Did you know that England bridges are some of the most famous in the world?
As you might expect from a nation that gave the Industrial Revolution to the world, the British love their bridges. All over the country, there are fine examples of engineering to be found, straddling rivers, estuaries, roads, railway lines and valleys. They carry cars, trains, boats and pedestrians with a sense of calm majesty, and in many cases they have become symbols of the locations in which they are sited. Here are some of the very best.
Our 11 Favorite England Bridges
1. Tower Bridge, London
Tower Bridge is the most famous England bridge, and is perhaps the most famous and recognizable bridge in the whole world. Construction began on the bridge in in 1886, but wasn’t completed until 1894. It is constructed from steel, Cornish granite and Portland stone.
Tower Bridge spans the Thames River, just across from the Tower of London and not far from the HMS Belfast museum. The two towers are over sixty meters in height, and are easily the most recognizable aspect. Click here to learn how to plan a visit to see Tower Bridge.
2. Albert Bridge, London
Albert Bridge also spans the River Thames, but connect Chelsea to Battersea. The original bridge wasn’t structurally sound, so it became known as The Trembling Lady! the version seen today was its replacement. Even so, this bridge dates back to 1887, though piers were added in 1973 to make it a beam bridge. There are 4,000 LEDs that light the bridge at night.
3. Westminster Bridge, London
Though Westminster Bridge may be eclipsed by its proximity to Big Ben and Parliament, it’s truly a landmark in and of itself. This bridge over the River Thames links Westminster and Lambeth, and offers service to both pedestrians and automobiles. The spans are green, making them look like aged copper, but it’s actually paint – and was chosen to match the color of the seats inside Parliament.
Westminster Bridge has been featured in movies such as the James Bond film Spectre and the horror film 28 Days Later, making it a popular film location in England.
4. Tyne Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne
Sited close to the location of a bridge that was built in Roman times, the Tyne Bridge connects Newcastle with Gateshead, and is a wonderful example of how the Edwardian engineers built on the foundations of Victorian construction excellence. It was opened in 1928, it was made by Dorman Long of Middlesbrough, the company that also built the stunning Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The Tyne Bridge crosses the River Tyne.
5. Gateshead Millennium Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne
Once seen, the Gateshead Millenium Bridge is hard to forget! Its unique design allows it to tilt in its entirety, to allow for passage of boats in the River Tyne, below. When not tilting, it’s a favorite for pedestrians and cyclists; no automobiles use the bridge. It opened in 2001, giving rise to its name, and was the first tilt bridge ever constructed.
6. Humber Bridge, Kingston upon Hull in East Yorkshire
Humberside is a region of eastern England that used to be part of Yorkshire, and the bridge that shares its name is a miracle of more modern engineering, having been officially opened only in 1981. The single span suspension bridge is more than 2,200 meters in length, making it one of the largest of its kind in the world. Driving across this spectacular landmark incurs a toll, but it’s worth paying just for the experience.
7. Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol
Perhaps the greatest testament to the skills of the legendary Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who died in 1859, it that many of his finest works are still standing, and the Clifton Suspension Bridge is one of the very best. His design wasn’t opened until after his death, but it remains a true reflection of his wonderful vision. The bridge spans the Avon Gorge, and is more than 400 meters in total length. It spans the Avon Gorge.
8. The Bridge of Sighs, Cambridge
The romantic Bridge of Sighs is one of the most beloved tourist attractions in Cambridge. This bridge across the River Cam is only open to pedestrians, and has been since its construction in 1831. It shares its name with a famous bridge in Venice. Due to its historical nature, the Bridge of Sighs is a Grade 1 listed building.
9. Ironbridge, Telford, Shropshire
Ironbridge in Telford is unique to our list due to its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As its name suggests, it’s an iron bridge. It spans the River Severn, and was completed in 1779. Unfortunately, its designer did not live to see its completion. Ironbridge was the first bridge in the entire world to be made of cast iron.
Unlike the photo above, the bridge is now painted bright red.
10. Pulteney Bridge, Bath, Somerset
The Pulteney Bridge, built in 1774, is unique for having shops along both sides of the bridge. It’s one of only three such buildings remaining in the world, though they were more common in past centuries and remain so in novels. The weir below was used as the location for Inspector Javert’s suicide in the movie version of Les Misérables, played by Russell Crowe.
It spans the River Avon in the historic town of Bath, and allows vehicular traffic.
11. Tees Transporter Bridge, Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire
Take just one look at the Tees Transporter Bridge and you may feel a bit befuddled! It is the longest transporter bridge still standing worldwide. This unique type of bridge features a gondola that moves from one side of the waterway (the River Tees in this case) to the other. The gondola carries a section of the road from side to side.
The Tees Transporter gondola can carry 200 people, 9 cars, or 6 cars plus one minibus.
The bridge was built in 1910 and 1911 and replaced a ferry service in previous use.
The Tees Transporter Bridge is temporarily closed due to needed repairs.
Bonus #1: Menai Suspension Bridge (Wales)
Completed in 1826, the Menai Suspension Bridge was the world’s first suspension bridge. It connects the island of Anglesey to the mainland of Wales at a length of 417 meters (1,368 feet). Prior to its construction, the only way across the strait was via boat or ferry. But the geography of the strait, with strong tides, made crossings dangerous. The bridge sought to replace that.
Bonus #2: Forth Railway Bridge (Scotland)
This bridge is actually in Scotland, but we love it too much to exclude it from a post about nearby England’s bridges!
In the UK, the expression ‘painting the Forth Bridge’ is used to describe a seemingly never-ending task, and one look at this magnificent edifice will tell you why. With two main spans of over 520 meters each, the Forth Bridge is a marvelous feat of engineering, which many considered impossible at the time the idea was first mooted. The constructed required the use of over 6.5 million rivets.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this post and have a chance to see some of these majestic England bridges in person. If you’re truly a bridge enthusiast, also check out our post about bridges in Porto, Portugal.