A few weeks ago we were invited to visit Tower Bridge and The Monument, two iconic landmarks in London. It had been a while since our last visit to Tower Bridge, and we’d never taken the kids to The Monument, so we were looking forward to a great day out. The weather was perfect, so we jumped on the tube and emerged at Tower Hill a little later.
Exploring Tower Bridge with kids
Tower Bridge stands close to the Tower of London and connects Tower Hamlets with Southwark. It’s a combined bascule and suspension bridge, built between 1886 and 1894. It’s actually free to cross Tower Bridge but there’s a charge to visit the twin towers, walkways and Victorian Engine Room. I knew we would get some great views over London from Tower Bridge so were excited to go up in the lift to the walkway.
You are encouraged to visit one of the walkways, come back to watch a short film, before exploring the other walkway. Each walkway contains historic photographs and information about the building of Tower Bridge. It was pretty busy when we visited but the kids loved the views across London and (one of them!) enjoyed the glass walkway.
Yes, part of the walkway has been replaced with glass which you can walk across! I didn’t fancy it myself but my 7 year old loved it. She received a sticker as a reward for being brave.
Both the children received an activity booklet too which was a nice touch. They were able to sit and do the puzzles and activities which gave us time to read the information boards and learn more about the building of Tower Bridge.
When we had explore both walkways we took another lift back to the ground floor. We were thrilled to spot a seal swimming in the Thames! Then we followed the blue line painted on the ground. We followed it down some stairs to the Victorian Engine Rooms. These were last used in the 1970s when a hydraulic system was put in place to control raising the bridge to allow river traffic to pass.
There was plenty to see and do and I enjoyed finding out more about the people who worked on the Bridge. It once employed 80 people although today only 12 people are needed to control the bridge. Sadly the bridge wasn’t opened on the day we visited (you can check online to see when it is due to open). Today it opens 20-30 times a week, but when it was first built it opened 20-30 times a day!
Our visit lasted about 90 minutes so we stopped for lunch before walking along past City Hall and HMS Belfast and over London Bridge to The Monument.
Exploring The Monument with kids
Today it’s quite hidden by the many tall buildings but we were able to surprise the children by turning right off London Bridge and it appearing before us. We didn’t tell them we were going to climb it until we were there. It’s a formidable sight and I knew my 9 year old would be reluctant when he found out there wasn’t a lift.
It’s a gorgeous building, a permanent reminder of the Great Fire of 1666. The Monument commemorates one of the most significant events in London’s history. Standing on the piazza between Fish Street Hill and Monument Street, the 202ft column was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Dr Robert Hooke, celebrating the City rising from the ashes. The Monument is a fluted doric column built of Portland Stone, topped with a golden orb
We had to wait a few minutes to enter as visitor numbers are strictly controlled. Then we started to climb the 311 spiral steps which lead up to the public viewing platform. My 7 year old sprinted up the steps but it took the rest of us a little longer. We had to let several people pass us and there really is only one way up and down!
When we got to the stop we were able to walk out on to an enclosed balcony and were rewarded with amazing views over London. My 7 year old loved it but my 9 year was exhausted and needed a lot of encouragement to walk around the balcony 🙂 It was a great experience and when we returned to ground level we were all given a certificate to mark the occasion.
After our epic climb we retired to the nearest pub for a sit down! We loved exploring new bits of London and a joint ticket with Tower Bridge and The Monument (£29.00) meant it was a great value day out.
Disclosure – thank you to Tower Bridge for gifting us a family ticket for our day out in London. Find out more about ticket prices and opening times.