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The Culinary Traditions of Chinese New Year

A sense of community, family, and belonging have always been at the helm of Chinese culture as it is embedded in the country’s values; the biggest representation of celebrating such values is during Chinese New Year.

During the Chinese New Year, the country’s population and expats all come together to celebrate this holiday in the most vibrant and festive of ways from New York all the way to Beijing.

And for the proud Chinese people nothing screams family and community than their focus on food and the notion of sitting down all together to share delicious food amongst each other.

As we all know, one of the most beautiful aspects of Chinese culture is presence of a deeper, and genuine meaning to everything they do.

Everything has a backstory, meaning, belonging, and a purpose; which is why we, at The Edward Hotel, will be explaining the origins of the main traditional dishes eaten during Chinese New Year to better help you understand the meaning behind them.

As with Chinese New Year activities and decorations, the dishes are created to give blessings for the next year.

It is very important to note the significance of this holiday on the Chinese people, since All family members must come back home. Even if they truly can’t, the rest of the family will leave their spot empty and place a spare set of utensils for them.

So let’s break down the main elements of the Chinese New Year Traditional dinner:

SPRING ROLLS

Because they look like bars of gold, spring rolls are a wish for prosperity and wealth.

Most are familiar with the deep fried version of spring rolls. Throughout China, they can also be steamed or baked. Size and shape vary from small rectangles to large flat circles.

During the Jin Dynasty (circa 265-420), people would arrange spring rolls and vegetables together on a plate. This was known as the Spring Platter. During the Spring Festival, emperors would award officials with Spring Platters. Each platter is said to have been worth thousands.

DUMPLINGS

Another well-known dish, dumplings are the northern equivalent of spring rolls. They are eaten during every special occasion, but are the most significant during Chinese New Year. That’s a lot of dumplings! But for good reason.

Dumplings are shaped like ancient Chinese silver and gold ingots. By wrapping dumplings, you are wrapping in the fortune. After eating them, you will live a wealthy and prosperous life.

There are too many different types of filling to count. You can have whatever type of meat, vegetable and flavor you’d like.

Some people will also put a coin in a random dumpling. Whoever eats it will have great luck that year.

NOODLES

In some places, it’s custom to cook dumplings and noodles together. This is called gold silk and gold ingots. It’s yet another dish to express people’s wishes for prosperity.

In the beginning, they were called “soup pancakes”. People would tear the dough into little pieces and throw them into the pot. It wasn’t until the Tang Dynasty when people began rolling them into the noodle shape known today.

For Chinese New Year, people like to eat long noodles.

They are also called, which means “longevity noodles.” You aren’t allowed to cut them and should try not to chew either. The longer the noodle, the longer your life will be. This calls for a lot of slurping.

STEAMED FISH

People will steam a whole fish for the New Year Eve’s dinner.

Half of the fish is eaten for dinner, and the second half the next day. This is to prolong the surplus and make the future prosperous as well. A whole fish also represents a harmonious and whole family.

Some would cook a bigheaded carp. But only the middle would be eaten, while the head and tail are left intact. This is a reminder to finish everything you start and wish for positive results.

STEAMED CHICKEN

A whole chicken is another symbol of family.

Rich in protein, one chicken is enough to feed an entire family since it represents reunion and rebirth. To express this auspicious meaning, people keep the head and claws.

In Hubei, chicken soup is the first meal of the new year considering it a wish for peace. The main workers of the family should eat chicken feet. This is supposed to help them grasp onto wealth. Chicken wings help you fly higher, while the bones represent outstanding achievement.

VEGETABLE DISHES

A dish of all sorts of vegetables put together can always be seen on the table during New Years. Some symbolic vegetables to consider are:

Seaweed: symbolizing wealth and fortune

Lotus seeds: a blessing for many children and a healthy family

Bamboo shoots: representing longevity, as well as going onward and up

Muskmelon and grapefruit: symbolize family and hope.

HOT POT

The bubbling soup in the pot gives off a warm and festive feeling.

Hot pot is another food that has a long history. Emperor Qianlong of the Qing dynasty is the most avid fan. When he held feasts for old and retired officials, hot pot with meat were always on the menu. During his New Year’s Eve dinner, there were 120 dishes for lunch and even more for hot pot.

