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

The Strand Palace Hotel
The Strand Palace Hotel
4 out of 5
372 The Strand, London, England
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is Rs13,312 per night from 20 Dec to 20 Dec
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 ...
4.1/5 Very Good! (2,892 reviews)
"Good clean fun"

Reviewed on 27 Nov 2021

The Strand Palace Hotel
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
4 out of 5
200 Westminster Bridge Road, London, England
The price is Rs19,453 per night from 12 Dec to 12 Dec
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 ...
4.2/5 Excellent! (2,950 reviews)
"Central to a lot of things"

Reviewed on 14 Nov 2021

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
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 Rs15,851 per night from 5 Dec to 5 Dec
Located in London City Centre, this eco-friendly hotel is steps away from Charing Cross, The Strand and Theatreland. Trafalgar Square and The Mall are also within ...
4.4/5 Excellent! (876 reviews)
"The hotel is as absolutely gorgeous as you walk in. The rooms are basic but extremely clean. The staff are very helpful and always available and accommodating. A"

Reviewed on 27 Nov 2021

Club Quarters Hotel, Trafalgar Square
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.

Plan a trip to see Big Ben

The Morton Hotel
The Piccadilly London West End
Middle Eight
Don't see what you're looking for?
See all available trips from Ashburn to Big Ben
View all trips

Popular places to visit in Big Ben

Big Ben


Top Hotel Deals

Zedwell Piccadilly
Zedwell Piccadilly
3 out of 5
Great Windmill Street, London, England
The price is Rs7,109 per night from 5 Dec to 5 Dec
Zedwell Piccadilly
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
4 out of 5
200 Westminster Bridge Road, London, England
The price is Rs19,453 per night from 12 Dec to 12 Dec
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
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 Rs15,851 per night from 5 Dec to 5 Dec
Club Quarters Hotel, Trafalgar Square
The Strand Palace Hotel
The Strand Palace Hotel
4 out of 5
372 The Strand, London, England
The price is Rs13,312 per night from 20 Dec to 20 Dec
The Strand Palace Hotel
St. James' Court, A Taj Hotel, London
St. James' Court, A Taj Hotel, London
4 out of 5
54 Buckingham Gate, London, England
The price is Rs20,966 per night from 5 Dec to 5 Dec
St. James' Court, A Taj Hotel, London
Assembly House Hotel
Assembly House Hotel
3.5 out of 5
27 - 31 Charing Cross Road, London, England
The price is Rs7,721 per night from 5 Dec to 5 Dec
Assembly House Hotel
The Royal National Hotel
The Royal National Hotel
4 out of 5
38-51 Bedford Way, London, England
The price is Rs12,513 per night from 29 Nov to 29 Nov
The Royal National Hotel
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
The price is Rs13,418 per night from 12 Dec to 12 Dec
The Westminster London, Curio Collection by Hilton
Leonardo Royal London Tower Bridge
Leonardo Royal London Tower Bridge
4 out of 5
45 Prescot Street, London, England
The price is Rs11,093 per night from 5 Dec to 5 Dec
Leonardo Royal London Tower Bridge
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.