How many meters high is Big Ben

Big Ben: Everything you need to know about London's famous landmark

Big Ben is one of the most famous landmarks in London. Located right next to the House of Parliament, the tower can be seen and heard in large parts of the British metropolis. I have summarized for you which melody Big Ben plays, why it is called Big Ben and everything else you need to know about what is probably the most famous clock tower in the world.

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Big Ben - London's pride and joy

The famous clock tower was built as part of the design of a new castle that began after the old Palace of Westminster was destroyed by fire overnight in October 1834. It so happens that both Big Ben and the Parliament were built in the neo-Gothic style of the mid-19th century.

Fortunately, this piece of British national pride was saved by the wars, but the construction of the underground lines has been taking a toll on it for about ten years. It is said that he is average tips a millimeter per year and the inclination is even now visible.

Where did the name Big Ben come from?

When Big Ben is mentioned in London, the whole tower is almost always meant - it is officially called Elizabeth Tower. In 2012 it was known as The clock tower ("The Clock Tower") renamed tower on the Thames in honor of the 60th anniversary of the throne of Queen Elizabeth II.

So the name Big Ben is actually a nickname and is derived from the heaviest bell of the carillon inside the clock tower. The 13.5 ton bell rings (usually when not in the process of being restored) every full hour and is popularly known as the "Voice of Britain". It is believed that it was named after Sir Benjamin Hall, who was the British Parliament's First Commissioner of Works at the time the bell was installed in 1859. However, other sources claim that the bell was named after heavyweight boxer Benjamin Caunt.

How tall is Big Ben?

With a height of 96.3 meters you can hardly miss Big Ben as a landmark of London! And since a large tower needs a large clock, the dimensions of the tower clock are also impressive: Each of the four dials has a diameter of seven meters and the minute hand alone weighs a good 100 kilos with a length of 4.2 meters. The first 61 meters of Big Ben, like the adjoining House of Parliament, are made of bricks with a limestone facade, and the top of the tower is made of cast iron. Like many historical towers, the London clock tower is also slightly crooked: with an inclination of 0.26 °, it now has an overhang of 46 cm.

Big Ben's watch

The Big Ben is probably one of the few watches that keeps four mechanics busy around the clock. Each side of the iron frame is 7 meters long and consists of 312 parts. At the bottom you can find the Latin inscription "Domine salvam fac reginam nostram Victoriam primam" ("God save our Queen Victoria the First").


Where is Big Ben in London?

You can hardly miss Big Ben in London, because the clock tower of thePalace of Westminster - the British Parliament building - is located in the center of the metropolis. If you cross the Thames from the London Eye over Westminster Bridge, you walk directly towards it and have a great view of the entire tower and the adjoining parliament building - an impressive ensemble right on the water! This view is also particularly recommended at dusk and in the evening when the illuminated buildings are reflected in the river.

Located in the London borough of St. Jame’s, you can walk to many other sights from Big Ben on foot. The famous one is just around the corner Westminster Abbey and Tate Museum is a 15-minute stroll along the Thames. You also need 15 minutes to Buckingham Palace - here I recommend you the way through the St. Jame’s Park!

The famous tune of Big Ben

Every Brit will be able to hum it to you immediately and you probably know it too: The famous melody of Big Ben. Every quarter of an hour the carillon of the tower clock sounds with its characteristic melody that corresponds to the aria "I know that my Redeemer liveth" from Georg Friedrich Handel's "Messiah" goes back. At every hour on the hour, the heavy bells ring according to the time - and at the latest when Big Ben sounds five times, you should make your way to the next café and enjoy a typical British "5 O'Clock Tea Time"!

The sound of Big Ben

Beautiful: Big Ben at night!

Like almost all sights in London, the Elizabeth Tower and the House of Parliament are beautifully illuminated. An evening stroll along the Thames is rewarded with a great view of the illuminated buildings that are also reflected in the water. Perhaps you will discover a lamp above every clock face of Big Ben - if this is lit, work is still going on in Parliament. I can also particularly recommend a boat trip or a visit to the London Eye at dusk or at night.

Can you visit Big Ben in London?

Even if you had a wonderful view of London from Big Ben, we unfortunately have to disappoint you: Big Ben is not open to the public. Only British citizens can apply to their MPs to climb the 330 steps to the Elizabeth Tower and see Big Ben and the carillon.

Nevertheless, you shouldn't miss the view of London from above. From the London Eye, which is located directly across from Big Ben on the other side of the Thames, you have a breathtaking view of the entire city, many sights and of course the Elizabeth Tower! If you take the ferry to Greenwich and climb the hill with the Royal Greenwich Observatory, you will even find the whole of London at your feet - I can particularly recommend this viewpoint, as it is not so well-known and crowded and the boat trip there is a special experience is. A little insider tip for all Pink Floyd fans: The trip on the Thames leads past the Battersea Power Station, which adorns the cover of the album "Animals".


This is how you get to Big Ben

Big Ben is easy to get to by underground (called "tube" in London).

  • It's best to take the Circle (yellow), District (dark green) or Jubilee (gray) line to "Westminster Station" - from there you can see the famous tower across the street.

  • If you want to visit several sights, such as the London Eye, and do tours, such as a boat trip on the Thames, I can recommend the London Pass! You can book it for one or more days and people and thus save a lot of money on entry. The so-called "fast lane" access to many attractions is also particularly practical, as it saves you long queues!
  • If you travel a lot during your stay in London and want to discover several tours and sights, I also recommend the Oyster Card as an option to the London Pass to book: So you can use all public transport and save admission!

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