Bridges make up some of the world’s most unforgettable man-made structures. But which are the most aesthetically appealing? Holiday Lettings assembles a list of the loveliest examples to visit, from London’s Tower Bridge to Leonardo da Vinci’s design in Norway.
Tower Bridge, London, UK
Photo credit: Tony Smith (license) via flickr.com
It wouldn’t be a proper trip to London without gazing down the Thames from Tower Bridge and snapping some photos. After all, its imposing Gothic towers and ornate drawbridge (raised to let boats through) make up one of the city’s most iconic sights. While you’re there, you can find out more about the structure at the Tower Bridge Exhibition.
Venture across the bridge into the Tower of London, shudder at its gory history and gasp at the opulent Crown Jewels. Why not take a boat down the river from the nearby Tower Millennium Pier and see the city from a different perspective? You’ll drift past the imposing HMS Belfast - the former warship’s now a floating museum, and you can explore its nine decks and Operations Room.
Ponte Sant'Angelo, Rome, Italy
Photo credit: Abir Anwar (license) via flickr.com
This is the most famous bridge in this gorgeous city. Emperor Hadrian commissioned it as an approach to his mausoleum in 136, but it’s the angel sculptures along the parapets to whom today’s travellers pay their respects. Designed by Bernini in the 17th century, they tell you the story of Jesus’ crucifixion as you drift across the River Tiber.
The bridge leads you to the monumental Castel Sant’Angelo, which has served as everything from a prison to a papal residence. You can admire the vast collection of Renaissance paintings and pottery, and take in the lavish apartments (plus torture chamber). The views from the ramparts towards the Vatican City are stunning. If they inspire you, you might want to take the quick walk to the mighty St Peter’s Basilica and the legendary Sistine Chapel frescoes.
Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney, Australia
Photo credit: Mark Dodd (license) via flickr.com
You’ve seen plenty of images, but nothing can prepare you for the reality of Sydney Harbour Bridge. It’s so astonishingly familiar and so amazingly grand that you’ll struggle to take your eyes off it. If you have a head for heights, why not climb all the way to the summit? Alternatively, get out on the water to see the bridge across the harbour, or take to the skies on a helicopter tour and feel your jaw drop at the breathtaking bird’s eye views.
Back on dry land, watch the sun set over the harbour from one of the Opera House’s bars as you savour a chilled glass of white wine from the Hunter Valley. The nearby Botanic Gardens make a tranquil oasis where you can take the sun and relax. When you’re re-energised, how about hiking along the coast from Bondi to Coogee? There are idyllic beaches with perfect surf and glittering rock pools to explore on the way.
Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge, New England, USA
Photo credit: Beth Stiner (license) via Wikimedia Commons
Covered bridges are among New England’s most iconic and cherished structures. Ten thousand reputedly dotted the countryside in the nineteenth century, but it’s estimated that less than 2,000 remain today. The Cornish-Windsor Bridge in New England is the country’s longest example and most impressive survivor: step back in time as you move over the wooden floorboards and absorb its simple beauty.
You can investigate these charming constructions fully at the Vermont Covered Bridge Museum in the southwest of the state, which features displays on the builders and designers behind the bridges. There’s more for fans of New England style at nearby Bennington’s Old First Church, with its classic white weatherboard exterior. Renowned poet Robert Frost is buried in the cemetery here. You can also soak up the atmosphere of the historic Park-McCullough mansion near the town centre.
Leonardo's Bridge, Ås, Norway
Photo credit: Åsmund Ødegård (license) via Wikimedia Commons
Leonardo da Vinci designed a bridge to link Europe and Asia, submitting his proposals to the Turkish sultan in 1502. They were rejected at the time and remained a simple sketch in one of Leonardo’s notebooks. His vision finally came to life 500 years later and 1,500 miles further north than originally planned in Ås, Norway. You can stroll across the elegant wooden structure and admire Leonardo’s lovely blend of function and form.
While you’re there, discover what today’s scientists are studying at the nearby Vitenparken green science centre, where you can catch an exhibition on climate change or another environmental project. For more green research, the neighbouring Norskogarboretet (arboretum) offers you 70 species of forest trees to admire.