Big Ben is the Elizabeth Tower's bell is officially called the Great Bell. This bell weighs more than 13 tons (13,760 kg). The clock uses its original Victorian mechanism, but an electric motor can be used as a backup. Big Ben is named after Sir Benjamin Hall, First Commissioner for Works 1855-1858. The tower stands 315 feet (96 m) tall, and the climb from ground level to the belfry is 334 steps.
The tower along with the Big Ben is the most famous landmark and cultural icon in London and attracts lot of visitors year on year. Big Ben is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.
Tourists can't go inside Big Ben, but they can take a tour of the Houses of Parliament next to The Elizabeth Tower.
For Pendulum adjustment pre-decimal pennies are used to regulate the clock mechanism. Adding one penny causes the clock to gain two-fifths of a second in 24 hours.
A special light above the clock faces is illuminated when parliament is in session
Big Ben has rarely stopped. Even after a bomb destroyed the Commons chamber during the Second World War, the clock tower survived and Big Ben continued to strike the hours.
The latin words under the clockface DOMINE SALVAM FAC REGINAM NOSTRAM VICTORIAM PRIMAM means "O Lord, keep safe our Queen Victoria the First"
Tours suspended during Elizabeth Tower refurbishment
Refurbishment and repairing of the Elizabeth Tower and Great Clock were announced in April 2016. As these large scale works are now underway, there are no tours inside the Elizabeth Tower.
How to Reach
Westminster Tube Station: 2 mins from Big Ben
St James's Park Tube Station: 8 mins from Big Ben
Embankment Underground Station: 10 mins from Big Ben
Charing Cross Railway Station: Underground lines: Bakerloo, Northern, 10 mins from Big Ben
Victoria Railway Station: Underground lines: District, Circle, Victoria, 18 mins from Big Ben
Blackfriars Railway Station: 24 mins from Big Ben
Docklands Light Railway
Bank: Underground lines: Waterloo & City, Northern, Central, DLR (Bank Branch), 35 mins from Big Ben
Tower Gateway: Underground lines: DLR (Tower Gateway Branch), 2.29 miles from Big Ben
Shadwell DLR Station: Underground lines: DLR (Bank Branch), 3.03 miles from Big Ben