Famous London Bridge a key attraction in Lake Havasu City

Have you ever wondered what happened to the London Bridge that came falling down in the children’s nursery song?

In 1967, the iconic structure was purchased by businessman Robert P. McCulloch. He had it shipped from England to Arizona where it was reassembled brick by brick. Today it stands as one of the most popular sites in Lake Havasu City along “Arizona’s West Coast.”

boats tied to dock in channel with London Bridge in background
Watercraft tied to a dock in Bridgewater Channel with London Bridge in background

Ironically, it was reconstructed in a section of desert that literally connected dry ground to more dry ground – with no water in between. Contractors dug arched forms in the ground for the bridge in the sand, then reassembled the bridge.

It wasn’t until after the bridge was rebuilt that engineers dug a canal beneath the arches that water actually flowed beneath it.

Today, that canal is known as the Bridgewater Channel and it’s considered a “hot spot” of activity at Lake Havasu. The waterway is lined with condos, resorts and shops accessible by boat or foot.

The interior of the bridge is hollow because it was rebuilt in order to handle vehicles driving over it. During reassembly, a steel framework was faced with granite, rather than using solid granite blocks, which reduced its weight from 130,000 tons to 30,000 tons while strengthening the structure.

Wide angle view of the Bridgewater Channel of Lake Havasu
This wide angle view of the Bridgewater Channel of Lake Havasu shows the walking path in the foreground and the London Bridge in the background.

London Bridge fun facts

  • The London Bridge is known as the world’s largest antique.
  • Each stone of the London Bridge was numbered for reassembly in Lake Havasu City. If you look carefully, you can see the numbering on many of the stones.
  • Vintage lamps adorning the bridge are made from the melted-down cannons of Napoleon Bonaparte’s army.
  • Behind the Grand Canyon, London Bridge is Arizona’s second most popular tourist attraction, drawing tens of thousands of sightseers annually.
  • Some visitors have claimed sightings of the ghost of a British police bobby patrolling the bridge and a woman in black roaming the night.
  • Appeared in horror films “Bridge Across Time, aka Terror on the London Bridge” (1985) and “Day of the Wolves” (1971).

Source: Lake Havasu Tourism Bureau. Visit golakehavasu.com for more details, pics and video.

During Spring Break, coeds turn the calm stretch of water into a raucous beach-style fiesta. The rest of the year, Lake Havasu City residents and vacationers glide through the channel on boats, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards.

Christmas wreaths adorn London Bridge
Christmas wreaths adorn London Bridge during the holidays. Lights illuminate the bridge after dark.

Around the holidays, the bridge and neighboring businesses get all decked out for the annual Festival of Lights.

The London Bridge may have fallen down, but Robert McCulloch brought it back to life when he bought it and had it shipped to Lake Havasu City and put back together. Today, it’s one of Arizona’s most popular tourist attractions.

Want to see it for yourself? Tap the map below.

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