London is full of must-see sights and places. There’s Big Ben (the Elizabethan Tower) and the Houses of Parliament, which are finally free of their scaffolding after several years. There’s also the London Eye nearby, St. Paul’s Cathedral further down the river, and, of course, the iconic Tower Bridge. Not to be confused with nearby London Bridge (a rather plain crossing that’s more function than fancy), Tower Bridge is an architectural marvel, and there are some great views of Tower Bridge from all over the surrounding area.
In this post, I’ll share all of the main Tower Bridge viewpoints I know; there are, of course, an infinite number of places you could stand along the riverfront and have a slightly different view than these thirteen I’ve highlighted. However, these are named places you can find on a map; you can then adjust your own view accordingly once you get to one you like.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect picture or keen to appreciate the fine architecture of this Victorian-era icon, choose one (or more) of these viewpoints of Tower Bridge and you’ll come away with that Instagram-worthy snap or fond memory. Read on to discover the best views of Tower Bridge in London.
1. Alderman Stairs
Located along St. Katherine’s Way, Alderman Stairs grants one of the best views of Tower Bridge. Alderman Stairs are one of the historic stairs to the Thames – similar to Horsleydown Steps which I cover later. It sits just east of what was St. Katherine Docks and is a surprisingly quiet area.
The stairs give access to the foreshore when the tide is low, and you can get panoramic views of the Thames and Tower Bridge from here. Remember to be careful when walking down to the foreshore as the stairs are really slippery.
2. Butlers Wharf Pier
Butlers Wharf Pier sits on the south-eastern side of the bridge. It is an old warehouse that now boasts the trendiest restaurants and most luxurious apartments. Its location just down the bridge makes Butler’s Wharf a good vantage point to get photos of and with Tower Bridge.
Not only can you get excellent Tower Bridge views, but also panoramic views of London’s most iconic skyscrapers in the background, like the “walkie-talkie” and The Gherkin. If you can wake up early, I suggest you visit Butlers Wharf Pier in the morning to have most of the place to yourself.
3. Girl with a Dolphin
Also located on St. Katherine’s Way, Girl with a Dolphin is a gorgeous statue in the shadows of Tower Bridge. It has gained popularity over the years, becoming an iconic spot to take in stunning views of the city and scenic photographs of Tower Bridge. The sculpture is right on the Thames and has the backdrop of Tower Bridge, adding to its appeal.
Despite its central location, the area is less congested as not many people walk down this way. There are seats where you can sit down, and if you keep walking away from the bridge, you can reach the beautiful St.Katherine’s dock.
4. Horsleydown Steps
Horsleydown Steps are another of London’s hidden Tower Bridge photo spots. These steps are one of the oldest remaining stairs providing access to the river along the Thames. They sit in Horselydown, a historic area of London south of the river, and are adjacent to Tower Bridge.
When the tide is low, the stairs lead to a wide stretch of the Thames foreshore, which provides an excellent angle to capture the iconic Tower Bridge. Since Horsleydown Steps sit inside the former Anchor Brewhouse, they can be tricky to find. However, keep your eyes peeled to find the signpost “Old Horselydown Stairs,” which signals the entrance to the narrow steps.
5. Lawn Food
Lawn Food is a lovely outdoor bar to grab a bite while admiring scenic views; it’s part of The Tower Hotel London. It sits right by the River Thames and offers killer views of Tower Bridge and London’s skyline. Most locals and travelers rave about the bar’s cozy atmosphere.
It features a pleasant outdoor eating area, where you can enjoy a few of their craft beers. They also offer a wide variety of comfort food, from pizza to hamburgers. I believe Lawn Food is an excellent place to stop by on a summer day.
6. London Bridge
First, let me clear up a recurrent confusion: London Bridge isn’t Tower Bridge. For some reason, tourists confuse the two when they’re entirely different bridges: Tower Bridge has grand towers and a bascule that rises when ships navigate through the Thames. The London Bridge is a simple concrete bridge that spans the Thames between the City of London and Southwark.
Having cleared the confusion, London Bridge is a guaranteed prime spot to get the best views of Tower Bridge. The reason? It sits right in front of Tower Bridge, which means you can capture the bascule bridge in all its glory.
7. Potters Fields Park
Potters Fields Park lies opposite The Queen’s Walk. The lovely green space is an oasis by the Thames right next to Tower Bridge. You’ll find a long promenade here, with lawns, leafy trees, quiet walkways, and lush gardens.
