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Visit the Forth Bridges

To truly appreciate the bridges, you need to get on them!

The Magnificent Forth Bridges

Visit the Forth Bridges to see three bridges spanning three centuries. Each of the three bridges is a record-breaking pinnacle of engineering. They complement each other beautifully and are a gargantuan sight to behold. 
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The Forth Bridge

Get on the bridge by train!

  • Opened in 1890
  • Designed by John Fowler and Benjamin Baker
  • A UNESCO World Heritage Site 
  • The overall length is 2,467 metres
  • The highest point of the Forth Bridge stands 110 metres above high water and 137 metres above its foundations
  • 53,000 tonnes of steel and 6.5 million rivets were used to construct the Forth Bridge
  • The Forth Bridge's piers are constructed from 120,000 cubic yards of concrete and masonry, faced with 2 ft thick granite
  • 200 trains use the bridge every day, carrying 3 million passengers each year
  • The total painted area of the Forth Bridge is 230,000 sq metres, requiring 240,000 litres of paint
  • There are 1,040 lights installed on the Forth Bridge, using approximately 35-40,000 metres of cable
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Forth Road Bridge

Get on the bridge on foot, cycle or bus!

  • Opened in 1964
  • One of the world's most significant long-span suspension bridges
  • The overall length is 2.5km
  • The bridge has a main span of 1006 metres between the two main towers
  • The side spans which carry the deck to the side towers are each 408 metres long
  • The approach viaducts are 252 metres and 438 metres long on the north and south sides respectively
  • The two main aerially spun cables from which the suspended deck is hung are 590 mm in diameter, and each is made up of 11,618 high tensile wires with a 4.98 mm diameter
  • The main cables are anchored at each end to take the 13,800 tonnes of total load in each cable
  • The suspended span decks are hung from the main cables by 192 sets of four hanger ropes with diameters of 44.5 and 52.4 mm.
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Queensferry Crossing

Get on the bridge by car!

  • Opened in 2017
  • The structure spans 1.7 miles (2.7km) making it the longest three-tower, cable-stayed bridge in the world
  • The largest infrastructure project in Scotland for a generation
  • New world record in 2013 for the largest continuous underwater concrete pour. The 24-hour non-stop operation successfully poured 16,869 cubic metres of concrete into the water-filled south tower caisson
  • Prior to the completion of the final closure sections on the deck, the balanced cantilevers which extend 322m north and south from the central tower, i.e. 644m tip to tip, were recorded by Guinness as the longest ever
  • Highest bridge towers in the UK (210m)
  • Longest free-standing balanced cantilever in the world. (Centre Tower deck fan was 644m wide prior to being connected to rest of structure)

The Forth Bridge

Designed by John Fowler and Benjamin Baker, the Forth Bridge is a marvel of Victorian engineering. It was originally to be designed by Thomas Bouch but his plans were abandoned when disaster struck his Tay Bridge in 1879.

Construction work was completed by Tancred an Arrol, a pioneering engineering business based in Glasgow which later became Sir William Arrol & Co.

The bridge opened in 1890. A staggering 53,000 tonnes of steel and 6.5 million rivets were used in construction. The first major structure in Britain to be constructed of mild steel, at 2.5km long, the bridge boasted the world’s longest span. In the heyday of rail travel, it marked an important milestone in bridge design and construction

With its iconic industrial appearance, the Forth Bridge remains one of the greatest cantilever-trussed bridges.

An international landmark, the Forth Bridge is viewed with great affection and nicknamed ‘Our Grand Old Lady’ by local people. In 2016, it beat Edinburgh Castle and The Kelpies in a public vote for Scotland’s greatest manmade wonder. It has inspired the design of a bridge in Pokémon, a book charting the lives of The Briggers (the men and boys who constructed the bridge), and a 4.7m Lego model which attracted over 10,000 votes to be made into an official kit.

‘Painting the Forth Bridge’ became a phrase synonymous with a never-ending task. But the bridge doesn’t need constant painting anymore.

Originally, a hand-operated paint mixer was used but nowadays, a long-lasting epoxy paint system containing glass flake is applied. The expectation is that the bridge will now only need to be painted every 25 years or so. The distinctive red colour was created to emulate the red oxide colouration of the bridge when it first opened, which had been manufactured by Craig & Rose of Edinburgh.

The Forth Bridge is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and remains in use as a vital passenger and freight rail link across the Firth of Forth, carrying 200 trains a day.

