on April 3, 2007
Tower Bridge is possibly the most photographed and painted bridge in the world. It was built in 1894 and took 8 years to construct. It spans the Thames and from its high level walkways (140 feet above the river) you can enjoy panoramic views. We didn't go up there on this visit, but were content just to admire the view of the bridge from Butlers Wharf. You get the best views from either side of the river, if you go down the steps at the side of the bridge and walk along the riverside a little way.The bridge goes up when the commercial need arises. It is the only Thames bridge which can be raised. It is 60 metres long and the middle section raises to allow large vessels to pass through. Massive engines raise the bridge sections in just over a minute. It used to be raised 50 times a day, nowadays it is raised 4-5 times a week. Unfortunately I have never been there when the bridge went up.Tower Bridge is impressive any time, but at night it is really spectacular as it is lit up. This makes for a really great photo opportunity.After we had admired Tower Bridge, we strolled along the banks of the Thames and went past the Tower of London. We didn't go in this time - not really suitable or fun for a 3 year old - but it is an interesting place to visit with years of history and you can see the Crown Jewels. There were crowds of tourists outside the Tower - not sure how busy it was inside. We saw two Beefeaters - or Yeomen Warders to give them their full titles - outside the Tower. They were really friendly and quite happy to pose for photos with a number of foreign tourists.The closest tube stop to Tower Bridge and the Tower of London is Tower Embankment - this is also a stop for the Docklands Light Railway. We got the number 15 bus from here which took us back to the West End. It is a fun journey, travelling in a red London double decker bus past St Paul's Cathedral, down Fleet Street and finally to the West End where you get a great view of Trafalgar Square and the lions. The journey from Tower Bridge to Regent Street takes about half an hour - try and sit on the top deck for the best views.
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