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Big Ben
Vacation Travel Guide

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 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, on 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, peeling 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. 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 meters) 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 you see and hear it.

In June 2012, Big Ben was officially renamed Elizabeth Tower, in honor 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 things to do in Big Ben

Top Hotels Close to Big Ben

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
4 out of 5
200 Westminster Bridge Road, London, England
Free cancellation
The price is CA $189 per night from Apr 1 to Apr 2

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

4.3/5Excellent! (4,372 reviews)

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

Reviewed on Dec. 13, 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 CA $640 per night from Apr 1 to Apr 2

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

4.8/5Exceptional! (996 reviews)
The London Savoy is better than home!

"I spent 5 days at the Savoy last week during London’s second lockdown, and my time at the Savoy was lovely. The staff made me feel so well cared for, and the quality of every meal (I think I sampled almost everything on the menu) was beyond outstanding! I will definitely stay at the Savoy the next ..."…"

Reviewed on Nov. 15, 2020

The Savoy
The Royal Horseguards
The Royal Horseguards
5 out of 5
2 Whitehall Court, London, England
Free cancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is CA $257 per night from Apr 1 to Apr 2

Located in London City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of National Gallery, Churchill War Rooms, and London Eye. Westminster Abbey and Houses ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (996 reviews)

"Looking over the river Thames and the London Eye perfect"…"

Reviewed on Nov. 2, 2020

The Royal Horseguards
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.

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Popular places to visit in Big Ben

Big Ben

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Best Lodging Options 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 CA $189 per night from Apr 1 to Apr 2
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
The Savoy
The Savoy
5 out of 5
Strand, London, England
The price is CA $640 per night from Apr 1 to Apr 2
The Savoy
The Royal Horseguards
The Royal Horseguards
5 out of 5
2 Whitehall Court, London, England
The price is CA $257 per night from Apr 1 to Apr 2
The Royal Horseguards
St. James' Court, A Taj Hotel, London
St. James' Court, A Taj Hotel, London
4 out of 5
54 Buckingham Gate, London, England
The price is CA $237 per night from Apr 1 to Apr 2
St. James' Court, A Taj Hotel, London
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 CA $376 per night from Apr 1 to Apr 2
London Marriott Hotel County Hall
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
Taj 51 Buckingham Gate, Suites and Residences
Taj 51 Buckingham Gate, Suites and Residences
5 out of 5
51 Buckingham Gate, London, England
The price is CA $469 per night from Apr 1 to Apr 2
Taj 51 Buckingham Gate, Suites and Residences
Test P&B in UK
Test P&B in UK
House of Commons, London, England
Test P&B in UK
Test P&B in UK
Test P&B in UK
Richmond House, London, England
Test P&B in UK
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.