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Big Ben

The iconic Victorian clock tower of London, which has become a symbol of the city itself.

TravelCurious Tip

Book a tour in advance as it is not possible to queue on the day.

What’s in a name?

For years this iconic timepiece had no official title and was known simply as Clock Tower, which is probably why it quickly earned a nickname - and a good thing it did, too: ‘Clock Tower’ doesn’t exactly cut it as the name of a world-famous landmark.

There are two people from the 1850s who may be the source of the name: either First Commissioner for Works Benjamin Hall, or champion boxer Ben Caunt. Its official name is now the Elizabeth Tower, after the current Queen Elizabeth II in 2012 for her Diamond Jubilee. The nickname Big Ben was originally given only to the Great Bell of the clock, but now the whole tower has come to be known fondly as Big Ben.

Tells more than the time

Today, Big Ben is one of the most iconic emblems of London and a crucial part of its skyline. Indeed, it is one of the first images that comes to mind when you think of the great city.

It is located on the north side of the Palace of Westminster which is the headquarters of Parliament in England. Construction was completed in 1859, and followed a tradition of nicknamed clock towers on Parliament’s grounds. The first was built in the 13th century by Edward I, and its bell named ‘Edward of Westminster’; it later became known as Great Tom. After a fire destroyed the Palace of Westminster in 1834 the palace was redesigned and the clock tower we know today as Big Ben was included in the project by Charles Barry.

The neo-Gothic clock itself was expertly designed by Edmund Beckett Denison (who managed to steal the commission away from the Queen’s own clock maker) and is the second largest four-faced chiming clock in the world. A grand emblem of London history, Big Ben is without doubt on the must-see list for anyone visiting.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in London
Downing Street
The home of some of the most important members of the British Government, including the Prime Minister himself.
Westminster Abbey
One of London's oldest and most magnificent churches, with a long-standing connection to the royal family.
Palace of Westminster
The first parliament in the world, and the political heart of the United Kingdom.
River Cruise
Motoring along the River Thames is the most picturesque way to travel through London.
River Thames
The second longest river in the UK the Thames is an iconic piece of London culture. Don't be put off by its murky colour it is actually one of the cleanest metropolitan rivers in European.
St Margaret's Church
The parish church of the House of Commons, it has seen many famous weddings and burials

Related Tours

Royal London: Private Half Day Highlights (with entrance tickets)
A whistle-stop tour of London's iconic landmarks and stunning landscapes. 
 
  • Visit the Tower of London, one of the world’s most important historic castles. 
  • See the magnificent Crown Jewels.
  • Experience stunning views of London’s attractions on a scenic cruise
  • Gaze at the Tower Bridge from the water and hear the fascinating history of its construction. 
  • View the iconic London Eye, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
  • See the grandiose residence of Queen Elizabeth II, Buckingham Palace, and see London’s best Gothic architectural marvel: Westminster Abbey. 
Tower of London
 
Experience the best of London in just four hours with an expert London guide. Your tour will begin at the Tower of London where you will explore this 900-year-old castle. Learn about the kings and queens who lived and died in the Tower, as well as its role as a fortress, prison, zoo, and observatory. The highlight of the tour is viewing the famous Crown Jewels, where your guide will tell you about the many attempts to steal these beautiful diamonds!
 
River Cruise & the Houses of Parliament
 
After leaving the Tower you will travel along the Thames on a river cruise and look at some impressive sights, including Tower Bridge and the London Eye, finally docking in Westminster. Here, you will see the Houses of Parliament - the home of the British government, and the magnificent Big Ben. 
 
Buckingham Palace & Westminster Abbey. 
 
Your tour will also include a trip to see Buckingham Palace (we can't go inside, unfortunately), the home of Queen Elizabeth II (where you might witness the Changing of the Guards ceremony). A short walk on, you will come to the exterior of the beautiful Westminster Abbey, where every English king and queen for the last 1000 years has received their coronation, and where Prince William and Kate Middleton were married. 
London's Full Day Highlights including London Eye Ride
This full-day tour is the perfect way to see London's iconic sites and experience a ride on the London Eye, as well as a Thames cruise. 

