Destination Deep-Dive 5 MINS READ

The Timeless Elegance of Big Ben: A Symbol of London’s Rich History

The Timeless Elegance of Big Ben: A Symbol of London’s Rich History

Destination Deep-Dive 5 MINS READ
Big Ben

A major attraction in London is the Clock Tower. The largest bell, the Great Bell, was formerly known by the nickname “Big Ben,” which now refers to the tower.

Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 led to a renaming of the tower, which had previously been known as the Clock Tower.

The bell is well-known for its tone, as it chimes every hour on the hour. The tower chimes the quarter hours with four smaller bells. The term “Great Bell” also refers to the significant bell. Moreover, there are 334 stairs from the ground to the belfry, which is 316 feet (96 meters) tall.

But what is the story behind this majestic timepiece, and why does it continue to capture the imagination of millions worldwide? Read this blog post to learn more about this beloved London landmark!

Quick Overview Of The Blog: The Timeless Elegance of Big Ben: A Symbol of London’s Rich History

A brief history of Big Ben and Elizabeth Tower

A brief history of Big Ben and Elizabeth Tower
Photo Credit: Planet Of Hotels

After the old Palace of Westminster mainly was destroyed by fire on October 16, 1834, Charles Barry designed the Elizabeth Tower, also known as “Big Ben” or the Clock Tower.

Construction of this grand edifice, including the iconic clock tower, spanned nearly three decades, finally completed in the late 1850s. The renowned Great Bell was cast in 1856 at a nearby foundry and famously required 16 horses to transport it to Parliament. The present-day Clock Tower was installed in 1859 despite an initial crack during testing.

Although the origin of the term “Big Ben” is unknown, the theory says it was named after Sir Benjamin Hall, a prominent man who oversaw construction and was renowned for his massive stature.

Recommended Read: 30 Things to do in London – Tourist Attractions

Fascinating facts about Big Ben

Big Ben is a Nickname

Big Ben is a Nickname

Big Ben is the name of the tower’s bell, which weighs a whopping 13.7 tonnes, even though most people associate it with this famous monument. Its origin remains a subject of speculation, with one theory suggesting it was named after Sir Benjamin Hall, Chief Commissioner of Works, who was fondly referred to as ‘Big Ben.’ Previously known as ‘The Clock Tower,’ the structure was renamed the Elizabeth Tower in 2012, commemorating Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.

It’s Really Tall

It’s Really Tall

How tall is the tower? 334 stairs lead from the ground to the belfry, 316 feet (96 meters) tall. That would be the same as stacking twenty-one London buses on top of one another.

Big Ben’s Bells Sound a Unique Tune

Big Ben's Bells Sound a Unique Tune
Photo Credit: Best Pepmk

The musical chimes emanating from the tower are known as the “Westminster Quarters,” consisting of four distinct musical notes: G, F, E, and B. These notes, played by the quarter bells surrounding Clock Tower, resonate every fifteen minutes. Additionally, the Great Bell tolls on the hour, with the number of chimes corresponding to the current hour.

The music has a prayer attached to it that is written on a plaque in the Clock Tower room:

During this entire hour

Lord, please lead me.

That by Your strength

Not a single foot will slip.

The harmonious resonance of the Westminster Quarters has become an integral part of London’s cultural fabric. It evokes a sense of familiarity and tranquility amid the bustling cityscape.

It Has Endured a Lot in Its Time

It Has Endured a Lot in Its Time

Clock Tower has stood as an enduring symbol of resilience amidst historical upheavals, despite the destruction wrought upon the Commons Chamber by German bombs during World War II, the Elizabeth Tower, home to Clock Tower, remarkably sustained minimal damage.

Throughout the chaos of war, the iconic clock tower remained steadfast, its chimes resounding as a beacon of hope and continuity in London’s darkest hours.

You Can Climb up the Elizabeth Tower

You Can Climb up the Elizabeth Tower

For those seeking adventure, ascending Elizabeth Tower offers a rare opportunity to witness the inner workings of its mechanisms and Clock Tower up close. However, it’s no easy task! Climbing 292 steps grants access to the clock faces, 42 more steps to reach Clock Tower, and 65 more steps to the Ayrton light.

Adventurers must conquer 399 steps to complete this thrilling journey within the iconic tower.

An enthusiastic traveler, Thomas says, “Stunning and lovely, it is beautiful day or night. It is advised to set aside some time for a brief visit during the day and another throughout the evening.”


Is Big Ben the most giant clock in the world?

Originally known as the “Clock Tower,” the Elizabeth Tower was formally renamed in 2012 in honor of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Within its 315-foot (96-meter) height, the second-biggest four-faced chiming clock in the world is housed (the largest is found in Minneapolis City Hall).

What is inside Clock Tower?

Eleven floors, a room housing the clock mechanism, the actual clock, and the belfry housing the fabled “Big Ben” bell are connected by 399 spiraling stairs within the Elizabeth Tower.

Why is it called Big Ben?

Ben – the Great Bell Ben Hall, the Chief Commissioner of Works at the time the bell was installed, is believed to be the inspiration behind the name Big Ben.

Is Clock Tower free?

Tours of Clock Tower are free! However, only individuals aged 11 and above who are residents of the UK are permitted entry into the country.

Which are the top attractions in London?

The following are the top attractions in London:

Hampton Court Palace

Somerset House

St. Paul’s Cathedral

Peter Harrison Planetarium

Buckingham Palace

The London Eye

The Tower Of London

Tower Bridge of London

Browse. Book. Stay.

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