Locals love to come to Potters Fields Park to enjoy a beer, ice cream, or picnic while taking in views of the River Thames and some of the landmarks that make up London’s skyline, including Tower Bridge. During the summer months, Potters Fields Park can be a popular spot. So you might find it a bit harder to snap a picture of the bridge without people around.
8. The Shard
The Shard is already a well-established and famous spot for locals and tourists alike to get views of London’s skyline. It makes total sense, as the views here are out of this world. The skyscraper invites visitors to look out over London from their viewing platforms on levels 68 and 69.
You can try to time your visit to get to The Shard by the sunset and enjoy the sights of London in daylight, dusk, and night. Both platforms feature bars and cafés, so you can sit and watch a magnificent sunset over London while sipping on your favorite cocktail.
9. The Timepiece Sundial
The Timepiece Sundial is one of London’s most important sculptures. It sits on the North bank of the Thames, just East of Tower Bridge. The sculpture has a beautiful backdrop, with the River Thames, St Katherine Dock, and Tower Bridge making up the surrounding landscape.
The jetty area isn’t as crowded as typical London attractions and has become a nice viewpoint on the Thames from which you can photograph Tower Bridge.
10. Tower Bridge Quay
Formerly called St. Katharine’s Pier, Tower Bridge Quay (pronounced “key”) is a river transport pier on the River Thames. It sits on the edge of St. Katharine Docks and is a popular arrival and departure pier for London sightseeing cruises. So you might have been there if you booked a cruise during your stay.
Tower Bridge Quay is next to Tower Bridge and close to St. Katharine Docks, a lovely marina built 190 years ago. The area provides excellent opportunities to take photos of the river and the extravagant bridge. You’ll also find there are many shops and upscale restaurants around.
11. Tower Bridge Road
Okay, this one is… well, I won’t say dangerous, but it’s a spot you need to pay close attention to traffic if you want to get a good photo.
In particular, there’s a small traffic island on Tower Bridge Road on the south side of the bridge where you can stand and get the unusual angle of Tower Bridge pictured above (and at the top of this post). To get the best shot, I recommend using a telephoto lens or zoom, and going in the early morning or late evening when there’s less traffic.
You can also – theoretically – take pictures from further toward the bridge, however it’s important to note that there are no safe places to do this, and there are fences on either side of the roadway that will prevent you from getting away from cars quickly. I don’t advise going further onto Tower Bridge for photos unless the bridge is closed to automobile traffic for some reason.
12. Tower Wharf
For some people, Tower Wharf offers the best views of Tower Bridge. The quays lie between the Tower of London and the Thames, and the surrounding green areas are popular for sunset strolls and picnics. It’s not uncommon to spot locals enjoying the sunshine and views across the South Bank and Tower Bridge.
While Tower Wharf gets quite busy, especially on summer days, it isn’t overly crowded. While you can visit on any day, it’s convenient to stop by Tower Wharf after visiting the Tower of London.
13. Upper Deck of the HMS Belfast
The Upper Deck is another alternative for those who want to enjoy views with a drink in their hand. The stunning bar has spectacular views in every direction of HMS Belfast and surrounding London landmarks, including Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, and City Hall. By the way, if war is something that interests you, HMS Belfast is an imposing Town-class light cruiser that Britain’s Royal Navy used during WWII. It is a museum ship with stunning exhibits depicting the experience of serving at sea.
It features an outdoor terrace bar, where you can have a drink and watch the sun go down over the Thames. By the way, their drinks and sharing plates are delicious. My advice is to snag a table here to unwind after a hectic day discovering London.
Bonus: From the River Thames
I’ve been fortunate to take some great Thames river cruises during my time living and traveling around London, including one that passed under the bridge while it was raised! Though it isn’t a conventional view of Tower Bridge, I certainly recommend getting this unique perspective on a London icon if you have time.
In particular, you’ll need to be on a cruise or tour that’s headed to Greenwich, since that’s the main terminal east of Tower Bridge that will require you to pass under the bridge. If you take a river cruise between other, westerly piers, you’ll just get some nice views from the river, quite similar to the one from London Bridge.
So which of these London Bridge viewpoint is on your list now? If you have any questions, let me know in the comments, or join the conversation in my London Travel Tips Facebook community.