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About Big Ben London, London

London has quite a few historic, iconic and unforgettable buildings but none more so than the Big Ben. This Huge Big Ben tower is hard to miss in Central London but what made it so famous is the giant 13 ton resounding bell that is inside the clock tower that incidentally also gives it its name; Big Ben.

A trip to London can hardly be said to be complete without taking pictures near and around the Big Ben London; so much so that the Big Ben has now become the symbol of London tourism and known for best thing to do in London. The tremendous importance of the monument to the identity of London aside, it is also very beautiful and there is no chance that anyone could be disappointed to see this iconic place as there are many things to do near big ben.

Big Ben is actually a nickname for the 13 ton Bell of the large clock at the top of the north tower of th e Westminster palace. The Westminster Palace serves at the Parliament of the United Kingdom and is the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The Big Ben Clock is the second largest (four faced) chiming clock in the world. (The largest is at the Minneapolis City hall in the United States). The Big Ben tower is also therefore referred to as the "Clock tower". One other common name to refer the Big Ben tower is  St Stephen's Tower.  In 2012, to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth ||, the tower was officially renamed as Elizabeth Tower. Big Ben London is one of the tourist attractions in London travel itinerary 5 days and London Itinerary 2 Weeks. You must visit this amazing tourist attraction in London.

Brief History of Big Ben

In the early 1800s, The Palace of Westminster used wooded Tally sticks as a part of accounting procedures. The wooden tally sticks were used until 1826. On 16th October 1834 the Sticks were carelessly disposed in the furnaces under the House of Lords. This caused a large fire outbreak which nearly destroyed the Palace of Westminster. Only few parts of the building survived. The Westminster Hall built in the early 1000s survived.

In the year 1844, while the new buildings were being constructed for the Westminster Palace, it was decided by the Parliament to construct a tower and a clock. The architect Charles Barry was awarded the commission for this work. George Airy, the Astronomer Royal at that time drafted the exact specification of the clock.

One key specification fixed by George Airy was that "... the first stroke of the hour bell should register the time, correct to within one second per day, and furthermore that it should telegraph its performance twice a day to Greenwich Observatory, where a record would be kept."

At that time, there were no clock makers in London who could meet this specification. Sir Edmund Beckett, the first Baron Grimthorpe, took up the task of designing the clock to meet this specification. On designing the clock mechanism, the clock was built by Messrs E.J. Dent & Co. The clock was built by 1854.

The Big Ben: 4 quarter chimes(Big Ben coordinates) and one large bell were built by John Warner & Sons. The Large Hour Bell is called the Big Ben.

In August 1856, a 16 ton Bell (The Hour Bell) was cast at Stockton-on Tees. The Hour Bell, as per Airy's specification, was the largest bell ever cast in England. Also the Metal alloy used to build this bell was never used before for bell casting.

The Bell was transported to London in a Trolley. 16 Horses were needed to draw the cart. The tower construction had not finished. The Bell was hung in the Palace Yard for testing. During the testing, on 17 October, 1857 a long crack (Almost 4 foot long) developed in the Bell. A new bell had to be cast.

The Second Bell was cast by Whitechapel Bell Foundry. On April 10th 1858, the "second Great Bell" - the official name of Big Ben - was cast. This second bell was 13.5 tons in weight and thus relatively lighter.

The Tower construction finished by 1859 and the clock became operational by May 31st 1859.

The Big Ben First Rang on July 11 1859.

The Big Ben Developed a crack in Sept 1859. The Big Ben was not used for the next 4 years. It was finally decided by Airy that instead of rebuilding a new bell, the cracked bell was to be turned so that the undamaged part of the bell would be struck by a smaller hammer. A small square cut was made in the bell to stop the crack from spreading. This operation was completed in 1863.

The Crack in the bell exists even today!

The Clock pendulum accuracy of the Big Ben clock is maintained by adding pennies on the shoulder of the pendulum. The Clock has suffered only one major break down. Even the bombings of London in World war 2 when the House of Commons was destroyed, the clock continued to function accurately.

When the House of Commons is sitting, a light is lit on top of the Big Ben tower.

