Best locations to photograph Tower Bridge

April 14, 2021

Best locations to photograph Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge, often confused for London Bridge, is one of the most iconic landmarks in London, England. This fully functioning Victorian bascule bridge has helped countless people to travel between the banks of the river by foot or road vehicle and ships to sail down the Thames since June 1894, when Tower Bridge was first opened to public use.

This Tower Bridge photography guide shares where to get photos of Tower Bridge from all its glorious angles, how to get there, where to eat with a view of Tower Bridge, who designed it, when it lifts open, which movies Tower Bridge is in and more!

Whatever your reason for visiting one of the most fascinating and beautiful bridges in the world is, this guide will help you find 14 of the best locations to take your Tower Bridge pictures.

Tower Bridge location

Tower Bridge is located in Tower Hamlets and Southwark, between the Thames Tunnel and London Bridge. Built between 1886 and 1894, Tower Bridge takes the London Inner Ring Road across the River Thames passing some of London’s most significant and famous landmarks: HMS Belfast, St Paul’s Cathedral and Tower of London and from it you can see The Shard, The “walkie-talkie” (20 Fenchurch St) which has London’s Sky Garden, the Gherkin (30 St Mary Axe) and on the other side you can see Canary Wharf.

Tower Bridge often gets confused for London Bridge, I get it because it’s the most famous bridge in London but London Bridge is actually a much smaller bridge next to it. Check out number 7 to read more.

Tower Bridge architects

The Victorian structure, designed by Sir Horace Jones and John Wolfe Barry, was the largest bascule bridge (lifting bridge) at the time it was built and is still to this day considered an engineering marvel. 

When there isn’t a worldwide pandemic Tower Bridge is open to the public. The museum includes a tour of the historic engine rooms and access to the glass walkway 42 metres above the River Thames.

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The Queen’s Walk, HMS Belfast

When to see Tower Bridge lift

Tower Bridge lifts about 800 – 850 times a year and when it does it kinda feels like magic. Click here to see the bridge lift schedule and what vessel will be passing beneath.

Tower Bridge in TV and film

Tower Bridge is one of the most recognisable landmarks in London and has been featured in many blockbuster films such as Spider-man: Far From Home (2019), Mission: Impossible (1996) Mary Poppins Return (2018), Sherlock Holmes (2009), Fast & Furious 6 (2013), 28 Weeks Later (2007), Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001) and The Edge of Reason (2004) – to name a few.

Nearest tube station to Tower Bridge

The nearest tube station to Tower Bridge is Tower Hill on the Circle and District lines.

See number 14 on this list for how to visit Tower Bridge via one of London’s red buses.

Places to eat near Tower Bridge

There are so many restaurants and bars in London where you can eat with a view of Tower Bridge, here are some of my favourites:

  • Tavolino Bar & Kitchen – see number 9 for photos and more info.

  • Jin Bo Law – see number 10 see for photos and more info.

  • GŎNG at Shangri-La The Shard – see number 11 for photos and more info.

  • Le Pont de la Tour – see number 12, Butler’s Wharf, for photos and more info.

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If you haven’t gathered already, Tower Bridge is a pretty special bridge. For me it’s one of those landmarks that you can’t help but marvel at, no matter how many times you’ve seen it and there’s no wonder why it’s one of the most Instagrammed landmarks in London. So I’ve put together a list of 12 of the best locations in London to take photos of Tower Bridge so you can admire her too and maybe get some pretty photos on the way.

1. St Katherine Docks

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Located on the left bank of the River Thames is St Katherine Docks, the only marina in central London and one of the best spots for getting close to Tower Bridge without being on it. 

From here you can get amazing photos looking up at the bridge with either Girl With A Dolphin fountain or The Time Piece Sundial. Alternatively you can swing from a lamppost or pop a squat on one of the benches opposite The Tower Hotel.

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The best time to take photos at St Katherine Docks is early morning, ideally sunrise, as the benches here get crowded in the day time with everyone taking a coffee or lunch break. Also London Bridge at sunrise on a clear day is nothing short of glorious. Right when the sun is low enough that it only catches a select few buildings it illuminates the unobstructed Tower Bridge and turns the two towers golden – it’s really worth the early rise.

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If you don’t care for early starts and empty locations then visit in the afternoon when you can take a stroll around the central London marina and enjoy lunch in one of the many surrounding restaurants.

The closest tube station to St Katherine Docks is Tower Hill on the District and Circle Lines.

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2. On Tower Bridge

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With a pedestrian bridge on both sides of the bridge, one of the very best places to experience and photograph Tower Bridge is on the bridge itself.

