Kidadl.com is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read our Terms & Conditions for further information.
Please be aware of government guidelines before setting off.Government Guidelines
As well as being London’s most historic and oldest river crossing, Tower Bridge is one of the city's most iconic landmarks with its ornate Victorian Gothic style. Stretching from the South Bank across the River Thames to the Tower of London, Tower Bridge is arguably the capital’s most famous bridge. It often gets mistaken for London Bridge, which is approximately half a mile upstream.
Tower Bridge is a combined suspension and bascule bridge, which was originally designed to ease road traffic. The major challenge was building a bridge that caused little impact to river traffic activities. With over fifty designs submitted (some of which you can see on display at the exhibition inside Tower Bridge), a special Bridge and Subway committee was formed to find a solution. It took over eight years for the final design to be approved.
The legendary 800-feet long Thames crossing was finally designed by City Architect Sir Horace Jones in collaboration with John Wolfe Barry. Construction of Tower Bridge started in 1886 and was completed in 1894, taking eight years to build with the labour of 432 construction workers each day. Made up of 11,000 tons of steel, the majority of which is hidden under Portland stone and Cornish granite, 70,000 tons of concrete, 31,000,000 bricks, 2,000,000 rivets and 22,000 litres of paint, at the time Tower Bridge was the largest and most revolutionary bascule bridge ever built. The bascules were powered by hydraulic steam machines, but since 1976 they have been operated by electricity and oil rather than steam.
The inside of Tower Bridge opened to the public in 1982, featuring the Tower Bridge Exhibition and the spectacular high-level walkways between the towers. At the exhibition, families can learn all about how Tower Bridge was built, explore the magnificent Victorian Engine Rooms, take a peek at the towers, delve into the fascinating history and experience the mesmerising Tower Bridge glass floor walkway, where you can enjoy epic views of the River Thames and the London skyline.
Kidadler Katie Morris Shmuel, who visited the Tower Bridge Exhibition, said, “the Tower Bridge Exhibition was really fun. Doggy friendly too. You visit engine rooms and go up lift or stairs then along walkway over Thames with facts and glass bottom which makes for fun selfies.”
The much-loved bridge is still a major crossing – with 40,000 people crossing it daily. The bascules are raised around three times a day (and 1,000 times per year) to allow ships to pass by.
There are loads of brilliant family-friendly attractions near Tower Bridge. Cruise down the River Thames on a sightseeing riverboat and see all of London’s major landmarks from a different perspective, including the London Eye, the Tower of London, St Paul's Cathedral, Canary Wharf and the Houses of Parliament.
Please follow the latest government guidelines if travelling by public transport.Government Guidelines