Address Big Ben Westminster, London SW1A 0AA, UK

When it comes to telling a story set in London, Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster are often in the picture, imposing their grandeur as the supreme symbol of an entire kingdom.

Big Ben has been telling Londoners the time since May 31, 1859. The Great Bell, as it is known, was built on the ashes of a part of the Parliament building, following a fire in 1834.

Charles Barry defined the structure to be built on the damaged part of the building and decided to include a clock. The clock tower quickly became the rhythm of life for the inhabitants and imposed its grandeur on visitors, towering 96 meters above the Thames. You can hear it from six kilometers away.

Big Ben actually refers to the largest bell in the building (14 tons). The clock itself is called the Great Westminster Clock while the tower was named the Elizabeth Tower in 2012, on the occasion of the diamond jubilee of the sovereign.

Pampered, Big Ben sometimes has to undergo work, as on August 21, 2017, when renovations supposed to last four years began. At the base of the tower is the Palace of Westminster, where the Parliament, the supreme legislative institution of the United Kingdom, sits.

A prestigious building whose oldest part, the Westminster Hall, dates back to 1097. This is where kings and queens used to live, before the fire of 1512. Home to the House of Lords and the House of Commons, the palace has over 1,000 rooms.

Listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1987, it is open to the public on Saturdays during the summer when Parliament is not in session.

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