Firstly, let’s not get confused, Tower Bridge is the one next to the Tower of London whilst London Bridge is the neighbouring upriver crossing which joins Monument and Southwark Cathedral.
This is the most famous bridge in the world and the most photographed and many visitors consider it an essential visit.
If your hotel is in the West End or further west in Kensington then you will probably take the tube and travel to Tower Hill station. Exit the station right and head down the western perimeter of the Tower of London for magnificent views. The walking time is about ten minutes maximum. There are food vendors on the way there where you sample British fish and chips or pies, or simply have a coffee whilst admiring the historic Tower of London. It's clearly a good idea to visit both attractions at the same time before leaving the area.
Travel to London Bridge can also be combined with a trip on the river. The Thames Clipper service can be boarded upriver at the Houses of Parliament and sails all the way down to London Bridge. A great 30 minute photo opportunity with lots to see including the London Eye.
Tower Bridge was opened on June 30, 1894 by the Prince of Wales after many years of debate and planning and coving more than 50 proposals. The purpose was to alleviate the traffic crossing more upriver at London Bridge. The London docks were expanding quickly and a crossing was desperately needed closer to them.
Looking downriver to Tower Bridge and the London Shard
The two towers were built first using 70,000 tons of concrete, followed by a framework made out of 11000 tons of steel. The whole structure was clad in stone and granite to enable it to blend in the Tower of London. The bridge had to open to allow ships to pass through and at the time this was the largest bascule type (opening) bridge in the world. It is 244 metres in length and over 65 metres high. The central bridge section which elevates to allow ships to pass is 61 metres in length.
The central opening section was originally powered by compressed water and steam pumps but this has new been replaced by an electro hydraulic system in 1974.
Originally it had high level pedestrian walkways but these were closed down in 1910 due to lack of use. Nowadays you can experience these during one of the organised tours of the bridge.
It's well worth while visiting the Tower Bridge exhibition where can see the walkways and the original Victorian Engine Rooms. There a interactive displays where you can relive the history of the bridge.
Tower Bridge with HMS Belfast and City Hall on the right
Hotels near to Tower Bridge
If you are wanting to book a hotel near to London Bridge then there are many to choose from as this is an area of the City of London, the Financial District. As the hotels cater mainly for business travellers, the majority are high end 4 and 5 star categories but deals can be had at the weekend when they are quieter. Also in this area you can visit the many Indian restaurants of Brick Lane, the art galleries of Shoreditch and the Bank of England.
The closest accommodation is the Tower Hotel, this is on the north bank at St Katherines Dock, right next to the bridge and offers stunning views across the river. Contemporary and spacious, this Guoman 4-Star hotel enjoys lots of natural daylight. All its bedrooms, suites, restaurants and bars offer views of the Thames, Tower Bridge or St Katharine Docks.
View of Tower Bridge from the Tower Hotel bedrooms
Do not just look for your accommodation of the north side of the bridge. The south side has cheaper but still good hotel and apartment options. On the Borough side, you can also visit HMS Belfast, Southwark Cathedral, Hays Galleria, the Golden Hinde and last but not least the ever so popular Borough Market. This is also the location of the Shard so you can ascend to its 72nd floor to view the London Skyline.
On the south side, the closest accommodation to Tower Bridge are the Think Tower Bridge Apartments. These serviced apartments are set within four buildings that have been refurbished to offer contemporary style within 19th century warehouses. Offering home comforts including cable TV and complimentary Wi-Fi, apartments at Think Tower Bridge have a separate living area, bedroom area and fully equipped kitchen. The serviced apartments can be rented for one night or for as long as a year.
The Think Apartments Tower Bridge - rent from one night to one year
For more accommodation options near to Tower Bridge see our interactive hotel map