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Big Ben
Vacation Travel Guide

Big Ben showing heritage architecture, a city and a monument

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
The price is ¥19,879 per night from Apr 16 to Apr 17

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! (4,098 reviews)

"Great location, decorated lovely for Christmas my three year old loved the Shrek theme in the lobby. Spacious rooms and well adhered to covid-19 hygiene etc. Breakfast was good and delivered to your room. Would definitely stay there again."…"

Reviewed on Dec 14, 2020

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
Thistle Piccadilly
Thistle Piccadilly
4 out of 5
Coventry Street, London, England
The price is ¥13,210 per night from Apr 29 to Apr 30

Located in London City Centre, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of The British Museum, London Eye, and Buckingham Palace. Big Ben and Hyde Park are also within ...

4.3/5Excellent! (853 reviews)
Surpassed our expectations

"I was really impressed by the room in particular. A massive and comfortable bed, lovely big and modern bathroom and quality shower. We also had a great view of Leicester Square that we weren't expecting! It was extremely good value and a great experience. The staff were friendly and helpful too."…"

Reviewed on Dec 17, 2020

Thistle Piccadilly
The Savoy
The Savoy
5 out of 5
Strand, London, England
The price is ¥62,123 per night from Apr 21 to Apr 22

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! (998 reviews)

"A lovely, luxurious break. Excellent service and great location."…"

Reviewed on Dec 13, 2020

The Savoy
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.

Top Big Ben Flight + Hotel Deals

My Bloomsbury
The Cadogan, A Belmond Hotel, London
Aspen Apartments
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Popular places to visit in Big Ben

Big Ben

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 ¥19,879 per night from Apr 16 to Apr 17
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
Thistle Piccadilly
Thistle Piccadilly
4 out of 5
Coventry Street, London, England
The price is ¥13,210 per night from Apr 29 to Apr 30
Thistle Piccadilly
The Savoy
The Savoy
5 out of 5
Strand, London, England
The price is ¥62,123 per night from Apr 21 to Apr 22
The Savoy
The Royal Horseguards
The Royal Horseguards
5 out of 5
2 Whitehall Court, London, England
The price is ¥17,852 per night from May 9 to May 10
The Royal Horseguards
Shangri La Hotel At The Shard London
Shangri La Hotel At The Shard London
5 out of 5
31 St Thomas Street, London, England
Shangri La Hotel At The Shard London
St Martins Lane
St Martins Lane
5 out of 5
45 St Martin's Lane, London, England
St Martins Lane
The Tower Hotel
The Tower Hotel
4 out of 5
St Katharine's Way, London, England
The Tower Hotel
Corinthia London
Corinthia London
5 out of 5
Whitehall Place, London, England
The price is ¥67,478 per night from Apr 16 to Apr 17
Corinthia London
The Grand at Trafalgar Square
The Grand at Trafalgar Square
4 out of 5
8 Northumberland Avenue, London, England
The Grand at Trafalgar Square
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.