The Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster – officially named Elizabeth Tower – is commonly known as the Big Ben. The tower is one of London’s most famous landmarks. In fact, when you close your eyes and visualise London, no doubt Big Ben is what you see.
Big Ben, or Elizabeth Tower, is an obvious choice to include on my list of the best places to photograph London. The entire Westminster Palace area on both sides of the River Thames is camera worthy. Plan to spend hours in the area during all times of the day. I assure you, you won’t be disappointed.
The clock inside the tower was the world’s largest when it was installed in the middle of the nineteenth century. The name Big Ben actually refers to the clock’s hour bell, the largest of the clock’s five bells. The other four are used as quarter bells.
The clock was the largest in the world and is still the largest in Great-Britain. The clock faces have a diameter of almost 25ft (7.5m). The hour hand is 9ft or 2.7m long and the minute hand measures 14ft (4.25m) long.
The clock is known for its reliability, it has rarely failed during its long lifespan. Even after the nearby House of Commons was destroyed by bombing during World War II, the clock kept on chiming. The clock’s mechanism, designed by Edmund Beckett Denison, has a remarkable accuracy. The clock’s rate is adjusted by simply adding small pennies on the shoulder of the pendulum.
The tower was constructed between 1843 and 1858 as the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster. The palace is now better known as the Houses of Parliament.
The clock tower rises 316ft high (96m) and consists of a 200ft (61m) high brick shaft topped by a cast iron framed spire. The clock faces are 180ft / 55m above ground level.
Listen to Big Ben striking twelve times at midnight.
Where is Big Ben? How do I get to Big Ben?
Big Ben GPS Coordinates :: 51.5007° N, 0.1246° W