Tower Bridge

Top choice bridge in The City

One of London's most recognisable sights, familiar from dozens of movies, Tower Bridge doesn’t disappoint in real life. Its neo-Gothic towers and sky-blue suspension struts add extraordinary elegance to what is a supremely functional structure. London was a thriving port in 1894 when it was built as a much-needed crossing point in the east, equipped with a then-revolutionary steam-driven bascule (counterbalance) mechanism that could raise the roadway to make way for oncoming ships in just three minutes.

A lift leads up from the northern tower to the Tower Bridge Exhibition, where the story of building the bridge is recounted. Tower Bridge was designed by architect Horace Jones, who was also responsible for Smithfield and Leadenhall markets, and completed by engineer John Wolfe Barry.

The bridge is still operational, although these days it's electrically powered and rises mainly for pleasure craft. It does so around 1000 times a year and as often as 10 times a day in summer; check the Exhibition website for times to see it in action.