Bridges of London: Millennium Bridge

Saturday, October 30, 2010 |

Bridge walking in London wouldn't be complete without a trek over the Millennium Bridge. It's a footbridge, no vehicle traffic, that was opened in, of course, 2000. It is located just south of St. Paul's Cathedral and crosses the Thames and connects to the Tate Modern art museum on the south bank. This bridge had a serious swaying problem immediately after opening in 2000, then was quickly closed for a couple of years while it was reinforced somehow. And I'm sure you didn't miss how it collapsed during one of the Harry Potter movies. Despite that checkered past, we were willing to give it a try and stroll across.

It is a short bridge, about 0.2 miles, like Tower Bridge and probably most bridges across the Thames in London. Millennium Bridge is pretty wide, at about 13 feet. The bridge is listed at about 35 feet above the water, so it's not all that high, either. Its great views, you might say, come from being exceptionally open on the sides. To me, the railing looked like little pieces of tight string horizontally. But, fortunately, upon closer inspection it was metal like the rest of the bridge. The sides are around chest high. So, the sides of the bridge make it a more challenging bridge to cross than, say, Tower Bridge. The bridge gets a scariness rating of 8 (5 for the sides--not for the width or height but for the openness, 2 for bridge height, and 1 for length).

The bridge allows a great view back at St. Paul's Cathedral, the great architectural achievement of Christopher Wren from the 17th Century. The Cathedral somehow survived the Blitz in 1940-41. And looking out into the water, other bridges of the Thames can easily be seen, including Tower Bridge to the east. All in all, definitely worth the trip, especially combining a trip to St. Paul's and then going over to the Tate Modern.