If you spend any time in London, you're sure to come across a few of its bridges. In fact, there are 33 bridges that cross the River Thames in London, each of them iconic in its own right, so you're sure to cross a few on your next London holiday. Not only are most of London's bridges steeped in history, they provide some of the best views of London, making them some of London's most recognisable landmarks. Many famous artists have been inspired by London's bridges and the Thames over the years, including Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, James McNeill Whistler, and one of Britain's most famous artists, J. M. W. Turner.
You're never very far from a bridge in central London, so if you make your way to the Thames from your London hotel, you're sure to find one of the bridges listed below. To experience London's bridges from the water, take one of the Thames Clippers; considered public transport, you can start at Westminster and go all the way to Greenwich, taking in the sights as you pass beneath them.
Whether you're interested in history, photography, art, or just want to see London in all its glory, here are London's best bridges for a view.
Westminster Bridge is perhaps most famous because of the amazing views it provides. From this bridge, depending on which side of the river you stand on, you can see the Parliament Buildings and Big Ben, or the London Eye.
But there's more than meets the eye here, too (no pun intended), as it has a long history. It is the oldest road bridge across the Thames in London. Opened in 1862 (it replaced a previous bridge built in 1750), it is 250 metres long and designed with Gothic details.
Westminster Bridge was a favourite of Claude Monet, as he painted some of his most famous works of London from this viewpoint, including an entire series on the Houses of Parliament. He would often work on many pieces simultaneously, studying the everchanging sky as the sun moved across it. He certainly knew what he was doing; there is perhaps no more iconic spot for a sunset in London than Westminster Bridge.
What would a list of London's best bridges be without Tower Bridge? Often mistaken for London Bridge, this beautifully ornate bridge was opened in 1894, and has since become one of London's most famous landmarks. It's also one of its busiest, with 40,000 people crossing every single day.
Today, it provides an amazing view of the South Bank, Tower Bridge, The Shard, and so much more. You are now able to take a tour of Tower Bridge, and there are even glass walkways at the top of the bridge for those looking for a thrill (and a view to remember). You can't visit London without seeing this iconic bridge for yourself.
Yes, London Bridge makes the list, too, even though the bridge's design may dull in comparison to Tower Bridge. London Bridge is perfect, however, for getting a great view of Tower Bridge! And there's more to this bridge, too... the history behind London Bridge is fascinating, as its first incarnations date back to the Roman times in London. To learn even more about the bridge - and find out why it's so much more than just a famous song - you can take the London Bridge experience.
Opened in 2000, Millennium Bridge is one of London's newest bridges, and it is absolutely worth a visit. Not only is the footbridge itself a sight to behold, it offers up stunning views of St. Paul's Cathedral, the Tate Modern, The Shard, and, in the distance, Tower Bridge.
It's one of London's most photographed bridges, and it's easy to see why.
Waterloo Bridge was another of Monet's favourite landmarks to paint in London, and he often spent his mornings painting the bridge from his London hotel. Found on a bend in the Thames, the bridge provides a view of Westminster, the South Bank, and the London Eye to the west, while the view to the east showcases St. Paul's Cathedral, The Gherkin, and Canary Wharf.
Although the bridge itself might not inspire the average photographer, the panoramic views you can get from it are some of the very best in London. Some say this is THE best bridge in London for a view. Turner also painted this bridge circa 1830 to 1835; he depicted a paddle-steamer in the Thames, meant to exhibit just how modern the city was at the time.
The first Waterloo Bridge opened in 1817, so-named after the Battle of Waterloo two years before. When the second bridge was built in the 1940s, the workforce was mostly female as many men were fighting in WWII. Because of this, it is often referred to as "the Ladies' Bridge".
One of the only suspension bridges in London, Albert Bridge was first opened in 1873. With a view to Chelsea on the north of the Thames and Battersea to the south, this bridge is equally striking on its own, especially when illuminated at night.
London is an extremely photogenic city, there's no doubt about that. To stand on one of its bridges, especially one like Westminster Bridge or Waterloo Bridge, really showcases quintessential London: the historic buildings, the famous sights, the hustle and bustle of the city all around you, even on the Thames below.
There is much beauty to be found in London's bridges, not only with the bridges themselves, but with their outstanding vantage points. You can easily understand why Monet and so many other artists chose to set up their easels along the banks of the River Thames, eager to capture some of the magic of London's bridges for themselves.
For more on visiting London, make sure to check out our Insider's Guide to London. If you're interested in even more views from London, you can find out where to see the best views in London here. Finally, you can read about London's villages here.