No. Big Ben is not the person living in the loft above your London flat. It’s a clock, a rather large clock in fact and indeed one of the most iconic attractions in London. You won’t find a postcard of a view in London that does not include a vista of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in Westminster. Living in London means you have to experience everything that makes London famous. Black cabs, red double deck buses, Buckingham Palace and Big Ben.
It is a little over 150 years old, and it is the largest chiming clock with four faces in the world. It is a uniquely British experience, and one of the advantages of living here and knowing Londoners is that you may just be able to get a tour of the inside of the clock tower. Tourists and foreigners are not allowed into the clock tower, but British residents are allowed to organize a tour through their Member of Parliament.
Big Ben is famous for its reliability and time keeping. It might be a tourist attraction, but it is still a clock, ringing out the chimes of passing time. When speaking about the clock to local folks you might be well served to know that the name “Big Ben” does not actually refer to the clock, or even the tower. Indeed, as is common in British tradition, the origins of the name Big Ben are confusing. Some say it refers to the great bell inside the clock. Some say it was named after Sir Benjamin Hall who was in charge of the installation of the bell into the clock tower. It doesn’t really matter though and the name is used today to describe the bell, the clock and the clock tower.
Big Ben forms a large part of the New Years Eve celebrations and is used to count down the old year and usher in the new with peals of chimes and heard across radios and televisions across the nation. It is also used on Remembrance Day to mark the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, November and the start of two minutes of silence in memory of fallen war heroes.
Living in London is like living inside history, while having a firm grasp on the modern day. Fascinating, thrilling and exciting – you’re living in one of the greatest cities in the world. Now get out there and experience it.