The River Thames bridges are among the most loved and recognised London landmarks of all.
Some other London bridges might not be quite as beautiful, but they’re usually the vantage point for some of the best views of London.
One of the most famous bridges of London, Tower Bridge, is among the best bridges in the world.
It’s one of the great icons of London, spanning the river next to another of the great London sights, the Tower of London.
Other bridges on the Thames in London have been immortalised in song, from the ‘London Bridge is falling down’ nursery rhyme to the Kinks’ wistful ‘Waterloo Sunset’.
Our guide to the best bridges in London includes the most popular section of the river, from Westminster and London Eye to Tower Bridge.
These can easily be visited in a few hours on the Bridges of London Walk, but there are also some outstanding bridges London has hidden away in the suburbs to the west.
We’ve also included another bridge in north London, far from the Thames, which has one of the best panoramas of London you could hope to find.
So settle back and enjoy our guide to the best of the bridges of London.
READ ALSO: 50 Famous Buildings in London to Visit
- 1 Bridges in London – Our Top 4
- 2 17 Bridges in London
- 2.1 1. Tower Bridge – The Most Famous Bridge in London
- 2.2 2. London Bridge
- 2.3 3. Southwark Bridge
- 2.4 4. Millennium Bridge London
- 2.5 5. Blackfriars Bridge
- 2.6 6. Waterloo Bridge
- 2.7 7. Hungerford & Golden Jubilee Bridges
- 2.8 8. Westminster Bridge
- 2.9 9. Lambeth Bridge
- 2.10 10. Chelsea Bridge
- 2.11 11. Albert Bridge
- 2.12 12. Putney Bridge
- 2.13 13. Hammersmith Bridge
- 2.14 14. Barnes Bridge
- 2.15 15. Kew Bridge
- 2.16 16. Richmond Bridge
- 2.17 17. Archway Bridge
Bridges in London – Our Top 4
17 Bridges in London
1. Tower Bridge – The Most Famous Bridge in London
We start in the east with the Tower Bridge, one of the most iconic sights of London.
It’s an incredibly grand bascule and suspension bridge, flanked by towers either side.
Uniquely for bridges in London, its middle section can be raised to allow tall-masted vessels to pass through.
The walk over Tower Bridge is magical, and you can make a fascinating diversion by visiting the Tower Bridge Experience.
This Tower Bridge tour allows you to climb one of the towers and learn more Tower Bridge history along the way.
It was built in the late 19th century and quickly became one of the main symbols of London, and indeed Great Britain. Compare it with its counterparts around the Continent in our most beautiful bridges in Europe article.
How to get there: Tower Hill is the nearest Tube station, adjacent to the Tower of London on the north side of the river. It’s a few minutes’ walk from there. Otherwise, bus RV1 crosses near the end (or beginning) of its route from Covent Garden to Tower Gateway.
What you see from London Tower Bridge: some of the most famous buildings in London, including the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf financial district to the east, and the Tower of London and the City of London to the north-west. The Shard skyscraper then dominates the view on the south side of the river.
2. London Bridge
The original London Bridge has long since left town, having been transported brick-by-brick to Lake Havasu, Arizona, USA.
The London Bridge you see now is its not especially dissimilar stone-arched replacement.
There’s only one winner in the looks department in a London Bridge vs Tower Bridge match-up.
However, the host of London Bridge pubs and bars make it a more attractive area for eating out in London. The views from London Bridge are pretty special too.
Just down from the Bridge, you’ll find a huge range of London Bridge restaurants, and Borough Market, for long one of the best markets in London but where tourists now outnumber the locals.
One of the loveliest churches in London, Southwark Cathedral, is tucked discreetly away behind the Market.
Getting there: London Bridge station is just to the south, while Monument Tube station is just to the north. Otherwise, many red London buses ply the route across London Bridge.
What you see from London Bridge : The London Bridge walk is not to be missed, with one of the best 360° views in London. You see the distinctive skyline of the City, with its Gherkin, Walkie-Talkie and Cheese Grater dominating. Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast and the towers of Canary Wharf dominate the view to the east, while the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral stands grandly above its surroundings to the west. The Shard looms a thousand feet above all of this.
READ ALSO: 50 Famous Buildings to Visit in London
3. Southwark Bridge
The next road bridge to the west is Southwark Bridge. It’s one of the hidden gems of London, albeit hidden in very plain sight.
This graceful arched wrought-iron bridge is one of the best vantage points of the City of London, and is also close to some of the best things to see on the South Bank.
It’s about to have new lights fitted for a co-ordinated lightshow (along with its aforementioned neighbours), so this will hopefully gain it more of the attention it deserves.
Getting there: Cannon Street Station is a few minutes’ walk away, on the north side of the river. Alternatively, bus 344 crosses the river, and routes 381 and RV1 run close by.
What you see from there: Outstanding views of the City of London skyline, Tower Bridge and the river.
