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Discover 7 Fascinating London Clock Towers

Discover 7 Fascinating London Clock Towers

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Our guide to London’s beautiful clock towers, from the aged to the iconic and everything in between.  

There’s more to London than just Big Ben, folks. The city is dotted with beautiful clock towers that deserve a spot of your attention too. Take St. Augustine’s Church for example: that’s an 800-year-old-clock tower right there. 

And then of course there’s Little Ben, the pint-sized replica of what we should really be calling Elizabeth Tower (more on that in a sec). This city is full of history, and clock towers, and clock towers with history. 

We’ve dug that history up and compiled a handy guide with all the highlights. Read on to discover the most beautiful clock towers London has to offer. 

Beautiful Clock Towers in London

Elizabeth Tower


 Elizabeth Tower
Elizabeth Tower NOT Big Ben

Do we need to remind you that Big Ben is actually the bell? London’s most iconic clock tower is without a doubt Elizabeth Tower. It’s so famous that it’s basically the international symbol for our fair city. 

It wasn’t always known as Elizabeth Tower though, that only came about in 2012 to honour Queen Elizabeth’s diamond jubilee. Before that it was known simply as The Clock Tower. 

The 96m tall tower was finished in 1859 and was for a long time the largest four-faced clock tower in the world. Funnily enough it was also the most accurate clock. 

You’ve probably taken a picture in front of ‘Big Ben’ at least once in your life, but did you know you can climb up it? The tours are part of the tours of The Houses of Parliament that the tower is attached to. Tickets are released in advance and get snapped up quickly. You can find more information on booking them here

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel 

King’s Cross 

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel 

This grand clock tower isn’t as tower-y as the one Big Ben resides in, instead it’s perched nicely on top of an incredibly grand hotel: The St. Pancras Renaissance

1873 was the year the building opened, then operating under a different hotel chain but still with the feature that sets this hotel (and its clock tower) apart from the rest: that it’s also part of a train station. 

The architect behind the build was George Gilbert Scott, a big proponent of the Gothic Revival Movement. His touch is clearly visible all over the building’s eccentric facade. 

Fun Fact: the space inside the St. Pancras clock tower is actually an apartment. Yep, it’s now a swanky two bedroom spot that we hear is owned by a wealthy actress. We dread to think what it sounds like when the bell rings though… 

St Augustine’s Church 


St. Augustine’s Church has probably the most historical London clock tower. The tower you can see today dates right back to the 13th century and is the only surviving section of what used to be a church of the same era. 

That church survived all the way up to 1798 but was unfortunately torn down to make way for a structure that could hold Hackney’s growing community. 

Throughout the ages it had even played a part in disputes and deals between The Knights Templar and The Knights Hospitaller, but it’s pretty hard to dissuade the Victorians from knocking down a tangible bit of history when they’ve got progress in their gunsights.

Today the tower is still going strong, and looks rather beautiful. We thoroughly recommend you give it a visit. 

Caledonian Park Clock Tower


Caledonian Park Clock Tower

Caledonian Park Clock Tower was originally built as part of a cattle market that was supposed to solve the problems of driving cows through London to Smithfields Market. Most of that market was torn down in the 60s and replaced with residential developments but the clock tower remains. 

It’s a sort of squat looking thing when it’s standing alone, but sturdy and built to last – which it definitely has. The 46m of height surveyor James Bunstone Bunning gave the clock tower was so that livestock farmers would be able to see it from a distance and drive their herds towards it. 

Little Ben


Little Ben

A short walk from Victoria station you’ll find the most famous clock tower London has to offer, in miniature. 

Little Ben (did these guys not get the memo about the bell?) is a near-replica of Elizabeth tower. This version is painted black with a maroon border to the clock faces. It was put up in 1892 but taken down in 1964. A French petroleum company, Elf Aquitaine paid for the clock to be put back as a symbol of Franco-British friendship. 

Funnily enough, for many years after that the clock ignored daylight savings time, showing the correct time in France for half the year and the correct time in Britain the other half. That’s not the case anymore as a few too many people were getting confused. 

However you can still see an inscription on the clock tower that reads “My hands you may retard or may advance, my heart beats true for England as for France.” in reference to the clock’s history. 

Horse Guards


Household Cavalry Museum - Horse Guards

Another very iconic Westminster clock tower is the one that sits on top of the Horse Guards. The building is the home of the King’s Life Guard which is why you’ll see soldiers in parade uniform standing guard. 

The building has quite a history too. It was originally part of the gates to The Palace of Whitehall, and then St. James’ Palace after Whitehall burned down in 1698. Throughout the 18th century the Horse Guards building was also the military headquarters of the 

Chrisp Street Market Clock Tower


Chrisp Street Market Clock Tower

Not all the clock towers in London are part of some long and winding history. This city even boasts clock towers in the modernist style. Allow us to introduce you to Chrisp Street Market Clock Tower. 

This beauty was built in 1952 as part of the historic Lansbury council estate. It’s considered a great example of what’s called ‘Festival Style’ – an architectural offshoot of modernism that was popular in post-war Britain. 

The movement gets its name from the fact that it was tied up in the Festival of Britain, a national exhibition that celebrated the arts and achievements of the nation in 1951. 

The tower looks a little strange, we’re not going to lie. It’s likely to divide opinion. We think that if you look long enough there’s a certain kind of charm to it. 

Practical Tips for Exploring the London’s Clock Towers

  • Westminster has two of our iconic clock towers and is close to Victoria where you can see Little Ben. You could easily visit all three of these spots in one afternoon and make a clock tower tour of your day. 
  • There’s no restrictions to visiting any of these sites as they are, by nature, easy to see. If you want to visit the inside or other parts of a larger structure, check on the website. You may be able to organise a visit. 

London Clock Towers: Map 

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