travel · U.K.

London Gems: Big Ben

One of the most iconic buildings of London, Big Ben looms over the London Skyline and the River Thames.


Technically known as the Elizabeth Tower, Big Ben was completed in 1859 and is attached to the Palace of Westminster (otherwise known as the Houses of Parliament) near Westminster Bridge. The Tower itself can be visited, with tours running three times daily. The Houses of Parliament can also be visited – either by tour or by sitting in on debates and committee meetings. If you’re interested in politics or have kids studying government in school, this is definitely something you should carve out time to do!

It can be quite difficult given crowds and height to get a good shot of Big Ben and Parliament. It’s also almost always under construction. That said, I would suggest crossing Westminster Bridge and either taking your shots from the bridge or from across the River Thames.

Additionally, for your day-planning pleasure, Big Ben is situated near a number of interesting little sites including Westminster Abbey (home of royal coronations), the London Eye, and the London Aquarium. If you venture further north along the Southbank district (one of my favorite areas), you’ll come across the BFI for independent films, a skate park, numerous restaurants, and the filming district for shows like Graham Norton (which, if you book ahead, you can be in the audience!).

Next week, I’ll be covering two nearby attractions worth a stop: The London Eye and the cruises from Westminster Pier!


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