Big Ben – Top Leading Tourist Attraction in LondonPosted by Continental Tour Guide in Europe | 0 comments
The Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster, known as the Big Ben (Popular for unique sound), is one of London's most famous landmarks, historical monuments attracts large amount of visitors yearly from the whole world.
While you are touring the London you will find the many attractions and bizarre things to do and see. A visit to London without seeing Big Ben would not be complete. Big Ben, as the world’s most famous timepiece is known, is a favorite London landmark and a sight kids like to photograph. Big Ben is rising in the middle of downtown – next to the English Channel, the River Thames. It is the name of the clock in the tower at the Houses of Parliament. Probably one of London’s most famous attraction. The clock is not open to the public. Big Ben has been used in countless films and television shows to set the scene in London and in 2008 was found to be most popular landmark in the United Kingdom. One of London’s most famous landmarks and tourist attractions, the name Big Ben actually refers to the bell hung within the clock tower, but has become the name of the tower and clock as a whole.
The clock tower is located at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in Central London and was built in 1859.
Nick Name of Tower
The tower is known as Big Ben because th at was the nickname of the largest bell in the clock tower which was originally called the Great Bell. Today it refers to the whole of the clock – clock tower, great clock and great bell.
It is not open to the general public or foreign visitors. Only UK residents are allowed to climb Big Ben and tours needs to be pre-arranged a tour through your MP or a Lord. Big Ben has a little brother who is also in London, near Victoria Station. It is the 6 feet high, Little Ben.
The Big Ben Clock is used to ring in the London New Year and is a rallying point for the New Year’s celebration of the entire country of England. The BBC also broadcasts the chiming of the bells on Remembrance Day to mark the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month; the end of World War I. A famous symbol of Parliament and all things English throughout the world, the Big Ben Clock is visible from many locations in London and is well worth visiting.
History behind Designing and Construction
The architectural ensemble’s trademark is the Clock Tower, Big Ben, with its 13 tonne bell. This magnificent clock tower is usually referred to as Big Ben, this is actually the nickname of the largest of the clock’s bells, the one that chimes on the hour – an unmistakable deep sound that resonates across the city. The tower itself, previously named the Clock Tower, was designated as Elizabeth Tower in June 2012, in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee. This, however, has not stopped the popular tradition of referring to it simply as Big Ben.The construction of the classic Gothic Revivalist-style tower was completed in 1858 and it forms part of the Palace of Westminster, re-built on the site following destruction of the previous structure by a fire in 1834.
At 96 metres high, Big Ben is the largest four-faced chiming clock in the British Isles. Each face is seven metres in diameter and consists of 312 pieces of opal glass held in an iron framework. The hour and minute hands are 2.7 and 4.3 metres long respectively. At sunset, the four clock faces are lit up so that they are visible across the city. Originally lit by gas-lamps, now replaced by electric lights installed behind each of the translucent clock faces, Big Ben appears to glow from within.
Popular for Unique Sound & Keeping Time
Big Ben is known for “keeping the time”. The clock mechanism makes it known to always go right. Even during World War II when the Germans bombed London Big Ben ticked on…. It was not until 1962 during a snowstorm on New Year’s Eve the clock began to slow down. This caused the stroke of midnight arrive 10 minutes late.
The clock has actually stopped a few times: August 5, 1976 and did not start until May 9, 1977. It also stopped April 30, 1997 and May 27, 2005 (probably due to the warm weather which had lasted a long time).
Almost every person knows the loud sound of the beautiful huge bell that shakes one up and reminds him or her in what city he or she is in. The weight of the bell itself is not totally unimportant in creating that famous and unique sound – not to mention the hammer that strikes it. The bell alone weights 13.8 tons and the hammer of the bell 203.2 kilograms. This creates the famous tune of the E note just above the middle C.
Sightseeing & Views and Attractions
Unfortunately the clock tower is not publicly accessible, but if you’re looking for views over London the London Eye and the Shard are currently the best options.
Touring Guide – 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. 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. The building is open to visitors from the UK and overseas. When Parliament is in session, you can watch debates from the public galleries. Tours through both the Lords and the Commons run on most Saturdays year round and on weekdays during holiday periods including Easter, Whitsun, the summer and Christmas/New Year. Advanced booking is recommended.