One of London’s highest and most dramatic bridges is not one you are likely to stumble upon, being sited in a quiet spot of docklands.

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Built in 1995-8, the Royal Victoria Dock bridge links the Excel exhibition centre to the southern side of the docks, providing a useful route to the Custom House DLR station.

Today it is showing its age but is due to get a major makeover when the Millennium Mills redevelopment takes place, as it is a key part of linking that development to the future Crossrail station at Custom House.

At the moment, there is a lift to the upper deck, but only the bravest of souls would risk that — preferring to take the somewhat graffiti stained staircase instead.

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However, the view from the top is worth the effort. At times alarmingly excitingly windy, the wide flat wooden walkway has huge inserts for the inverted trusses that support it.

Wide, open views towards the city airport, or to Canary Wharf the other way.

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On my later afternoon trip, just two other people used the bridge, although a romantic couple also loitered at the base.

Officially, the bridge is unfinished, as it was supposed to have a glass passenger cabin running back and forth on a rail fixed to the underside of the deck. Unnecessary for such a short journey, it would have certainly put the bridge on the map long before small glass cabins started flying over the Thames just down the road.

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Sadly, such are times we live in, the bridge is private property — more because that lets them close it to the public when controversial events take place at the exhibition centre.

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6 comments on “Walk over one of London’s highest bridges
  1. Peter says:

    This bridge holds fond though rather bittersweet memories for my wife and myself. Four years ago we stayed in a hotel facing on to this dock on our way out to Australia to emigrate. We clambered over it enjoying the spectacular views and walked right the way down to the Thames Barrier through a rather lovely park. A great walk!

  2. Michael says:

    An overlooked landmark. The view from the top on a calm evening is spectacular. I do hope that Silvertown Quays pays for an upgrade to this link (the lifts are often out of service), but there was some talk of them constructing a ‘parallel’ crossing under their own ownership.

  3. Jen Oram says:

    The lift was out of order when I visited it this year (no signs or anything, it just didn’t work). It’s hard work getting up to the top with bad knees, but the view is good. And it’s private, just like the Garden Bridge. Is anything public in London any more?

  4. LadyBracknell says:

    You wouldn’t get me up there for love or money. I can barely cope with some of the stairs on the eastern extremeties of the DLR stations. @Peter: it’s been a while which I have been to Barrier Point and I think a visit is overdue.

  5. Obinna says:

    London will always be dear to me especially East London. I used to live at Prince Regent and had a girlfriend who lived in one of the highrise apartments next to the ExCel (Queen Victoria stop).

    Our evenings were spent strolling around the canal or plane spotting on this bridge in between making out. Especially at night I loved watching planes as they took off towards us on the bridge or landed.

    Now you’ve got me in my feelings. I miss you Xin.

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