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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. 


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Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London $148
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 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.

    ME London $209
    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 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 $115
      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 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.

        Leonardo Royal London St Paul’s $120
        Leonardo Royal London St Paul’s

        Leonardo Royal London St Paul’s

        10 Godliman Street, London, England
           
          5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in London City Centre, this luxury hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of St. Paul's Cathedral and Tower of London. Tower Bridge and The British Museum are also within 2 mi (3 km). Blackfriars Underground Station and St. Paul's Underground Station are within a 5-minute walk.

          The Rubens At The Palace $250
          The Rubens At The Palace

          The Rubens At The Palace

          39 Buckingham Palace Road, London, England
             
            5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in London City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Victoria Palace Theatre and Apollo Victoria Theatre. Buckingham Palace and St. James Park are also within 15 minutes. Victoria Underground Station and London Victoria Rail Station are within a 5-minute walk.

            London Marriott Hotel County Hall $301
            London Marriott Hotel County Hall

            London Marriott Hotel County Hall

            London County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London, England
               
              5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in London City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of London Eye and Big Ben. Buckingham Palace and St. Paul's Cathedral are also within 2 mi (3 km). Westminster Underground Station is only a 4-minute walk and Waterloo Underground Station is 6 minutes.

              St. James' Court, A Taj Hotel, London $247
              St. James' Court, A Taj Hotel, London

              St. James' Court, A Taj Hotel, London

              54 Buckingham Gate, London, England
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in London City Centre, this spa hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Buckingham Palace, Apollo Victoria Theatre, and St. James Park. Westminster Abbey and Victoria Palace Theatre are also within 10 minutes. St. James's Park Underground Station is only a 3-minute walk and Victoria Underground Station is 7 minutes.

                Club Quarters Hotel, Trafalgar Square $127
                Club Quarters Hotel, Trafalgar Square

                Club Quarters Hotel, Trafalgar Square

                8 Northumberland Ave, (adjacent to Trafalgar Square), London, England
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in London City Centre, this boutique hotel is steps 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.