4. Millennium Bridge London
The famous Lord Foster-designed footbridge infamously had to close due to some early wobbles a few days after opening back in 2000, but it has gone on the become one of the most popular vantage points on the river.
It’s the best-known pedestrian bridge in London, linking St Paul’s and the city to the north with the magnificent Tate Modern Art Gallery over on Bankside, and gives tremendous views of both sights, especially early and late in the day.
How to get there: On foot from either St Paul’s or Tate Modern. Buses 4, 15, 17, 26 and 76 pass by St Paul’s, from where it’s a three or four-minute walk to the Bridge.
What you see from the Millennium Bridge: St Paul’s and the City are to the north, while Tate Modern is to the south. Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is a two-minute walk to the east of the Tate Modern. As you look east, you also get great views to the Shard, the City and Tower Bridge.
READ ALSO: Most Beautiful Churches in London to Visit
5. Blackfriars Bridge
Blackfriars is a busy railway junction close to the western end of the City of London.
The railway means that views from there are rather limited, but the views of it from some nearby locations are breathtaking.
Try to grab an outdoor table at the OXO Tower Bar & Grill, on the south side of the river.
This, and the nearby 12th Knot Restaurant at Sea Containers London, look out over St Paul’s, contrasting with the contemporary skyline of the City beyond.
Getting there: Blackfriars railway station is the place to go, otherwise you can walk along the Thames Path from South Bank..
6. Waterloo Bridge
Waterloo Bridge links the vast station of the same name, and the South Bank arts complex, with The Strand, the famous London street leading from the heart of Royal London to the City.
It affords one of the best views of the Houses of Parliament, up the ‘dirty old river’ of the Kinks song beyond neighbouring Hungerford Bridge.
Getting there: Waterloo Station, and a multitude of buses crossing it.
What you see from Waterloo Bridge: A glorious view upstream to the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben clock tower, with the London Eye to the right. It’s also a good vantage point for parts of the South Bank, Somerset House and, surprisingly, the distant towers of Canary Wharf.
7. Hungerford & Golden Jubilee Bridges
The Hungerford railway bridge runs out of mainline Charing Cross station, passing the South Bank arts centre on the other side.
It replaced an earlier bridge by the master engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel: indeed, his original stone buttresses remain.
The old Charing Cross bridge was painted by Claude Monet during one of his visits to the city.
The Hungerford Bridge is flanked by the two white Golden Jubilee (2002) footbridges, which provide access across the river to the South Bank.
The southern side provides one of the best unfettered views of the river and Houses of Parliament.
Getting there: Embankment Station (Circle and District lines) is right next to the bridges.
8. Westminster Bridge
Westminster Bridge is the oldest extant road bridge in London. The present version dates from1862, replacing the 1750 original.
It’s one of the most photographed bridges in London because of its proximity to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.
The views it affords are stunning, especially at night when the Palace of Westminster is beautifully illuminated.
Getting there: Westminster Tube (Circle, District and Jubilee lines) is a few metres across the street from it, otherwise several buses cross it.
What you see from Westminster Bridge: You also get great views of the London Eye ferris wheel across the river, and south towards Millbank and, beyond, one of the most rapidly changing parts of London.
9. Lambeth Bridge
The next bridge upstream from Westminster Bridge is Lambeth Bridge, a ten-minute stroll down the Albert Embankment.
The bridge’s arches are red, a nod to the red seats of the House of Lords in the Houses of Parliament just downstream. It links the seat of the nation’s political power with the seat of the senior clergyman in the country, the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The river used to be crossed by a horse ferry (powered by a team of horses on a treadmill), and the first bridge was opened in 1862. This was less than successful, and replaced by the current bridge was opened in 1932.
How to get there: We recommend walking from Westminster – it’s no more than 10 minutes from Parliament Square, and you can look in on the lovely Vioctoria Tower Gardens along the way. Otherwise buses 3, 77, 87 and C10 all cross the Bridge and stop close by.
What you see from there: There’s a great view of the Houses of Parliament from the Bridge, with the Victoria Tower closest and most prominent. Lambeth Palace, is on the right (east) bank of the river.
10. Chelsea Bridge
Chelsea Bridge London is one of the capital’s prettiest bridges. It’s a lovely suspension bridge at the east end of Battersea Park.
The present bridge dates from the 1930s, and replaced one built almost a century earlier. Dusk is the best time to see it, and the riverside path in Battersea Park is the best place from which you can view it.
Getting there: Buses 44, 137 and 452 cross the bridge.
What you see from Chelsea Bridge: Battersea Power Station, surrounded by a forest of construction cranes at the time of writing, is just to the east, beyond the adjacent railway bridge. The view up the river to the Albert Bridge is well worth the journey.
11. Albert Bridge
Albert Bridge, which is considerably closer to the heart of Chelsea than Chelsea Bridge, is a strong contender for the most beautiful bridge in London accolade.