  • Start with a visit to the Tower of London, the oldest palace, fortress and prison in the whole of Europe.
  • Enjoy the wonderful scenery of Central London with a relaxing cruise down the Thames.
  • See London’s most famous buildings including St James’ Palace, Buckingham Palace, Horse Guards, the Palace of Westminster and Big Ben.
  • Visit London’s Gothic architectural marvel: Westminster Abbey.
  • End your tour with a relaxing ride on the London Eye, which offers the best views of the entire city at a thrilling 135m.
Tower of London:

What a day to remember! Learn more about the great city of London and explore its fascinating history with an expert guide. Your guide will collect you from where you are staying and take you to the famous Tower of London, where you will discover the many stories of one of the oldest buildings in London, and experience where some of the greatest events in English History occurred. Best of all, you will be able to admire the stunning Crown Jewels. 

River Cruise, Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace & Park:

On leaving the Tower you will travel to Westminster by river cruise for a walking tour past some of London’s most famous buildings including St James’s Palace, Buckingham Palace, Horse Guards, the Palace of Westminster and Big Ben. If you're lucky you might catch the Changing of the Guards ceremony, which is full of pomp and ceremony (this is dependent on the day and weather).

Westminster Abbey & London Eye:

After lunch in Westminster, you will continue your day with a private tour of London’s royal church, Westminster Abbey - the site of 38 coronations and the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Learn about the Coronation ceremony and enjoy the beauty of this 800 year old treasure. After a day crammed full of history and culture, the best way to end your highlights tour is with a relaxing ride on the London Eye (one of the world's biggest Ferris Wheels), which offers spectacular views across London.

The Very Best of London: Crown Jewels and Big Ben
 Experience a full-day tour of London's spectacular landmarks with a private and knowledgeable Blue Badge guide.

  • Start with a visit to London’s castle: the Tower of London
  • See the stunning Crown Jewels
  • Enjoy the wonderful scenery of Central London with a relaxing cruise down the Thames
  • Stroll around Westminster and take in the stunning sights: from Big Ben to the marvelous architecture of Somerset House
  • Learn about Westminster’s political history and see the outside of the Houses of Parliament
  • Look at the Prime Minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street
  • Experience the famous Trafalgar Square before wandering down The Mall to Buckingham Palace
    
    
 Tower of London
 
 
Your guide will collect you from where you are staying and take you to a spectacular castle. Here you will discover the many stories of one of the oldest buildings in London, and experience where some of the greatest events in English history occurred. Best of all, you will be able to admire the stunning Crown Jewels which are kept here behind extensive security in the aptly-named Jewel House.

River Cruise and Lunch

On leaving the Tower you will travel to Westminster by a scenic river cruise. Travelling by river is the most relaxing (and often most efficient) way of getting through the centre of the city. You'll pass under London and Waterloo Bridge, spy the London Eye, and view Somerset House on your right-hand side. After docking at Westminster Pier under the watchful gaze of Big Ben, your guide will recommend a number of restaurants and eateries where you can have a quick or leisurely lunch.
 
 Westminster and Buckingham Palace
 
 
The second half of the day will be dedicated to walking around Westminster and taking in the grandeur of Buckingham Palace. 
 
 First, you will be guided around the outside of the Houses of Parliament, with a lengthy stop outside Big Ben, and learn about the political history of Parliament Square. This will be followed by an exhibition of the outside of Westminster Abbey and, if time permits, you will be able to go inside (entrance tickets not included). This is London’s royal church which has been the site of 38 coronations and was where the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton took place. Your guide will then take you on a walk-up Whitehall to No. 10 Downing Street, the Prime Minister's residence, ending up at Trafalgar Square.
 
