The Big Ben Tower, also known as the Elizabeth Tower, is a neo-gothic clock tower located at the north end of the Houses of Parliament in London, England. It is one of the main attractions for locals and international tourists.
The tower was completed in 1859 and was designed by architects Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin. It stands 96 meters tall and has 334 steps to the top.
The tower is named after the largest bell inside it, which weighs 13.7 tons, and is named after Sir Benjamin Hall, the First Commissioner of Works at the time of its construction. The clock faces on the tower are the largest in the UK, measuring 7 meters in diameter.
The clock mechanism was designed by Edward John Dent and took 5 years to construct. It features a pendulum that is 4 metres long and weighs 300 kg.
In 2012, the tower was renamed the Elizabeth Tower in honor of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee. The tower has undergone several renovations throughout its history, including a major restoration project that began in 2017 and was completed in 2022.
The tower and the adjacent Houses of Parliament are designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The Big Ben Tower is a significant cultural icon and landmark, visited by millions of tourists every year. It is not only a symbol of London but also a symbol of British history and culture.
The London Big Ben Tower is located in the City of Westminster, in the heart of London, United Kingdom. It is situated at the north end of the Palace of Westminster, which is the meeting place of the UK Parliament. The full address of the tower is:
Elizabeth Tower, Westminster, London SW1A 0AA, United Kingdom.
Here you can learn about the history, tickets, and top tourist attractions around the Tower of London.
How to Visit London Big Ben Tower
Big Ben Tower is one of the most iconic landmarks in London, United Kingdom. Here’s how you can visit it:
- Plan ahead: You should plan your visit in advance. Check the official website of the UK Parliament to find out when tours are available and book your tickets. You can also book a guided tour to get a more detailed experience.
- Check the opening hours: The Big Ben Tower was closed to visitors until 2022 for essential maintenance work. You can check the latest updates on the official website before planning your visit.
- Arrive early: On the day of your visit, arrive early to allow time for security checks. The entrance is located at the Cromwell Green Visitor Entrance, which is accessible from the street.
- Follow the rules: Once inside, follow the rules and regulations set by the staff. You will need to go through a security check, so make sure you do not carry any prohibited items.
- Enjoy the tour: During the tour, you will be taken to the top of the tower, where you can enjoy stunning views of London. You will also get a chance to see the Big Ben clock mechanism up close and learn about its history.
- Take photos: Don’t forget to take photos of the tower and the surrounding area. You can also take a selfie with Big Ben in the background.
- Visit other attractions: The Big Ben Tower is located near many other famous landmarks, such as the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. You can plan to visit these places after your tour.
Overall, visiting the Big Ben Tower is an excellent way to explore London’s rich history and architecture. With proper planning and preparation, you can make your visit a memorable one.
Opening Hours of London Big Ben Tower
The typical opening hours are Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm, and on Saturdays during the summer months (July to September) from 9 am to 4 pm. However, please note that these hours may vary, so it is always best to check the official website of the UK Parliament for the latest information.
Additionally, during the holiday season, the tower may be closed on certain days, so it is always best to check the website or call ahead to confirm the opening hours before visiting.
6 Unusual Facts About London Big Ben Tower
When people think of London, the first image that typically comes to their mind is of Big Ben, the famous clock tower that is located on the grounds of the Houses of Parliament in Westminster.
Westminster was once the location of London’s royal palace, but it has since been transformed into the centre of the British government and a pillar of democratic life. There is no shortage of people who appreciate Big Ben, which is known for being one of the most accurate clocks in the world.
Throughout the course of the previous century, the London clock tower has been included in a vast number of films and books as a setting.
1. Why This Tower is Called Big Ben?
Over the course of the past 150 years, the gigantic bell housed inside the tower has been referred to simply as “Big Ben,” and this is when the name first came into common usage.
The nickname “Big Ben” was given to the Great Bell in honour of Sir Benjamin Hall, who served as the First Commissioner for Works and was responsible for raising the bell to its current location atop the tower.
In spite of the fact that it formerly went by two different titles, the popular moniker has been applied to the entire clock tower. The tower’s original moniker was the Clock Tower, which was a descriptive albeit unimaginative choice for such a huge timepiece as the tower.
