Love locks are a romantic way for couples to declare that their love is eternal and cannot be broken. Bridges are a natural place for loved-up couples to gravitate to as you can attach a padlock to the bridge and then toss the keys into the river below.
The idea has been popular 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.
We've rounded up the most popular spots to declare your love on an iconic London bridge.
Golden Jubilee Bridge
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).
The newest bridge across the River Thames in London, this iconic footbridge links Tate Modern on the south side of the river to St Paul’s Cathedral on the north.
Best view: Both banks of the river look delightful from this bridge. Enjoy views of the Tate Modern and the Globe Theatre on the south bank and St Paul's Cathedral, Sir Christopher Wren's masterpiece on the north side of the river.
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 you'll need to 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.
This London landmark is a bridge used by cars, buses, motorbikes, cyclists, and pedestrians. Tower Bridge opened in 1894 and the ironwork was painted an iconic blue and white 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 check the lift schedule ahead of your trip. And look up as the high walkways now have glass floor panels in the middle.
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. 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 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.
Shoreditch High Street Station
In London, this loving idea has spread from bridges to a wire fence opposite Shoreditch High Street 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. And head down Brick Lane to hop between the curry houses and to shop for vintage clothes in the many boutiques. Spitalfields Market is just around the corner for stalls selling quirky gifts, clothes, and jewelry.
Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street (London Overground).