First time in the UK for business. I have a small free window in the morning, which - as a Greek - of course would like to spend on the British museum.

Is Big Ben visible from there? I will go tomorrow morning, clear sky. I am only interested in taking a picture with Big Ben and me..

I mean it's not named Colossal Ben, so I am wondering..

  • 17
    Also bear in mind that it's currently covered in scaffolding.
    – MJeffryes
    May 15, 2019 at 11:49
  • 6
    As mentioned the (former) Clock Tower is called Elizabeth Tower. Big Ben is the name of the largest bell that strikes. Note you can see the present state of the scaffolding on a webcam here. May 15, 2019 at 12:14
  • 10
    @WeatherVane It's only been called the "Elizabeth Tower" since 2012. Big Ben is a perfectly valid and much older name for it (since the tower itself was nameless).
    – MJeffryes
    May 15, 2019 at 14:09
  • 7
    @MJeffryes - it wasn’t nameless. Prior to being renamed Elizabeth Tower, it was called St. Stephen’s Tower. May 15, 2019 at 15:50
  • 14
    It doesn't matter what it's technically named. It matters what people call it. That's how language works. For almost all purposes, the whole structure is Big Ben. Because that's what everyone calls it. It's fine. Everybody chill.
    – user77454
    May 15, 2019 at 16:53

2 Answers 2


The British Museum is located a short-ish (20-30 minutes) walk from Big Ben, so the distance isn't a problem in seeing it. But the British Museum is surrounded relatively closely in that direction by streets with buildings of 4-5 floors, which block the view.

I can't entirely rule out that there may be some spots in the grounds from which you can just about see the top of Big Ben poking above the other buildings, but you certainly won't get a good view of it. (Arguably, you can't get a good view of it from anywhere right now, as pointed out in the comments it's currently covered in scaffolding due to renovations)

Some comments on the question suggested it may be visible from the roof of the British Museum. That seems likely, based on google maps 3d view, but I see nothing on the British Museum's website to suggest roof access is possible - and even if it were, the distance is such that I expect it would be difficult to get a good picture of you with the tower anyway.

  • 7
    As of January 2019, the last time I was there, there was no rooftop access at the British Museum. May 15, 2019 at 12:44

If you were to somehow scale and stand on the southeast corner of the roof of the British Museum, then the scaffolding presently enveloping the Elizabeth Tower (popularly known as Big Ben, after a bell that resides within it) would just be visible. See https://www.google.com/maps/place/London/@51.5208233,-0.1268642,46a,35y,174.37h,79.23t/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x47d8a00baf21de75:0x52963a5addd52a99!8m2!3d51.5073509!4d-0.1277583 . Big Ben is the dark brownish grey blob apparently next to (although really a long way from) the bright orange facade of Renzo Piano's Google London HQ. You would certainly be arrested in this endeavour, so it's not to be encouraged.

  • Yeah better not go to jail 🙂
    – gsamaras
    May 15, 2019 at 17:12
  • 3
    @gsamaras it is a good way to extend your stay in London and you could see inside some more historical buildings... well police stations... I'm not recommending this!
    – MD-Tech
    May 16, 2019 at 7:40
  • Wormwood Scrubs, Pentonville,.. Southwark Magistrates Court
    – Strawberry
    May 16, 2019 at 10:51

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