 Finally, we will walk down to take in the view of Buckingham Palace and then up and down The Mall, where jubilant crowds have historically greeted the news about the royal family in this scenic tree-lined avenue.

We built this tour because 
it invites travellers to explore London's sites with a Blue Badge guide, with plenty of space for adaptability and personal preferences! 
Your Tour, Your Way: Spontaneous Tour
What better way to explore the historic city of London than with your very own personal tour guide?  Plan your day with an expert, visit the places that excite you most and spot the hidden gems you might have otherwise missed along your way.

  • Experience the city at your own pace
  • Focus on what interests you: get off the beaten path at a local market or check out the sights, the choice is yours. 
  • Discover the hidden gems you may have missed with an expert tour guide.
  • Get specialised recommendations for what to do in your own time.

Our professional, hand-picked guides are experts at designing tours around you.  Meet your guide at your hotel, talk through London's spectacular sights and hear about all the great possibilities for the day ahead.  The choice is up to you.  Do you want to take in the royal highlights?  Just say the word and you’ll be swept off to the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace, where you may even see the famous changing of the guards ceremony.  Or maybe you’re looking to get a little further off the beaten track?  That’s fine too, you could look at street art in Camden or discover a historic pub in the square mile.  Either way, our guides tailor the tour directly to your interests to make sure you get the most out of your time in the city.

Ultimately, you’ll discover the London you want to see, at the pace you want to see it, all with the knowledge and expertise of a local friendly guide.
Private Guided Walk of London with Thames River Cruise
  • Marvel at the outside of the Tower of London, Royal Palace and Fortress. 
  • Jump aboard a river cruise and float effortlessly down the Thames.
  • Enjoy beautiful views of Tower Bridge, St Paul's Cathedral and more.
  • Disembark at Westminster, London’s grand governmental quarter.
  • See the outside of the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and walk to Buckingham Palace.
Infusing gorgeous architecture, fascinating history and the relaxation and serenity of a river cruise, this tour covers London’s most unmissable sites in a comfortable 3 hours.  You'll begin outside the notorious Tower of London, a 1000 year old royal fortress on the banks of the Thames. Enjoy expert narration and storytelling by your guide, hear of the executions that took place here and learn about Kings’ an d Queens’ who lived and died within its walls. 

Next embark on a beautiful 45 minute river cruise through the heart of London. See some of London’s most beautiful palaces, cathedrals, bridges and buildings as you make your way upstream.

Disembark at Westminster and explore London’s governmental quarter, walking past the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey at your own pace.  Discover  where Prince William and Kate Middleton were married while your guide tells you stories about royal splendour and scandal alike. Slowly amble through the Royal Parks to Buckingham Palace - the Queen’s official London residence - and if you are there by 11.45am you will also be able see the Changing of the Guards ceremony.
Private Royal London with a Local
Come and explore medieval  royals to those of the modern day. Discover two royal palaces, historic royal buildings and areas that still host the pageantry, ceremony and day-to-day life of the modern Royal Family. 

The English, and British, capital has a great deal to offer travellers seeking its past. Stretching back nearly two millennia, the city has come far from its roots as a Roman provincial outpost. Going with an expert, and private, guide through its historic heart, you will experience this journey to global city in the company of its most important buildings.

Admire London's oldest Royal Park created for sport-loving Henry VIII and a once famous dueling venue.

Hear what most tourists miss including a usurped queen, the elite sport of falconry and erotic furniture. With stories of scandal and regicide, this is the perfect opportunity to get to know the Royal family and their predecessors and discuss the ever-changing role of the monarchy through the ages. 

See the best of London in just two hours with an expert London guide. Whether you are unhurried or 'hare-footed' when exploring - enjoy an experience tailored to your interests and walking ability. 

