Q: How do you open Tower Bridge? A: Book your cruise event with Thames Leisure

If you book your Thames cruise with us, we can arrange to have Tower Bridge opened! Tower Bridge is one of the world’s most iconic buildings, and we can have the power to make this little corner of the earth move just for you.

Watching Tower Bridge open is on the must-see list for many visitors to London whether from overseas or home-grown. It is a fantastic thing to watch, but it is many more times more fantastic to experience. We believe Thames cruises are special experiences and mostly because of the brilliant city that they take you through, but the experience of opening Tower Bridge at the same time is truly something else: genuinely a never-to-be-forgotten experience.

So how DO you open Tower Bridge?

Technically, and quite simply, you sail a boat or ship through it that has a reason to go through –  and most crucially is high enough – to warrant the bridge to open. Thames Leisure has two vessels which, on the appropriate mission to transport its passengers, qualify for this privilege. Sailing Barge Will is a traditional tall sailing vessel. Her mast height (also known as ‘air draught’) is  nearly 30 metres; as you can see from the image below, that’s more than enough to open the bridge.Our other big boat, Dutch Master is a different type of river cruiser entirely. One of the biggest boats in London, she has three decks, is nearly 40 metres long and can take up to 365 guests.


The boats are clearly very different. Sailing Barge Will specialises in smaller groups of up to 50. Seated dinners in the traditional oak panelled room with a log fire blazing and a Christmas dinner emerging from the galley, or clay pigeon shooting from the decks as a brilliant team activity bring out the best in her. Dutch Master is a big-group specialist, running parties for promoters and top DJ’s, or entertaining big corporate or private groups.

You do not however, need to charter either vessel to have Tower Bridge open.

In many circumstances, whichever of our vessels you choose, we may well be able to fulfil your Tower Bridge dreams as we are always moving our fleet around for many reasons, and for many clients, and a look at our charter diary and a bit of tinkering with timing, might well bring you and your guests this very special experience. If you want to see if we can add this to your event, just ask us when you enquire.

Tower Bridge is opened approximately 1000 times a year, about 3 times a day…but many Londoners never see it. If you are booking a Thames Cruise, what reasons have you got not to make turn it into a treasured memory.


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