Take our walking tour guide to some of the top attractions in London including Big Ben and Westminster Abbey.
Big Ben is seen as a symbol of stability and punctuality. But it wasn’t always the case. Its history is full of mishaps. The original designer died the same year it was commissioned. The hands were so heavy at the start that they wouldn’t actually move. The bell cracked. Its been frozen in winter. It was ten minutes late on New Year’s Eve. And workers have left lots of things inside as well like a hammer, a cheese sandwich and even starlings came to roost on the hands and made it two and a half hours late. So nowadays there’s even an engineer to wait right by it on New Year’s Eve to make sure it dongs right on time.
Welcome to Westminster.
Behind me are the houses of Parliament and to get in you need a special pass and probably a suit. So I don’t think we’ll be getting past the guards today.
Westminster Abbey has held coronation services for all the Kings and Queens right here since the eleventh century. But it was actually founded before then. In the seventh century, when there was a sighting of Saint Peter by the local fishermen on the river Thames and that explains why every year, the fishermen give a gift of salmon to the Abbey.
So, it says here, Parliament Square, where we are right now, represents different arms of the State on each side, legislature to the East with the Houses of Parliament, executive to the right, Whitehall, judicary to the west, the Supreme Court and the church to the South, Westminster Abbey.
King Edward the Confessor, started building the Abbey in the eleventh century so he’d have a place to be buried and lucky for him, it was finished just a few days before he died.