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“The bells, the bells....”
Review of Big Ben

Big Ben
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Private Tour: Big Ben to Covent Garden Tour in London
Ranked #5 of 1,616 things to do in London
Certificate of Excellence
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Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: Elizabeth Tower is the name of the famous clock tower which stands at the Houses of Parliament. The name Big Ben is often used to describe the tower, the clock and the bell but the name was first given to the Great Bell. The Elizabeth Tower was completed in 1859 and the Great Clock started on 31 May. The Great Bell's strikes were heard for the first time on 11 July and the quarter bells first chimed on 7 September. All visits to Big Ben and the Elizabeth Tower tours are now suspended due to refurbishment with the last tour having taken place on 16 December 2016. Tours are scheduled to resume in early 2020 once the work is complete. Visitors can still book tickets for a number of other tours at the Houses of Parliament which take place on Saturdays throughout the year and on weekdays during Parliamentary recesses.
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
88 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 156 helpful votes
“The bells, the bells....”
Reviewed March 11, 2013

We arranged a tour of Elizabeth Tower (the name of the tower that houses Big Ben, which is the bell, not the building) through our local MP, and were allocated a time slot. You go through strict airport-style security just to get in to Portcullis House on the opposite corner where there is a small waiting room with a few seats, and toilets are available.

Bags and cameras are not allowed up the tower, and mobile phones must be switched off (partly for security reasons, but also because of the time restraint - a dozen people taking photos of each other all the way up could take half a day!). There is a locked cupboard where bags and coats can be stored, although it is advisable to keep your coat on as the top of the tower is open to the elements, and it can be windy and cold.

You get taken under the road and into the Tower by two guides, one at the front and one bringing up the rear. Any health and safety issues are raised before you set off, and anyone who is pregnant, suffers from asthma or vertigo, high or low blood pressure etc, are advised to stick to the back end of the group, so as not to feel any pressure. There were about a dozen or so people in our group.

Although there are 334 steps in a spiral staircase, the climb is not as difficult as it sounds - the pace is relaxed, and you can take it at your own speed (hence the guide at the back to bring up the rear); also the steps are not all that steep. You also stop to rest a couple of times on the way up, with seats to relax while the guides fill you in on the history of the tower and bells.

The aim is to make it to the level where the Big Ben bell is for the chime on the hour - it is extremely loud and I would recommend that you wear the earplugs that are issued to you. The whole floor vibrates, and it is an amazing experience to be up there for the chime. The view from there is pretty good too.

On the way back down you get to walk behind all the four the clock faces (VERY cool!) before descending to the bottom again.

You even get a certificate to prove you did it! It was well worth it!

Visited March 2013
6 Thank GreteHoward
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Brussels, Belgium
Level Contributor
100 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“A must do”
Reviewed March 11, 2013

The whole area is a must do, just stroll around and enjoy the ambiance. It's near the London Eye but also just 10 min away from Downing Street 10.

Visited March 2013
Thank Anouck A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gold Coast
Level Contributor
625 reviews
278 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2,387 helpful votes
“Must See In London”
Reviewed March 9, 2013

Wow, seeing Big Ben in person was very interesting, both during the day and especially at night when it was all lit up.easy to see with bus tours.

Visited February 2013
8 Thank mynewlifeistravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Great view, surreal”
Reviewed March 9, 2013 via mobile

Seeing the Big Ben in person, it feels like you are looking at a picture. You just can't help but feel at awe when looking at this site. Beautiful during the day, afternoon, and night.

Definitely a must see

2 Thank MarcNtwan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
102 reviews
49 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Staple in London”
Reviewed March 7, 2013 via mobile

Big Ben is one of those things that you just have to see when traveling to iconic London! It's really cool especially next to the Houses of Parliament and I recommend going here!

1 Thank Staceytoy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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