Despite being loved by commoners and royalty alike; hot pots are actually quite basic. It’s simply a bubbling pot and plates of uncooked meat and vegetables. You can choose whatever you like to throw into the pot. Wait until it’s cooked, take it out and eat.

The reason for its popularity is for the diversity of its broth.

If you’re looking to celebrate Chinese New Year in London, then the demonstrations, festivities, markets and many activities can be found in Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square, West End, and Chinatown which are very easy to reach from our location in Paddington.

Chinese New Year falls on the 25th of January, and will take place on the 26th of January 2020.

If you need any extra information regarding transportation, event details, recommendations or anything else, please refer to our front desk as they will be happy to answer your every inquiry!

 

Stay up-to-date with all the events, festivals, what’s new, and what’s happening on the streets of on London by following the Edward Hotel’s blog that covers everything from sports events to cooking festivals.

All of London, one blog.

 

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Toy Industry Witnessing Major Changes as London 2020 Toy Fair on the Horizon

We used to describe what children do as “play.”

To adults that means something other than work but for children, playing is what they’re hardwired to do, it's how they learn to socialize and think constructively.

However, if a toy isn’t constantly engaging, then be sure that they will stop, reducing productivity to a minimum.  This is the challenge toy makers face every year, developing trendy, new and creative toys to engage a child’s mind as they go their young years to become responsible adults.

So making toys that interest children and help them develop at the same time is the toy industry’s ongoing challenge.

It is here, at London’s 2020 Toy Fair, where all these challenges are met head on as toy makers and developers unite to showcase their creative and engaging products, setting the trend for the upcoming 12 months of business.

The Toy Fair is the largest dedicated toy, game and hobby trade exhibition in the UK. Three packed days of business, with more than 260 exhibiting companies ranging from the large renowned brands right through to the new start-up companies and one-man bands.

It offers an unrivalled opportunity to meet the toy industry, network with peers, allowing attendees to be the first to see the new lines as they are launched for the year ahead and to plan product range for the next 12 months- a great opportunity to touch, feel and experiment with the products of the future.

The fair, which goes on from Tuesday 21st of January till Thursday the 23rd, will be held at the Olympia London in Kensington from 9am till 6pm; The venue is a mere 15-minute drive away from The Edward Hotel’s location in Paddington.

The Toy Fair is a showcase, providing visitors with a real overview and insight into a fun, innovative and exciting industry.

It comes as no surprise that the toy industry is considered one of the most demanding sectors on the planet, since it consistently pushes the boundaries of creativity to create a coherent balance between entertainment and knowledge.

Yet the industry has never shied away from the challenge.

The prediction of the future for the toy industry in the year 2022 is subject to numerous moving parts and none of them seem to want to behave.

However, there are many forces currently in play that are majorly shifting the way toys are being sold, distributed, and impacted.

Bricks and mortar retail is struggling, particularly big box. Toys "R" Us is in bankruptcy and some have concerns about the entire concept of bricks and mortar retailing. Which of the bricks and mortar retailers will be active and to what degree is anyone’s guess.

E-commerce is on fire and there is no end in sight to Amazon’s almost exponential growth. Ironically, they could be the future of bricks and mortar retailing as they enter the market with new ideas and fresh strategies – like having stores with no employees.

Consumers, particularly Millennials, are less likely to drive to a store than their Boomer parents and grandparents. Why? because they see a previously unrecognized opportunity cost in driving to the store and not finding what was wanted. Simply put, buying on line saves time and is more efficient.

China is emerging as a major consumer market for toys. In fact, a report by Euromonitor predicts that China will replace the US as the number one country for toy consumption by 2021.

Baby Boomers and Generation X'ers will have exited the management ranks with Millennials taking their place. They will change the face of retailing and manufacturing with new ideas unchained to 20th century notions of doing business.

China will be the #1 consumer market for toys in the world. Expect to make a lot of trips to China as American toy companies become increasingly invested in the Chinese domestic toy market.

Amazon will become the number one toy retailer in the US and much of the world.

Toys "R" Us will still be with us but with different owners, fewer and smaller stores and some surprisingly strong competition from independent toy retailers.

