There has been a walkway crossing the Thames River at this point since 1845 when Isambard Kingdom Brunel opened his suspension footbridge. Of course today, we call this point the Golden Jubilee Bridge.
Back in Brunel’s time, the footbridge connected the South Bank, now the Queen’s Walk, with the 180-year-old Hungerford Market which closed in 1860 to make way for Charing Cross Railway Station on the north side of the bridge.
Using the original brick pile buttresses of Brunel’s footbridge the original Hungerford Railway Bridge combine pedestrian and rail use, which the new 2002 Queens Jubilee footbridges continue to do.
The footbridge(s) offer some of the best views in London and remain one of my favourite places to cross the River Thames. On one side of the bridge, there are unparalleled views of The London Eye, Parliament and Big Ben. The other side of the Jubilee Bridge you can clearly see the Southbank, Royal Festival Hall, The National Theatre and St Paul’s Cathedral with Waterloo Bridge in the forefront. At night The City of London shines like a beacon on the hill so beautiful and grand.
Especially nice is the way St Paul’s Cathedral dome towers over The City of London. New contemporary buildings are going up at a rapid pace in The City, and yes, some are taller than the cathedral; however, these buildings cannot match the size of St Paul’s dome. It’s remarkable and so beautifully lighted.
During the winter the sun sets earlier so you can have a splendid view of commuters walking across Waterloo Bridge. Additionally, a steady stream of London’s iconic red double-decker buses crosses the bridge in both directions. Combine the silhouettes of people walking with the double-decker buses and the City of London in the background, and you have a classic London view. What you will see is a scene directly from a movie. It is a London scene you’re sure to remember.
The views from the Golden Jubilee Bridges are ones you’ll crave moments after you leave. And, though modern(ish), the bridges are a window to what came before and made London so wonderful.