London offers a wealth of attractions for anyone planning a visit, but undoubtedly one of the most breathtaking experiences for those new to the English capital is a trip to Tower Bridge.
Offering panoramic views of the City of Westminster and spanning the River Thames, Tower Bridge features an award-winning exhibition showcasing the history of the structure, as well as giving a unique view of London life through its transparent walkway.
It is not just Tower Bridge that draws the crowds to this busy part of London though, as the surrounding area offers a wide variety of other great sights to see and experiences to be enjoyed. Here are just a few:
Coca-Cola London Eye
Located on the South Bank of the River Thames, the Coca-Cola London Eye officially opened in March 2000 and offers breathtaking views of the City of London, Westminster and the surrounding area.
Designed by husband and wife architect team David Marks and Julia Barfield, this iconic landmark is a symbol of modern Britain and, standing at 135 ft, it remains the world’s largest cantilevered observation wheel.
Guests can enjoy views of up to 40 km on a clear day, while the wheel can cater for up to 180 visitors and takes 30 minutes to achieve a full rotation.
Situated just a stone’s throw from Tower Bridge resides the London Design Museum – a centre devoted to showcasing the leading contemporary design ideas in all their forms, ranging from architecture to fashion, graphics to manufacturing and much more.
Open daily from 10am until 5.45pm – last admission is at 5.15pm – the museum aims to showcase the importance of great design, helping visitors to understand the impact that design choices have on every aspect of their daily lives, from the car they drive to the coffee they sip for their morning brew.
An exciting array of exhibitions take place at the museum every year, with a full calendar of events available at the Design Museum website.
Tower of London
Offering more than 1,000 years of history and intrigue, the Tower of London was erected by William the Conqueror in 1066 to keep hostile Londoners at bay and in the years following has built its place in the folklore of English heritage.
Now the home of the English Crown Jewels exhibition, the Tower continues to attract thousands of visitors of every year.
Tales of the macabre goings on and famous (sometimes infamous) residents of Tower are legendary and with expert tour guides on hand to inform guests on the vibrant past of this unique place, anyone searching for the darker side of London will not be disappointed.
Launched in 1939 by Anne Chamberlain, the wife of then British prime minister Neville Chamberlain, HMS Belfast was a Royal Navy light cruiser that played a role in blockading the northern Atlantic during the second world war and was also involved in the Korean War.
Having retired from service in 1963, HMS Belfast was saved from the boneyard and an ignominious end by the Imperial War Museum, which moored the vessel to its present home at Queen’s Walk on the River Thames.
Now open to the public, HMS Belfast offers visitors the chance to explore all of the ship’s nine decks, as well as learning more about life at sea and the many exploits of the vessel during its rich history.
The Old Operating Theatre Museum
Perhaps one of the most unusual museums in the capital, the Old Operating Theatre Museum & Herb Garret allows visitors to learn about the history of medical science, ranging from ancient Egyptian medicine to the cutting edge techniques and technologies of today’s top surgeons.
Complete with a tour of the Victorian operating theatre of the former South Wing of St Thomas’ Hospital – set in the roof space of an English Baroque Church – the museum provides an insight into the considerable advances in care and the way the perception of medicine has changed over the years.
The museum is open daily from 10.30am until 5pm and can be found at 9 St Thomas’s Street, just a short walk from Tower Bridge.
The London Bridge Experience
An interactive tour of the darker side of London’s rich history, the London Bridge Experience is both educational and entertaining, with a host of characters giving visitors the chance to learn more about London in the world’s most famous haunted bridge.
With shows running from 10.30am until 5pm on weekdays and 10am until 6pm at weekends, visitors can experience a trip back into Medieval Britain, with a full cast of players providing an immersive experience that guests will not forget.
They will come face to face with Queen Boudica, experience the terror of Jack the Ripper and pass through the chapel of Thomas Becket during their guided tour.
Great Fire of London Monument
Located at the junction of Monument Street and Fish Street Hill, Sir Christopher Wren’s flame-topped Monument to the Great Fire of 1666 is the tallest isolated stone column in the world and a fantastic sight to behold for visitors to the capital.
Open from April until September between the hours of 9.30am and 6pm, and closing slightly earlier at 5.30pm during the rest of the year, the monument commemorates the biggest fire the capital has ever seen, when the homes of as many as 80,000 people across the city were destroyed.
Having originated at the famous Pudding Lane, the fire raged for more than three days and decimated the medieval City of London inside the old Roman city wall. If you need a place to stay during your visit, Choose hotel London Hyde Park
Meanwhile, lovers of fine wines planning a journey to Tower Bridge might like to make space on their itinerary for another nearby attraction that is sure to set their tastebuds tingling.
Vinopolis is located just five minutes’ walk from nearby London Bridge and offers private and group wine tasting sessions, as well as courses to help guests learn more about what makes for a great wine and how best to match wines with foods.
Expert hosts are on hand to answer any questions visitors might have during their stay, while cocktail lovers are also well catered for with masterclasses on the delicate art of cocktail making also available.
Berry Delicious Cocktail at Shaftesbury Grand Royal
Set to close at the end of the year, wine lovers should book their tickets to this wonderful attraction while they still can.
Home to one of the world’s finest collections of art, Tate Modern offers an array of attractions for visitors to explore.
Admission to Tate Modern is free (barring some special exhibitions) and the gallery is open to the public between the hours of 10am until 6pm on Sundays to Thursdays and from 10am until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
Exhibitions can range from the latest in contemporary and abstract art to classical shows drawing on artists from the Renaissance and earlier. A fantastic cultural attraction for visitors of all ages, there is always something to pique the interest of visitors when they head to Tate Modern.
And finally, no visit to London and the iconic Tower Bridge would be complete with making time to appreciate the local architecture and the area’s outstanding history and beauty.
As such, anyone planning a visit might wish to head to the nearby Southwark Cathedral – a stunningly impressive Anglican church dating back to 1106 and a wonderful example of Medieval architecture at its finest.
In addition to the beauty of the building, visitors can enjoy regular organ recitals, concerts and other events, while guests are free to enjoy the calm and quiet solitude of the cathedral to their heart’s content.