- Tower Bridge, Tower Bridge Road, SE1 2UP
- +44 (0)20 7403 3761
Tower Bridge is a bascule bridge in London, over the River Thames. It is close to the Tower of London, which gives it its name. It is sometimes mistakenly called London Bridge, which is the next bridge upstream. The bridge is owned and maintained by Bridge House Estates, a charitable trust overseen by the Corporation of London.
The high-level walkways between the towers gained an unpleasant reputation as a haunt for prostitutes and pickpockets and were closed in 1910. They have now been reopened as part of the Tower Bridge Experience, an exhibition mostly housed in the bridge’s twin towers. The exhibition also includes photos, holograms and a film detailing the build, along with access to the original steam engines that once powered the bridge bascules, housed in a building close to the south end of the bridge.
A Behind the Scenes tour can be booked in advance, on which it is possible to see the bridge’s command centre where the raising of the bridge is controlled when a vessel passes underneath. The bascules of the bridge are raised around 900 times a year.
Although river traffic is now a fraction of what it used to be, it still takes priority over road traffic. This nearly caused a diplomatic incident in 1996, when the motorcade of United States President Bill Clinton got stuck on Tower Bridge while the bascules were unexpectedly opened.
At the Tower Bridge Exhibition you can enjoy breath-taking views from the high-level Walkways and learn about the history of the Bridge and how it was built. You can then visit the Victorian Engine Rooms, home to the original steam engines that used to power the Bridge lifts.