There will be a return to pre-self-service retailing. Shopping will be far more person-to-person and interactive. In addition, 3D Printing will have evolved to the point that it begins to cut into traditional factory based production. We will see this in both digital and physical locations that can supply personalized products on demand.

 

Stay up-to-date with all the events, festivals, what’s new, and what’s happening on the streets of on London by following the Edward Hotel’s blog that covers everything from sports events to cooking festivals.

All of London, one blog.

 

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New Year’s Eve in London: The Hottest Places to Be

What a decade it has been.

Filled with all sorts of ups and downs for all of us, we’ve all grown, developed and become better versions of ourselves throughout the decade. However, it is time to say adios and welcome a new year and decade upon us.

Some might cling to the past, while others long for a fresh new start; so regardless of which side you’re standing, these are the hottest events to attend this NYE, handpicked by The Edward Hotel Team, which are relatively close to our location in Paddington.

SILENT DISCO - SECRET WAREHOUSE NYE EDITION

Silent disco pioneers, Silent Sounds, are taking over a cool secret warehouse space in central London for an epic NYE party.

Bang in the heart of London, have a tonne of fun this New Year's Eve in one of the coolest spaces in the heart of the New Year's action. Party in the warehouse space, chill in a separate bar and lounge area and look up to the skies on the outdoor terrace.

With 3 DJs, you can switch your headphones between each DJ, who will be playing anything from Taylor Swift to Stormzy and all the party classics. Pick your DJ, get your colour, enjoy your party!

There will be multiple bars with reasonably priced drinks so there will be no huge queues to quench that thirst and you won't be burning a hole in your wallet; like most other NYE parties.

GREEN PLANET NEW YEAR'S EVE PARTY

This New Year’s Eve, embrace your wild side at Market Hall West End.

Just off Oxford Street they will be transforming their Top Floor into a music filled Green Planet inspired by Sir David Attenborough and everyone’s favourite nature series.

Their oasis-themed Garden Bar will be getting even greener, covered in plants and filled with sounds of the jungle. Outside, take a breather on the heated, covered roof terrace. No promises of fresh rainforest air but a promise of good old London air and views of the sparkly night sky.

They’ll be using recycled and up-cycled materials from their Market Halls to decorate the space, because this New Year’s party will be 100% eco, 0% wasteful. It’s a little something called good, clean fun.

NEW YEAR'S EVE BOAT PARTY

Join the golden sunrise boat party for the ultimate way to start 2020!!

A glass of fizz as you board, a hot meal of Chilli Con Carne and the house DJ and disco to keep you dancing all night long. At midnight there will be a countdown to midnight followed a view of the mayor's fireworks. Bring on 2020!

This year the boat will be positioned between the Houses of Parliament and St Thomas’s hospital by Westminster Bridge (with the large open back deck facing the Eye).

This is the closest to the fireworks it can be and it is important to note that while the view of the fireworks will not be as seen on TV, please be assured that this is the best possible location for the boat to be in bearing in mind all factors, and there will be lots of other boats in the same location which will, as always, create a great atmosphere. This is a disco-buffet cruise and while there is some seating on board this cannot be reserved or guaranteed.

This event is over 21s only, photo ID will be required on boarding and at the bar if you are lucky enough to look under 21.

FEASTY BLINDERS: THE NEW YEARS EVE BALL

Having finally got their hands on the famous Eden Club last year, the Shelby family have now added to their growing empire (racket) acquiring, The Trading House in London's famous banking district and now The Feasty Blinders will now be hosting a New Year’s Eve dinner and ball to celebrate.

Of course, not everyone sees the Shelby's growing influence across the country and particularly London as a cause for celebration.  So the family (with the assistance of a few notorious friends) will be on high alert to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

The family has organised an evening of opulence and decadence for all that are lucky enough to be in attendance.

All guests will be treated to a complimentary glass of fizz on arrival from the Shelby Fizz Fountain, immersive entertainment and live music to ring the new year in true blinder fashion.

Guests with "Dinner and Dance' tickets will also be provided with a 3-course menu before dining and dancing with Birmingham's finest right through to the new year

The evening will begin promptly at 10 pm for guests with "New Year’s Eve Ball" tickets.

The event is immersive and action happens throughout the venue. Guests are encouraged to roam. However, there is a central area where more of the entertainment happens.

