What springs to mind when you think of London? Is it the vibrant red telephone boxes, tantalising afternoon teas or the weather fanatics that never fail to discuss the temperature, come rain or shine? Perhaps it’s Westminster Abbey or even Buckingham Palace? But above all, the harmonious chimes and statuesque figure of the capital’s emblematic Big Ben is what attracts the crowds. However, the time has sadly come for Westminster to fall to silence as London’s cultural icon retires for some well-deserved, and rather expensive, TLC.
The three-year plan, amounting to an eye watering £29 million, will see Big Ben undergo a full MOT (not bad for a 160 year old who’s not fallen short of being in tick tock condition). Moving with the times, London’s icon is set to become more energy efficient. But don’t worry, Big Ben will be re-joining the capital’s festivities, ringing out the New Year as usual, before returning as London’s head time keeper in 2021.
With Big Ben on standby for some R&R, perhaps it’s time to explore other attractions that are on Dolphin Square’s doorstep. If you want a birds-eye perspective of London, why not head to the London Eye and take in the sights at new heights. Tickets start at only £23.45 for a 30-minute rotation and are only a little more if you want to throw a glass of bubbly into the mix. Of course, Buckingham Palace isn’t to be missed and you can still find out what goes on behind royal doors until 1st October, the perfect way to immerse yourself in some of London’s greatest history.
Arguably, the best way to explore London is on two wheels so now’s the time to find your nearest Santander docking station and grab a bike. They start at only £2 a day and are a fun way to get active in London and take in the sights.