The Bridging the Tamar Visitor and Learning Centre celebrates the heritage of both the 20th century Tamar Bridge and Brunel’s iconic 19th century Royal Albert Bridge.
There is a free interactive exhibition space at the Tamar Bridge exploring the history of both bridges. Visitors also have the opportunity to find out more about how operators manage and monitor the road bridge, the Saltash Tunnel and the tolling system in order to keep traffic moving smoothly and provide safe, reliable and efficient crossings of the river. There is a growing archive of photographs and memorabilia connected to both bridges, including oral histories.
Visitors can join a special pre-booked guided tour on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings. These are led by friendly volunteer guides and offer an insight into the history of the bridges. They are pre-booked on eventbrite.
Groups can also book bespoke tours and talks which can be tailored to their area of interest, including college students, university students, professional organisations, adult learners including U3A, social, community and history clubs e.g. WI.
Scouts can book to use the monkey bridge - a classic pioneering session overlooking the Royal Albert and Tamar Bridges which links into different scouting and guiding badges such as leadership, pioneer, survival skills, and science and technology badges.
There is an all year round events programme which offers a mixture of walks, talks, family activities and links to Heritage Open Days and other initiatives including workshops with adult learning partner WEA. Every month there is an underground anchorage tour exploring the anchorage chamber.
Visitors can spend a couple of hours at the Centre to look around the exhibition and join a guided tour. If you have longer the Bridge is ideally situated to explore the town of Saltash which has many independent shops and cafes. Although there is currently no dedicated shop or café at the Learning Centre there is a lovely picnic area overlooking the river. The train station in Saltash is a 15-minute walk across the Tamar Bridge to the Bridge Offices.
The Centre is also a STEAM hub (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) and provides curriculum linked workshops on bridge building, health and safety, Brunel, STEAM subjects, Minibeasts, air pollution, transport, environment, forces, levers and pulleys, as well as a partnership workshop with The Box in Plymouth. Home educators are welcome and the team can also provide outreach workshops in school classrooms and assemblies.
“To have these two iconic structures on our doorstep, I was amazed at what I didn’t know! A brilliant visit, and so close to home. Thank you so much.”
“This was so good, the tour was adapted for our 3 young children. They loved the videos and the centre. They also enjoyed seeing the train on the track. Thank you so much it was a lovely morning.”
“I think these events are a wonderful idea, it’s great for people to be to be able to connect with the history of their surroundings. The tour helped bring this to life.”