 

Wherever you decide to celebrate the New Year, all of us at the Edward Hotel would like to wish you a Happy New Year, we hope you reach the pinnacle of your dreams, and fulfill your most daring bucket list entries.

 

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Joy to The World: A Christmas Carols Guide Across London

Christmas is celebrated every year on 25th December. But in today’s time, the festival of Christmas has surpassed the religious boundaries and become a symbol of the holistic culture. The winters in December carry a festive feeling.

Soft and gleeful voices of Christmas carols being sung could be heard in the background of almost every neighborhood in London, spreading warmth around the city’s coldest times.

If you’re a fan of Christmas carols that bring joy and peace to all whom who listen to it, then you’ve come to the right place; We, at the Edward Hotel have comprised a list of iconic carols you could attend across the British capital that is merely a stone throw away from our location in Paddington.

ST JAMES'S PICCADILLY: A Blue Christmas service takes places at St James's Piccadilly on 8 December, aimed at anyone who finds Christmas a bit overwhelming. Shoppers are invited to take a break from retail at an early evening carol service on Christmas Eve.

TRAFALGAR SQUARE: The Trafalgar Square Christmas tree is officially illuminated in a ceremony on 5 December. After this, a series of carol singing events take place around the tree throughout December, with more than 40 singing groups joining in. Wrap up, and head out to see them in action every Monday and Tuesday!

WESTMINSTER ABBEY: The main Westminster Abbey Christmas concert takes place on 12 December and keeps going till the 24th of December, and is a traditional affair with festive choral works performed by the Choir of Westminster Abbey, interspersed with seasonal readings and traditional carols for everyone to join in with.

SOUTHWARK CATHEDRAL: Marie Curie's Carols in the City concert takes over Southwark Cathedral for a candlelit evening of music and readings. That's the first in a series of carol services at the Cathedral this year, both fundraising concerts for various charities, and performances by the Cathedral's own choir.

ST PAUL'S CATHEDRAL: As you'd expect, St Paul's Cathedral has a full programme of Advent and Christmas events. It begins with the Advent Carol Service on 30 November and 1 December, with performances by the Cathedral Choir and a candlelit procession marking the start of Advent. Celebrities join in with A Celebration of Christmas on 12 December, and other carol services take place right up until Christmas Eve.

During this holiday season Christmas Carols act as a solid reminder to all of us on the importance of giving, sharing, and forgiving; so allow the feeling to consume you on all fronts, to share the feeling of love to all of our fellow human beings around the city.

 

Stay up-to-date with all the events, festivals, what’s new, and what’s happening on the streets of on London by following the Edward Hotel’s blog that covers everything from sports events to cooking festivals.

All of London, one blog.

Photo Credits: www.visitlondon.com

 

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Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture 2019: The Gift of Togetherness

The season of giving back is upon us.

What better gift to give then spreading awareness and culture across the city! Waltham Forest, an initiative by The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, will be the first ever Borough of Culture.

Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture 2019 will highlight the character, diversity and cultures of the borough, the things we have in common and the things that make us different, in a year-long celebration of the real cultures of London by the people who live here.

Waltham Forest has a strong culture-led diverse community with a history of makers and creators whose creativity, radical thinking and shared sense of purpose has helped drive innovation and progress across the borough.

The award from the Mayor of London will ensure arts and culture is placed at the heart of our communities. The year will explore the theme Radicals, Makers and Fellowship in a collaboration between local residents, artists and creatives producing a once in a lifetime celebration of the place we call home. 

The London Borough of Waltham Forest is north of the River Thames in north-east London and is made of five key centres: Leyton, Leytonstone, Chingford, Higham’s Park and Walthamstow.

The event includes The Mayor’s London Borough of Culture Award which is a major new initiative launched by the Mayor of London in June 2017 and inspired by the UK City and European Capital of Culture programmes.

The Mayor’s London Borough of Culture award brings Londoners together. It puts culture at the heart of local communities, where it belongs, illuminating the character and diversity of London’s boroughs and showing culture is for everyone.

Now more than ever, the Mayor wants Londoners to get to know each other and feel part of our great city.

Some of the events that will take place:

Ears in the woods

Sat 7 December 2019 - Pimp Hall Nature Reserve

Come to Pimp Hall nature reserve to tune into sounds of the woods from a listening station in the Dovecote: one of Chingford's oldest buildings

A sound installation will mix live streams from the local environment with field recordings gathered onsite over the last year.

