Sunday, June 29, 2014

Summer Blog 2014 Pt. 5 - London's Tower Bridge

Welcome back to sunny London! What? Sunny? Yeah, I know. So far the weather here has been incredible. Much cooler than last summer (thankfully) but still partly to mostly sunny on most days. It's rained a few times but usually over night. Since getting back from Prague it's been perfect sightseeing weather and we've been making the most of it.

A couple days after I got back Alicia and I packed up Alex and headed out to tour the Tower Bridge, one of the most beautiful and intricate bridges in London. Sometimes confused by tourists as "London Bridge" (which you'd actually have to go to Lake Havasu, Arizona to see the old one), the Tower Bridge is located next to the Tower of London and was completed in 1894. To see more about the history and information on visiting the Tower Bridge click here.

We had an awesome time during our tour. It was something I'd been wanting to do for awhile but never  made it last summer, so it was top of the list this summer and one of the first things we did when I got back from Prague. The day started with a walk across London Bridge and down to the river side for a sandwich and latte and to run Alex around in the park before putting him back in the pram. Then we headed up on to the bridge. You enter the exhibition from the north tower. Since we were two adults and one kid we got the "family" price, which was pretty sweet. And the tour is great if you have kids in strollers or a family member in a wheel chair, there are lifts to go up the north tower and down the south tower, and then there's another lift to get you down to the engine room. The staff is very friendly and accommodating for people who need the lifts (which I have to say is how it was last summer at all the museums, palaces, and St. Paul's Cathedral that we visited with Alex in his pram).

Once we walked across both walkways and then headed down to the engine room we finished with another run around in the park before walking home. All in all it was a fun afternoon and I highly recommend visiting the bridge if you're in London. It really wasn't that busy, which was surprising for such a nice day during tourist season. I took a ton of photos which I've included below to show you a bit of what it's like.

Enjoy!

View from the park.


Which was pretty busy with lots of Londoners and tourists enjoying lunch and a bit of sun.


From inside the lobby, with views of the City.


Entering the East Walkway.


Looking out to Canary Wharf in the distance.
Looking across to the West Walkway with the Shard peeking over the top.










On the East Walkway they have pictures and information on other famous bridges around the world. Was happy to see this reminder of Prague, the Charles Bridge.
















More history about the River Thames.


TV monitors had photos of the Tower Bridge over the years, including shots from the 2012 Olympics.


Entering the East Walkway, which had a photo exhibition going on about London in the 1960s.


Looking out at the City of London with the Tower of London at the bottom right of this shot and St. Paul's Cathedral visible to the left (you can see the dome peeking above the other buildings).




A closer shot of St. Paul's Cathedral. You can also see all the cranes for all the work being done in the area. London is a city of constant change.


The large ship in the middle is the HMS Belfast, which is open for tours by the public. Also on the list of things to do this summer.






I've still been working on my Bond Girl paper for publication while here this summer. It seems I can never escape James Bond. :)




The Shard, with the London Eye peeking over the roof tops.




A guide to all the sights.




One thing that fascinates me about London is seeing the old mixed with the new. Here's the Tower of London in the foreground with the Gherkin towering behind it. 






Trying to peek down to the street level below. The bridge actually was raised at some point while we were walking across the top walkways.


When you go down the south tower make sure you look up. You'll find statues representing the workers who helped construct the bridge.



























Back on street level walking to the Engine Room.














Danger of Death. Ok, we'll be extra careful then.


The bridge is now run on oil and electricity but the public can tour the engine room to see how it used to be powered with coal and steam.



































The all important gift shop! Just kidding. Well, sort of. There gift shop is pretty great with a wide selection of both Bridge and London related items to choose from.


Back outside and in the park again.









Heading home we walked through this sweet little garden area next to the park.

Really cool 3D map of the area.

Hope you enjoyed this post! More to come soon.