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Big Ben

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.


Guide to Exploring Big Ben


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€150
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This fantastic new hotel is located on the South Bank, near London Eye. Waterloo and Westminster stations are within 5 minutes walk, making easier to travel and ideal choice for city break or business trip.

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The hotel is perfectly located on the vibrant South Bank, by Westminster Bridge overlooking the River Thames and is within walking distance of many of the city’s most famous attractions including the London Eye, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. Being just 2 minutes away from London Waterloo station, Park Plaza County Hall London is the ideal choice for a London visit, whether it is for business or leisure.

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Park Plaza London Riverbank is across the river from the Tate Britain gallery, close to Westminster. The London Eye, Houses of Parliament and Big Ben are all within easy reach. The hotel is easily approachable from Waterloo, Vauxhall and Westminster stations.

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Park Plaza London Waterloo

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The Grand at Trafalgar Square

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Club Quarters Hotel, Trafalgar Square

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