Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) travel advisories, some destinations may be unavailable for certain dates. Find out more.
Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) travel advisories, some destinations may be unavailable for certain dates. Find out more.
Trip Type
Flight 1
Flight 2
Flight 3
Flight 4
Flight 5

Search over 1 million properties and 550 airlines worldwide

Members save 10% more on select hotels, cars, activities and holiday rentals. Sign up.

Free cancellation on most hotels. Because flexibility matters.

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.


Guide to Exploring Big Ben


Top Hotel Deals

See all 17,424 properties near Big Ben
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London Rs11,103
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London

200 Westminster Bridge Road, London, England
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    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 London Aquarium are also within 5 minutes. Waterloo Underground Station is only a 4-minute walk and Lambeth North Underground Station is 6 minutes.

    ME London Rs20,491
    ME London

    ME London

    336-337 The Strand, London, England
       
      5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in London City Centre, this luxury hotel is steps away from Lyceum Theatre, The Strand and Aldwych Theatre. Covent Garden Market and Royal Opera House are also within 5 minutes. Temple Underground Station is 5 minutes by foot and Covent Garden Underground Station is 7 minutes.

      The Grand at Trafalgar Square Rs8,572
      The Grand at Trafalgar Square

      The Grand at Trafalgar Square

      8 Northumberland Avenue, London, England
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in London City Centre, this boutique hotel is steps away from Charing Cross and The Strand. Trafalgar Square and National Gallery are also within 5 minutes. Charing Cross Underground Station and Embankment Station are within a 5-minute walk.

        Leonardo Royal London St Paul’s Rs9,011
        Leonardo Royal London St Paul’s

        Leonardo Royal London St Paul’s

        10 Godliman Street, London, England
           
          5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in London City Centre, this luxury hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of St. Paul's Cathedral and Tower of London. Tower Bridge and The British Museum are also within 2 mi (3 km). Blackfriars Underground Station and St. Paul's Underground Station are within a 5-minute walk.

          The Rubens At The Palace Rs18,722
          The Rubens At The Palace

          The Rubens At The Palace

          39 Buckingham Palace Road, London, England
             
            5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in London City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Victoria Palace Theatre and Apollo Victoria Theatre. Buckingham Palace and St. James Park are also within 15 minutes. Victoria Underground Station and London Victoria Rail Station are within a 5-minute walk.

            London Marriott Hotel County Hall Rs22,540
            London Marriott Hotel County Hall

            London Marriott Hotel County Hall

            London County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London, England
               
              5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in London City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of London Eye and Big Ben. Buckingham Palace and St. Paul's Cathedral are also within 2 mi (3 km). Westminster Underground Station is only a 4-minute walk and Waterloo Underground Station is 6 minutes.

              St. James' Court, A Taj Hotel, London Rs18,535
              St. James' Court, A Taj Hotel, London

              St. James' Court, A Taj Hotel, London

              54 Buckingham Gate, London, England
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in London City Centre, this spa hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Buckingham Palace, Apollo Victoria Theatre, and St. James Park. Westminster Abbey and Victoria Palace Theatre are also within 10 minutes. St. James's Park Underground Station is only a 3-minute walk and Victoria Underground Station is 7 minutes.

                Club Quarters Hotel, Trafalgar Square Rs8,572
                Club Quarters Hotel, Trafalgar Square

                Club Quarters Hotel, Trafalgar Square

                8 Northumberland Ave, (adjacent to Trafalgar Square), London, England
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in London City Centre, this boutique hotel is steps away from Charing Cross and The Strand. Trafalgar Square and National Gallery are also within 5 minutes. Charing Cross Underground Station and Embankment Station are within a 5-minute walk.