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Houses of Parliament & Big Ben
Houses of Parliament & Big Ben

Houses of Parliament & Big Ben

star-5
24,377 Reviews
Daily when parliament is in session
Westminster, London, SW1A 0AA

The Basics

The best ways to see Big Ben is from afar, to both appreciate the scale of the 315-foot (96-meter) clock tower and avoid crowds nearby. Popular ways to admire the clock include taking a ride on the nearby London Eye or opting for a Thames River cruise. Alternatively, city tours of London—on foot or by hop-on hop-off bus—typically pass by Big Ben, also stopping at Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London.

To go inside the Houses of Parliament, arrange an official tour or watch a debate from the public galleries. Big Ben is only accessible to UK residents.

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Recent reviews from experiences in London

star-5
Westminster
Mark_C, Aug 2021
Skip the Line into Houses of Parliament & Westminster Abbey Fully-Guided Tour
Salvatore is very knowledgeable. His insight on British history and the Protestant reformation was very helpful to understand Westminster Abbey.. I plan to recommend him to other visitors who plan to visit London.
star-5
Fantastic tour of Westminster Abbey and Parliament
LM7, Feb 2020
Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament Tour in London
This was a great tour. Our guide was very informative and provided great history and also great anecdotes on that history. It was great to get into areas of the Abbey that the general public could not.
star-5
An amazing tour
shalini, Feb 2020
Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament Tour in London
We had an excellent tour guide Nick. The tour was very informative and Nick was always ready to answer any questions.
star-4
Rich rich history
abiane2019, Nov 2019
Skip the Line into Houses of Parliament & Westminster Abbey Fully-Guided Tour
Loved the tour. Nick was very engaging. With all the political, religious, and architectural history associated with these two buildings I could have spent 4 hours in each.
star-5
Great tour
Taras, Feb 2020
Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament Tour in London
Our guide, Nick, was great — he did a nice job of highlighting the history of the Abbey, and was a great storyteller. Access to Parliament was fantastic. I highly recommend this tour,
star-5
HISTORY AT ITS BEST
makapuu59, Nov 2019
Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament Tour in London
This tour gave us a comprehensive to of not only Westminster's history but also of the British Monarchy too. Highly recommended.
star-5
Skip the Line—Guided Tour Parliament, Westminster Abbey
Glenn C, Oct 2019
Skip the Line into Houses of Parliament & Westminster Abbey Fully-Guided Tour
The tour was everything we hoped it would be. It was the highlight of our visit. Knowledgeable and pleasant guides, small group size.
star-5
Tour to Westminster Abbey
Chris C, Oct 2019
Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament Tour in London
Excellent tour of Westminster Abbey, the tour guide offered an extensive background and history of the Abbey. Unfortunately, the House of Parliament was closed. However, I believe doing both tours would have been a bit much for my group.

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Big Ben is visited on most half- and full-day tours of London, whether on walking, biking, or bus tours.

  • Take 10 minutes to admire the statues in Parliament Square, all of which depict famous political figures.

  • Guided tours of the Houses of Parliament run most Saturdays, and the public galleries are open when parliament is in session.

  • Big Ben is only accessible to UK residents, who must request permission from their local member of parliament to visit.

  • Stop by after dark to see Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament illuminated.

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How to Get There

Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament are located on the north bank of the River Thames, easily accessible from the Westminster underground tube station, which is serviced by the Jubilee, Circle, and District lines. Alternatively, hop off at Waterloo station to wander along the vibrant South Bank past the London Eye, before crossing Westminster Bridge to reach Big Ben.

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When to Get There

Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament are staple must-sees of London vacations year-round; however, a particularly great time to visit is on New Year's Eve when fireworks light the sky in a riot of color right in front of Big Ben. Ensure you book tickets for the firework display well in advance to avoid disappointment and guarantee an unforgettable evening.

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Why is Big Ben Called Big Ben?

Big Ben, the popular—if not strictly official—name for the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament is an iconic part of the London skyline. Debate rages on over the famous nickname, though, with some attributing it to Sir Benjamin Hall, who oversaw the Great Bell's installation, and others giving the credit to English heavyweight boxer Benjamin "Big Ben" Caunt. (Also, Big Ben is technically the name of the Great Bell, not the tower as a whole.)

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