Where to go & what to see
Waterloo Bridge: Number 1
You are at Waterloo Bridge; the view is excellent, and perhaps wondering what now? The Six Bridges tour will show you some of the historical monuments nearby, the best places to take photos for Instagram, TikTok, Facebook (if people still use that these days) and many more.
Visiting London is always excellent, and you will have plenty of opportunities to show off all the amazing pictures you took. This walking tour provides you with hidden spots to elevate your Instagram feed to the 'influencer' level.
The Starting Point - York Watergate:
We start the walking tour at the York Watergate, located in the beautiful Embankment Gardens with its abundance of flowers and trees. This forgotten monument is a lovely place to start your photoshoot and will provide some great subject matter. The ‘Gate’ was used as a ceremonial landing stage on the river in 1626, when the river was much wider at this point. Due to the redesign and reconstruction of the Thames Embankment, the land was 'reclaimed', and the gate became redundant.
Proceed to Carting Lane to see one of London's last remaining working gas lights. Before electricity became "mainstream", the lamps of London were gas-powered, often using methane from London’s sewers. When electricity became 'the norm', gas lights became obsolete; however, a few still stand today, and one is in Carting Lane. The lamp is surrounded by old fashioned elegant buildings, providing an 'olde-worlde' backdrop to your pictures. When the light glows blue, you know the sewer gas is working well.
Crossing your first bridge
The structure is extremely popular, with photographers offering plenty of instagramable opportunities. Great views from St Paul's Cathedral, the London Eye and Big Ben can be seen. The location provides an extra boost to finesse your photos and guarantees plenty of Instagram and Facebook likes!
Did you know that MP Herbert Morrison opened Waterloo Bridge in December 1945? It is nicknamed "The Ladies Bridge" due to the largely female workforce who helped construct it. After the Second World war, there was a great demand for workers and women were offered the opportunity to participate due to a scarcity in the male workforce. The historian Chris Hall recently discovered hidden photographs of a large number of women who built the bridge.
It was also the only crossing damaged by an enemy bomb, which got hit on the 10th of May 1941.
Lots of movies have been shot at this location; here are some of them below:
The Bourne Ultimatum
Waterloo Bridge (1940)
Blackfriars Bridge: Number 2
It is time to check out the Blackfriars Bridge, a crossing with a fascinating history and where there was once a famous monastery nearby. The monastery was located on the riverside, where it was an influential institution between 1221 and 1538. Government councils used its halls where the 'black parliament' met before the Wars of the Roses. The group was disbanded in the 16th century, and the whole area became a residential district during the 17th century. An earlier Blackfriars Bridge dating from the 1760s was replaced by another crossing built until 1869. The replacement of the first structure was needed after the Gordon Riots of the 1780s when the toll booths were attacked and destroyed.
Lots of movies have been shot near the bridge - here are just a few of them:
Mission Impossible: Fallout
The bridge is featured in the TV series "Killing Eve".
Don’t forget to take a picture with Queen Victoria on the Embankment end. She was the Head of State of the United Kingdom and Empress of her dominions for 63 years - one of the longest-reigning monarchs. Located in Blackfriars Road, the statue is made of bronze, where tourists can see her with a crown, orb and a sceptre.
Near the Bridge is the road to the famous Smithfield Market. The ‘modern’ version opened in 1868, but previous versions have been around for more than 1000 years. The location was London’s biggest meat market and has taken a prominent part in the city’s history, including the execution site of William Wallace (Braveheart) and Watt Tyler’s place of assassination. It is also the site of Londons biggest plague pit.
Proceed to the next point of interest and find The Blackfriars Pub, one of the oldest pubs in London. It is a beautiful building originally built in 1875 and was remodelled by the architect Herbert Fuller-Clark in 1905. The site is a trendy place in London and boasts an exquisite interior designed by Fredrick T. Callcott and Henry Poole. Don’t miss out on having a pint in there as part of your itinerary.
