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Tower Bridge is one of London's best known iconic symbols, it's often confused with London Bridge (from the children's song "London Bridge is falling down") which is a different bridge further down the River Thames.
Tower Bridge was completed in 1894 to facilitate the increased amount of traffic wanting to cross the River Thames.
It was necessary to make it a drawbridge so that tall-masted ships could continue up river.
The bridge connects Tower Bridge Approach on the north bank and Tower Bridge Road on the south bank and stands next to the Tower of London another popular tourist attraction. The picturesque 244 meter long bridge stands out with its two 65 meter high towers joined by upper walkways and blue colored suspension chains connecting the bridge to the stations on either side of the river.
The bridge is made of 11,000 tons of steel and the towers are made of stone, the design is distinctly Victorian Gothic. Kids will recognize the unforgettable silhouette from Disney's Peter Pan and other movies which use the bridge to indicate that the action is taking place in London.
Both motor and pedestrian traffic can cross the bridge which is still lifted when necessary to let ships pass about 1000 times a year. There is also a pedestrian walkway 44 meters above the bridge linking the two towers.
The bridge is a must-see when in London and it can be easily included in a day's outing together with a visit to the Tower of London and a cruise down the River Thames.
Once you reach the bridge, which is nearest to the Tower Hill tube station, you can cross the bridge just to have a look at it or you could spend more time exploring the bridge up close.
It is possible to enter the bridge, see how it works, learn from informative and exciting exhibitions and walk the elevated walkways for views of London. The entrance is from the North Tower (the side of the Tower of London).
Here you can see a photo exhibit about the construction of the bridge and its history. From here you go up by elevator to the walkways.
The walkways which connect the two towers are enclosed with glass panel walls so you have stunning panoramic views across the city. On the other end of the walkway you reach the South Tower where you descend into the Victorian Engine Rooms.
You can visit the Victorian Engine Rooms which still hold the original steam engines which operated the drawbridge. Here visitors can try the hands-on mechanisms and learn about the technology behind the lifting of the drawbridge.
After your visit to the engine rooms there is a final exhibition with interactive displays, video clips and photos as well as models of the bridge, some of the original machinery and demonstrations of the technical workings of the bridge.
If you have the London Pass entrance to the Tower Bridge Victorian Engine Rooms and Exhibitions is free. Without the pass entrance to the Tower Bridge is £8 for adults and £3.4 for kids and under 5s enter for free.
There is a family ticket for £12.5 - £2 depending on how many in your family. OF course walking across the bridge is free. The bridge attractions are open from April to September 1am – 6pm and October to March 9:30am to 5:30pm. For more information visit the Tower Bridge website.