Random: Tower Bridge opening at night

July 11, 2010 at 9:46 pm | Posted in General, London, Out and About, photos, Tourism, Travel, UK | Leave a comment
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I’d always thought that I would need to check the Tower Bridge opening times website in order to see the bridge’s arms open but by sheer random luck I was walking home and saw it happening the other night.

So here are a couple pictures:

Tower Bridge opening at night

Tower Bridge opening at night

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Thames Festival 2009

September 21, 2009 at 7:59 pm | Posted in General, London, Out and About, Tourism, Travel, UK | Leave a comment
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If you were visiting the Southbank of the River Thames over 12 – 13 September you may have been struck by the massive crowds that were wandering around for the annual Lord Mayor’s Thames Festival. Perfect blue skies and warm weather no doubt bolstered the numbers when I visited on Saturday. Sadly, I’d forgotten my camera so I’ll have to rely on my writing skills to paint a vivid picture.

Mmm that could pose a problem.

From Tower Bridge to Westminster Bridge there were numerous stalls with food, drink and random knick knacks etc for the discerning buyer, I mean tourist, to purchase. For the most part the food was quite diverse with Ethopian dishes alongside German sausage and strawberries and cream. Most stalls or variants thereof, were duplicated along the stretch of the walk.

Other than eating and more eating what was there to do? Not a lot during the day and even the eating wasn’t much of a draw.

On the Tower Bridge side there were some exhibits covering the environment, health and well-being of the river as well as a Korean display (cooking when we went past). Southwark bridge offered a unique eating experience – if you could push your way through the crowds – with the opportunity to eat on communal tables lining the bridge.

One particularly interesting event was the Flood Tide musical act, where sensors in the river were translated into notations for the assembled musicians and singers to perform. Quite chill and relaxing.

Night time may have offered a wider range of events with fire gardens, fireworks and parades but throughout the day it was a nice enough walk. That is as long as you’re ok with crowds and don’t suffer pedestrian rage. Just be prepared to take a few hours to get from A to B.

Will I go next year? Probably not but I may try and watch some of the evening events.

Tower Bridge

January 24, 2008 at 10:30 am | Posted in General, London, Out and About, photos, Tourism, Travel, UK | Leave a comment
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London’s Tower Bridge is not just another bridge but fits within the ever growing list of bridge based tourist attractions. Unlike many other cities (like Sydney) London will soon be home to its second bridge attraction. I know! Who knew that a means of transit could produce such a niche industry.

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What does the exhibit offer and is it worth the £6 entry fee? The short answer is a bit and maybe.

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The slightly longer answer is 2 brief videos of the history of the bridge, entry to an old (working) engine room, oh and access to the walkways between the towers overlooking the city.

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Honestly, I’d never really thought about the age of the tower and as its architecture blends with the nearby Tower of London I had assumed they were of a similiar period and it had simply been upgraded. I wouldn’t say I was surprised that it had been constructed in 1894 rather it was more of an ‘oh that makes sense’ moment.

Clearly, the designer’s intent of matching the surrounding area worked well. At least on this oblivious idiot. Although in my defence I don’t remember any pictures or videos with the bridge being raised plus it was only the towers themselves I’d thought of as old not the entire construction.

The engine room, which is outside of the towers is interesting for your inner engineer. Personally, whenever I saw the diagrams of the piston and gear movements I was having flashbacks to any number of intelligence and personality quizzes. If big machinery isn’t your thing you can skip this section but after paying your entry fee you might as well get your money’s worth.

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The walkways feature sliding windows so you can take unobstructed pictures.

Down to Canary Wharf on one side.
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Towards Westminster on ther other.
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I was there in the early evening (in winter it looks a lot later) but the Tower’s are relatively low and their obvious position over the river means that the Thames at night will impact on cityscape style photos. Daylight would obviously rectify this problem but I am happy to have gone when I did as I have plenty of photos of the city skyline and this was an opportunity to see it at night.

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I prefer the views up to Westminster as there was more to see on either bank and across the river with London Bridge, St Paul’s and HMS Belfast to name a few.

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For the views and a little bit of history (as well as alternative designs) the cost at this London attraction is reasonable and if you’re not planning any other high rise sightseeing worth the visit.

I should also apologise for the blur in these photos. My camera is not good with night shots and any kind of movement. Might be time to upgrade…

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