Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament

Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament

Originally built for Edward the Confessor more than 1,000 years ago, the Houses of Parliament, or Palace of Westminster, remained the principal residence of Britain's monarchs for the next 400 years. Thereafter it became the administrative centre of the country. In 1834 the great fire burnt everything except Westminster Hall, and the present Gothic building was completed in the 1840s. It is perhaps most famous for the clock tower, commonly called Big Ben. Located at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London, the gigantic clocktower known as 'Big Ben' has many distinctions; including largest four-faced clock, and third-largest freestanding clock in the world. Built in 1859, each minute hand is 14 feet (4.3m) long and the largest bell inside weighs more than 13 tons. Although Parliament is closed to visitors during session, it is still a popular attraction to tourists for its exterior architecture. While Big Ben itself is not open to overseas visitors, however UK residents may arrange tours with their Member of Parliament. Be warned though, that there are 334 stairs and no lift!

Information & Facts

Palace of Westminster, House of Commons, London
£12 (adults), £5 (children)
English is the official language, though visitors will be astonished by the variety of regional accents.

The currency is the pound (GBP), which is divided into 100 pence. ATMs are available in all towns and Visa, MasterCard and American Express are widely accepted; visitors with other cards should check with their credit card companies in advance. Foreign currency can be exchanged at bureaux de change and large hotels, however better exchange rates are likely to be found at banks. Travellers cheques are accepted in all areas frequented by tourists; they are best taken in Pounds Sterling to avoid additional charges.

Opening Times
Open during summer recess, see the website for details.
Local time in the United Kingdom is GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
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