As Tower Bridge doesn’t open for boats as often during the winter months, they’re resuming their behind-the-scenes tours that include trips into the huge bascule chambers underneath the bridge.
The bascule chambers are where the massive counterweights for the bridge slide into when the bride opens, and are a hidden surprise under the main road bridge.
The tours take in the main tourist areas, but then you are taken away from the tourists to get up close to the original steam engines, accumulators and boilers in the Victorian Engine Rooms. This tour also goes behind the scenes to the Bridge’s operational areas including the Control Cabin, Machinery Room and finally, down long flights of stairs to the immense Bascule Chambers.
The two-hour tours cost £75 per adult, run at 10:30am on most weekends from November to March and need to be booked in advance from here.
The tour visits both indoor & outdoor areas which are naturally dirty as part of everyday Bridge operations. There are uneven floors and some of the spaces are damp and cold, especially those located underneath the Bridge and below river level – some of these are considered confined spaces and have no windows and no natural light.
The Bascule Chambers are accessed via 115 steep steps, and it’s advisable to wear sensible shoes and warm clothing.