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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 London Riverbank
Park Plaza London Riverbank
4 out of 5
18 Albert Embankment, London, England
Fully refundable
The price is ¥17,317 per night from Aug 30 to Aug 30
Located in London City Centre, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 15-minute walk of St. Thomas' Hospital and Houses of Parliament. London Dungeon and Westminster ...
4.2/5Very Good! (1,674 reviews)
"Beautiful inside the hotel, felt luxurious."

Reviewed on Jul 30, 2021

Park Plaza London Riverbank
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
4 out of 5
200 Westminster Bridge Road, London, England
The price is ¥18,629 per night from Aug 31 to Aug 31
Located in London City Centre, this spa hotel is steps from Southbank Centre Book Market and Florence Nightingale Museum. St. Thomas' Hospital and Sea Life London ...
4.2/5Excellent! (3,532 reviews)
"Nice staff, amazing hotel rooms, clean, nice food and a great location."

Reviewed on Jul 31, 2021

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
The Strand Palace Hotel
The Strand Palace Hotel
4 out of 5
372 The Strand, London, England
The price is ¥19,561 per night from Aug 13 to Aug 13
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 ...
4/5Very Good! (3,150 reviews)
"Excellent hotel great location will definitely use again"

Reviewed on Aug 2, 2021

The Strand Palace Hotel
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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Best Lodging Options Near Big Ben

DoubleTree by Hilton London Kensington
DoubleTree by Hilton London Kensington
4 out of 5
100 Cromwell Road, London, England
The price is ¥14,694 per night from Sep 3 to Sep 3
DoubleTree by Hilton London Kensington
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
4 out of 5
200 Westminster Bridge Road, London, England
The price is ¥18,629 per night from Aug 31 to Aug 31
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
The Strand Palace Hotel
The Strand Palace Hotel
4 out of 5
372 The Strand, London, England
The price is ¥19,561 per night from Aug 13 to Aug 13
The Strand Palace Hotel
Park Plaza London Riverbank
Park Plaza London Riverbank
4 out of 5
18 Albert Embankment, London, England
The price is ¥17,317 per night from Aug 30 to Aug 30
Park Plaza London Riverbank
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 price is ¥29,636 per night from Aug 30 to Aug 30
The Trafalgar St. James London, Curio Collection by Hilton
Club Quarters Hotel, Trafalgar Square
Club Quarters Hotel, Trafalgar Square
4 out of 5
8 Northumberland Ave, (adjacent to Trafalgar Square), London, England
The price is ¥18,152 per night from Aug 8 to Aug 8
Club Quarters Hotel, Trafalgar Square
Club Quarters Lincoln's Inn Fields
Club Quarters Lincoln's Inn Fields
4 out of 5
61 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, England
The price is ¥15,946 per night from Aug 15 to Aug 15
Club Quarters Lincoln's Inn Fields
Corinthia London
Corinthia London
5 out of 5
Whitehall Place, London, England
The price is ¥75,175 per night from Sep 3 to Sep 3
Corinthia 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 ¥36,429 per night from Aug 8 to Aug 8
London Marriott Hotel County Hall
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.