The River Thames is the lifeblood of the UK capital and the London Bridges are part of the fabric of the city; some of them are among the iconic sights every visitor wants to see. You really can’t miss the London bridges even if you never cross over the River Thames during your visit.
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Opened in 2000, the Millennium Bridge is one of the newest London bridges to cross the River Thames. When it was first opened, it was often called the “Wobbly Bridge” by residents, after the bridge itself swayed from side to side when there was lots of foot traffic, and it was closed.. It took another two years for the bridge to be reopened, following maintenance work to secure the bridge for the public to cross the 144 meters to the other side of the Thames. You might recognize the bridge from the Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince movie, where the Death Eaters destroyed the bridge in the opening scene!
Tower Bridge is one of the most iconic landmarks in London. The bridge is raised and lowered for vessels too tall to pass underneath the road bridge, and in fact, is raised around 20 times per week. There is an online timetable for anyone who is interested in getting a picture of the bridge in its full glory.
Tourists often mistake London Bridge for Tower Bridge; in fact, a Google Image search for London Bridge will bring up images of Tower Bridge instead! Although the bridge which stands today was built in the 1970s, the concept of the bridge is one of the oldest bridges in London, dating back to the first Roman settlers in London. And yes, the original London Bridge was dismantled and moved to Lake Havasu in Arizona, USA.
This bridge is named after the Battle of Waterloo, where Napoleon was defeated by the Duke of Wellington in 1815. The bridge is built on one of the bends in the River Thames, which makes it a perfect spot to get wide-sweeping views of the London skyline. From the bridge, tourists can see Westminster (Big Ben and Parliament), the South Bank, the London Eye, and London’s financial center, Canary Wharf.
There are very few suspension bridges in London, which makes Albert Bridge all the more special. It connects the affluent areas of Chelsea and Battersea, and was not originally designed to be a suspension bridge. It was only after the advent of the motor vehicle in the early 20th century that changes had to be made to the bridge to make it safe for travelling. Even today there are concerns about the structure of the bridge, which has led to the local council imposing strict weight limits and traffic conditions.
Although not the most beautiful of London’s bridges, Southwark Bridge is passed over by millions of people each year. It is located near the Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, which makes it one of the most frequently used bridges in London.
The current design of Vauxhall Bridge was drawn up in 1906, and has remained largely unchanged ever since. It was the first bridge to carry a tram over the River Thames, and along its length there are 8 statues to represent the arts and sciences. These statues cannot be seen from the bridge itself, but can only be viewed from the river or the banks below.
They are so much part of the city that I think Londoners take the London bridges a little bit for granted and largely don’t notice them. I’m happy to say I have been over every bridge in London over the Thames. Have you crossed any of the London bridges?
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