Walk to Buckingham Palace the home of the Queen of England (and if you're lucky you will see the Changing of the Guards ceremony). A short walk on, you will see the outside of the beautiful Westminster Abbey where every King and Queen for the last 1000 years has had their coronation. It is also the place where Prince William and Kate Middleton were married.
Kings and Queens: Royal London For Kids
  • Visit the Tower of London, and see the Crown Jewels within. 
  • Take a river cruise along the Thames past  iconic bridges, cathedrals and palaces.
  • Next see Buckingham Palace, and see Gothic architectural marvel: Westminster Abbey.
  • Also see Tower Bridge,  the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.
  • Our team will match the perfect guide to entertain and inspire all ages.
  • Safely navigate the City, avoiding traffic and busy crowds. 

This tour is ideal for those families who would like a taste of London in half a day. See London’s unmissable attractions and finest Royal sites in an exciting four hours. Whether your family are interested in history, river cruises, experiencing iconic British traditions or marvelling at beautiful Royal Palaces and Parks. You will experience a bit of everything on this tour.  

Keep your kids and younger family members excited throughout. We will ensure a perfect match of guide, ensuring all ages are inspired. Get a peppering of tales, fun facts and stories about London, British Culture and tradition. Hear of the Secret tunnels which lie beneath Buckingham palace, the many attempts to steal the Crown Jewels. And the infamous 14 year old cat-burglar caught stealing Queen Victoria’s underwear. See London’s famous palace guards, royal cavalry and maybe even the Queen herself if you are lucky!

On this excursion you will also avoid the rush and busyness of a group tour, and enjoy a more intimate, flexible experience. Your personal guide will help you easily navigate the City, and ensure you have the smoothest, most enjoyable day possible. Enjoy a day out that is fun for the whole family!
Private Family-Friendly Tour of London
Perfect for those families who would like a full experience of London in a day. See London’s unmissable attractions, parks and finest Royal sites with an expert guide. Learn about fascinating English history, British tradition and London's incredible past. From the plague, the great fire of London to the Blitz. You will experience everything that London has to offer on this fantastic tour.

  • Enter the Tower of London, see the Crown Jewels and visit the old prison.
  • Board a river cruise and enjoy jaw-dropping panoramas across the City and its sites.
  • Pass Tower Bridge,  the iconic London Eye, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and Somerset House.
  • Disembark at Westminster - London's grand governmental district. See Whitehall and 10 Downing Street.
  • Next visit Buckingham Palace, and Westminster Abbey via the beautiful St James Park and Trafalgar Square.
  • Safely navigate the City, avoiding traffic and busy crowds. 
  • Our team will match the perfect guide to entertain and inspire all ages

Keep even the most easily distracted entertained! We know how important it is to inspire all ages, and work hard to ensure a perfect match of guide.  Get a peppering of tales, fun facts and stories about London, British Culture and tradition. Hear of the Secret tunnels which lie beneath Buckingham palace, the many attempts to steal the Crown Jewels. And the infamous 14 year old cat-burglar caught stealing Queen Victoria’s underwear. Hear tales of Shakespeare, Charlie Chaplin and Winston Churchill. And learn how their lives intertwined with this fabulous City.
Also see London’s famous palace guards, royal cavalry and maybe even the Queen herself if you are lucky!

Avoid the rush and business of a group tour and take centre stage with your guide. There are no other groups or noise to drown out the experience. As such, you will also enjoy a pace adjusted to you and your family. Your personal guide will help you easily navigate the City, and ensure you have the smoothest, most enjoyable day possible. Enjoy a day out that is fun for the whole family!
Private Walking Tour of Westminster
Perfect for those who would like a full experience of London.  See London’s unmissable attractions, parks and finest Royal sites with an expert guide. Learn about fascinating English history, British tradition and London's incredible past—from the plague and the great fire of London to the Blitz. 