To experience the Forth Bridge up close, you'll need hop on a train at Dalmeny Station (South Queensferry) or North Queensferry Station. Take a window seat to admire the distinctive steel structures and spectacular views across the Firth of Forth.

If you want to get even closer, the charity Barnardo’s fundraises by offering occasional opportunities to be taken to the top of the north cantilever of the Forth Bridge. Known as Your View, you get a 360 degree panorama from a viewing platform 361ft in the air. It’s incredible – but not for the faint-hearted! Abseiling experiences for charity are also sometimes offered from the south viaduct.

Compare The Forth Bridges

View our annotated scale drawings side-by-side to compare and contrast these three pinnacles of engineering
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The Forth Road Bridge

Opened by HRH Queen Elizabeth on 4 September 1964, the Forth Road Bridge is 2.5km long and one of the world’s most significant long-span suspension bridges.

With the growing popularity of the motor car, the need for a road bridge was first identified in the 1920s. Plans were put on hold until 1947 due to The Great Depression and Second World War. Construction, which finally began in 1958, saw Britain’s largest three construction firms collaborating under the banner of ACD Bridge Company Ltd. The consortium included Sir William Arrol, who had been responsible for the construction of the Forth Bridge 80 years earlier. A special training school had to be set up in Queensferry to teach contractors how to spin the main cables which were made not far away by Bruntons of Musselburgh. 

Nowadays, a walk or cycle across the bridge offers plenty of interest.

To the north (North Queensferry end) you’ll see incredible views of the iconic Forth Bridge, west Fife and the Queensferry Crossing which opened in 2017.

To the south (South Queensferry end), you can enjoy
views over Port Edgar Marina towards the Queensferry Crossing and beyond to Blackness Castle which is known as the ship that never sailed due to its boat-like shape. if you keep going to the Forth Bridges Viewpoint at the end of the Bridge, there’s a coffee kiosk, toilets, the opening memorial, and (coming soon), a telescope to zoom in on landmarks and wildlife.

Look out for Inchgarvie island tucked under the Forth Bridge. Strategically important in the times when travel was limited to boats, it’s now uninhabited. Four of the caissons that make up the foundations for The Forth Bridge are located on the island. You can also see a small brick tower with a beacon – this is the only surviving element of Bouch’s Forth Bridge, construction of which was abandoned immediately after the Tay Bridge disaster in 1879.

If you’re feeling romantic, the bridge is home to thousands of love locks. Originally a project to raise funds for the RNLI Queensferry Lifeboat Station, they make for nice reading.

The road bridge is open to cyclists and pedestrians along one of two dedicated walkways. There is a footpath on either side of the Forth Road Bridge. The east footpath links into National Cycle Route 1 and is kept open at all times except in high winds above 50mph. The west footpath is routinely closed to the public in order to separate maintenance traffic from cyclists and pedestrians. Sometimes these arrangements are reversed. There will be clear guidance when you arrive at the bridge. 

Only public transport, pedestrians and cyclists are permitted to use the Forth Road Bridge.

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The Forth Bridges Trail

Explore at your leisure

Three bridges spanning three centuries, magnificent views over the Firth of Forth, historical facts, mythical tales, urban wildlife and the historic settlements of North and South Queensferry. It's all yours to discover on the new Forth Bridges Trail.

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The Queensferry Crossing

The Queensferry Crossing (originally known as The Forth Replacement Crossing) opened in 2017. Although some had hoped it would be named ‘The Third Forth Bridge’, a public vote chose the name, ‘The Queensferry Crossing’ and it is considered to be a significant piece of civil engineering.  

Like its predecessor, The Forth Bridge, the crossing breaks world records - this time for the longest three-tower, cable-stayed bridge and the largest to feature cables which cross mid-span. The towers are 207 metres high, and the overall length is 2.7km.

The crossing is toll-free and part of the M90 motorway. The distance between the towers is 1006m/3300 feet and it’s 46m/150 feet down to the river below at the highest point. That’s quite a drop!

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The History of the Forth Bridge

Discover the history of this iconic structure.

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See & Do

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Eat & Drink

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Come Stay

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Getting Here

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EVC Points

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UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Forth Bridge

The Forth Bridge is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and part of Scotland's UNESCO Trail. 

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Explore North & South Queensferry & the Local Area

Use our interactive map to discover local attractions, restaurants, accommodation, shopping, bridge viewpoints & more...
Explore our map for real and local experiences