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Big Ben

Holiday Travel Guide
Big Ben featuring a city, heritage architecture and a monument

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

DoubleTree by Hilton London Kensington
DoubleTree by Hilton London Kensington
4 out of 5
100 Cromwell Road, London, England
The price is Rs8,216 per night from 1 Aug to 1 Aug
Located in London City Centre, this beachfront hotel is in the city centre and within a 15-minute walk of Natural History Museum and Royal Albert Hall. Hyde ...
4.4/5Wonderful! (945 reviews)
"I didn’t like the fact that there wasn’t a mirror near a plug in the bedroom to dry my hair. The mirrors in the bathroom were behind the basin and toilet so you couldn’t get close enough to them either."

Reviewed on 20 Jul 2021

DoubleTree by Hilton London Kensington
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
4 out of 5
200 Westminster Bridge Road, London, England
The price is Rs13,017 per night from 22 Aug to 22 Aug
Located in London City Centre, this spa hotel is steps away from Southbank Centre Book Market and Florence Nightingale Museum. St. Thomas' Hospital and Sea Life ...
4.2/5Excellent! (3,561 reviews)
"Really enjoyed our stay. Everything felt very clean and fresh. Had an amazing view of Houses of Parliament and London Eye. Bed was huge and comfortable. Staff were super friendly. Would def recommend. Great location for south bank and exploring London."

Reviewed on 19 Jul 2021

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
The Strand Palace Hotel
The Strand Palace Hotel
4 out of 5
372 The Strand, London, England
The price is Rs11,458 per night from 2 Aug to 2 Aug
Located in London City Centre, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Covent Garden Market, Piccadilly Circus and London Dungeon. Big Ben and ...
4/5Very Good! (3,162 reviews)
"From start to finish the hotel staff could not do have done any more for us.The location is good for central London. The food we had was was excellent.The hotel was spotless. I would recommend The Strand Palace to anyone."

Reviewed on 22 Jul 2021

The Strand Palace Hotel
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

Big Ben


Top Hotel Deals

DoubleTree by Hilton London Kensington
DoubleTree by Hilton London Kensington
4 out of 5
100 Cromwell Road, London, England
The price is Rs8,216 per night from 1 Aug to 1 Aug
DoubleTree by Hilton London Kensington
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
4 out of 5
200 Westminster Bridge Road, London, England
The price is Rs13,017 per night from 22 Aug to 22 Aug
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
The Strand Palace Hotel
The Strand Palace Hotel
4 out of 5
372 The Strand, London, England
The price is Rs11,458 per night from 2 Aug to 2 Aug
The Strand Palace Hotel
Corinthia London
Corinthia London
5 out of 5
Whitehall Place, London, England
The price is Rs50,642 per night from 3 Aug to 3 Aug
Corinthia London
NYX Hotel London Holborn by Leonardo Hotels
NYX Hotel London Holborn by Leonardo Hotels
4 out of 5
50-60 Southampton Row, London, England
The price is Rs13,168 per night from 23 Aug to 23 Aug
NYX Hotel London Holborn by Leonardo Hotels
London Marriott Hotel County Hall
London Marriott Hotel County Hall
5 out of 5
London County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London, England
The price is Rs24,433 per night from 9 Aug to 9 Aug
London Marriott Hotel County Hall
Park Plaza London Riverbank
Park Plaza London Riverbank
4 out of 5
18 Albert Embankment, London, England
The price is Rs11,926 per night from 25 Jul to 25 Jul
Park Plaza London Riverbank
Club Quarters Hotel, Trafalgar Square
Club Quarters Hotel, Trafalgar Square
4 out of 5
8 Northumberland Ave, (adjacent to Trafalgar Square), London, England
The price is Rs12,174 per night from 9 Aug to 9 Aug
Club Quarters Hotel, Trafalgar Square
The Trafalgar St. James London, Curio Collection by Hilton
The Trafalgar St. James London, Curio Collection by Hilton
5 out of 5
2 Spring Gardens, Trafalgar Square, London, England
The price is Rs18,257 per night from 8 Aug to 8 Aug
The Trafalgar St. James 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.