Famous British Bridges FEATURE

You may think they're a little bit boring, but the some of the bridges that cross rivers, gorges, valleys and waterways have more history and heritage than you would imagine. We take a look at some of the most famous bridges in the British Isles, and cast a little bit of history behind them.

Famous British Bridges

Great Britain has some incredibly famous bridges, renowned across the world for their architecture, history and heritage. Some of the world's most interesting bridges have been built in Britain, and no matter where you are in the British Isles, you're bound to find one with both character and history to capture your imagination.

Here are some of the most famous British Bridges on our green shores.

Tower Bridge

One of the most famous bridges in the world, Tower Bridge was built by Sir Horace Jones, and is a combination of suspension bridge and bascule.

Built between 1886 and 1894, this bridge runs over the River Thames in the city of London, England's capital city. Its name was coined due to its close proximity to the Tower of London.

Officially opened for public use in June 30, 1894 by King Edward VII Prince of Wales and his wife Alexandra of Denmark Princess of Wales. The bridge was designed by the City Architect Sir Horace Jones, and was later built by engineer Sir John Wolfe Barry.

The bridge's design is a combination of suspension bridge and bascule. A bascule is a movable bridge that allows waterway traffic.

Tower Bridge is currently undergoing a renovation which started last 2008 and could last until 2012.

London Bridge

Arguably one of the most famous British bridges, London Bridge is not only known for the equally popular children's song London Bridge is Falling Down, but also for its architectural prowess.

The bridge runs over the River Thames and connects Southwark with London's financial district, the City of London. This bridge is believed to be the first structure that ran over the River Thames - it is said that its history can be traced back 2,000 years.

Contrary to popular belief, so the nursery rhyme goes, London Bridge didn't fall!

The Iron Bridge

Located in Shropshire, this bridge spans the River Severn. The Iron Bridge is said to be the world's first iron made arch bridge.

It was built by Abraham Darby III during the early eighteenth century. Since 1934, the Iron Bridge has been declared off limits to cars due to its ancient monument status.

It is visited by tens of thousands of tourists from all over the world and any list of famous British bridges isn't complete without it.

Forth Railway Bridge

A cantilever Railway Bridge located in Edinburgh that stretches over the Firth of Forth, this bridge's length is a whopping 8,296 feet. Connecting Fife with Edinburgh, it was originally the project of Sir Thomas Bouch but was later on handed to Sir John Folwer and Sir Benjamin Baker.

The bridge was opened to the public in March 4 1890.

Clifton Suspension Bridge

This bridge is considered as the characteristic landmark of Bristol. Construction started in 1862 and lasted until 1864. It links North Somerset's Leigh Woods with Bristol's Clifton and spans over the Avon Gorge.

Daily traffic for this bridge is 8,800 vehicles. In April 1, 1979, Oxford University Dangerous Sports Club members performed the first ever professional bungee jump from this bridge.

Kylesku Bridge

Located in the Scottish Highlands, the Kylesku Bridge is truly one of the most Famous British Bridges for tourists and British nationals alike.

The bridge spans a total of 130 meters in length. Built by the Morrison Construction Group, its curving and hollow bridge structure is regarded as one of the world's most aesthetically appealing bridges.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the formation of the 12th Submarine Flotilla (miniature submarines), which trained in the area from 1943, a cairn Scottish landmark was built on the north side of the bridge in 1993.

Tyne Bridge

Found in Newcastle upon Tyne, the Tyne Bridge spans over the Tyne River. It is an arch bridge that connects Gateshead and Newcastle. Spearheaded by Mott, Hay and Anderson engineering firm, this bridge was inaugurated by King George V in October 10, 1928.

It is among the ten tallest Tyneside structures, and is considered a defining landmark in the area.

In 1978 a thousand balloons were released to mark both the golden jubilee and the anniversary of the Tyne Bridge, and a cavalcade of vintage vehicles and a procession of pedestrians in period costume re-created the opening ceremony when King George V opened the bridge in 1928.

Menai Bridge

Established in North Wales and one of the most famous British Bridges, this structure connects the Wales mainland with Anglesey.

It was built in 1826 following the design of architect Thomas Telford. The bridge runs over the Menai Straits and is made of wrought iron and stone.

The bridge was completed in 1826, and was the first modern suspension bridge in the world. Made from 935 iron bars and supporting the 176-metre span, the bridge meant that the journey time from London to Holyhead was reduced dramatically, from 36 to 27 hours, saving 9 hours, much to the delight of regular travellers.

Millennium Bridge

Also called the London Millennium Footbridge, this structure is made of steel and serves the pedestrians crossing over the River Thames. Construction started in 1998 and was completed in June of 2000.

It has also been dubbed as the wobbly bridge by locals, after some swaying motion was experienced by participants of a charity walk, forcing the bridge to close to the public the same day. The bridge was closed while modifications were made to eliminate the wobble, and re-opened in 2002.

These famous British Bridges are well worth visiting, so next time you are in the area, make sure to spend some time and explore these incredible structures and enjoy their fascinating history.

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