5 Cool facts about Tower Bridge, London England

Tower Bridge on a cloudy day

Tower Bridge, London

Tower Bridge London is a historical and fascinating English icon and is one of the most famous bridges in the world. It amazes though how many people mistake it for London Bridge, which is actually near London Bridge Tube station.

I think Tower Bridge is one of the prettiest bridges that I have seen in my travels and one of my favourite places to visit in London.

Here are 5 cool facts to help get you started on your journey of Tower Bridge, London.

View from the Shard of boat going under Tower Bridge

The view from the Shard of Tower Bridge, London

1 – Tunnel under the Thames

Before Tower Bridge London was opened to the public, the only way to cross the Thames in the area which was through a tunnel under the Thames called the Tower Subway. I believe that it was 1 penny to use this tunnel and the traffic between the two boroughs was monitored. Unfortunately, this tunnel and others were closed down and bridges replaced them. However, there is still two left in London that can be used by the public.

Top Tip

  • If you ever want to experience walking under the Thames there is one, which goes from Isle of Dogs to Greenwich. I definitely recommend it as something different to do while in London. You can get there via the DLR. 

 

looking up at one of the bridges towers

On Tower Bridge, looking up London

2 – Glass floor in the walkway

A glass floor was recently installed in the Walkway of the Tower Bridge, which you can walk out on and stand 42 metres above the River Thames. Apparently, if you are there at the right time (or just plain lucky enough), you can watch the bascules being raised beneath your feet. If you are anything like me, l cannot stand on glass and look down as it scares me senseless!

Top Tip

  • Visit the exhibition that is in Tower Bridge and walk across the glass walkway at the same time.  
sundial at St Katherine Dock with tower bridge in background

Tower Bridge from St. Katharine Docks, London

3 – Double-decker jumping

In 1952, a number 78 double-decker bus was crossing Tower Bridge when the bascules began to rise. Instead of slowing down and stopping, Albert Gunton accelerated and jumped over from the south bascule to the north bascule which had not started to rise yet.

If you like reading about facts and bridges, then you may enjoy my piece on Ponte Vecchio Bridge, Florence Italy 

Fortunately, the driver and passengers on board the double decker bus came away with only a few injuries.

Tower Bridge, London

Standing on the along the Thames near Tower Bridge, London

4 – The 2012 Olympic rings on Tower Bridge

To celebrate the Olympics being held in London in 2012, the Olympic rings were suspended from the Walkway on Tower Bridge. To achieve this, the bascules needed to be fully opened and the bridge was closed both under and over for 12 hours while the 12-tonne rings were put in place. They did look pretty amazing when they were lit up at night.

Olympic rings hanging from Tower Bridge

Standing on the bridge looking up at the Olympics Rings Tower Bridge, London

5 – River traffic

River traffic on the Thames takes priority over people or vehicles crossing over Tower Bridge London. However, if you want to go under the bridge with your tall boat and need the bascules to be raised you have to give 24 hours’ notice. This boat, however, didn’t have to worry about bascules being raised (refer to the below picture).

You have to check of course the height restrictions to determine if you need to notify the bridge.

If you enjoy History and want to know more about London, then check out my post ‘London Old Docks – Historic Pub, Food & Beer Tour’

Top Tip:

  • If you want some great views of the bascules being raised, then head up The Shard.
tourist boat heading under Tower Bridge, London

Watching the boats go under Tower Bridge, London

 

Thank you for reading my article, ‘5 Cool facts about Tower Bridge, London England’ I hope it gave you some interesting and fun insight to the history of Tower Bridge. If you are interested in discovering more of London you can read London Old Docks – Historic Pub, Food & Beer Tour or London in Winter – Things to do and Where to Stay



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Please feel free to share your experience in the comments below or if you know any other facts about the Tower Bridge. I would love to hear them 🙂

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Disclaimer:  All views are my own based on my own experience.

How about some of these activities around Tower Bridge, London

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8 Comments

    1. Thank you for your lovely feedback & being the first person to comment on my new blog. Tower Bridge is definitely a beautiful structure.

    1. I concur :-), I always find it interesting to learn something new about a famous landmark. I never knew about the tunnel under the Thames.

  1. I am a huge fan of facts and l love this post. I never knew about the bus jumping the bridge. That would of been scary.

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