• A British landmark of Imperial proportions

    2014-06-10

    If Americans have baseball, mom and apple pie, then the U.K. surely has Big Ben, tea and the queen. Fortunately for travelers looking for a jaunt across the pond, it's very possible to fit one of those on to the trip itinerary. More than the symbol of British government, Big Ben and the clock tower it sits atop is an iconic landmark that is both beautiful and powerful to behold.

    Big facts about Big Ben
    Contrary to the common misconception, the name Big Ben does not actually refer to the famous clock tower, but instead the bell that tops it. In fact, the bell that Englanders and travelers alike all know and love is actually the second one to sit in that spot. According to VisitLondon.com, the first bell that was built to top the new clock tower cracked, and it wasn't until 1859 that the bell that currently sits there found its resting place atop the tower.

    As a symbol of the British Parliament, Big Ben and its clock tower stands for reliability as much as it does for timekeeping. The clock's pendulum is laden with stacks of coins to meticulously and exactly measure the time. The clock is also famous for almost never stopping, even during the bombing of London during World War II. Renamed the Elizabeth Tower in 2012, the clock and the famous bell that caps it is an iconic fixture of British culture.

    A merry tour of London
    Unfortunately for more adventurous travelers, the Big Ben clock tower isn't open to the public, so despite its impressive appearance, you won't be able to take in a view of the city from its summit on your next Europe travel experience. However, the city situated on the famous Thames River offers a bevy of other sights for tourists to experience, including some for those who have an affinity for high places.

    The London Eye is the largest Ferris wheel in the world, standing over 400 feet tall. Travelers who make this a stop on their journey will be treated to a beautiful view of the city as the wheel makes its 30-minute rotation. If you'd prefer to keep your feet on the ground, Big Ben overlooks the famous British houses of parliament, the home of the country's parliamentary democracy. Close by you'll also find the impressive Buckingham Palace, home to the monarchy. Aside from the ceremonial palace guards, if you're lucky, you may get to catch a glimpse of Her Royal Highness coming or going in an impressive display of British ceremony.

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