Is the Big Ben clock tower on your must-see list for your next family vacation in London with kids?
There are so many interesting facts about Big Ben that you could keep your kids learning for weeks leading up to a London vacation. Let’s start with the fact that the clock tower’s real name is Elizabeth Tower. The term “Big Ben” actually refers to the largest of five bells contained within the clock.
The Big Ben clock tower as been one of the most popular London attractions for many years despite it shutting down to visitors for long periods of time for extensive repairs. Just standing outside and admiring the beauty and prestige of the clock tower is adequate for many families, especially children who have learned about Big Ben before arriving in London.
To help your family make the most of your trip to London, we put together some ideas for exploring Big Ben wit kids. From preparing to visit the clock tower to getting the most out of your visit, there are so many simple things you can do to help your kids understand the significance of Big Ben.
5 Fun Things to Do at the Big Ben Clock Tower
1. Touring Big Ben with Kids
When the Big Ben clock tower isn’t closed for repairs, you can tour Big Ben for free. Kids can see what it takes to keep a massive clock working for decades while learning about the history behind the design and construction of the tower.
You can check online to see if Big Ben is under construction or open for tours during your trip to London. If it is not open to the public, stand outside to admire the size and beauty of the clock tower while telling your kids what it takes to maintain such a large clock with historical significance.
If Big Ben is open for tours while you’re in London, make sure you don’t set expectations too high for young children. There are 332 steps to climb if you want to reach the belfry, and some areas of the clock tower may remain off limits for the public.
2. Touring the Houses of Parliament
You can also tour the Houses of Parliament, which are located right next to Big Ben. There are some upgraded tour options that will make it more fun for kids of all ages, including a tour combined with afternoon tea outside by the beautiful River Thames. You can teach your children about the Parliament along with Big Ben so that they’re excited to visit whatever is open once you arrive in London.
3. Big Ben Trivia
You can find a variety of facts about the Big Ben clock tower online, including many YouTube videos designed with animated characters and other features that grab the attention of kids. Here are a few of our favorites to help you teach your children what Big Ben is before you arrive in London:
- Big Ben for Kids
- England: Big Ben – Travel Kids in Europe
- The Science Behind London’s Big Ben: Lonely Planet Kids
Videos are great teaching tools that make London attractions more relatable and interesting once you arrive for your vacation. You can put their understanding of this attraction to the test by rounding up some trivia questions and bringing them to the clock tower in London. Play a game to see who can fill in the blanks as you read part of those trivia questions out loud.
This type of game combines the natural competitive nature of many children with a bit of fun for the whole family. You may even want to carry a small surprise for the winner of the trivia game. If your kids know that there is a game in the works, they may want to spend even more time watching videos or even reading books about Big Ben.
4. Photo Sessions at the Big Ben Clock Tower
Do you have teenagers with social media accounts to update? What about a toddler wo already loves snapping selfies or a budding photographer? Big Ben is one of the most iconic attractions in London and the perfect place to snap pictures of the family. The clock tower makes a dramatic background that will grab attention online while capturing memories of your London family vacation for years to come.
5. Picnicking at Big Ben with Kids
Big Ben is conveniently located near the River Thames with many other attractions nearby. One option for admiring the clock is to bring a picnic lunch and sit down somewhere close by. You may even bring out those trivia questions while you enjoy a casual lunch with your family, taking advantage of London’s good weather during most seasons of the year.
Whatever you do, don’t underestimate the power of pre-trip learning. The more your kids know about Big Ben before they arrive in London, the more excitement they will have about visiting a large clock tower in a foreign country.
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