Big Ben & the
Houses of Parliament
Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament are two of London’s most iconic landmarks. In addition to their magnificent architecture, both attractions are witnesses to several significant occasions in the city’s long history. Hence, they are recognized as part of London’s 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is a distinction the city takes pride in as only a handful of cities worldwide can do so.
The Houses of Parliament stand as a symbol of the democracy the nation stands for. It has been the home of both houses since 1547. However, a fire in 1834 burned down most of the structures within the complex. What you see to date is the outcome of a design competition intended to rebuild most of what was destroyed from the ashes. Construction took thirty years to complete the winning entry of Sir Charles Barry and his assistant Augustus Welby Pugin.
In the heart of the parliament’s square is the Elizabeth Tower. But you might be more familiar with the massive bell atop it fondly known as Big Ben. London first heard Big Ben ring in May 1859. During the Second World War, a bomb ruined the Commons chamber but the clock tower and Big Ben survived. Hence, Big Ben continues to keep a watchful eye on Londoners. Moreover, guarantee they are always on time.
Movie buffs visiting London might recall seeing the Houses of Parliament in the movie 28 Days Later. But Big Ben seems to be the bigger star. Chances are you have seen this beautiful clock in movies like Skyfall and The Da Vinci Code. So, it would be a great souvenir to have your picture taken with both attractions as your background.
You have the option to go on a variety of tours for the Houses of Parliament. However, tours of Big Ben and the Elizabeth Towers are on hold until 2021 due to ongoing refurbishment works that started in 2017. Nonetheless, you can enjoy a visit to both landmarks by way of a sightseeing tour.
Do take note that Big Ben is temporarily under construction. It is scheduled to be finished in 2021, so you still have enough time to save for a London trip!
Westminster, London SW1A 0AA
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UK Parliament is open to visitors Monday to Saturday, to attend debates and committee hearings or to take a tour of one of the world’s most iconic buildings.
St. James Park Station