Big Ben

Big Ben featuring a city, heritage architecture and a monument

Big Ben

The timeless time-piece that has rung out over the Thames, Parliament and central London for 150 years.

The clock tower of Big Ben may be one of London's best-known – and most photographed – landmarks but there's a lot more to this Victorian marvel than just a wonderful photo-opportunity. Its clock has rung out those famous hourly bells over 150 years of British history, from the Empire to the 2012 Olympics. It stands over Old River Thames, as well as the ancient parliament of the United Kingdom. And it has probably appeared in more films – Hollywood, Bollywood and other – than any other part of the British capital. Big Ben is as much part of England as red double-decker buses and Buckingham Palace.

Although this superb example of neo-Gothic Victorian architecture is instantly recognisable, most don't realise that it is the huge 13-ton bell inside that's actually named 'Big Ben'. The tower itself was officially known as the Clock Tower, until 2012, when it was renamed the Elizabeth Tower. That doesn't stop everyone, from London's taxi cab drivers to visiting tourists, calling it Big Ben. It was built in 1858, after the old Westminster Palace burned down, and a new Parliament building was needed.

It is now an irreplaceable sight, towering some 96 metres above the Thames, especially dramatic when seen from Westminster Bridge. It is also famed for its reliability, keeping time throughout two World Wars, and a bombing by the Germans in 1941. The ticking heart of Big Ben is a 300 kg, four metre long pendulum, which swings every two seconds. Amazingly, it is kept in time by a pile of old 'penny' coins stacked on the pendulum. Take one off, and you will slow Big Ben down by nearly half-a-second per day.

Another astonishing thing is that the bell is actually broken. It fractured within two months of being installed, and was repaired, and rotated, so that the crack wouldn't get larger with every strike. That repair job has lasted 150 years, although it did alter the tone of the bell. The BBC uses Big Ben's twelve 'gongs' to mark the midday on its radio news programme, as do many British TV programmes. And on 30 July 2012, it rang out 30 times, when London hosted the 30th Olympic Games of modern times. Big Ben, it seems, will always be the timeless centre of both London's skyline and its soundscape.

Top Trending Hotels Near Big Ben

The Royal National Hotel
The Royal National Hotel
4 out of 5
38-51 Bedford Way, London, England, WC1H 0DG
The price is Rs11,303 per night from 1 Jun to 2 Jun
Stay at this 4-star eco-friendly hotel in London. Enjoy free WiFi, 2 restaurants and 2 bars/lounges. Our guests praise the WiFi and the clean rooms in their ...
4.2/5 Very Good! (587 reviews)
"This hotel is a great price and in a great location. Just be advised that the rooms are a bit small and not air conditioned. The staff and service are exceptional. The rooms are also clean. Exceptional location."

Reviewed on 17 May 2022

The Royal National Hotel
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
4 out of 5
200 Westminster Bridge Road, London, England, SE1 7UT
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is Rs21,046 per night from 29 May to 30 May
Stay at this 4-star spa hotel in London. Enjoy free WiFi, 2 restaurants and a full-service spa. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the clean rooms in their ...
4.2/5 Excellent! (2,264 reviews)
"The carrying staff"

Reviewed on 17 May 2022

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
The Westminster London, Curio Collection by Hilton
The Westminster London, Curio Collection by Hilton
4 out of 5
30 John Islip Street, Westminster, London, England, SW1P 4QP
The price is Rs15,033 per night from 1 Jun to 2 Jun
Stay at this 4-star business-friendly hotel in London. Enjoy free WiFi, breakfast and 24-hour room service. Our guests praise the helpful staff in their reviews. ...
4.4/5 Excellent! (109 reviews)
"Clean room, Comfy beds, attentive and really helpful staff. Breakfast choice was good and tasty."

Reviewed on 17 May 2022

The Westminster London, Curio Collection by Hilton
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Big Ben


Top Hotel Deals

Zedwell Piccadilly
Zedwell Piccadilly
3 out of 5
Great Windmill Street, London, England, W1D 7DH
The price is Rs8,319 per night from 9 Jun to 10 Jun
Zedwell Piccadilly
The Royal National Hotel
The Royal National Hotel
4 out of 5
38-51 Bedford Way, London, England, WC1H 0DG
The price is Rs11,303 per night from 1 Jun to 2 Jun
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Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
4 out of 5
200 Westminster Bridge Road, London, England, SE1 7UT
The price is Rs21,046 per night from 29 May to 30 May
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
The Westminster London, Curio Collection by Hilton
The Westminster London, Curio Collection by Hilton
4 out of 5
30 John Islip Street, Westminster, London, England, SW1P 4QP
The price is Rs15,033 per night from 1 Jun to 2 Jun
The Westminster London, Curio Collection by Hilton
The President Hotel
The President Hotel
3.5 out of 5
56-60 Guildford Street, London, England, WC1N 1DB
The price is Rs12,108 per night from 29 May to 30 May
The President Hotel
The Strand Palace Hotel
The Strand Palace Hotel
4 out of 5
372 The Strand, London, England, WC2R 0JJ
The price is Rs17,766 per night from 10 Jun to 11 Jun
The Strand Palace Hotel
Club Quarters Hotel, Trafalgar Square
Club Quarters Hotel, Trafalgar Square
4 out of 5
8 Northumberland Ave, (adjacent to Trafalgar Square), London, England, WC2N 5BY
The price is Rs16,480 per night from 19 Jun to 20 Jun
Club Quarters Hotel, Trafalgar Square
Park Plaza County Hall London
Park Plaza County Hall London
4 out of 5
1 Addington Street, London, England, SE1 7RY
The price is Rs16,640 per night from 12 Jun to 13 Jun
Park Plaza County Hall London
The Royal Horseguards
The Royal Horseguards
5 out of 5
2 Whitehall Court, London, England, SW1A 2EJ
The price is Rs26,897 per night from 29 May to 30 May
The Royal Horseguards
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.