Big Ben is the nickname for the Great Bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London, and often extended to refer to the clock and the clock tower.
The tower is officially known as the Elizabeth Tower, renamed as such to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II (prior to being renamed in 2012 it was known as simply “Clock Tower”). The tower holds the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world and is the third-tallest free-standing clock tower. The tower was completed in 1858 and had its 150th anniversary on 31 May 2009, during which celebratory events took place.
The tower has become one of the most prominent symbols of the United Kingdom and is often in the establishing shot of films set in London. The Elizabeth Tower (previously called the Clock Tower), named in tribute to Queen Elizabeth II in her Diamond Jubilee year, more popularly known as Big Ben, was raised as a part of Charles Barry’s design for a new palace, after the old Palace of Westminster was largely destroyed by fire on the night of 16 October 1834. The new Parliament was built in a Neo-gothic style.
Private Tour: London City Highlights
Enjoy a day in London with a private guide and a driver, and see the sights that interest you the most! The full-day private experience offers a flexible itinerary, meaning you choose where you visit and what you do. See top London attractions including Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London; enjoy activities such as a Thames River cruise and London Eye ride; or discover the delights of the Southbank, looking out for Harry Potter filming sites. All entrance fees, activities and meals are at your own expense. Start with a pickup from your central London hotel, and relax in the comfort of your private vehicle. The itinerary is flexible and can be tailored to your interests, but all tours include plenty of photo stops and breaks for lunch, afternoon tea or snacks.
There is no admission cost, making the Big Ben tour one of the most appealing free things to do in London.
You have to pay for the guided tours, if you choose one.
Or choose on of our tours witch include Big Ben and the Parliament.
By Tube & Rail
Underground station closest to Houses of Parliament:
Westminster station – District, Circle or Jubilee lines
Westminster station is fully wheelchair accessible
Nearest stations are Charing Cross, Victoria and Waterloo (20-30 min walk)
Buses stop near Parliament Square in Victoria Street (opposite the Houses of Parliament) and further up towards Trafalgar Square, in Whitehall. All buses in London are now wheelchair accessible.
Buses: 3,11,12,24,53,87,88,148,159,211,453,N2, N3, N11,N87,N136,N155,N155,N159,N381 all stops nearby.
Members of the public cannot bring bicycles into the parliamentary estate. Public bicycle racks are a short distance away outside 7 Millbank. There are Cycle hire docking stations situated in Smith Square, which is a 5 minute walk away from Parliament, and on Abingdon Green, opposite Victoria Tower Gardens.
Barclays Cycle Hire Docking Station
Coming by car is not recommended.
Travelling by car will often be subject to the congestion charge and meter parking is limited. Disabled parking spaces are located nearby in Great Peter Street, Smith Square, and by Methodist Central Hall on Matthew Parker Street.
There is an underground car park opposite the Houses of Parliament operated by Q-Parks which has 183 spaces. It benefits from a secure vehicle and pedestrian entrance with CCTV, customer toilets and is manned during the week.
There are a variety of facilities available to visitors to Parliament.
The gift shops offer a large number of quality branded products including glassware, ceramics, chocolate and gifts for all ages.
The Jubilee Caf situated off Westminster Hall serves a range of hot and cold snacks and drinks. There are no refreshment facilities available to unescorted visitors in Portcullis House.
There are toilet facilities throughout the Parliamentary estate which visitors can use.
The main visitor toilet facilities are situated just off Westminster Hall next to the Jubilee Shop and Cafe. There are additional toilet facilities close to Central Lobby off Lower Waiting Hall and off St Stephen’s Hall (ladies only).
For visitors to Portcullis House, toilets facilities are available on the first floor.
Information on disabled access toilet facilities
NOTE: There are 334 steps to the belfry and a total of 399 to the lantern (the Ayrton Light).
Saturday, throughout the year 9.15-4.30
Tours run every 15 minutes.
Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri – 9.15am-4.30pm
Wednesday – 1.15-4.30pm
Mon, Fri – 9.15am-4.30pm
Tues, Wed, Thurs – 1.15-4.30pm