Big Ben

Big Ben showing a city, a monument and a river or creek
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One of London’s most resounding landmarks is a treasured emblem of England.

Catch a glimpse of Big Ben across the River Thames and you’ll know that you have truly arrived in London. Featured in British films, such as “Bridget Jones’s Diary”, “Notting Hill” and “Love Actually”, Big Ben is best viewed from the Thames’ east bank or while strolling along Westminster Bridge, en route to see the Houses of Parliament.

Big Ben was the name originally given to the largest of the clock tower’s bells. The Great Bell, as it is otherwise known, weighs 13 tons (13,760 kilograms). Listen for its deep knell as it strikes on the hour, pealing high across the rooftops and rush of London’s traffic. Nowadays, the name Big Ben is synonymous with the bells, the clock and the tower.

Since first sounding in July 1859, the clock’s reliability and reassuring chime have become a national symbol of British resilience. When the sun sets, its four ivory-tinted faces are illuminated so the clock can still be seen from miles away. The faces have only ever been dimmed in times of national crisis: for two years during World War I, to avoid German zeppelin attacks, and at night during World War II to disorient German Blitz pilots.

Completed in 1858, the clock tower was supposedly named after London’s Commissioner of Works, a large man called Benjamin Hall, affectionately known as 'Big Ben'. Designed by architects Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin in classic Gothic Revivalist style, the brick and limestone tower rests atop Britain’s Houses of Parliament. The clock is the largest four-faced chiming clock in Great Britain. Each face is 23 feet (seven metres) in diameter and contains 312 pieces of opal glass.

Despite its status as a popular landmark, Big Ben only opens its doors to British citizens who can schedule a tour through their parliamentary representatives. Still, this exclusivity won’t stop it from giving you a little rush of excitement the first time that you see and hear it.

In June 2012, Big Ben was officially renamed Elizabeth Tower, in honour of Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond jubilee, but it is still known colloquially as Big Ben.

Big Ben is located in central London. The nearest Underground station is Waterloo.

Top Trending Hotels Near Big Ben

Zedwell Piccadilly Circus
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3 out of 5
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The price is €120 per night from 5 Feb to 6 Feb
€120
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Stay at this 3-star hotel in London. Enjoy free WiFi, a 24-hour front desk and daily housekeeping. Our guests praise the clean rooms and the overall value in ...
3.9/5 Good! (1,699 reviews)
Pretty good for the price
"The check in was smooth,front desk is very nice, the room is however very basic just has a bed which is a good sized bed, and a wet bathroom with little space for showering. However no desk, no chair or sofa, no place to sit or hang clothes. Hotel and room were clean. Location is a big yes!!! Right ..."

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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 €204 per night from 30 Jan to 31 Jan
€204
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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 ...
4.1/5 Very Good! (1,883 reviews)
"Luxurious Hotel in fantastic location overlooking Big Ben. Professional staff and great facilities including a spa and pool plus several places to eat and drink. Easy walking distance of many London Attractions."

Reviewed on 28 Jan 2023

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The Strand Palace Hotel
The Strand Palace Hotel
4 out of 5
372 The Strand, London, England, WC2R 0JJ
The price is €188 per night from 5 Feb to 6 Feb
€188
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Stay at this 4-star business-friendly hotel in London. Enjoy free WiFi, breakfast and 24-hour room service. Our guests praise the breakfast and the helpful staff ...
4.2/5 Excellent! (2,006 reviews)
Great location for work or leisure
"Great location and the room was clean and comfortable with smart decor - was pleasantly surprised as thought it would be noisier as so central but quiet during the night Single room was spacious too for central London"

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