Tower Bridge – Review for families

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What is it?

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It’s the best and only way to experience what is perhaps the most iconic and famous bridge in the whole world, London’s Tower Bridge. The entrance is located on the North West tower of the bridge. The nearest tube stations are Tower Hill and London Bridge. 

Best for:

OK for:

Cost:

££ – It’s £9 for an adult, £3.90 for a child and free for Under 5’s.

What’s on offer

The Tower Bridge Exhibition offers guests the opportunity to explore the eponymous bridge inside and out. As an iconic symbol of Britain, it’s bound to be a popular attraction.

Visitors first watch an animated video detailing the Tower’s history, followed by the opportunity to stroll along the walkways and take in the gorgeous panoramic views of the capital, a massive 42m above the River Thames. The rest of the exhibit includes a photography gallery, a short video about the bridge’s construction and a swinging new exhibit called ‘The Sixties’, which allows visitors to get a feel for Britain during the 1960s.

Finally, visitors are permitted to explore the Victorian Engine Rooms, where the Bascules of the Bridge were once opened and closed. There’s a virtual display showing what this would really be like. There’s no free guided tour on offer here, but you should find staff members around the bridge, ready to offer help and lay some knowledge on you.

Children are catered for through the creation of a free explorer pack called the Guy Fox Explore Kit.  It’s got some maps, a few puzzles, some colouring-in pages and a cartoon fox who tells your child all about their surroundings and provides some mild historical knowledge in a quirky font. You can download it online to bring with you to the exhibit, if you wish. Youngsters can also ‘ask the techies’ behind the functioning bridge questions at selected times during the school holidays. Check the website for more information on dates and times.

Facilities- wise, there is an accessible lift which ascends to the main exhibit, which will be useful for mums with small children and buggies. There’s an accessible toilet on level 2 and wait for it… there’s a gift shop upon your exit.

Highlights

There are quite a few videos and virtual timeline of the bridge being built. This is petty useful for keeping little ones engaged and interested in what’s going on. The videos at various points throughout the visit will also help to re-focus their attention if they get a bit bored in-between.

Walking around without a guide at your own leisure is very relaxed and exploring the Engine Room is just as interesting as the bridge itself.

Views of London from the bridge are pretty good, as the bridge is quite high. Of course, the bridge is really iconic in it’s look and it’s structure. It’s a beautiful landmark. Don’t forget to take photos; there are a lot of great photo opportunities here.  Make sure you keep an eye out for the open windows, where you can take pictures without any glare from the glass.

What to watch out for

If you don’t take the lift up to the exhibit, prepare yourself and your children for a hike up some stairs. If you or your child has difficulty walking, maybe wait for the lift instead.

It gets hot during a busy or sunny day, especially in the summer months. Bring a bottle of water or a fan to keep the family cool. This might not be the ideal place for children who are very sensitive to the heat.

It’s a little bit expensive for what you get. You might want to think about purchasing a combination ticket like the London Pass, which allows you to visit numerous attractions as part of the ticket price. If you’re visiting lots of attractions in the space of a few days, it might save you so money.

The view here is good, but it’s still rivalled by the Tate Modern balcony and the London Eye. There’s a reason the Eye is so busy, you know.

MFM tips:

– The website offers a Tower Bridge trip combined with a trip to the near by Monument, which was a tribute to the Great Fire of London. This could save you some money and help you make a full day out of your visit. Visit the website for details.

– If your little ones want to learn more about London’s bridges, the London Bridge Experience & London Tombs might be up your street.

– Some TripAdvisor users say getting to the bridge by river cruise makes the experience even more exciting.

– Plan for no more than an hour and a half here.

What the owners say

“An iconic London landmark and one of Britain’s best loved historic sites, Tower Bridge is open to the public 363 days a year. Within the Bridge’s iconic structure and magnificent Victorian Engine rooms, the Tower Bridge Exhibition is the best way of exploring the most famous bridge in the world!”

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Visit the official Tower Bridge website

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