Trying out the Tower Bridge Family Trail app

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I’ve always been fascinated by Tower Bridge in London. It is such an iconic landmark and the engineering that went into building it was second to none.

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The iconic Tower Bridge. It now has an app to teach children about its history and how it was built and works.

I was recently asked if I’d care to take the family on a trip to Tower Bridge. The aim wasn’t so much to visit the bridge itself, but to try out a new app. Known as the Family Trail app, the idea is to give visitors, especially young ones, a chance to playfully explore the bridge and its workings.

The app offers you a trail in which you can walk around the exhibition, starting at the entrance (no surprises there), over the glass-bottomed East walkway, then the West Walkway and into the engine rooms.

Tower Bridge, London, days out in London, Days out in London with children, Family Trail app, Tower Bridge Family Trail app
Here I am, stood on one of the glass bottomed walkways on Tower Bridge, the River Thames flowing freely below.

Along the way, you can play games, such as Match Skyline, a jigsaw puzzle style game where you have to drag and drop shapes into the correct place. It is also educational, giving children (and adults!) the chance to learn facts about the bridge.

Tower Bridge, London, Family Trail app, London, days out, days out in London, days out in London with children
The FamilyTrail app enables children and adults alike to learn about the bridge as they go around.

A quick history lesson for you. The engines that once powered Tower Bridge and enabled it to open so ships could pass were steamed powered. Needless to say, it’s all done electronically these days, but you can see the original steam boilers and the massive water tanks that were used as weights and counter balances that made the bridge open and close.

Tower Bridge
Helen and Izzy making the most of the Tower Bridge Family Trail app.

A favourite game for my girls was the Stoke the Boiler game. In this game you to keep the boilers fed with coal so the bridge can open and close.

Tower Bridge, London, days out in London, Days out in London with children, Family Trail app, Tower Bridge Family Trail app
The stoke the boiler game that my children love playing. It also educates them about steam power.

Is the app any good? Based on the reaction of my kids, I would have to say yes. Our eldest daughter, Helen, who is aged seven, enjoyed using it on the day and has asked to play the app several times since visiting Tower bridge.

The one comment I’d make is something the developers can do nothing about. This is a busy London visitor attraction and I had to take my phone off the kids because it was proving such a distraction, not ideal when in a confined space with large numbers of people.

My advice would be to plan a visit to Tower Bridge and let the kids loose on the app before going. This way you can get them interested and build up some enthusiasm in advance of the trip. It also proved to be a fantastic way of keeping the children occupied on the train journey home.

That said, my children certainly found the app educational. They also found it fun to use. In summary it is a great app, but just think about when and where you let the kids use it.

The Tower Bridge Family Trail app can be downloaded on iOs and Android devices for free from app stores and the Tower Bridge website.

Disclosure; For the purposes of this review I was granted access to Tower bridge. Thoughts and opinions entirely my own.

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