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Big Ben, London
Fast Facts




Bridge Street
London SW1A 0AA
Historic Interest

Big Ben, London


Photo by Alfredo De Simone

Big Ben, as the world's most famous timepiece is known, is a favorite London landmark and a sight kids like to photograph. Here are few fun facts that will keep them snapping. The name Big Ben was first given to the great bell. Today it refers to the whole of the clock - clock tower, great clock and great bell. The clock tower is 96 meters tall or 11 stories high. The clock tower was completed in 1859. It took nearly 16 years to build and was constructed from inside out. The great clock has four clock dials. The minute hands of the enormous timepiece are as tall as a double decker bus and travel the equivalent of 190 km each year. The great clock is wound by hand and is regulated by a stack of coins. The great bell chimes on the hour. It weighs 13.7 metric tons and strikes the musical note of E.
Getting There
Big Ben is located at Bridge Street in the London borough of Westminster. The clock tower is situated at the north end of the House of Parliament and is within walking distance of a variety of London attractions, including the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, St. James Park and Horse Guard's Parade. Big Ben is easy to reach by bus, tube, train and riverboat. Westminster underground station and Westminster Pier are just opposite the big clock. St. James Park tube is a 10-minute walk. Embankment, Charing Cross, and Waterloo tube and train stations are 15 minutes by foot. Buses 3, 11, 12, 24, 53, 87, 88, 148, 159, 211 and 453 all stop near Big Ben as do the ever-popular open-top tour buses. This London landmark is within the congestion charging zone. The nearest car park is on Great College Street.
Hours & Times
Big Ben is open to UK residents only. Tours of the clock tower are offered at set times. Advance bookings are required and must be made through an MP. Bookings are taken up to 3 months in advance. Children aged under 11 are not permitted on tower tours.
Things to Keep in Mind
The tower tour is 75 minutes and involves climbing 334 narrow, spiral stairs. It may be inappropriate for folks with a fear of high places or enclosed spaces. Flat shoes are advisable. Tower tours are free of charge.
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