Big Ben in London – Top Tourist Attraction
Visit Big Ben, is one of the most symbolic London landmarks, historical monument cultural attraction and the third largest free-standing clock tower in the world Situated at the north-eastern end of the Palace of Westminster.
Over the years, Big Ben has become a popular cultural icon in both the United Kingdom and abroad. When one speaks of visiting London, Big Ben is a must-see. Big Ben has become one of most prominent symbols of the city in the history of London.This four-faced freestanding clock is the third largest clock tower in the world. It recently celebrated its 150th anniversary last May. The Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster, known as the Big Ben, is one of London’s most famous landmarks, historical monuments attracts large amount of visitors yearly from the whole world.
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.Big ben is popular for unique sounds and keeping time.
History and Construction
It was in 1288 when the clock tower was established at Westminster. The Chief Justice of King’s Bench at that time, Ralph Hengham financed the construction of the tower using the money accumulated from the fine collected. When the old Palace of Westminster was destroyed by fire on that fateful night of October 1834, everything was destroyed. So the palace instructed their chief architect, Charles Barry to design the palace using Neo-gothic style as inspiration. Hand in hand with Augustus Pugin who designed the present 316-ft clock tower, the new palace was built.
It may be one of the most well-known tourist destinations in the world, but the insides of the tower remains unseen by the general public because of security reasons. However, at certain times, the press and other personalities are given right of entry.
Big Ben in Culture and Movies
It is popular cultural and historical icon in uk. The ringing of its colossal hour bell has become a familiar sound to the British people, and descriptions have pervaded the literature of such prominent authors as Virginia Woolf. Big Ben’s hourly chimes have been broadcast over the radio by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC); only a few interruptions have occurred when the clock has gone out of service, most notably for repairs in 1934 and 1956.
The only time Big Ben has ever broken down was in 1976, after more than 100 years of service; the chiming mechanism broke on August 5, and the clock remained out of service until May 9, 1977. Routine maintenance now occurs every 15 or 20 years; the last took place in October 2005, when the clock was shut down for 24 hours to allow for repair work and retuning. The chiming of Big Ben at midnight on New Year’s Eve is the British equivalent to the U.S. dropping of the ball in New York City’s Times Square, and the BBC broadcasts that festivity every year on television.
Travel Guide – Tourist Attractions
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. 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.
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.