I discuss my favourite of the many bridges that London has to offer, many which span the River Thames. Each bridge has its own unique histories and architecture.
With a river running right through it, London definitely needs more than one bridge to meet its needs, even if children only sing about one “London Bridge.” In fact, that very bridge is the least interesting when compared to these other bridges with their unique designs and colourful histories.
Tower Bridge — Fit for a Queen?
London’s Tower Bridge has always captured my attention, and it’s certainly become iconic of London itself, even though critics were quick to voice opinions when the bridge first opened. Frank Brangwyn was among them, calling Tower Bridge “absurd.” However, the towers, which remind me of castles, that connect the suspended sections mix modern and traditional elements almost perfectly, while the walkway above the bridge offer an unmatched vantage point if you’re not afraid of heights.
Millennium Bridge — A Walk to Remember
During daytime, the Millennium Bridge isn’t much to look at, but I can’t help but stare when it’s lit up at night. This steel bridge is much smaller than some of the other bridges in London because it only exists for foot traffic. At night, it looks especially sleek and modern. As the name suggests, it was completed in the year 2,000, but Millennium Bridge was closed for a while as contractors fixed issues that caused it to wobble.
Westminster Bridge — Just Like Hollywood
Many films feature Westminster Bridge, which makes it just as familiar to American movie-goers as it is to the local population. Westminster Bridge has existed since 1862. While not as large or architecturally impressive as some of London’s other bridges, Westminster Bridge, the fact that it connects the London Eye to the County Hall helps put this bridge on many top lists. Whether coming or going, you’re sure to enjoy the scenery.
Holborn Viaduct — Inner-city Connection
Most of the bridges on this list cross the River Thames, but Holborn Viaduct is a flyover above Farringdon Street. This bridge connects Holborn with Newgate Street. The current design features red with contrasting gold designs that I find especially pretty. It would look at home in any large city. Up close, you’ll see the four parapets, each with its own statue representing commerce, agriculture, science or fine art. Although other bridges have statues, I think that those on Holburn Viaduct are ideally placed for you to view them as you cross the bridge.
Blackfriars Bridge — A Thrilling History
If you saw this bridge in photos, you wouldn’t immediately think of London. This is exactly what I like about Blackfriars Bridge. Although the piers are stone, the rest of the bridge uses a modern, red-and-white colour scheme that sets it apart from other bridges. Lights beneath Blackfriars Bridge make it look especially stunning at night, and you might recognise the name of this bridge from author Neil Gaiman’s novel “Neverwhere.” In real life, the body of banker Roberto Calvi was found hanging on the arches and decorated with different monies.
While some foreigners know London’s bridges simply for their tendency to fall down in the early years, the many bridges over the River Thames now provide safe crossing, interesting history and breathtaking architecture.
Maria Jakobson was inspired to write about London again while visiting a trade show at London’s Earls Court. As a travel journalist and blogger she’s lived in London, Paris and New York and currently calls home the Netherlands. You can find her over on her blog My Salad Days.