Big Ben and the Elizabeth Tower tours

Clock dial

Places on Big Ben and the Elizabeth Tower tours for the remainder of 2016 are now fully booked. Tours are scheduled to resume in early 2020 once refurbishment work is complete.

Tours suspended during Elizabeth Tower refurbishment

Essential works needed to refurbish and repair the Elizabeth Tower and Great Clock were announced in April 2016. These large scale works will take place over three years, with an anticipated start in early 2017. Tours will be suspended during refurbishment, with the last tour taking place on 16 December 2016. Further information on the programme of works can be found on the Living Heritage Website

What does the tour cover?

The Elizabeth Tower is the name of the famous clock tower. Although often referred to as 'Big Ben', this is actually the nickname of the Great Bell housed within the Elizabeth Tower.

A guided tour will take you up the 334 stone spiral steps to the top of the 156 year old Elizabeth Tower to hear Big Ben strike the hour. As well as seeing a spectacular view of London from 62 metres up the tower, you will also go behind the clock dials and have the opportunity to visit the mechanism room to learn about how the clock works in the 21st Century.

Times and availability

Big Ben and the Elizabeth Tower tours are only available to UK residents. These are free of charge and must be sponsored by a Member of Parliament (MP) or a Member of the House of Lords.

Places on tours for the remainder of 2016 are now fully booked. Tours are scheduled to resume in early 2020 once refurbishment work is complete.

Further details and updates concerning the refurbishment works can be found here.

Other tours available to UK and overseas visitors

UK residents and overseas visitors can book tickets for a number of other tours at the Houses of Parliament which take place on Saturdays throughout the year and on weekdays during Parliamentary recesses.

Tickets can be purchased online, by phone or on the day from the Ticket Office. 

Big Ben and the Elizabeth Tower guide book

This book tells the story of the iconic tower, Great Clock and bell which became known as 'Big Ben'. Contains over 130 images and illustrations.

Visit Parliament

Visiting Parliament

Parliament is open to all UK and overseas visitors to attend debates, watch committee hearings or take a tour inside one of the world’s most iconic buildings.

Related links and information

Big Ben: Tour, video, images

Fast details

  • No children aged under 11 years
  • Open to UK permanent residents only
  • Tours must be arranged through your local MP or a Member of the House of Lords
  • Tours are free of charge
  • Now booking for December 2016