Tower Bridge

Opening Tower Bridge and Bridge lift information

The unique selling point of Topsail’s Thames Cruises has to be the spectacular opening of Tower Bridge for you to sail through. So we thought we’d dedicate a few pages to information about Tower Bridge, including links to Tower Bridge lift times and as some background information on the history of the famous bridge and the River Thames.

History of Tower Bridge

Open Tower Bridge with Topsail Events

Without a doubt one of the highlights of a Thames Cruise on a Thames Sailing Barge is the opening of Tower Bridge. In fact only a handful of vessels on the Thames have this unique selling point

Discover a different Tower Bridge experience sailing underneath its raised bascules!

If you are looking for a sightseeing tour of London with a difference check out our new ticketed sightseeing Thames cruises in collaboration with British fine food specialist Forman and Field celebrating the best of British Food and heritage. Contact us for available dates.

How does Tower Bridge Open?

Bridge lifts are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to any vessel with a mast over 30ft (9m) that wishes to enter or leave the Upper Pool of London. There are only a few passenger vessels on the Thames that can guarantee the bridge lift and they include all the Thames Sailing Barges and the largest river cruiser Dixie Queen.

As the vessel approaches the bridge, the bascules are raised by the Bridge Driver to a minimum height dependant on the type and size of the vessel. This is to reduce lifting and lowering times as much as possible and minimize disruption to traffic.

Today, the bascules are still operated by hydraulics, but since 1976 they have been driven by oil and electricity rather than steam.

Visiting Tower Bridge

The Tower Bridge museum gives you the opportunity to go inside Tower Bridge and learn the history behind this iconic London landmark through the permanent exhibition- the Tower Bridge Experience.  As one of the top attractions in London, the raising of the bridge always draws a crowd. Click the link below for the Tower Bridge lift schedule and come down to watch this amazing spectacle; you’re more than likely to see a Topsail vessel sailing through!  It is easy to get the bus to Tower Bridge from central London and the nearest tube stop is Tower Hill station which is a 2 minute walk away. Frequent train services are also available from London Bridge station.

Once you’ve visited this must-see London attraction and seen the great view from the Tower Bridge walkways why not see the view from underneath, as you sail right through the raised bascules?!

 – Tower Bridge Opening Times


Your Event in Tower Bridge

The high level walkways were initially designed for people to be able to cross when the bridge is open but were closed in 1910 due to lack of use. These walkways can be hired as venues for private parties and weddings. Topsail Events works closely with Tower Bridge to offer incredible wedding days based around the London landmark. We recommend a unique wedding ceremony venue in the high level walkways of the bridge followed by an exclusive reception cruise onboard a Sailing Barge where the bridge will be raised just for you. Just think of the incredible wedding photographs with Tower Bridge in the background!

Click here for our gallery of bridge pictures including a selection of our favorite images of Tower Bridge from recent events with Topsail.