Sunday, May 14, 2017

Under the Thames

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

Are you drawn to unusual sites when you travel?





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13 comments:

  1. Oh how interesting! This could definitely be fun to do next time I'm in London! Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard!

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  2. We love oddball sites - especially me. How can I have not known about this when we went to Greenwich. I am green with envy that you got to explore it.

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  3. I'm definitely drawn to oddball attractions when I travel - I've been to Carhenge in Nebraska and any large roadside attraction but I never knew you could walk under the Thames. Gonna have to do this!

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  4. I had no idea, and I was in Greenwich not too long ago. Will definitely keep this in mind for the next time I am in the area. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard

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  5. I had no idea it existed. Great post. We are drawn to the non-tourist attractions when we travel as we like to see what locals do and how they live, not necessarily, odd ball, just regular 'stuff'.

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  6. I never knew about this tunnel. I like the south side tunnel entrance.

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  7. I hadn't heard of the tunnel. I always struggle with the idea of being beneath a body of water. I've been to the Cutty Sark too!

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  8. How cool I didn't know it was there. Love the history of these features cities contain and why they were constructed - glad to see it hasn't been closed off but still in use today.

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  9. Maybe a little oddball, but definitely cool! We had never heard about this, actually. Filing under Good to Know! Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

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  10. I saw the entrance for this last time we were in Greenwich but it wasn't open. I think they were painting or cleaning or something. I really want to do this though! #wkendtravelinspiration

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  11. So funny - when we were planning our London trip years ago, this was the one thing my husband absolutely had to experience. He loved the idea of walking under the Thames. :-)

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  12. What an interesting tour and a cool experience! I didn't know this existed and because we're most likely too focused on doing the main London attractions. Those are some great views of Greenwich. We'll need to look for this the next time we're in London.

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  13. I didn't know about Greenwich Foot Tunnel. It seems like an interesting place to experience. I think I'd feel a little claustrophobic in there though. Not sure it's my kind of attraction.

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