|50 feet below the surface of the River Thames|
I like to visit oddball attractions when we travel. London is no exception. That's how my family came to find ourselves taking a walk under the Thames. Sure, some people head straight for Westminster Abbey or the Tower of London. Not us. On our first full day in this historic town, our first stop was the Greenwich Foot Tunnel.
Taking three years to construct, the pedestrian tunnel opened in 1902 as a more reliable replacement for the ferry service that transported dock workers who lived on the south side of the Thames. The south entrance is near the Cutty Sark in Greenwich, and the north section is near Island Park and Canary Wharf on the Isle of Dogs. This cast iron tunnel is 1,215 feet long, 9 feet in diameter, and rests 50 feet under water. Portions of the tunnel's walls are covered with 200,000 white tiles. Damaged during World War II and subsequently restored, the section pictured above is a little narrower because of the concrete and steel reinforced lining .
|Glass-domed tunnel entrance (left) on the south side with the colorful Helter Skelterr slide (right).|
Entrances on either side of the river are in glass-dome covered buildings that house a wide staircase spiraling around the largest lift I've ever seen. At first, I thought perhaps it was used to get horse-drawn buggies into the tunnel. It was that huge! Nope. It's just for people... and now cyclists, too. In these modern times, the Greenwich Foot Tunnel is part of the National Trail footpath and part of the UK's National Cycle Route 1.
If walking through a tunnel under the River Thames, from one bank to another, isn't enough of a draw for you, maybe this fantastic view from the northern Isle of Dogs entrance looking towards Greenwich is enough incentive.
|Old Royal Navel College on the south side of the Thames|
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