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

The Strand Palace Hotel
The Strand Palace Hotel
4 out of 5
372 The Strand, London, England
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is ¥20,054 per night from Dec 20 to Dec 20
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 ...
4.1/5 Very Good! (2,878 reviews)
"I thought the Hotel Location was perfect. The room we were in was quite cramped with the bed pushed up against the wall. Everything else was fine."

Reviewed on Dec 6, 2021

The Strand Palace Hotel
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
4 out of 5
200 Westminster Bridge Road, London, England
The price is ¥22,567 per night from Jan 5 to Jan 5
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 ...
4.2/5 Excellent! (2,887 reviews)
"Great location"

Reviewed on Dec 6, 2021

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
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 ¥21,809 per night from Jan 3 to Jan 3
Located in London City Centre, this eco-friendly hotel is steps from Charing Cross, The Strand, and Theatreland. Trafalgar Square and The Mall are also within ...
4.4/5 Excellent! (863 reviews)
"Very comfortable hotel with friendly staff"

Reviewed on Dec 6, 2021

Club Quarters Hotel, 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.

Plan a trip to see Big Ben

easyHotel London Croydon
OYO Swan Inn
Stratford Stays
Don't see what you're looking for?
See all available trips from Ashburn to Big Ben
View all trips

Popular places to visit in Big Ben

Big Ben


Best Lodging Options Near Big Ben

Zedwell Piccadilly
Zedwell Piccadilly
3 out of 5
Great Windmill Street, London, England
The price is ¥10,471 per night from Dec 19 to Dec 19
Zedwell Piccadilly
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
4 out of 5
200 Westminster Bridge Road, London, England
The price is ¥22,567 per night from Jan 5 to Jan 5
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
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 ¥21,809 per night from Jan 3 to Jan 3
Club Quarters Hotel, Trafalgar Square
The Strand Palace Hotel
The Strand Palace Hotel
4 out of 5
372 The Strand, London, England
The price is ¥20,054 per night from Dec 20 to Dec 20
The Strand Palace Hotel
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 ¥25,969 per night from Jan 5 to Jan 5
St. James' Court, A Taj Hotel, London
Assembly House Hotel
Assembly House Hotel
3.5 out of 5
27 - 31 Charing Cross Road, London, England
The price is ¥11,498 per night from Dec 19 to Dec 19
Assembly House Hotel
The Royal National Hotel
The Royal National Hotel
4 out of 5
38-51 Bedford Way, London, England
The price is ¥18,850 per night from Dec 13 to Dec 13
The Royal National Hotel
The Westminster London, Curio Collection by Hilton
The Westminster London, Curio Collection by Hilton
4 out of 5
30 John Islip Street, Westminster, London, England
The price is ¥18,717 per night from Jan 5 to Jan 5
The Westminster London, Curio Collection by Hilton
Leonardo Royal London Tower Bridge
Leonardo Royal London Tower Bridge
4 out of 5
45 Prescot Street, London, England
The price is ¥16,244 per night from Jan 7 to Jan 7
Leonardo Royal London Tower Bridge
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.