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.
Tower Bridge, London
Perhaps the most famous and recognizable bridge in the whole world, this beautiful landmark crosses the River Thames in the eastern part of the city, close to the famous Tower of London. Opened in 1894, it was constructed from steel, Cornish granite and Portland stone, the familiar two towers are over sixty meters in height.
Tyne Bridge, Newcastle
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.
Forth Railway Bridge
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.
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.
Clifton Suspension Bridge
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.