Tourist Tips For London Bridge And Tower Bridge

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London Bridge Central London

London’s heart is in its famous river. The Thames acts as the spine for the English capital and is an important reason for how it developed into the mega-city it is today. Guests of 5 star hotels in London will no doubt take a trip to the South Bank or the Isle of Dogs to explore the maritime culture of London, but it’s easy to forget that the city’s bridges have heritage too.

Whilst some may simply be practical crossings from North to South London, other bridges have more of an iconic status and history. This blog will explore the history, heritage and attractions in and around two of its most famous bridges – London and Tower Bridge. With both being easy to reach for guests of

Montcalm Hotels

both have their own unique qualities that make them a true asset to the city’s cultural scene.

Tower Bridge

Literally bridging the gap between Tower Hamlets and Southwark, Tower Bridge is a feat of Victorian engineering that was designed to ease Victorian congestion between the City of London and South London. The beautiful Grade I listed bridge was designed by Horace Jones and once used a hydraulic powered operating mechanism for its suspension action. The bridge itself comes complete with two 65 metre high towers with a walkway at the top and pedestrian and road access at ground level.

History

Originally developed because of East London’s population and commercial surge, the original design for the bridge was decided in 1884 after nearly a decade of rumination. The problem was that the design had to accommodate both stylistic necessities and practical necessities. The Gothic style bridge was developed in the same aesthetic as Westminster and other central London landmarks. Tower Bridge was eventually opened in 1895 after a decade-long construction.

Originally, the walkway near the top of its two towers was only accessible by stairs. Naturally, less people used these and it became a hotspot for crime until they were closed in 1910. The walkway only reopened in the 1980s when the Tower Bridge Exhibition was launched – alongside a modern elevator system of course!

London Bridge

What is now known as London bridge is both an actual bridge and an area of London. The bridge itself is one of the most famous in the city, not because of its design but because of the nursery rhyme attached to it and its ideal placement between the City of London and the borough of Southwark in the south. The current bridge was built in 1973 but it has been a much-used place for river crossings for thousands of years. Alongside the bridge itself, nearby attractions and business hubs make this a prime area for tourists staying at luxury accommodation in London to visit.

History

There have been many bridges on the spot where London Bridge stands, dating all the way back to a theoretical Roman pontoon bridge during the days of Londinium. London Bridge, though, was a name only used from 1209, when a bridge was built on the site that included housing and shops. As a fishing bridge, open sewer and living space, the bridge gradually grew unhygienic and dirty over what was more than 500 years of life. With 140 houses, on the bridge several fires meant that upkeep in the 18th century was costly and ineffective. Eventually, Old London Bridge was gradually unbuilt in the late 18th century and replaced entirely in 1831.

New London Bridge was the victim of congestion and traffic. The weight of this, it was discovered, meant the bridge was sinking at a rate of an inch every eight years, leading to modern day London Bridge replacing it in the 1960s. Though it may not be much to look at, the sturdy design continues to endure to this day, unlike its predecessors.

Tower Bridge As A Tourist Attraction

As you can probably tell from the above, London Bridge acts more as a district and hallmark of London’s history and evolution. Tower Bridge on the other hand is an engineering marvel and a tourist attraction in and of itself. Nowadays, visitors can buy tickets for the Tower Bridge Exhibition, which includes an interactive exhibition exploring the history of the bridge and a chance to walk along the glass-floored upper walkway. The views over the Thames are well worth the price of admission, and if you want to learn more about the engineering behind the bridge, its engine rooms are also available for tours.

The Tower Of London And Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge takes its name from the nearby Tower of London, which can be reached from the north side of its namesake river crossing. The Tower of London is one of the most important landmarks in the city, signifying almost a thousand years of history and growth.When visiting, tourists and guests of hotels in Park Lane have the option of engaging in tours guided by Beefeater tower guards in traditional garb.

The fact that the Tower of London is still an operational military and royal regiment is one of the main draws for tourists. Visitors can also enjoy a museum exploring the history of the British military’s Royal Fusiliers, who were consigned to operate out of the tower in the 17th century and still have their headquarters there to this day. Other attractions at the Tower of London include the Jewel House, where the Crown Jewels are held and displayed.

London Bridge As A District

London Bridge itself isn’t much to write home about, but it’s what the district symbolises that is more important. A market has stood on the site of Borough Food Market nearly a thousand years, whilst the Globe Theatre, just a short walk away, is a reconstruction of Shakespeare’s very own auditorium. The nearby Golden Hind galleon replica, was a famous Elizabethan boat that circumnavigated the globe. Pair these tourist attractions and historic landmarks with London Bridge’s many mediaeval prison museums, scare mazes and boutique shopping streets, and you have an area symbolised by its bridge, but living through its community and culture.