Discover unique views and access some of the city’s most popular sights, tours and events from London's iconic bridges. They are also well-known landmarks in their own right and several London bridges now feature in the Illuminated River art installation.
How many bridges are there in London?
There are 35 bridges which cross over the river in London, so wherever you find yourself along the Thames you’re guaranteed to be close to at least one of these famous bridges!
Completed in 1894, Tower Bridge is the most iconic bridge in London. This impressive feat of engineering is 244 metres (800 ft) long, covered in 22,000 litres (5,812 gallons) of paint and crossed by 40,000 people each day.
Find out more about the bridge’s history and enjoy fantastic views from 42 metres (138 ft) above the Thames on the bridge’s walkways.
Take a look behind the scenes at the famous bridge and discover areas such as the machinery room, which houses the hydraulic system that allows the bridge to rise for river traffic.
This process hasn’t always gone smoothly, however. In 1952, the bridge started rising while one of London’s double-decker buses was still trying to cross. Its driver, Albert Gunton, avoided catastrophe by accelerating rapidly and jumping the gap.
While much more subdued in design compared to its flashier neighbour, London Bridge is arguably just as famous. The first incarnation was built by the Romans, followed later by medieval bridges with houses on top, and a stone bridge commissioned by Henry II which lasted until 1831.
An American firm called McCulloch Oil Company bought the next London Bridge for £1m in 1971 as a tourist attraction for the new Lake Havasu City in Arizona. But the story that Robert P. McCulloch thought that he was paying for the more iconic Tower Bridge is now thought to be an urban legend.
Find out more about the bridge’s history with the London Bridge experience.
The Millennium Bridge opened to the public on 10 June 2000, linking St Paul’s Cathedral on the north bank of the Thames with the Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe. The footbridge’s famous tremor has long been fixed, but “the wobbly bridge” nickname endures.
Built in 1869, Blackfriars Bridge gained notoriety in 1982 when Vatican bank chairman Robert Calvi was found dead on it. Calvi was embroiled in a series of financial scandals and was reputed to be a member of the “Propaganda Due” (or P2) Masonic lodge that embroiled the Italian government in scandal in 1981. Members of P2 referred to themselves as “Frati neri” or Black Friars.
Opened in 1945, the current Waterloo Bridge earned the nickname the “Ladies Bridge” as it was built mainly by women during World War II (while many men were away fighting). The first bridge built here in 1817 was made up of nine granite arches and commemorated the victory of the British, the Dutch and the Prussians at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.
Hungerford Bridge and Golden Jubilee Bridges
Opened in 2002, the two footbridges either side of the Hungerford Bridge were named in celebration of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Now a rail bridge, the Hungerford Bridge was also initially designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel as a footbridge. Walk straight down to the river from Trafalgar Square and you can cross the Golden Jubilee Bridges to the Southbank Centre and the London Eye.
Cross the Thames at Westminster Bridge if you want to get an iconic picture of Big Ben on the north bank, or the London Eye to the south. It’s the oldest road bridge across the Thames in central London, and was designed by engineer Thomas Page. The bridge also features details by the same architect as the Palace of Westminster, Charles Barry.
This red-and-yellow bridge designed by Sir Alexander Binnie links Pimlico on the north bank of the Thames with Vauxhall, a major south London interchange, on the south bank.
In 1851, during the construction of Chelsea Bridge, which was originally referred to as Victoria Bridge, workmen found Roman and Celtic weapons, as well as human skulls and it was thought that this might have been where Julius Caesar and his army crossed the Thames.
Albert Bridge connects Chelsea on the north bank of the Thames to Battersea on the south. It is one of only two road bridges in London never to have been replaced, but has had to be strengthened twice in order to support an increasing number of motor vehicles. Look out for the octagonal tollbooths – they're the last remaining ones in London.
Built in 1890, Battersea Bridge is the narrowest road bridge over the Thames. Before the current bridge was built, the river could be crossed at this point by the very last wooden bridge on the Thames.
The current Wandsworth Bridge was opened in 1940. To camouflage it from air raids, it was painted in shades of blue. While the bridge is one of the busiest in London, carrying more than 50,000 vehicles a day, it has been described as “probably the least noteworthy” bridge in the city.
Putney Bridge crosses the Thames between Putney and Fulham and has been the starting point for the annual Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Race since 1845.
Hammersmith Bridge, designed by Sir Joseph Bazalgette, is a key point on the Boat Race route: 80% of crews who lead here go on to win. The bridge has been dogged by concerns about its strength since it opened in 1887 and is currently closed to motor vehicles, though cyclists and pedestrians can still cross between Hammersmith and Barnes.
On 3 July 1933, Chiswick Bridge opened at 4.30pm, the first of three bridges opened that day. Twickenham then followed at 5pm and Hampton Court at 5.30pm. Chiswick Bridge is best known for being 110 metres upstream from the Boat Race finish line.
Kew Bridge takes you from the train station of the same name across the Thames to Kew Gardens. The Museum of London also holds all the objects presented to King Edward VII on the day the bridge first opened, as it was originally named King Edward VII Bridge. These include the silver mallet and trowel he used, as well as a bronze axe.
Twickenham Bridge was designed by Maxwell Ayrton, the architect of the original Wembley Stadium and a pioneer of the architectural use of concrete. It connects Twickenham and St. Margarets on the north bank of the river, and Richmond on the south bank.
Like its neighbour, Richmond Bridge also crosses the Thames between Twickenham and Richmond. Built between 1774 and 1777 as a replacement for a ferry crossing, it is now the oldest surviving Thames bridge in London.
It’s a short walk from the Kingston side of Kingston Bridge to the huge park at Hampton Wick. At the Kingston end of the bridge, a ducking stool into the Thames for “punishing nagging wives” was recorded as being in use until 1745.