Big Ben

Big Ben

This fellow needs no introduction. It’s quite possible that every child and every adult wherever s/he lives would be able to recognize it and say where it is. For me Big Ben is London. Moreover, Big Ben is Britain. I remember my excitement when I first saw it during my first trip to London for New Year’s 2007. It was as beautiful and striking as in the photos. Whenever I re-visited London I made sure to come close to it and have a look at it again and I’d feel equal joy as I did the first time I saw it. I know, it’s just a clock tower annexed to the Houses of the Parliament but for someone who has dreamed of London for as long as one can remember it represents so much more.

So, let me refresh your memory with a few basic facts about this British landmark. First of all, Big Ben is the nickname of the Giant Bell inside the clock tower not the tower itself. The tower used to be called St.Stephen’s but in honour of the Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee it was renamed after her so it’s called the Elizabeth’s tower now. But the real name of the clock tower is actually just The Clock Tower. The tower is 97 m tall and it was built after the Palace of Westminster (widely known as the Houses of Parliament) burnt down in 1834. The official name of the clock is the Great Westminster Clock.

Big Ben isn’t the only bell inside the clock tower’s belfry. There are also four other quarter bells inside that chime every quarter-hour. Big Ben was cast in 1858 and it weighs about 13.5 tons. There was even one MP imprisoned in the tower briefly because he didn’t want to take an oath on the bible. If you’re a British citizen then you can go on a tour of the tower for free! You go up 334 steps to the top to hear Big Ben strike the hour and you can go behind the clock’s dials and see the mechanism room too (for details check http://www.parliament.uk/visiting/visiting-and-tours/tours-of-parliament/bigben/ ). How awesome is that! However, it’s not fair that I can’t do it.  Tours of the Houses of Parliament are available to all and I think I’ll do that one day 🙂

Now, enjoy the photos of this handsome fellow:

my friend’s photo!The first photo of Big Ben from our first London trip

Houses of Parliament

the toy and the real one in the background, 2012
the toy and the real one in the background, 2012

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30 thoughts on “Big Ben

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  4. I love Big Ben and that whole Westminster area by The Thames. There’s so much to explore there. We’re also very excited that soon we are going to be doing the Big Ben tour that you mention – we had to apply through our member of parliament and can’t wait! Definitely do the Parliament tour though as it’s great and you learn so much. #weekendwanderlust

    Liked by 1 person

  5. anotherlifemoment

    Great photos, my favorite one is the last one because it shows such beautiful detail! Whenever I dream of London I also think of Big Ben and also the red phone booths!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We saw Big Ben at the weekend – we always visit when we’re in London!! I didn’t know British citizens could get a tour for free – thank you for that information!! We have done the Houses of Parliament tour a while ago – it’s superb, you should do it.

    Liked by 1 person

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