Londinium, the city that ended up becoming London, was founded by the Romans during the first century A.D. This happened shortly after they started their conquest of Britain in the year 43 A.D.
One of the first structures that they built was a bridge crossing the River Thames, a structure that still exists in this same location today (and which you’ll discover in this list of the most famous bridges in London).
This structure became extremely important in the development of the city to the huge metropolis it is today, something that has resulted in numerous bridges being built as the city expanded. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most famous ones.
1. Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge is without a doubt one of the most iconic of all famous bridges in London. It features two interconnected Gothic towers that stand 65 meters (213 feet) tall that have become symbols of the city skyline. What’s remarkable is that the towers are made of a steel frame and clad with Cornish granite and Portland stone.
It’s often confused with London Bridge but isn’t nearly as old as that one. It was built between 1886 and 1894 and was designed in such a way to resemble the architectural style of the nearby Tower of London, one of the most famous castles in England. This is also how the bridge got its name.
2. London Bridge
Even though London Bridge looks pretty simple compared to the elaborately decorated Tower Bridge, it’s the oldest bridge in London. This means that this is the location where the Romans built their probably timber bridge so their legions could cross the River Thames.
The bridge on this location today is one of the many bridges that have been built here over the centuries (or should we say millennia). The current version is a sturdy box girder bridge that opened for traffic in the year 1973. It replaced a 19th-century stone-arched bridge that in turn replaced a 600-year-old medieval structure.
3. Westminster Bridge
Westminster Bridge is one of the most famous bridges in London because of its location. It links the City of Westminster with the western part of Lambeth and is located in the vicinity of various famous landmarks in the city, including Big Ben, the Palace of Westminster, and the London Eye, to name just a few.
The bridge is also remarkably painted green and this has a specific reason. This is the color of the seats inside the House of Commons, the primary chamber of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The reason is that the bridge is located on this side of the Houses of Parliament.
4. Millennium Bridge
As the name of the Millennium Bridge implies, it was built in honor of the new Millennium in the year 2000. This steel suspension bridge originally had a rather demeaning nickname as it was called the “Wobbly Bridge.” This was the result of some structural problems shortly after it was completed on June 10, 2000.
The result was that the bridge had to be closed to fix the problem, a project that took nearly a year and a half. This pedestrian bridge finally reopened in February of the year 2000 and there haven’t been any problems since. It links the area of the Globe Theater and Tate Modern with St. Paul’s Cathedral in Central London.
5. Lambeth Bridge
Lambeth Bridge is located on the opposite side of the Houses of Parliament, which instantly explains why it was painted red. This resembles the color of the seats of the House of Lords, the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.
The bridge links the area around Lambeth Palace and the Albert Embankment on the Lambeth side with the area around the Thames House, the Millbank Tower, and Tate Britain on the Westminster side of the bridge. The prominent landmark in the background is the Victoria Tower, a remarkable square Gothic tower on the southwestern end of the Palace of Westminster.
6. Southwark Bridge
Southwark Bridge is located in the historical heart of the city, just west of London Bridge. It links Southwark to the City of London and this arch bridge replaced a bridge constructed in the early 19th century.
The Millennium Bridge is located just to the west of this bridge which means that the iconic St. Paul’s Cathedral is just a short walking distance away on the northern side of the bridge. Because it was completed a century ago in 1921 it has received the heritage status of a Grade II listed building.
7. Albert Bridge
Albert Bridge connects the central London borough of Chelsea in the north to the northwestern tip of the huge Battersea Park in the south. What’s remarkable about this structure is that even though it looks relatively modern, it opened for traffic in the year 1873.
The original version of the bridge didn’t feature the suspension cables, though. These were added between 1884 and 1887 to provide the needed stability. Two concrete piers were added in the year 1973 as well for the same reason. The bridge features 4,000 LED Lights which make it look amazing at night.
8. Richmond Bridge
Richmond Bridge is an amazing landmark in the city because it was constructed in the 18th century, opening up for traffic in the year 1777. It’s located in the western part of the city in the London Borough Richmond Upon Thames.
Two popular tourist attractions in the area are the Royal Botanic Kew Gardens just to the north and Twickenham Stadium just a short distance to the west. The stone arch bridge carries a lot of history and has therefore been granted the status of a Grade I listed structure.
9. Hammersmith Bridge
Hammersmith Bridge is another historic suspension bridge that is located just west of the city center. It links the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham in the north to the district of Barnes in the London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames in the south.
The first bridge on this location was completed between 1825 and 1827 but ended up being replaced by the current structure between 1884 and 1887. The first bridge was remarkably the first-ever suspension bridge to cross the River Thames and had a pretty similar design to the bridge you can see today.
10. Blackfriars Bridge
Blackfriars Bridge is located in the heart of London, just west of the Millennium Bridge. The northern end of the bridge is located near the Blackfriars railway station, one of the most important train stations in central London that also has a connection to the London Underground.
The southern end of the bridge is just walking distance west of the Tate Modern Art Gallery and the prominent Oxo Tower isn’t too far away as well. The original bridge on this location dates back to the year 1769 and was replaced by the current version which was completed exactly 100 years later in 1869.
11. Chelsea Bridge
Chelsea Bridge connects Chelsea on the north with the utmost northeastern tip of Battersea Park in the south. It was completed in 1937 and was a fascinating structure at the time as it was the first self-anchored suspension bridge in Britain upon completion.
There was an older version of the bridge on this location, though, which was referred to as the “Victoria Bridge.” This was a toll bridge that was completed in the year 1858. The “Old Chelsea Bridge” didn’t get its current name until the bridge you can see today was completed in 1937.
12. Waterloo Bridge
Waterloo Bridge was named after the Battle of Waterloo, a battle fought between a British-led colation against the French army of Napoleon Bonaparte. This marked his final defeat and eventual exile. It’s located in a bend of the River Thames in between the City of Westminster and the City of London.
The first bridge on this location was completed shortly after the Battle of Waterloo in 1817 and the bridge you can see today opened for traffic in 1942. Because of its strategic location, it offers amazing views of all the most famous landmarks in London and Westminster.
13. Putney Bridge
Putney Bridge is another famous bridge in London that is located in the western part of the city. It connects the district of Putney in the south to the district of Fulham in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham in the north.
What makes this bridge so intriguing is that each end is the location of a medieval church. You can find St Mary’s Church in Putney on the southern end and All Saints Church in Fulham on the northern end. This also means that the bridge itself has an extended history as the first bridge opened way back in 1729. The current version of the bridge opened for traffic in 1886.
14. Vauxhall Bridge
Vauxhall Bridge is located just south of the City of Westminster and connects the district of Vauxhall on the south bank of the River Thames with the Pimlico area on the northern bank. The original bridge on this location was known as “Regent Bridge” and opened in 1816. It was eventually replaced by the current bridge in 1906.
The bridge has a remarkable background featuring a large number of peculiar-looking apartment buildings. One of the most important government buildings in the United Kingdom is located just nearby namely the “SIS Building.” This serves as the headquarters of the Secret Intelligence Service.
15. Battersea Bridge
Battersea Bridge connects the Battersea District of London in the south with the Chelsea district to the north. The first Battersea Bridge served as a toll bridge and was completed in the year 1771. This wasn’t a success because multiple ships crashed into its piers over the decades.
The old bridge was also remarkable for being the final wooden bridge crossing the River Thames. This means that since the Romans built the original version of London Bridge, wooden bridges have crossed the river until the year 1885. This historic wooden structure was finally replaced with the bridge you can see today which opened for traffic in 1890.