London has stolen my heart years ago even before I’ve actually visited it for the first time. I roamed its streets many times, did all the major tourist attractions, found my favourite spots but I haven’t done it all. It’s impossible to see everything in London. I reckon that Londoners themselves haven’t exhausted all the possibilities that London offers. On my most recent London trip in May this year I’ve explored some new things. One of them was the Tower Bridge Exhibition. Like many of you I have walked across the Tower Bridge many times. I took numerous photos of this London icon but I couldn’t have imagined before that one day I’d be walking between the two towers high up above the Thames.
About Tower Bridge
The Tower Bridge was built in the period between 1886 and 1894. It was officially opened by the future king Edward VII and his wife Alexandra of Denmark. The bridge is 240 m long while its two towers are 65 m tall. The central span between the two towers is 61 m. The bridge still raises to let the big ships pass under it but today computers do all the hard work. Previously, it was all done by the hydraulic system. The bridge didn’t look like this always. In 1977 it was repainted in blue, white and red to commemorate Queen’s Silver Jubilee.
About Tower Bridge Exhibition
I booked my ticket online and got one pound discount. The ticket is valid for one year from the date of purchase. I decided to visit it on my second day in London after I said hello to Big Ben. There was a group of school children at the gate but I didn’t have to wait for them because there’s a separate entrance for groups. Beware! I had to climb many, many, many steps but it was totally worth it. I got down by lift though. Your visit starts in the north tower, then you cross the walkaway and its cool glass floor and proceed to the south tower.
What can you see in the Tower Bridge Exhibition? Naturally, you can learn about the history and the construction of the Tower Bridge. You can also learn about some other famous bridges in the ˝Great Bridges of the World˝ display. What I found very interesting was a display on all London bridges. You can watch a short video and see the bridge raise as well if you haven’t seen it in real life. Of course the best part is to enjoy the beautiful views of London. Since you’re right next to the Tower of London you can look down on that historical castle. You can enjoy the views of St Paul’s and the rest of the City of London as well as admire the Shard and see all the way to Canary Wharf.
However, the most thrilling part is to walk over the glass floor and see the people and the cars below on the bridge from 42 m above. I didn’t find it scary but fun. I couldn’t resist the Instagram cliche even though I don’t have Instagram yet because of my phone’s rubbish camera and virtually no storage space so I took my photo lying on the dirty glass floor. 🙂 I didn’t jump though, no need to push my luck :). This is actually why you’re visiting the Tower Bridge; to be honest you can get almost the same views for free in the Sky Garden but the experience of walking between the two towers of the Tower Bridge is worthwhile a couple of pounds.
Your ticket is also valid for the Victorian Engine Rooms. You descend the southern tower and walk until the end of the bridge when you take steps on the left leading down. Then you enter the Engine Rooms exhibition which can be visited individually too (you can buy a ticket just for it). You can see steam engines, furnaces and accumulators and all the rest of the machinery that once powered the Tower Bridge. I walked by all the powerful machines and watched a short film that shows how the raising mechanism of the bridge actually works. Fascinating! As expected there’s a gift shop on your way to exit.
I enjoyed my visit to the Tower Bridge Exhibition but I had a slight deja-vu feeling like I had when I visited the Sky Garden because of all the blog posts I had seen about it. When I just read a travel guide on certain destination I don’t get this feeling but I wouldn’t have known about the possibility of walking high up between the Tower Bridge’s towers if I hadn’t read the travel blogs.
Have you walked on the glass floor of the Tower Bridge Exhibition?