Big Ben is rising in the middle of downtown - next to the English Channel, the River Thames. It is the name of the clock in the tower at the Houses of Parliament. Probably one of London's most famous attraction. The clock is not open to the public.
Almost 15 million tourists visit London each year from overseas. The most popular attractions in the city range from historic buildings such as the Tower of London to international art collections like the National Gallery. Big Ben as the chiming clock of the Palace of Westminster or the Houses of Parliament in London. The amazing Victorian Gothic style clock tower is the most famous landmark of London. The Clock Tower is the name of the famous tower of Parliament – more commonly known as Big Ben. Although often referred to as Big Ben, this is actually the nickname of the bell within the Clock Tower. Big Ben’s official name is the Great Bell. The Big Ben is the largest chiming bell of the world. The height of the clock tower, where it is located is 316 feet and it took 13 long years to build it. The tower is slightly leaned (8.66 inches) towards northwest direction. Its inner volume is 4,650 cubic meters. Parliament – technically, the Palace of Westminster – is a rather odd building in that it despite the security, it is actually a public building which you are free to enter, within some limits. You can visit the House of Commons and watch the debates if you want, although the queue can be rather long on Prime Ministers Questions, and MPs guests get first dibs at the tickets.
Amazing FACTS to Know before Tour the Tower
Big Ben is not open to the public. The subject of John Buchan’s ’39 Steps’, the Clock Tower is unfortunately not open to the public so you won’t be able to check how many steps actually lead to the belfry. Keep in mind that the tower tour is 75 minutes and involves climbing 334 narrow, spiral stairs. It may be inappropriate for folks with a fear of high places or enclosed spaces. Flat shoes are advisable. Tower tours are free of charge.
Big Ben is easy to reach by bus, tube, train and riverboat. Westminster underground station and Westminster Pier are just opposite the big clock. St. James Park tube is a 10-minute walk. Embankment, Charing Cross, and Waterloo tube and train stations are 15 minutes by foot. Buses 3, 11, 12, 24, 53, 87, 88, 148, 159, 211 and 453 all stop near Big Ben as do the ever-popular open-top tour buses.
However, we can understand that it is not 39 – It is actually closer to 400 depending on where you start and finish. It is widely thought that Buchan dreamt up the idea of using 39 steps at a time when he was recovering from illness in a convalescent home. Directly outside his windows there were 39 steps leading from the patio to the lawn!big ben inside clockThe room that houses the actual clock mechanism is full of Victorian mechanical wonders that whiz and band each time the clock strikes.The ding-dongs that precede the striking of the hour were taken from George Frederick Handel’s ‘Messiah’ and actually have lyrics too.
What does the tour cover?
A tour will take you up the 334 spiral steps to the top of the 150 year old Clock Tower to hear Big Ben strike the hour. As well as seeing a spectacular view of London from 62 metres up the tower, you will also go behind the clock faces and have the opportunity to visit the mechanism room to learn about how the clock works in the 21st Century.
Times and availability
Tours are at set times of 9.15am, 11.15am and 2.15pm Monday – Friday, (except Bank Holidays). Tours are currently free of charge and all have wheelchair and disability access and facilities.
Tours must be arranged ahead of your visit with bookings being taken up to four months in advance. Demand is high so early booking and flexibility regarding dates and times is recommended. Children under 11 are not permitted on Clock Tower tours. Please ensure you provide accurate dates and the number of visitors to assist us in processing your booking at website.
Tourist Attractions and Sights to See and Things to Do
Little big ben a good attraction for visitors. Big Ben has a little brother who is also in London, near Victoria Station. It is the 6 feet high, Little Ben. Westminster Bridge is good sight to see during the big ben. 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.
Accommodations, Hotels, Restaurants near It:
The Red Lion: The Red Lion (no website; 48 Parliament Street, London; +011-44-20-7930-5826) is an example of the traditional English pub, with wood paneled walls and stained glass windows.
The Westminster Arms, is a pub and wine bar owned and operated by Shepherd-Neame, a significant name in English brewing.
The London Marriott County Hall is a hotel complex just across the Westminster Bridge from Big Ben, and it offers several dining options.