Tower Bridge’s pedestrian walkways are open 24/7 unless the bridge is opening, it’s not often but to be sure you can check here.

It goes without saying that the later in the day you go, the busier it gets but part of the magic of walking across Tower Bridge is joining other tourists and Londoners who are swept up in the beauty of this Victorian masterpiece as much as you.

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The best locations on the bridge to get photos are from either end before the first tower. Once in-between the two towers it’s a little harder to capture them in the background as they’re close together and you can’t get as much distance as the ends of the bridge.

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If you want a red bus then fear not, plenty will pass whilst you’re on the bridge but as always, the second you want one there won’t be one in sight! Be patient as one will come and hey, you might even get a Black Taxi Cab too!

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The closest tube station to Tower Bridge is Tower Hill on the District and Circle Lines or London Bridge on the Jubilee and Northern lines.

3. Butler’s Wharf

On the south bank of the River Thames is Butler’s Wharf, an old warehouse that is now home to restaurants and luxury apartments.

From Butler’s Wharf you can get photos of/with Tower Bridge with some on London’s most famous skyscrapers in the background: The Gherkin (30 St Mary Axe), “walkie-talkie” (20 Fenchurch Street) and “cheese grater” (The Leadenhall Building).

Though it’s quieter in the morning, the right bank of the River Thames is more popular and has heavier footfall so you may be joined by joggers and dog walkers. For the most enjoyable experience, book a table at one of the waterfront restaurants opposite Butler’s Wharf Pier.

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There’s two locations for taking photos of Tower Bridge worth noting at Butler’s Wharf. The first is opposite Butler’s Wharf Chop House restaurant, right where the railing starts on the wall. Use the railing as leverage to get up on the wall to sit for a photo (trust me it’s so much easier than trying to hop up the wall, especially if you’re short). The second spot is opposite the restaurant Le Pont De La Tour.

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PFH Top Tip: Between Butler’s Wharf and The Queen’s Walk/Potters Fields Park is WatchHouse Tower Bridge, an artisanal coffee shop with some of the most incredible cakes and pastries. I had a banana and Nutella brownie and it was like a cookie, brownie and slice of banana bread had a baby and that baby was delicious.

The closest tube station to Butler’s Wharf is Tower Hill on the District and Circle Lines or London Bridge on the Jubilee and Northern lines.

4. The Queen’s Walk

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The Queens Walk is the most popular spot to take photos of/with Tower Bridge. It’s the spot you’ll see most on Instagram, most likely featuring girls with big skirts, a bow in their hair and a bouquet of flowers (hey no prop judgement here, does it look like I’m reading the Metro above? To be clear, I did later it wasn’t wasted). If you only have time for one spot to take photos then this is the one as it’s the most recognised.

The wall does vary in height if you’re planning on sitting but be advised that on the other side is a long drop to the Thames, so whatever you do be careful.

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Though it’s easy to get photos along the wall here any time of day – the wall is long and unobstructed – be prepared to have an audience. Opposite the wall, along The Queen’s Walk, is Potters Fields Park (next on this list) which is perfect for enjoying an ice cream or coffee from WatchHouse Tower Bridge, but no so convenient for taking photos when you feel self-conscious about it. 

When photos aren’t your priority, take a leisurely stroll along The Queen’s Walk, it’s a really lovely way to see the city and passes the London Eye, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and Tate Modern.

The closest tube station to this part of The Queen’s Walk is Tower Hill on the District and Circle Lines or London Bridge on the Jubilee and Northern lines.

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5. Potters Fields Park

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As mentioned above, Potters Fields Park is located opposite part of The Queen’s Walk that is right next to the south bank steps leading up to Tower Bridge. 

This tiny park in the centre of London is the best free location to sit and enjoy a coffee, picnic, ice cream (for most of the year there’s an ice cream truck here) or beer (public drinking is allowed in England – please drink responsibly) whilst looking out across the River Thames to the some of the landmarks that make up London’s skyline, including Tower Bridge.

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Potters Fields Park is significantly quieter in the morning than any other time of day as it’s a popular spot for outdoor socialising.

The closest tube station to Potters Fields Park is Tower Hill on the District and Circle Lines or London Bridge on the Jubilee and Northern lines.

6. More London Riverside

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Nestled between the buildings that make up More London, on the river bank next to HMS Belfast, is a walkway called More London (yeah hella confusing, I know) where you can spy Tower Bridge poking out from behind City Hall, otherwise known as the Snail.

Footfall in More London is heavy so arrive before 8am if you want to use the buildings to frame Tower Bridge without other people in your photo.

