Big Ben and the Elizabeth Tower tours

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Please note that this tour is available to UK residents only. Regrettably, it is not available to overseas visitors.

The Elizabeth Tower is the name of the famous tower of Parliament - more popularly known as Big Ben. Although often referred to as Big Ben, this is actually the nickname of the bell housed within the Elizabeth Tower - and Big Ben's official name is the Great Bell.

What does the tour cover?

A tour will take you up the 334 stone spiral steps to the top of the 154 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 faces and have the opportunity to visit the mechanism room to learn about how the clock works in the 21st Century.

Times and availability

Tours are at set times of 9.00am, 11.00am and 2.00pm Monday-Friday (except Bank Holidays).

There is also a tour at 4.00pm from May to September.

There will be no clock tours available from 24 December to 2 January.

Booking

Elizabeth Tower tours are currently free of charge. UK residents should contact their local MP or a Member of the House of Lords whom they know to arrange a tour.

Tours are generally fully booked 6 months in advance. Demand is high so early booking and flexibility regarding dates and times is strongly recommended. Children under 11 are not permitted on Elizabeth Tower tours. Groups of 14 students must be accompanied by two adults.

Arriving at Westminster

  • Visitors for Elizabeth Tower tours should enter by the main entrance to Portcullis House on the Victoria Embankment, facing the river.
  • Visitors should allow at least 15 minutes to pass through security, and will be subject to a security scan and bag search.
  • Visitors on Elizabeth Tower tours may not leave the tour once it has started (for security reasons) unless escorted by a member of staff.

Further information

Find Your MP

Guide book about Big Ben

Parliament published 'Big Ben and the Elizabeth Tower: a guide' on 31 May 2013 – 154 years to the day on which the Great Clock officially started in 1859.

Flickr preview about this book on Big Ben

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
  • Tours are now fully booked until the end of November 2014
  • December 2014 bookings open from 01 July 2014