  • See Whitehall and 10 Downing Street, the Houses of Parliament,  Somerset House and Big Ben.
  • Next hear stories as you visit the outside of Buckingham Palace, and Westminster Abbey via the beautiful St James Park and Trafalgar Square.
Reveal the secrets of power and politics on our exciting tour of Westminster, visiting some of the most recognisable landmarks. Visit the Houses of Parliament, the supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom, and be inspired by its mighty history. Gain insight into the centuries old Westminster Abbey, the setting for every coronation since 1066, many royal weddings and the final resting place of 17 monarchs. Find out the secrets of the underground bunker where Churchill won the Second World War. View the fascinating statues and memorials on Trafalgar Square, Parliament Square and Whitehall, dedicated to some of the greatest politicians and monarchs of the British Empire. Amble through the fabulous gardens and sights of St James Park and witness the Changing of the Guards in front of magnificent Buckingham Palace, the official London residence of the UK’s sovereigns since 1837. Walk along the Mall and learn curious facts about British Kings & Queens, who turned the British Empire into the most dominant power on Earth.

Begin exploring the heart of London’s parliamentary district. This was the brain and nerve centre for British and Allied forces in Europe and abroad. See the Winston Churchill memorial, and learn about his adolescence, personal life and fascinating rise to government. See partially destroyed buildings from the blitz and visit The Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and the Prime Minister's residence. Next visit The iconic Cenotaph war memorial, special service headquarters and Ghurka memorial.

Westminster and Buckingham Palace

First, you will be guided around the outside of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben and learn about the political history of Parliament Square. Then, you'll be shown around the outside of Westminster Abbey, and if time permits you'll be able to go inside (entrance tickets not included).  This is London’s royal church which has been the site of 38 coronations and was where the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton took place.  Following this will be a walk up Whitehall to No. 10 Downing Street, the Prime Minister's residence, ending up at Trafalgar Square.

Finally, we will walk down to take in the Prospect of Buckingham Palace and then up and down the tree-lined Mall, where thousands of jubilant crowds have greeted news about the royal family for generations.
Premier Classic London Tour (in a traditional London Black Cab)
Enjoy a panoramic sightseeing trip of London in the quintessentially British black cab, with running commentary from an expert guide. Discover the real London – from a well-informed cabbie who knows London like the back of his hand, with many hidden secrets for you to discover! 

Your guide will meet and greet you at your central London hotel (or preferred pickup location) and at the conclusion of your 4-hour tour, you can be returned to your hotel or any central location of your choice. 

  • Begin your tour by being whisked away in your iconic black cab
  • Stop at several quintessential London must-sees, including Buckingham Palace and St James' Palace
  • Hop back in for an easy drive to Westminster Abbey and Parliament
  • Drive alongside the Thames to the Tower of London, where true stories seem more like fiction than fact!
  • Stop for a coffee or tea along the way, if you need a pick-me-up
On our 'Premier Classic Tour of London' your guide will stop at a minimum of 6 popular locations to tell you about the fascinating history of these iconic attractions. This is less of a whistle-stop tour than most of the London highlights tours, and invites you to slow down, while those around you hop on and off of buses without enough time to truly appreciate the layers of history and wild stories that surround so many London icons. There will be plenty of opportunities throughout your tour to take those treasured photos – and if you want to take time out, your London guide knows all the best places to grab a coffee. 
Licensed to Thrill: James Bond Spy Mysteries Tour (with your private black cab)
Thought Christmas only comes once a year? Well... think again. Our 007 experts will whisk you through the key James Bond film sites- from 'Dr. No' to 'Spectre'. 

London has played host to some incredible Bond movie scenes over the past 55 years – and you can step in the footprints of 007 actors Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton. Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig with your own special agent.

James Bond fans not only get to see those movie scene sites - but also most of London's iconic landmarks plus a special visit inside one of the world's most famous spaces, the National Gallery.

