During my numerous trips to London over the years, I had taken so many photos of Tower Bridge from all sorts of angles. The one thing I hadn’t done was go inside. It had never even crossed my mind to do so; that was until I wrote about it one Foto Friday. Having done a bit of research, I discovered that glass floor panels had been installed to the walkways at the end of 2014. Once I’d read about that, I wanted to go. The thing is, I was living in Poland.
When I returned to the UK this summer, a friend and I decided to recommence our day trips to London. While we were on the train, wondering where to go, organised as ever, I suddenly thought about Tower Bridge. The thing is, my friend has a problem with heights, so I honestly didn’t think it would be of interest to her. I mentioned that there was something I wanted to do, but she would hate it. I told her what it was when she asked, and, to my surprise, she didn’t dismiss the idea. In fact, said she would try it, having been to the top of The Shard, which is the tallest building in the European Union. That was that; we were on our way to Tower Bridge.
Although there was a long queue, it didn’t seem to take long to get to get inside. I opted for a combined ticket (Tower Bridge and The Monument) because I hadn’t been to The Monument either, it was only an extra £1.50, and you have 7 days in which to use it. When the lift arrived, I honestly thought we’d have to wait for the next one because there were a lot of people ahead of us, but we didn’t. It was like the Tardis. It seemed small, but people kept on going in. On the way up to the north tower, the lift attendant gave us some introductory information about Tower Bridge and how to make the most of our visit. We should have watched a short film about the bridge first, but we did things a bit differently because nature called. In other words, we needed the loo. You know, the ladies room / powder room / toilet / bathroom. We headed to the south tower and then descended a load of stairs to get to the ladies’ toilets. It was a little further than we realised, but when you need to go…
Moving swiftly on, after that, we climbed the stairs and went to the west walkway, this time. We thought we would be able to get back to where the film was being shown at the start, but we couldn’t. It was blocked off. The only way is to go via the east walkway. Nonetheless, there’s a glass floor on both walkways, so we took some photos, and a member of staff started chatting to us about the bridge. She informed us that the bridge was due to open once a sailing boat turned round and headed back.
While waiting for that to happen, we made our way, via the east high-level walkway, to see the film we had missed at the start. After that, we walked back to the glass floor to get into position for when the bridge opened. By that time, a lot of other people had turned up, so we couldn’t get anywhere near the glass floor to see the bridge opening. As time went on, more and more arrived in the lift, so it was really packed and very stuffy. I was so disappointed about not seeing the bridge opening. I thought I had missed my photo and video opportunity until a member of staff said the bridge would be opening again in 30 minutes time. My friend and I decided to walk back to the west walkway in the hope that it would be less crowded. It was. We got into position at the side of the glass floor, in plenty of time, and waited for the bridge to open. I was so glad I got to see it.
After that, we continued our journey around Tower Bridge, and then headed to the Victorian Engine Rooms, which are included in the ticket price. These are located underneath the bridge on the south side. Just follow the blue painted line on the ground.
The coal-powered engines are what originally opened and closed the bridge. That was interesting, although the highlight for me was the glass floor on the high-level walkways.
My thoughts and advice
It’s definitely worth buying a ticket for Tower Bridge now because of the glass floors. Make sure you’re there when the bridge opens. If you are there for that, head to the west walkway because there are likely to be fewer people. Get there in time, and while you’re waiting, you can take some photos and videos. If you haven’t been to The Monument, which is a memorial to the Great Fire of London, it would be worth getting the combined ticket. It will save you a couple of quid (pounds).
Even if you are scared of heights, you don’t have to miss out. You can still enjoy the experience as my friend did. The glass floor doesn’t cover the whole of the walkway. There is a solid floor at either side, so you can walk and stand beside it rather than on it. If you don’t have a problem with heights, it’s fun walking on it and looking down at everyone underneath your feet.
Here’s where Tower Bridge is located…
Have your say
Fancy a trip to Tower Bridge? Have you seen the new glass floors already? If so, what did you think?