Millennium Bridge: Number 3
Proceed to the Millennium Bridge
This one has an interesting history - the river's newest crossing has a chequered past. It was officially opened twice, in June 2000 and then in February 2002 and is known locally as the Wobbly bridge. This suspension bridge links Bankside and the City of London and is the first one built in the last hundred years. It was unusual because it did not require a local act of Parliament like all the others. The construction has two river piers with a total length of 325 metres. When walking across (toward the Tate Gallery) turn around and you will notice the dome of St Paul's Cathedral; (it was designed for this purpose). It became famous for its wobbling and was christened 'The Wobbly Bridge'. Shortly after its original opening, users noticed significant movement, which led to it being closed for almost two years to fix the problem.
Several movies have showcased this crossing, here are some of them:
The Guardians of the Galaxy
Run Fat Boy Run
Southwark Bridge: Number 4
Proceed along the Southbank to the Southwark Bridge, the least used structure on this list. You will pass several iconic buildings, including the Tate and Shakespeare's Globe theatre (or at least a replica). It is a great place to enjoy the serenity, the spectacle it can provide without the distractions of noisy traffic.
The current Southwark Bridge is the second crossing of the same name. This structure was famous for having the longest cast iron span globally, 73m in length.
It was opened in 1819; at the time, the media saw the bridge’s design as 'stupendous' and 'fairylike'. Despite some great early PR, it was an 'epic fail'. During its construction, 50 people died, and in February 1985, part of the bridge exploded. This news spread like wildfire, and the Australian press stated that the whole bridge exploded and not just a little bit of it.
On the Bankside, travellers will see bollards; these structures were initially French cannons from the Battle of Trafalgar. The location cuts through the original site of the Globe.
This crossing has been in multiple movies, the list below is a few that has showcased Southwark Bridge:
Bridget Jone’s Baby
National Treasure: Book of Secrets
London Bridge: Number 5
Walk on to the London Bridge, the structure often confused as the Tower Bridge(even by those living locally). Like the previous crossing, there have been several structures of the same name, which can be traced back to the time of the Romans. The 'old' structure was sold to Robert P. McCulloch and rebuilt in Arizona to boost the area’s tourism business. As you walk to the next destination, you will see the Monument. It commemorates the Great Fire of London, which burnt down 436 acres of land and made 80,000 people homeless. The upside was that it killed the millions of rats (and their habitat) and helped stop the Great Plague. Walk across the bridge; you will notice the tallest building in London, the Shard - take a picture with one of the city’s impressive buildings in the background.
After crossing the structure, there are popular sites nearby, you can visit the wonderful Borough Market, which contains cuisine from all over the world. You can visit the Golden Hinde, a replica of the ship owned by the famous Sir Frances Drake. He was responsible for defeating the Spanish Armada and was the first Englishman to circumnavigate the world.
Tower Bridge: Number 6
Proceed to Tower Bridge, the most famous crossing on the Thames. Designed by Sir Horace Jones, it required an Act of Parliament that was passed in 1885 to allow the building to start. The Prince and Princess of Wales officially opened it on the 30th of June 1984.
During your walk to Tower Bridge, you will see the famous HMS Belfast, a World War Two veteran. Continue walking, and you will see the oddly shaped building designed by Norman Foster called the City Hall. The Greater London Authority headquarters consists of the Mayor of London and the London Assembly. The green space in front of that building is a great place to take pictures as the Tower Bridge can be seen in the background, and it is not as busy, with less chance of getting ‘photo bombed’.Across the structure is the Tower of London, known for holding various prisoners over the years. The Kray Twins (who ruled East London's organised crime), Anne Boleyn ( the second wife of King Henry VIII), Rudolph Hess (Hitler’s armaments minister) and Guy Fawkes (who plotted to blow up Parliament) were all there. Several movies have showcased the Tower Bridge; here are some of them:
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
London Has Fallen
Independence Day: Resurgence
That, in conclusion, are just a few of the sights and sounds on the famous walk over and around London’s most famous bridges. You can do the walk yourself or take one of our guided walks. Get in touch, and we will organise one for you.
Interested on going on the Six Bridges Walk? Click here.