Everything you Need to Know About the Bridges of London

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Bridges in London are essential to the functioning of the city, not only with the residents and holiday-makers who are able to easily walk and cycle between the different areas, but also in terms of the ships and boats that are able to enter the city from the sea because of them. There are a wealth of bridges which cross the River Thames, but these are the best ones and and this is everything you need to know about them so you can do a water-based tour of the city next time you book a London Hotel Package.

Tower Bridge

Year built: 1894

Interesting fact: Tower Bridge is the iconic suspension bridge which people are often thinking about when they refer to “London Bridge”. The two are often confused because Tower Bridge is arguably the most beautiful bridge of the two, but London Bridge is the famous name which most people know.

Connects: Tower Hamlets (North Bank) and Southwark (South Bank)

Nearby restaurant: Coppa Club, 3 Three Quays Walk, Lower Thames Street, London EC3R 6AH

London Bridge

Year built: 50 AD

Interesting fact: In 1968, entrepreneur Robert P. McCulloch of McCulloch Oil bought London Bridge and moved it piece by piece to Arizona. It is a common joke for people to make that he had thought he was buying Tower Bridge, but got the names jumbled up. This isn’t true, but it still remains quite a popular mis-fact for people to share. It was rebuilt in 1983.

Connects: Monument (North Bank) and Southwark (South Bank)

Nearby restaurant: Padella, Borough Market, 6 Southwark Street, London SE1 1TQ

Cannon Street Railway Bridge

Year built: 1866

Interesting fact: The piers of Cannon Street Railway Bridge are made from roughly 2,500 tons of cast iron, and weighs up to 4,200 tons.

Connects: Cannon Street (North Bank) and Southwark (South Bank)

Nearby restaurant: The Banker, Cousin Lane, London EC4R 3TE

Southwark Bridge

Year built: 1921

Interesting fact: Though Southwark Bridge was built in 1921, that was not the first time a bridge was in that spot. Before that, there was another bridge on this site which had been there since 1819.

Connects: Queen Street (North Bank) and Bankside (South Bank)

Nearby restaurant: Swan, Shakespeare’s Globe, 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London SE1 9DT

Millenium Bridge

Year built: 2002

Interesting fact: Harry Potter fans will recognise Millenium Bridge as the one utterly destroyed by Death Eaters in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Anyone who has been to London will know, however, that this was done entirely on the computer – the bridge stands proudly over the Thames today, ready for your visit.

Connects: Queenhithe (North Bank) and Bankside (South Bank)

Nearby restaurant: Northbank, Millennium Bridge, 1 Paul’s Walk, London EC4V 3QH

Blackfriars Bridge

Year built: 1769

Interesting fact: Blackfriars Bridge is decorated by stone bird carvings. They were carved by sculptor John Birnie Philip. On the East side, the carvings depict nautical life and seabirds and on the West side the carvings are of freshwater birds. These aim to symbolise the fact that Blackfriars is a tidal turning point.

Connects: Blackfriars (North Bank) and Southwark (South Bank)

Nearby restaurant: Art Yard Bar & Kitchen, 2 Blackfriars Rd, South Bank, London SE1 9JU

Waterloo Bridge

Year built: 1945

Interesting fact: Most people are familiar with the Napoleonic Battle of Waterloo, and Waterloo Bridge was named as such to commemorate the victory of the British, Dutch and Prussians.

Connects: Westminster (North Bank) and South Bank (South Bank)

Nearby restaurant: Spring, Somerset House, Lancaster Place, London WC2R 1LA

Westminster Bridge

Year built: 1750

Interesting fact: In 1968, Rennie’s New London Bridge was removed, making Westminster Bridge the oldest bridge that crosses the River Thames in Central London.

Connects: Westminster (North Bank) and South Bank (South Bank)

Nearby restaurant: Sagamiya, County Hall, Belvedere Road, Lambeth, London SE1 7GP

Lambeth Bridge

Year built: 1932

Interesting fact: There was a bit of palava involved with first building the Lambeth Bridge. It took acts being passed and bills presented before the Lambeth Bridge Act solidified its construction – at the whopping (for the time) cost of £48,924.

Nearby restaurant: The Garden Cafe, 5 Lambeth Palace Road, Lambeth, London SE1 7LB

Vauxhall Bridge

Year built: 1906

Interesting fact: Vauxhall Bridge was the first bridge in London to carry trams.

Connects: Pimlico (North Bank) and Vauxhall (South Bank)

Nearby restaurant: Waterfront London Vauxhall Restaurant, 3 St George Wharf, Vauxhall, London SW8 2LE

Chelsea Bridge

Year built: 1937

Interesting fact: The first Chelsea Bridge was actually called Victoria Bridge and was built in 1857. Then, in 1937, Chelsea Bridge replaced it.

Connects: Chelsea (North Bank) and Battersea (South Bank)

Nearby restaurant: Cinnamon Kitchen Battersea, 4 Arches Lane, Nine Elms, London SW11 8AB

Putney Bridge

Year built: 1886

Interesting fact: Putney Bridge was once Fulham Bridge, the second bridge to be built over the Thames (with the first being London Bridge) in 1729, and was very busy in its heyday. At the time, it was a toll bridge, which meant it had a high income of around £1500 per year (the equivalent of £130 000 in modern times). However, during the years 1739, 1788-89 and 1813-14, people didn’t have to pay, because London was so freezing cold that the Thames froze over and they were able to walk across instead of using the bridge!

Connects: Fulham (North Bank) and Putney (South Bank)

Nearby restaurant: Putney Pies, 2 Putney High Street, Putney, London SW15 1SL

Kingston Bridge

Year built: 1828 

Interesting fact: In modern times, given the popularity of the South West as a zone for commuters to Central London to live, approximately 50,000 vehicles cross the bridge every day, with 2000 vehicles crossing per hour in both directions during peak hours.

Connects: Hampton Wick (North Bank) and Kingston upon Thames (South Bank)

Nearby restaurant: Côte Brasserie, 6 Riverside Walk, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 1QN

So next time you are staying in one of the The Montcalm properties, why not head to the nearest bridge – which is probably London or Tower Bridge if you are staying in Montcalm Shoreditch. Whichever you choose to village, each is steeped in history, near somewhere with a cracking view of it, and really interesting in one way or another.

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