Big Ben is the nickname for the Great Bell of the striking clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster (map), although the name is frequently extended to also refer to the clock and the clock tower (map).
The official name of the tower in which Big Ben is located was originally the Clock Tower, but it was renamed Elizabeth Tower in 2012, to mark the *Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom.
When completed in 1859, its clock was the largest and most accurate four-faced striking and chiming clock in the world. The tower stands 316 feet (96 m) tall.
The tower is a British cultural icon recognised all over the world. It is one of the most prominent symbols of the United Kingdom, and it is often used in the establishing shot of films set in London.
The clock’s movement is famous for its reliability. On top of the pendulum is a small stack of old penny coins; these are to adjust the time of the clock. Adding a coin has the effect of minutely lifting the position of the pendulum’s centre of mass, reducing the effective length of the pendulum rod and hence increasing the rate at which the pendulum swings. Adding or removing a penny will change the clock’s speed by 0.4 seconds per day. It keeps time to within a few seconds per week.
12 August 1949: The clock slowed by four and a half minutes after a flock of starlings perched on the minute hand.
In addition to contemporary music, the festival hosts dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret, and other arts. Useful information.
#2 Visit Edinburgh
Our article about the city of Edinburgh. Information about the city’s attractions, culture, events, and activities. Public transport.
#3 Fringe Festival
The Fringe is the world’s largest arts festival, which in 2018 spanned 25 days and featured more than 55,000 performances.
• Public transport.
Guide to traveling to and getting around in Great Britain.
Bicycles may be taken on car ferries and on Eurotunnel shuttle trains. Eurostar allows folding bikes on all its trains, and offers a more restricted service for other bikes, but has quite strict and specific rules that are worth reading up on before you travel.
We’ve reached the half way stage in the Elizabeth Tower restoration project just in time for Big Ben’s 160th birthday! Big Ben chimed for the first time on 11 July 1859 and to celebrate we’re giving you a sneak peek behind the scenes. A huge amount of work has been going on under the scaffolding to restore the Elizabeth Tower. Watch to learn more about the gilding process, the stonework, and the glassmaker’s work.
NationalTrust.org.uk: The National Trust is a conservation organization that protects historic buildings, gardens, and natural landscapes in the UK. Their website provides information on the organization’s properties and events.
EnglishHeritage.org.uk: English Heritage is another conservation organization that protects historic buildings and sites in England. Their website provides information on the organization’s properties and events.
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty: England, Wales and Northern Ireland has 46 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, covering 18% of the countryside, over a fifth of the English coast, and including 12,000 miles of footpaths and bridleways.
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