Facts About Big Ben London:

  • The bell can be heard upto 9 miles away from the tower.
  • Height : 7 Feet, 2 inches
  • Diameter : 8 Feet, 8 inches
  • Weight : 13.5 Ton
  • The Quarter Bells make the sound notes of G#, F#, E and B
  • The Clock of Big Ben is officially known as the Great Clock of Westminster
  • Minute Hands Length : 4.2 M
  • Minute Hands Weight : 100kg
  • The Clock weighs 5.5 Tons
  • The Dials of the clock are 7 meters in Diameter
  • Length of Hour Numbers: 60 CM long
  • the Clock dials have 312 pieces of glass
  • Inscription on the clock face: DOMINE SALVAM FAC REGINAM NOSTRAM VICTORIAM PRIMAM,
  • Meaning of inscription on the clock face: O Lord, keep safe our Queen Victoria the First

The Name Big Ben is most likely after Sir Benjamin Hall, First Commissioner for Works, whose name is inscribed on the bell. Another common theory to explain the name is that the Big Ben is named after Ben Caunt, the heavy weight boxing champion of the year 1857

Only UK citizens sponsored by Members of Parliament or Members of Parliament can visit the Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben Tower) from the inside. There are daily 3 tours that take limited individuals through the 334 stairs of the Elizabeth tower. The tour is available everyday at 9 am, 11 am and 2 pm. Visitors can here the bell strike and can also see the mechanism room and learn how the clock works. One can also get a view of London from the 62 meter height of the tower.

Big Ben in Films

  • 101 Dalmatians
  • 102 Dalmatians
  • 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure
  • 28 Days Later
  • A Christmas Carol
  • Cars 2 
  • Peter Pan
  • The Great Mouse Detective
  • The Thirty-Nine Steps,
  • Thunderball
  • Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue
  • Return to Never Land

How to Reach Big Ben

The underground Metro (London Tube is the best way to reach the Big Ben)

Below is the list of Metro Stations at walking distance from Big Ben:

Westminster Tube Station - Right in front of the Big Ben - 2 mins walk

St James's Park Tube Station - About 8 mins walk

Embankment Underground Station - About 10 mins walk

Viewing Big Ben:

The Best views of Big Ben are from The London Eye. Just across the Westminster bridge you can see the Giant Wheel of London Eye. From the Top of the London Eye, the view of the Big Ben is spectacular. Also the best selfie spot with the Big Ben would be the Westminster Bridge.

The View of the Big Ben from the Shard building is also beautiful.

Some questions which all tourist ask about Big Ben London are - Can you go in Big Ben? Yes you can visit Big Ben but only if toursit fit a strict criteria and have contacted their MP or a member of the House of Lords to request a visit.Tours related to Big Ben are booked in advance.Also How many clock faces are there on Big Ben, Who invented Big Ben all these question are rised by toursit.

 

Big Ben London Information

  • Photography is allowed.
  • Smoking is banned on the streets.
  • You can’t get an access inside the tower.
  • The London Eye and The London Tower Museum are close by so you can combine those visits with this Big ben alaram clock.

How To Get To Big Ben London by Public Transport

  • Train Stations: Westminster Tube Station, St James Park Tube Station, Charring Station
  • Bus Station: Westminster Station Bridge St (Stop H), Westminster (Stop G), Rosie Winterton MP (Doncaster Central)

Restaurants Near Big Ben London

  • Cafe Nero
  • St Stephen's Tavern Pub
  • Switchroom Cafeteria
  • The Red Lion

Love this? Explore the entire list of things to do in London before you plan your trip.

Fancy a good night's sleep after a tiring day? Check out where to stay in London and book an accommodation of your choice.

Address: Big Ben, Westminster, London SW1A 0AA, United Kingdom

Phone: +44-2072194272

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Time Required: 01:00 Hrs

Timings: 24-hrs Details

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Share your experience - Rate Big Ben London, London

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Big Ben London Tour Reviews

  • user-avatar

    On 14-Sep-2016

    Awesome place to visit, must visit place in London

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  • . Heard the name and the tune from Childhood... . God willingly, we visited the Big Ben, many times, afterwards! . Love the Architecture and . Also the technology! . High scope for photography in the day & night . Family, friends and children . Stand photography from the London Eye Is exciting! Note: Heard that our dear Big Ben will go silent for repairs and will be back.

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  • Not many people know Big Ben is actually the name of the giant mouse that lives behind the clock face. He enjoys lobster dinners and Haribo. With a wry wit and contemporary style he's a ladies mouse. If you look closely you might just see the corner of his kimono floating in the wind as he watches you...

  • Make sure you are visiting Big Ben on the hour so you can hear the chimes. Can be busy on the bridge as lots of people taking pictures and admiring a spectacular landmark. The parliament in Budapest is designed on parliament building at Westminster it was considered that impressive.

  • The famous Big Ben. Sadly will fall silent soon for 4 years. So we came to see the great big chimes for the last time. Especially for My son who loves it.

  • Big Ben is more than just a tourist spot. It's got a rich history dating way back and it is the most iconic place to visit in London. The Westminster Bridge is filled with people taking beautiful photographs of Big Ben and taking selfies. It was my first time visiting and I absolutely loved it. It's no wonder people say London is the best city in the world - I 100% agree!

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