London is a city unlike no other in respect of its long associations with the world of espionage - the spies, double agents, traitors, heroes and villains from every continent played out their cloak and dagger games of cunning, deceit and treachery on the mean streets that we shall traverse. Delve into the world of espionage with Bond, James Bond. 
Westminster Classic Private Driving Tour (in a traditional London Black Cab)
Explore the hub of British politics in the quintessentially British black cab, with an expert guide to narrate your journey with stories highlighting the significance of this fascinating area. See all of Westminster’s iconic landmarks, including the Houses of Parliament, Downing Street, and Westminster Abbey, as well as 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and 2 Tudor Palaces - among many other sights (full list below). 

  • See iconic sights including Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and the Palace of Westminster.
  • Marvel at the architectural wonders of St James' Palace, Westminster Cathedral, St Margaret's Church, and Westminster School.
  • Visit both iconic and lesser-known places including Downing Street, Central Methodist Hall, Banqueting House, Horse Guards, and the National Gallery
  • Hear stories of how sights earned their claims to fame, including Trafalgar Square, Nelson's Column, Marble Arch, Wellington Memorial, Lambeth Palace, the London Eye, and the River Thames.
  • At the end of your tour, your final set-down point can be any preferred Central London location.

On your black cab tour, discover the real London – from a well-informed cabbie who knows London like the back of his hand, with many hidden secrets for you to discover!  Westminster has been home to many of our fundamental political institutions for hundreds of years, including Parliament, the monarchy, and the judicial system. No other area in the UK is so powerful and influential in the forming and implementation of laws. Amidst the uncertainty of Brexit, as well as the possible collapse of our essentially 2-party system, there is no better time to delve into the world of politics. 

Whether you are interested in the British monarchy's royal palaces or the UK Parliament and Brexit, your expert guide is more than happy to spill all of the gossips, alongside the history of any topic which may interest you. If you would prefer to hear more about the Second World War and Churchill's magnificent speeches, or the 2000-year-old architecture and London's modern skyscrapers, then feel free to ask questions along those lines. Your guide is ready to discuss anything you throw his or her way - including filming locations for Harry Potter, James Bond, and Downton Abbey, amongst many others. In short, for any curiosity, you may have about London today and British history as a whole, you're in great hands for a conversation to leave you reeling for hours after your tour has ended. 
Royal London Half Day Walking Group Tour with Tower of London tickets and River Cruise
Enjoy a highlight tour of London's iconic landmarks and stunning landscapes. 
 
  • Visit the Tower of London, one of the world’s most important historic castles. 
  • See the magnificent Crown Jewels.
  • Experience stunning views of London’s attractions on a scenic cruise
  • Gaze at the Tower Bridge from the water and hear the fascinating history of its construction. 
  • View the iconic London Eye, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
  • See the grandiose residence of Queen Elizabeth II, Buckingham Palace, and see London’s best Gothic architectural marvel: Westminster Abbey. 
Tower of London
 
Experience the best of London in just four hours with an expert London guide. Your tour will begin at the Tower of London where you will explore this 900-year-old castle. Learn about the kings and queens who lived and died in the Tower, as well as its role as a fortress, prison, zoo, and observatory. The highlight of the tour is viewing the famous Crown Jewels, where your guide will tell you about the many attempts to steal these beautiful diamonds!
 
River Cruise & the Houses of Parliament
 
After leaving the Tower you will travel along the Thames on a river cruise and look at some impressive sights, including Tower Bridge and the London Eye, finally docking in Westminster. Here, you will see the Houses of Parliament - the home of the British government, and the magnificent Big Ben. 
 
Buckingham Palace & Westminster Abbey. 
 
Your tour will also include a trip to see Buckingham Palace (we can't go inside, unfortunately), the home of Queen Elizabeth II (where you might witness the Changing of the Guards ceremony). A short walk on, you will come to the exterior of the beautiful Westminster Abbey, where every English king and queen for the last 1000 years has received their coronation, and where Prince William and Kate Middleton were married. 
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