This graceful 19th century masterpiece, across the street from historic Cheyne Walk, is named after Queen Victoria’s Consort, Prince Albert.
It’s a suspension bridge surrounded by houseboats moored either side, which is fresh from a recent restoration.
The Albert Bridge is especially beautiful at twilight, when its hundreds of lights twinkle and reflect in the river.
Getting there: The 170 bus from Victoria station stops next to the bridge. It continues to Battersea, Clapham Junction, terminating at Roehampton.
What you see from Albert Bridge : the bridge is the star of the show here, but there are also views across to Chelsea.
12. Putney Bridge
Putney Bridge – originally known as Fulham Bridge – was the second oldest bridge in London after London Bridge.
The wooden original was built in 1729 and replaced by the stone structure you now see in the late 19th century. It was designed by Sir Joseph Bazalgette, who was also responsible for London’s sewer system (of which the bridge is part). It’s probably best-known as the starting point for the annual University Boat Race, while for the rest of the year it’s the link between two of London’s most convivial suburbs.
Getting there: Putney Bridge Tube station is on the District line, Wimbledon Branch. It’s on the north – Fulham – side of the river, and it’s a 200-metre walk across to Putney.
What you see from there: The most obvious sights are the London and Thames Rowing Clubs, on the left as you look upriver. Also look out for the medieval churches at either end of the bridge – 15th century All Saints Fulham to the north and St Mary’s Putney to the south. The area is popular with Londoners heading to the riverside pubs for a drink, especially in summer, like nearby Barnes.
13. Hammersmith Bridge
Hammersmith Bridge is off the beaten path London, close to the busy, traffic-clogged suburb of the same name but very different in feel.
It’s the oldest suspension bridge in London, dating back to 1887. This stately suspension bridge is a wonderful discovery, and has recently been closed to traffic.
A full restoration project is likely to take until 2022.
A visit there is one of our favourite things to do in West London, very much worth it if you have the time or are staying nearby. One of the real hidden gems of London.
Getting there: Tube to Hammersmith, then walk.
14. Barnes Bridge
The west London suburb of Barnes was once a small village, and it was decided to build a railway bridge there in the 1840s as part of a branch line to Hounslow.
The original was completed in 1849 and a second adjacent bridge added due to concerns over the original structure.
There is also a footbridge across the river, with great views along the riverfront and several Barnes pubs, and one of the best things to do in west London is to sit outside one of them of an evening in the warmer months.
Barnes Railway Bridge has become a well-known landmark on the Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Race which is held every April.
It also used to be an excellent vantage point, but too many people cottoned onto this so it’s closed to pedestrians before the Race.
Getting there: It’s right next to Barnes Bridge Railway Station (note – Barnes Station is about a mile – 1.5km – away).
15. Kew Bridge
The present – and third – bridge at Kew was completed in 1903, replacing an earlier structure by John Paine, architect of the gorgeous Richmond Bridge (see below).
Its replacement is handsome, with three long stone arches spanning the river. It links Brentford to the north with Kew Green to the south, and Kew Pier – from which Thames boat trips depart – is on the Kew side of the river.
Getting there: Kew Bridge railway station is a 5-minute walk from Kew Bridge station. Buses 65 and 110 cross the bridge.
What you see from there: The most distinctive West London landmark is the tower of the former Grand Junction Water Works, now the superb London Museum of Water and Steam. The floodlights next to it are part of the new Brentford Community Stadium, the new home of Brentford FC. The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew are a few minutes’ bus ride away in the opposite direction.
16. Richmond Bridge
One of the most graceful bridges over the Thames, Richmond Bridge was built in the 1770s and is the oldest surviving bridges of London (after the removal of the original London Bridge structure to Arizona).
It’s easily recognizable because of its humpback shape, its central arch rising higher than the two each side in order to let some taller boats pass through. The bridge still retains its original Victorian gas lamps, albeit with electric lights.
Richmond Bridge is on a particularly beautiful stretch of the river, with parks either side and some pubs, cafes and restaurants close by, some with river views.
Getting there: Richmond Station is 1 km up the hill from the Bridge, an easy walk down from the town centre. Alternatively, the 65 bus (which runs from Ealing Broadway, Kew Gardens and Richmond Station) takes you very close to the Bridge and river.
17. Archway Bridge
This is the one entry in our list of bridges in London that doesn’t span the Thames.
This Victorian construction just below Highgate Hill gave the new surrounding suburb of Archway its name.
The Hornsey Lane Bridge spans a section of the Great North Road below, and sadly has been the site of many a suicide.
We recommend a visit for the view of London, which is stupendous. From here, you get to see the skyline of the City of London, Gherkin, Cheese Grater et al, plus the Shard towering hundreds of feet above them all.
Getting there: A ten-minute walk up Highgate Hill from Archway Tube (Northern Line, High Barnet branch), then a few minutes along Hornsey Lane on the right.
For more travel tips and inspiration for London see our other London travel articles