But did you know that you can go on a tour up Big Ben? Tours run between Monday and Friday at 9.30am, 10.30am, 11.30am and 2.30pm, and are free.
The tower was built along with the new neo-gothic Palace of Westminster following a fire which virtually destroyed the original Houses of Parliament (except for Westminster Hall) on the night of 22 October 1834, and was designed by Augustus Pugin. The tower stands 96.3 metres tall beside the Thames and has four identical faces.
Whilst tours run regularly, the website carries the intriguing statement that "During the 150th anniversary year demand for tours is expected to be high. Therefore, preference will be given to those with a proven interest in clocks, watches and bells", though how you can prove that is not made clear.
Tours must be booked through your Member of Parliament, and you can find out who that is (if you don't already know) and how to contact them through http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/
Your author has climbed the tower and it offers great views. Be sure to take som ear plugs, however, as tours aim to be at the top when the chimes sound. For more information, visit http://www.parliament.uk/visiting/visitingandtours/bigben.cfm.