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The closest tube station to More London is London Bridge on the Jubilee and Northern lines.

7. London Bridge

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Located half a mile along the River Thames is London Bridge, the best bridge to snap a photo of Tower Bridge.

From London Bridge you can capture Tower Bridge with HMS Belfast in the foreground and Canary Wharf in the back. 

Have a zoom lens at the ready for photos of Tower Bridge from London Bridge as they’re about half a mile apart from each other.

London Bridge isn’t a location you have to worry about timings in terms of footfall but the time of day will have a dramatic effect on your photos. In spring/summer the sun rises behind Tower Bridge from this location so keep that in mind when you plan your arrival time. 

Michael and I look these photos at 8.30am in April for reference.

Once you’ve taken your photos of Tower Bridge from London Bridge stroll over to Borough Market (open Monday – Saturday) for something to eat or drink. Borough Market is one of the oldest food markets in London and offers a huge variety of global cuisines and specialised delicacies.

The closest tube station to More London is London Bridge on the Jubilee and Northern lines.

8. Thames Path

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A little further away from the other seven locations for taking photos of Tower Bridge on this list is a spot on the Thames Path, a walkway that for the most part runs parallel along the River Thames.

Opposite Tower Bridge Wharf building on the left bank of the River Thames is a popular spot for giving your feet a rest. From these benches you look out across the river and see Tower Bridge and The Shard just behind.

I really recommend planning a walk on the Thames Path for a sunny day – it’s one of my favourite walks in London. Start at Canary Wharf and walk along the river and I know you’ll be impressed when you suddenly turn a corner at this very spot (opposite Tower Bridge Wharf building) and bam! Tower Bridge and The Shard are right in front of you.

The closest tube station to this area of the Thames Path is Tower Hill on the District and Circle Lines.

9. Tavolino Bar & Kitchen

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Tavolino Bar & Kitchen is an Italian restaurant along the south bank of the River Thames and is another spot in More London which I mentioned in number 6 on this list.

Tavolino is split across two floors and a terrace, all of which offer a spectacular view of Tower Bridge. It’s actually a pretty perfect place in London to take photos of or with Tower Bridge and dine with said view as for the most part, especially the terrace, the views of the bridge from each level are unobstructed.

Book Tavolino to avoid disappointment on a sunny day. There are 100 seats inside though so it’s unlikely to be full unless you visit during a particularly popular time such as Christmas.

How to get to Tavolino Bar & Kitchen

The closest tube station to Tavolino is London Bridge on the Northern and Jubilee Lines. From there it’s a 6 minute walk to More London along the river Thames where Tavolino is located.

10. Jin Bo Law 

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Jin Bo Law is the skybar at the Dorsett City London hotel in Aldgate, East London. Despite only being located on the 14th floor (usually you need a fair bit of height in London for killer views of the city) Jin Bow Law offers a spectacular view some of the city’s most iconic landmarks including the Shard, Gherkin, “walkie-talkie” (where the Sky Garden is located) and the one you’re here for: Tower Bridge.

Jin Bo Law is the perfect spot to combine getting Tower Bridge photos with a night out in the city.

Reserve a table to avoid disappoint – speaking of avoiding, heads up there’s a minimum spend on Friday nights.

How to get to Jin Bo Law

The closest tube station to Jin Bo Law is Aldgate on the Circle and Metropolitan lines, the station is located right next to the Dorsett hotel where Jin Bo Law is located.

Alternatively you can travel via the District or Hammersmith & City Lines to Aldgate East station which is a 5 minute walk away from Jin Bo Law down Aldgate High Street. 

You can also get to Jin Bo Law on the tube from Liverpool St Station which is accessible via the Central, Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan Lines and the National Rail, it’s an 8 minute walk.

11. GŎNG bar at Shangri-La The Shard

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GŎNG is the bar at the top of Shangri-La The Shard, the five star Singapore hotel chain that sits right at the top at one of London’s newer landmarks.

GŎNG is located 52 stories up in The Shard and offers one of the best photo locations in London as it’s the highest bar in all of Europe. As I mentioned in my review of Shangri-La The Shard, going for a drink at GŎNG bar is a far superior experience over booking a ticket for The View From The Shard. Granted the viewing platform offer 260º views but it costs £25 per person and compared to the minimum spend of £35 per person it makes more sense to enjoy the view with a drink for almost the same cost, no? Of course you do you, I just think this is the smarter option.

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You can’t book a specific table at GŎNG so I’m afraid you can’t be guaranteed a view of Tower Bridge but you can request it and if you book for a quieter time (avoid 5-8pm on Fridays and weekends for example) then you might stand a better chance of getting this corner table.

