Climb Big Ben

The Clock 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 Clock Tower - and Big Ben's official name is the Great Bell.

What does the tour cover?

A tour will take you up the 334 spiral steps to the top of the 150 year old Clock 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 availabiliy

Tours are at set times of 9.15am, 11.15am and 2.15pm Monday – Friday, (except Bank Holidays)


Clock 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 must be arranged ahead of your visit with bookings being taken up to four months in advance. Demand is high so early booking and flexibility regarding dates and times is recommended. Children under 11 are not permitted on Clock Tower tours. Groups of 14 students must be accompanied by two adults.

Arriving at Westminster

  • Visitors for Clock Tower tours should enter by the main entrance to Portcullis House on the Victoria Embankment, facing the river.
  • Visitors should allow at least 20 minutes to pass through security, and will be subject to a security scan and bag search.
  • Visitors on Clock Tower tours may not leave the tour once it has started (for security reasons) unless escorted by a member of staff.

Please note: An admission fee will be applicable to all visitors taking a tour of the Clock Tower after July 2nd 2012. These internet pages will be updated accordingly, after 5th March 2012.

Find Your MP

Can't visit Parliament in person? Why not climb the Clock Tower, have a look around the Commons or visit the House of Lords library with this series of online tours.

  • 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 
  • No children aged under 11 years
  • Bookings are currently being taken up until end of June 2012
  • July bookings will be taken from 1 March 2012
  • Tours for the Easter Holiday dates 2-13 April are now fully booked
  • Tours for the Whitsun week 6-8 June are very limited now