Love Locks in London

Close-Up Of Padlocks On Railing
••• Benjamin Van Der Spek / EyeEm / Getty Images
  • 01 of 05

    Love Locks in London

    Love locks on Barnes Railway Bridge
    ••• Love locks on Barnes Railway Bridge. John Phillips / Getty Images

    Love locks are yet another way for couples to declare that their love is eternal and cannot be undone. Bridges are the most popular places for this as you can attach a padlock to the bridge and then toss the keys into the river below.

    The idea has been seen across Europe since the early 2000s and some say the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris is where it all started. Love locks or love padlocks are now often seen in wedding ceremonies as the symbolism works well for couples making a long-term commitment. What was once done together in secret at night is now a ceremony performed in broad daylight with accompanying photos and videos.

    Some couples use a standard padlock and write or paint their initials on it and others have special padlocks engraved with the date of their visit.

    While love locks can be seen in London there are nowhere near as many as in Venice and Rome where the authorities are spending a lot of time and money removing the locks as they are damaging historic bridges.

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  • 02 of 05

    Golden Jubilee Bridge

    Golden Jubilee Bridge on a rainy day.
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    This footbridge connects the Southbank to Charing Cross station and The Embankment on the north side of the river Thames. (Hungerford Bridge is the railway bridge that runs parallel.) This isn't the most popular bridge for love locks but there are always a few to be seen.

    Best view: Look east towards Waterloo Bridge and in the distance, you can see St Paul’s Cathedral. The Royal Festival Hall also looks rather good on the Southbank.

    Anything else to spot? Don't miss the ‘skateboard graveyard’ where the local skateboarders throw boards over the bridge when they break.

    Nearest tube stations: Waterloo (on the south side of the river) or Embankment (on the north side).

    Directions: If you'd like to see the other love lock locations in London on the same day here are the directions to the next location: Catch the RV1 bus from behind the London Eye/Royal Festival Hall to Tate Modern.

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  • 03 of 05

    Millennium Bridge

    UK, London, Bankside, Tate Modern and Millennium Bridge over River Thames
    ••• Tate Modern and the Millennium Bridge. Alan Copson / Getty Images

    The newest bridge across The River Thames in London, this footbridge links Tate Modern on the south side of the river to St Paul’s Cathedral on the north.

    Best view: Look north to St Paul’s Cathedral.

    Anything else to spot? If the tide is out, watch people mudlarking on the north riverbank. You'll need a license to join in and check that the tide is a long way out first. Also on the north side, look for the 'Funicular railway' that runs next to the steps down under the bridge. If it's working, it's free to use.

    Nearest tube stations: Southwark (on the south side)—follow the orange lamp posts guiding you to Tate Modern—or Blackfriars (on the north side).

    Directions: If you'd like to see the other love lock locations in London on the same day here are the directions to the next location: Walk past Shakespeare's Globe and Borough Market, past London Bridge, beside HMS Belfast and then City Hall before reaching Tower Bridge.

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  • 04 of 05

    Tower Bridge

    England, London, Tower Bridge Sidewalk, at Dusk
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    This London landmark is a bridge used by traffic and pedestrians. Tower Bridge opened in 1894 and was only painted the iconic blue and white on the ironwork in 1977 for the Queen's Silver Jubilee. And do note, it's not London Bridge – that’s the plain concrete bridge to the west.

    Tower Bridge does lift regularly so do check the lift schedule. And look up as the high walkways now have glass floor panels in the middle.

    Best view: Look up to Tower Bridge's high walkways, or look north to the Tower of London, or look south to City Hall (that's the glass egg-shaped building).

    Anything else to spot? There are lots of good views from this bridge so just take it all in. And do wave to the boats that pass underneath as it's considered good luck for them to get a wave from someone on Tower Bridge. I also like to stand right in the middle and look through the gap to the River Thames below. Stand there when a heavy vehicle drives by and you'll feel the bridge wobble.

    Nearest tube stations: London...MORE Bridge (on the south side) or Tower Hill (on the north side).

    Directions: If you'd like to see the other love lock locations in London on the same day here are the directions to the next location: Catch the 78 bus from Tower Bridge (going north) to Shoreditch.

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  • 05 of 05

    Opposite Shoreditch High Street Station

    Shoreditch High Street Station
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    In London, this loving idea has spread from bridges to a wire fence opposite Shoreditch High Street London Overground station. From the station entrance/exit simply look across the street to your left. You really can't miss them as there are over 100 padlocks here at the last count.

    Anything else to spot? Look out for street art in this part of town.

    Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street (London Overground).