Big Ben Facts: ten things you didn’t know about London’s most famous monument

Posted by on Mar 23, 2016 in London, United Kingdom | 4 Comments

One of London’s most notable icons, Big Ben is the name given to the bell inside Elizabeth Tower. Standing proudly by the river Thames, the monument proudly presents grand Victorian architecture and is one of Londoners’ and tourists’ favourite things to see when they’re out and about in London.

big ben facts

The tower and clock are one of Britain’s favourite sights, and locals do feel an affection for the iconic structure.

big ben facts

Here’s ten things I bet you didn’t know about Big Ben and Elizabeth Tower

Elizabeth Tower and Big Ben Facts

  1. Each year, the time is rectified by pennies hanging from the arms of the clock. Pennies are removed if it’s running fast and added if it is running slow .Each penny is worth 2/5 of a second.
  2. In the Blitz, a bomb destroyed the Commons chamber. However, the clock of Big Ben carried on ticking!
  3. Big Ben weighs about 13 and a half tons (the same size as a small elephant).
  4. The clock tower was renamed ‘Elizabeth Tower’ in 2012 to honour the current Queen’s diamond jubilee.
  5. The idea for Big Ben was coined after the original Palace of Westminster was destroyed by a fire in 1834, and it was decided that the new model should include a tower and clock.
  6. Sir Benjamin Hall commissioned the bell, clock and tower and was affectionally nicknamed big ben. It is thought that this is how the bell derived its nickname.
  7. Every year, the hand travels about 118 miles as it navigates the diameter of the clock face.
  8. The clock face is cleaned every five years by a team of window cleaners, who cascade down the face suspended by the top
  9. The first great bells chimed for the first time on the 11th July 1859.
  10. It isn’t the largest bell in London! That can be found in St Paul’s Cathedral.

big ben facts

Thousands of tourists and locals alike come to marvel at the clock and tower every day. An icon of Britishness and symbol of fine English architecture, it’s easy to see how it’s one of the UK’s very best tourist attractions…

Check out this list for more of the best things to see in the UK.


  1. Vicki
    March 26, 2016

    Great read! I always feel very patriotic when I see posts about the UK and loved finding out these facts that I had never heard of before! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Claire
    March 26, 2016

    Thanks Vicki! Check back for more posts about the UK 🙂

  3. Kerri McConnel
    March 27, 2016

    Always love learning new things about something that I’ve seen so many times. Great info.

  4. Dani
    March 27, 2016

    Great post! I didn’t know these facts.

    Thank you for sharing!

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