If you want to find out how to get free perks whilst staying at Shangri-La then take a look at my blog post How to make the most of your stay at Shangri-La The Shard, London.

How to get to GŎNG bar a Shangri-La The Shard

The closest tube station to GŎNG is London Bridge on the Northern and Jubilee Lines. Take the exit for The Shard or Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, it’s signposted within London Bridge station, The Shard is located right next to this exit. Enter through the Shangri-La entrance on St Thomas street and the concierge will give you access to the elevator to GŎNG.

12. Le Pont de la Tour

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Le Pont de la Tour is a French restaurant at Butler’s Wharf on the south bank of the River Thames. As I mentioned under number 3 above, Butler’s Wharf is a great place to take photos of Tower Bridge and one of the more quiet ones.

When the weather accommodates for al fresco dining, the terrace at Le Pont de la Tour offers tables with a beautiful view of Tower Bridge with the “walkie-talkie” and Gherkin as a backdrop. Unfortunately for us when we dined at Le Pont de la Tour the weather was about right for a true British bank holiday Monday as it rained the entire day and into the night, so our photo truly doesn’t do it justice, I know you’ll do better!

When we visited we enjoyed the Côte de Bœuf with béarnaise sauce and it really was incredible.

Make a booking on the terrace – it’s heated during the cooler months – for a view of Tower Bridge at Le Pont de la Tour.

How to get to Le Pont de la Tour

The closest tube station to Le Pont de la Tour is Tower Hill on the Circle and District Lines or London Bridge on the Jubilee or Northern Line. From Tower Hill you’ll get to cross Tower Bridge.

13. Tíng at Shangri-La The Shard 

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Up on level 35 of the Shangri-La hotel at The Shard is where you’ll find the hotel’s restaurant Tíng. 

Tíng is where you can enjoy every meal of the day and if you’re feeling extra fancy a 3-5 course tasting menu is served in the evening but the most impressive (and popular) meal to eat at Tíng is their famous afternoon tea.

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Look out across pretty much all of the best parts of London, including Tower Bridge, whilst treating yourself to one of Britain’s favourite pastimes: afternoon tea. With each season comes a different theme. The two pictured here are their Alpine Afternoon Tea which was their 2021 festive theme and the other is their annual Pink Afternoon Tea in support of breast cancer research.

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All afternoon teas at Tíng start with a complimentary welcome tea served within a mesmerising dry ice display that spills out across your table so you really are dining above the clouds as you look down on Tower Bridge. It’s actually my favourite place to enjoy afternoon tea in London.

If you want to find out how to get free perks whilst staying at Shangri-La then take a look at my blog post How to make the most of your stay at Shangri-La The Shard, London.

How to get to Tíng at Shangri-La The Shard

The closest tube station to Tíng restaurant is London Bridge on the Northern and Jubilee Lines. Take the exit for The Shard or Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, it’s signposted within London Bridge station, The Shard is located right next to this exit. Enter through the Shangri-La entrance on St Thomas street and the concierge will give you access to the elevator to Tíng on level 35.

14. The 343 red bus over Tower Bridge 

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One of the best ways to experience Tower Bridge is to cross it on one of London’s iconic double decker red buses. If you’re really lucky, maybe you’ll be able to sit on the top deck right at the front!

If you’re already in the area taking Tower Bridge photos from one of the many spots in this list of places to take Tower Bridge photos then you can simply hop on the bus just before the bridge to take it across and then jump off on the other side see Tower Bridge from the other side of the River Thames.

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For this quick ride you’ll want to pick up the 343 bus from Tower Hill Tower Gateway Station (Stop TE) heading towards New Cross Gate. Buses run regularly throughout the day (although there’s never one when you want one) so you won’t be waiting long. As soon as you pay to board, either via a contactless or Oyster card, take the flight of steps up on the left as quickly as possible – the bus will pull away as soon as the doors close – and head to the front of the bus. There will be just enough time to set up your camera or pull out your phone.

A couple of other locations that offer views of Tower Bridge from above are:

  • The London Eye

  • The Sky Garden

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Butler’s Wharf

I hope you enjoy these 12 best locations in London to take photos of Tower Bridge. I’ve picked each one with not only amazing photography opportunities in mind but because they each offer a new part of London to explore. It took me a long time to shake the feeling that the photo is the most important thing so my best piece of advice for visiting these places is to enjoy the area whilst you are there. Get a coffee, go for walk, enjoy an ice cream and enjoy the view. 

Use #postcardsfromhawaiiblog to share your Tower Bridge photos so I can share them!

Do more on & for the planet, Gabriella

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