Big Ben

Big Ben showing heritage architecture, a city and a monument
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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 Hotels Close to Big Ben

Zedwell Piccadilly
Zedwell Piccadilly
3 out of 5
Great Windmill Street, London, England, W1D 7DH
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is $123 per night from Aug 21 to Aug 22
Stay at this 3-star hotel in London. Enjoy free WiFi, a 24-hour front desk, and daily housekeeping. Our guests praise the clean rooms and the overall value in ...
3.9/5 Good! (1,334 reviews)
"Great location"

Reviewed on Aug 8, 2022

Zedwell Piccadilly
The Royal National Hotel
The Royal National Hotel
4 out of 5
38-51 Bedford Way, London, England, WC1H 0DG
The price is $136 per night from Aug 11 to Aug 12
Stay at this 4-star eco-friendly hotel in London. Enjoy free WiFi, breakfast, and onsite parking. Our guests praise the WiFi and the clean rooms in our reviews. ...
3.8/5 Good! (2,711 reviews)
"Great location. Clean room. Good breakfast. Room had almost everything we needed - one issue was a broken kettle so no drinks in the room."

Reviewed on Aug 9, 2022

The Royal National Hotel
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
4 out of 5
200 Westminster Bridge Road, London, England, SE1 7UT
The price is $235 per night from Sep 4 to Sep 5
Stay at this 4-star spa hotel in London. Enjoy free WiFi, 2 restaurants, and a full-service spa. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the clean rooms in our ...
4.2/5 Very Good! (2,088 reviews)
"Clean ,people very friendly"

Reviewed on Aug 7, 2022

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
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

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Best Lodging Options Near Big Ben

Assembly House Hotel
Assembly House Hotel
3.5 out of 5
27 - 31 Charing Cross Road, London, England, WC2H 0LS
The price is $122 per night from Aug 29 to Aug 30
Assembly House Hotel
The Royal National Hotel
The Royal National Hotel
4 out of 5
38-51 Bedford Way, London, England, WC1H 0DG
The price is $136 per night from Aug 10 to Aug 11
The Royal National Hotel
Zedwell Piccadilly
Zedwell Piccadilly
3 out of 5
Great Windmill Street, London, England, W1D 7DH
The price is $134 per night from Aug 19 to Aug 20
Zedwell Piccadilly
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
4 out of 5
200 Westminster Bridge Road, London, England, SE1 7UT
The price is $235 per night from Sep 4 to Sep 5
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
Park Plaza County Hall London
Park Plaza County Hall London
4 out of 5
1 Addington Street, London, England, SE1 7RY
The price is $198 per night from Sep 4 to Sep 5
Park Plaza County Hall London
The Strand Palace Hotel
The Strand Palace Hotel
4 out of 5
372 The Strand, London, England, WC2R 0JJ
The price is $201 per night from Aug 28 to Aug 29
The Strand Palace Hotel
Park Plaza London Waterloo
Park Plaza London Waterloo
4 out of 5
6 Hercules Road, London, England, SE1 7DP
The price is $200 per night from Sep 4 to Sep 5
Park Plaza London Waterloo
Club Quarters Hotel, Trafalgar Square
Club Quarters Hotel, Trafalgar Square
4 out of 5
8 Northumberland Ave, (adjacent to Trafalgar Square), London, England, WC2N 5BY
The price is $216 per night from Aug 24 to Aug 25
Club Quarters Hotel, Trafalgar Square
The President Hotel
The President Hotel
3.5 out of 5
56-60 Guildford Street, London, England, WC1N 1DB
The price is $149 per night from Aug 29 to Aug 30
The President 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.