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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 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. 


Guide to Exploring Big Ben


Top Hotel Deals

See all 17,347 properties near Big Ben
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London £139
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London

200 Westminster Bridge Road, London, England
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in London City Centre, this spa hotel is steps away from Southbank Centre Book Market and Florence Nightingale Museum. St. Thomas' Hospital and Sea Life London Aquarium are also within 5 minutes. Waterloo Underground Station is only a 4-minute walk and Lambeth North Underground Station is 6 minutes.

    The Trafalgar St. James London, Curio Collection by Hilton £224
    The Trafalgar St. James London, Curio Collection by Hilton

    The Trafalgar St. James London, Curio Collection by Hilton

    2 Spring Gardens, Trafalgar Square, London, England
       
      5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in London City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Trafalgar Square, London Eye and Buckingham Palace. Big Ben and The British Museum are also within 1 mi (2 km). Charing Cross Underground Station and London Charing Cross Station are within a 5-minute walk.

      ME London £223
      ME London

      ME London

      336-337 The Strand, London, England
         
        5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in London City Centre, this luxury hotel is steps away from Lyceum Theatre, The Strand and Aldwych Theatre. Covent Garden Market and Royal Opera House are also within 5 minutes. Temple Underground Station is 5 minutes by foot and Covent Garden Underground Station is 7 minutes.

        The Grand at Trafalgar Square £105
        The Grand at Trafalgar Square

        The Grand at Trafalgar Square

        8 Northumberland Avenue, London, England
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in London City Centre, this boutique hotel is steps away from Charing Cross and The Strand. Trafalgar Square and National Gallery are also within 5 minutes. Charing Cross Underground Station and Embankment Station are within a 5-minute walk.

          Point A Hotel - Westminster, London £43
          Point A Hotel - Westminster, London

          Point A Hotel - Westminster, London

          118 - 120 Westminster Bridge Road, London, England
             
            3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in London City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Imperial War Museum, Sea Life London Aquarium and London Eye. Big Ben and Houses of Parliament are also within 15 minutes. Lambeth North Underground Station is only a 2-minute walk and Waterloo Underground Station is 9 minutes.

            The Strand Palace Hotel £132
            The Strand Palace Hotel

            The Strand Palace Hotel

            372 The Strand, London, England
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in London City Centre, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Covent Garden Market, Piccadilly Circus and London Dungeon. Big Ben and Buckingham Palace are also within 1 mi (2 km). Charing Cross Underground Station is 5 minutes by foot and Covent Garden Underground Station is 5 minutes.

              The Beverley Hotel £72
              The Beverley Hotel

              The Beverley Hotel

              13 Belgrave Road, London, England
                 
                3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in London City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Apollo Victoria Theatre and Victoria Palace Theatre. Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey are also within 1 mile (2 km). Victoria Underground Station is 7 minutes by foot and Pimlico Underground Station is 9 minutes.

                Great Scotland Yard Hotel - the Unbound Collection by Hyatt £280
                Great Scotland Yard Hotel - the Unbound Collection by Hyatt

                Great Scotland Yard Hotel - the Unbound Collection by Hyatt

                3-5, Great Scotland Yard, London, England
                   
                  4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in London City Centre, this luxury hotel is steps away from Charing Cross and The Strand. National Gallery and Trafalgar Square are also within 10 minutes. Charing Cross Underground Station and Embankment Station are within a 5-minute walk.