Visit Big Ben, is one of the most symbolic London landmarks and perhaps London’s single most famous site for tourists.
The city london contains many famous landmarks and getting around is easy. The famous London Underground, also known as the Tube, is one of the most extensive subway networks in the world. Visit one of England’s most iconic monuments, Big Ben is a a replica of the famous bell clock tower, Situated at the north-eastern end of the Palace of Westminster, the world famous Big Ben is the third largest free-standing clock tower in the world. One of London’s most famous landmarks and tourist attractions, the name Big Ben actually refers to the bell hung within the clock tower, but has become the name of the tower and clock as a whole. The tower was completed in 1856 after 13 years of construction and measures 316 feet in height. Big Ben is the world’s largest four-faced, chiming clock – the four dials of the clock are 23 feet square, the minute hand is 14 feet long and the figures are 2 feet high. Guests can walk into the tower and grab mini-replicas of Big Ben and go up to the actual bell tower and take in London and hear the bells chime on each hour.
The History of Big Ben
The Palace of Westminster was destroyed by fire in 1834. In 1844, it was decided the new buildings for the Houses of Parliament should include a tower and a clock. A massive bell was required and the first attempt (made by John Warner & Sons at Stockton-on-Tees) cracked irreparably. The metal was melted down and the bell recast in Whitechapel in 1858. The great tourist attraction, Big Ben first rang across Westminster on 31 May 1859. A short time later, in September 1859, Big Ben cracked. A lighter hammer was fitted and the bell rotated to present an undamaged section to the hammer. This is the bell as we hear it today.
Although this magnificent clock tower or london tourist attraction is usually referred to as Big Ben, this is actually the nickname of the largest of the clock’s bells, the one that chimes on the hour – an unmistakable deep sound that resonates across the city. The tower itself, previously named the Clock Tower, was designated as Elizabeth Tower in June 2012, in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee. This, however, has not stopped the popular tradition of referring to it simply as Big Ben, london’s most visited tourist attraction. The construction of the classic Gothic Revivalist-style tower was completed in 1858 and it forms part of the Palace of Westminster, re-built on the site following destruction of the previous structure by a fire in 1834. At 96 metres high, Big Ben is the largest four-faced chiming clock in the British Isles. Each face is seven metres in diameter and consists of 312 pieces of opal glass held in an iron framework. The hour and minute hands are 2.7 and 4.3 metres long respectively. At sunset, the four clock faces are lit up so that they are visible across the city. Originally lit by gas-lamps, now replaced by electric lights installed behind each of the translucent clock faces, Big Ben appears to glow from within.
Is Big Ben popular for unique sound?
Not only is the large clock famous for its size, it is also a well-known landmark of London because of its unique sound. That’s right. Almost every person knows the loud sound of the beautiful huge bell that shakes one up and reminds him or her in what city he or she is in. The weight of the bell itself is not totally unimportant in creating that famous and unique sound – not to mention the hammer that strikes it. The bell alone weights 13.8 tons and the hammer of the bell 203.2 kilograms. This creates the famous tune of the E note just above the middle C. Lovely!
The tower was constructed between 1843 and 1858 as the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster. The palace is now better known as the Houses of Parliament. The clock tower rises 316ft high (96m) and consists of a 200ft (61m) high brick shaft topped by a cast iron framed spire. The clock faces are 180ft / 55m above ground level.
Unfortunately the clock tower is not publicly accessible, but if you’re looking for views over London the London Eye and the Shard are currently the best options.
Touring Big Ben
Enjoy a day in London with a private guide and a driver, and see the sights that interest you the most! The full-day private experience offers a flexible itinerary, meaning you choose where you visit and what you do. See top London attractions including Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London; enjoy activities such as a Thames River cruise and London Eye ride; or discover the delights of the Southbank, looking out for Harry Potter filming sites.