Itinerary idea: Open for Business at Tower Bridge

Date Posted: 08/09/2015

Days are easily swallowed up on a school trip to Tower Bridge. Here’s a rundown of just one of the ways to spend a school trip at the iconic London landmark.

Itinerary: Open for Business

Provider: Tower Bridge

Subjects: Local History; Geography; English; Art and Design

A visit to Tower Bridge is an immersive and interactive experience. The attraction’s learning team has developed a range of workshops and cross-curricular sessions to give pupils the chance to explore its 120 year history and its evolution over time. Below is an example of the Open for Business itinerary for Key Stage 2 pupils.

10:30 – Meet and greet by Tower Bridge’s learning team at the exhibition entrance. The class will then be divided into two small groups, to ensure a high quality learning experience. Group A will go on a tour, whilst Group B will take part in a workshop.

In the workshop, pupils will use a range of historical sources to learn about the interdependent relationship between the Thames, international trade and the extraordinary evolution of the local London area in the nineteenth century.

They’ll interrogate art and census results as well as handle objects to discover the history of the Pool of London and understand what life was like in the area around Tower Bridge at the end of the Victorian era.

On the facilitated tour, meanwhile, pupils will discover Tower Bridge’s historic spaces. Much like the Victorian pedestrians who used the bridge when it was first built; pupils will climb the mighty towers to 42 metres above the Thames.

On their ascent, children will be able to see the bridge’s internal structure discovering the shapes and materials used inside which are hidden beneath the outer layers of Portland Stone. Once up in the exhibition space, pupils will gain an understanding of why Tower Bridge needed to be built and why it had to be designed in the way that it was.

Children will also be given the opportunity to experience the new glass walkway, which offers a never-seen-before view of London life, from 42 metres above the River Thames.

11:15 – School groups will move on to the next stop on the tour: Tower Bridge’s Victorian Engine rooms. These rooms house the original machinery and tell the attraction’s engineering story. Children are often awed by the mighty machines but soon grasp the simpler scientific principles of how Tower Bridge once opened up.

12:00 – Pupils gather in the Bridge Master’s Learning Centre, which is a dedicated learning space within the bridge itself, to have their packed lunch.

12:30 – Pupils who were on the tour in the morning will stay in Bridge Master’s Learning Centre to take part in the workshop, while Group B will embark on their tour.

14:00 – Visit to the gift shop before leaving, or classes can pick up their prearranged goodie bags from a member of learning staff.

Open for Business is just one of Tower Bridge’s educational sessions. The attraction also offers a STEM focussed workshop called Crunching Codes and Raising Roads, where students gain an understanding of the bridge’s mechanics, modern day coding, and 3D printing through practical activities culminating in students working together to raise the road of a miniature Tower Bridge.

In addition to these workshops, schools can also take part in a specially developed stand-alone tour called Tower Bridge: A Capital Idea, which is designed for Key Stages 1 and 2.

For more information call Tower Bridge Learning on 020 7940 8397 or visit www.towerbridge.org.uk/schools.

School Travel Organiser's Guide