One Of The U.K.'s Greatest Cities

Visiting The Tower Bridge

Today the bridge is a working bridge handling thousands of vehicles and pedestrians daily. The bridge deck is freely accessible and anyone can go and get their Instagram pics.

The Tower Bridge is easy to find. One can just walk along the Thames from Westminster, or visiting the structure can be done while visiting the nearby Tower of London.

While anyone can cross the bridge friendly, a ticket is required to enter the bridge's twin towers, go on the high-level walkways, and tour the Victorian engine rooms. The bridge is open to visitors but pre-booking of the ticket online is recommended to guarantee a visit. Due to the pandemic, capacity has been significantly reduced and places are limited.

Self Guided Tours Of Tower Bridge

If one is going to take the tour of the bridge, then the visit begins by climbing the North Tower. After that one heads along the West Walkway crossing the iconic Glass Floor. Stop here for a while and look at the bridge and River Thames beneath one's feet - feel one's heart start pounding.

  • Opening Hours: Open 9.30 am to 6.00 pm (Last Entry At 5.00 pm)
  • Self Guided Tour: Adults £10.60 (Aged 16 and Over), Children £5.30 (Aged 5 to 15)

After all the glass floor Instagram pics have been snapped, descend down the South Tower to the road. One will then follow the blue line (it commemorates the workers of the Tower Bridge). The last stop on the tour is entering the Victorian Engine Rooms that raise the bridge to keep the waterway open. End the tour in the gift shop.

Related: Everything You Should Be Doing In London During A First-Time Trip

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Guided Tours of Tower Bridge

There are two main types of guided tours, the Behind-the-Scenes Tour and the regular Guided Tour. Other guided tours include the British Sign Language Interpreted Tour and the Family Tour (which is an interactive tour perfect for families wanting to learn about the history of the bridge).

Behind-the-Scenes Tour: This is an extended guided tour for those who would really like a deep dive into the history and trivia of one of Britain's most famous landmarks. This 2-hour guided tour includes access to areas that are out of bounds to the public and those with the other tickets. It includes access to the Bascule Chambers.

  • When: Saturdays and Sundays
  • Duration: 2 Hours
  • Includes: The Towers, West Walkway, Machinery Room, Bascule Chamber, Engine Room
  • Cost: From £45.00

Regular Guided Tour: Enjoy a 60 minute guided tour of Tower Bridge by knowledgeable guides. The tours are on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning and this is the most popular of the guided tours of Tower Bridge.

  • When: Saturdays and Sundays
  • Duration: 90 Minutes
  • Includes: The Towers, West Walkway, Glass Floor, Engine Room
  • Cost: From £20.00

Next: Visiting London: 15 Rookie Moves First-Time Travelers Often Make