The tower was officially rechristened the Elizabeth Tower in 2012 to honour the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, but the common name for it will continue to be Big Ben.
2. Changing of Big Ben Bell
The enormous bell known as “Big Ben” weighs in at 15.1 tonnes. The bell’s arrival in the city was met with much pomp, and it was transported up the Thames on a barge before being brought across Westminster Bridge in a carriage pulled by sixteen white horses.
In October of 1857, the bell was hung in New Palace Yard so that it could be tested, but it fractured during the intense testing. A new bell, which had been crafted by George Mears at the Whitechapel Foundry and had been finished in April 1858 in order to replace the previous bell, was then winched up the tower in October 1858 in order to take its place in the belfry of the tower.
A hard 30-hour journey was endured by Big Ben before it was finally put atop the tower, where it has remained for the past 160 years.
Unfortunately, just a few months after it had been inaugurated, the bell fractured, and as a result, Big Ben was rendered silent for a period of four years. At the time that builders and repairmen were trying to figure out how to fix the Great Bell, the smaller quarter bells that were hung lower in the tower rang the hours to keep Londoners on schedule.
In 1863, they found a solution to the problem. The clock tower in London known as Big Ben was turned by a quarter of a turn, which resulted in the hammer striking the bell in a different location.
In the meantime, the weight of the hammer was reduced to stop any additional harm. Since then, the tone of the bell has been noticeably altered, and the crack in it has never been fixed.
3. The Westminster Clock Tower
Big Ben may look as though it is standing precisely vertically, but in reality, it has a very tiny tilt to it. The lean was discovered when preparations were being made for the extension of the Jubilee Line, which is a subway line that now runs underneath the Parliament buildings.
The earth beneath the London clock tower has shifted through time, which has caused it to lean ever so slightly to the north-west, with an inclination of 0.26 degrees (this is only one-sixteenth the tilt of the Leaning Tower of Pisa).
In spite of this very tiny tilt, the tower ought to be secure for anywhere between 4,000 and 10,000 years.
4. Leave a Penny, Take a Penny
Big Ben’s ability to keep perfect time, despite the fact that its mechanisms date back to the Victorian era, is accurate to within one second. This laborious task, which is carried out by hand three times every week, takes around one and a half hours to complete.
The clock in question is a pendulum clock. Because of the stack of old pennies that are balanced on the clock’s pendulum, the timepiece always displays the correct time. The centre of gravity of the pendulum will vary somewhat in response to the addition or subtraction of pennies, which will also result in a change in the swing speed of the pendulum.
The addition of a single penny will cause the pendulum to swing faster, which will, in turn, lower the pace of the clock by a rate of 0.4 seconds every day. There are two silver coins mixed in with all of the pennies.
One of them was minted in 2009 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Big Ben, and the other is the Silver Jubilee coin of 1977 that marks Queen Elizabeth’s 25th anniversary on the throne. Both of these coins were issued to mark significant anniversaries for the British monarchy.
5. Big Ben Starlings
Big Ben has been turned down on occasion in order to facilitate maintenance, and it was also covered up during the blackouts that occurred during the Second World War. In 1949, a colony of starlings took up residence on the minute hands of the clock, which resulted in the clock slowing down by four and a half minutes.
Other environmental conditions have also had an effect on the clock. A severe snowstorm that occurred on New Year’s Eve in 1962 slowed the clock, and as a result, the bells ringing in the New Year were 10 minutes late.
6. Renovation of Big Ben
For the past few years, the much-needed refurbishment that Big Ben is receiving has kept it encased in scaffolding. This renovation will repair the facade and restore the clock hands and details to their original blue colour when it is finished in 2021.
The restoration is scheduled to be completed at that time. Due to the heavy smog in London during the early 1900s, the intricacies of the clock turned black. In the 1980s, it was painted black to prevent the discolouring effect from occurring.
However, you will still be able to hear the chime of the London clock tower several times throughout the restoration process, on significant days such as New Year’s Eve or Remembrance Day. This is done to protect the ears of the workers who are performing the conservation work on the clock tower in London.