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Big Ben
Holiday Travel Guide

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

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
4 out of 5
200 Westminster Bridge Road, London, England
The price is Rs11,269 per night from 19 Jan to 20 Jan

Located in London City Centre, this eco-friendly hotel is steps away from Southbank Centre Book Market and Florence Nightingale Museum. St. Thomas' Hospital ...

4.3/5Excellent! (4,671 reviews)

"Great place! The room service could be better but overall an awesome experience!"…"

Reviewed on 13 Dec 2020

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
The Savoy
The Savoy
5 out of 5
Strand, London, England
Free cancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is Rs41,123 per night from 1 Feb to 2 Feb

Located in London City Centre, this luxury hotel is steps away from The Strand and Lyceum Theatre. Covent Garden Market and Aldwych Theatre are also within 5 ...

4.8/5Exceptional! (995 reviews)

"When I checked in , I was given a small room looking at the wall that didn’t please me and wanted to move to a new room. The staff was very friendly and gave me much better room"…"

Reviewed on 13 Mar 2020

The Savoy
Thistle Piccadilly
Thistle Piccadilly
4 out of 5
Coventry Street, London, England
The price is Rs9,265 per night from 21 Jan to 22 Jan

Located in London City Centre, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of The British Museum, London Eye and Buckingham Palace. Big Ben and Hyde Park are also within ...

4.3/5Excellent! (827 reviews)

"Excellent location. Friendly and helpfull staff. Good transport link."…"

Reviewed on 16 Dec 2020

Thistle Piccadilly
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

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Big Ben

Top Hotel Deals

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
4 out of 5
200 Westminster Bridge Road, London, England
The price is Rs11,269 per night from 19 Jan to 20 Jan
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
The Savoy
The Savoy
5 out of 5
Strand, London, England
The price is Rs41,123 per night from 1 Feb to 2 Feb
The Savoy
Thistle Piccadilly
Thistle Piccadilly
4 out of 5
Coventry Street, London, England
The price is Rs9,265 per night from 21 Jan to 22 Jan
Thistle Piccadilly
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 Rs21,554 per night from 18 Jan to 19 Jan
London Marriott Hotel County Hall
Radisson Blu Edwardian Hampshire Hotel, London
Radisson Blu Edwardian Hampshire Hotel, London
5 out of 5
31-36 Leicester Square, London, England
The price is Rs17,489 per night from 18 Jan to 19 Jan
Radisson Blu Edwardian Hampshire Hotel, London
Corinthia London
Corinthia London
5 out of 5
Whitehall Place, London, England
The price is Rs47,646 per night from 19 Jan to 20 Jan
Corinthia London
The Grand at Trafalgar Square
The Grand at Trafalgar Square
4 out of 5
8 Northumberland Avenue, London, England
The price is Rs8,834 per night from 16 Feb to 17 Feb
The Grand at 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 Trafalgar St. James London, Curio Collection by Hilton
Point A Hotel London Kings Cross – St Pancras
Point A Hotel London Kings Cross – St Pancras
2.5 out of 5
324 Gray's Inn Road, London, England
The price is Rs4,160 per night from 30 Jan to 31 Jan
Point A Hotel London Kings Cross – St Pancras
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.