Dawn Scarfe will be there to make hot drinks, share stories from her Bivvy Broadcast project, demo recording techniques and how to make an off grid broadcast using a mobile phone or laptop.

Ears in the Woods is part of The People's Forest season - a series of events exploring our relationship with Epping Forest, interrogating the deep bond we have with forests and woodland, and how this relationship is culturally determined.

Venue: Pimp Hall Nature Reserve, Near Kings Road Recycling Centre, off Kings Road, London E4 7HR

By bus: 179, 212, 397

By train: Chingford (London Overground) is 0.5 miles away

Times: 1pm-2pm

Tickets: FREE, just turn up

Big Community Chill Out

Sunday 8 December 2019 - Great Hall, Leyton

Over the last 9 weeks, your local grassroots, mental health arts, music and well-being charity has been working with our family of local community spirited professional artists, musicians and performers to build the confidence of people aged 18-100 from across our diverse community.

Many of the people who have enjoyed Wiilma’s workshops deal daily with significant mental and physical challenges or are carers do so much for others but never for themselves. Many have never been on the stage or have never shown their art, music or dance on show to the World.

Come along to the Big Community Chill Out to see their work and cheer them on—and discover what exceptional things we can do when we come together.

We are celebrating the real people and diverse international cultures that make up our community.

All are welcome regardless of nationality, gender, age, race, sexuality, religion, ability, culture or background.

Venue: Leyton Great Hall, 1 Adelaide Rd, Leyton, London E10 5NN

By bus: 58, 69, 97, 158, N26

By train: Leyton (Central Line)

Times: 2.30pm-7pm

Tickets: FREE Event but any donations will be welcomed. Book a free place at wiilma.org/workshops, and clicking on RSVP Sun 8th Dec. Or email info@wiilma.org to confirm your name, postcode and names of anybody you are bringing.

Forest Uprising

13-15 December 2019 - Leyton Sports Ground

2019 and the world is at tipping point.

In December, when London is furthest from the sun and the holiday season is upon us – for many, thoughts go to friends and family, and to re-kindling the embers of relationships left untended as we race to keep up with the pace of modern life.

Forest Uprising is the finale of Waltham Forest’s year as the first-ever London Borough of Culture. Over three days in December, an illuminated installation of tree-like structures will grow into a beautiful urban winter forest at Leyton Sports Ground.

This outdoor winter show will see creatives from Block9 design, build and imagine a space where seeds of ideas can germinate, hopes and ambitions are encouraged, and the many voices of the forest can echo loud and clear for all to hear.

Venue: Leyton Sports Ground, 485 High Rd, Leyton, London E10 6PY

By train: Leyton Midland Road (London Overground), Leyton or Leytonstone (Central line), Lea Bridge Station (Greater Anglia)

By bus: 97, 158, 69, W16

Time: 5 - 10pm

Tickets: FREE, just turn up

Swing into Christmas

20-21 December 2019 - Mirth, Marvel and Maud

In what's fast becoming a Walthamstow Christmas tradition, band leader and E17 resident James Brady is once again bringing a team of London's finest jazz talent to Mirth, Marvel and Maud for an evening of classic Christmas goodness, featuring favourites like Baby It's Cold Outside, Winter Wonderland, Let it Snow and many more.

Featuring the dazzling vocal presence of Abbey Mordue (Ronnie Scott's, The Inbetweeners) and the deep, rich tone of Ray Estaire (Steve Nichols/Loose Ends, The George Michael Story) this is guaranteed to be a Yuletide evening to remember!

Full address: Mirth, Marvel and Maud, 186 Hoe St, Walthamstow, London E17 4QH

By train: Walthamstow Central (Victoria Line and London Overground)

By bus: 34, 97, 215, 275, 357

Time: 7pm

Tickets: £17.60

Home Project

December 16 - Borough wide

Home is where the art is in this project by Ashton John Films. Home Project will ask the residents of the borough to reflect on the past and look to the future as they answer the question - what does home mean?

A series of short films exploring the lives of residents both old and new will aim to paint a picture of the community that calls our borough home.

Home Project will shine a light on individual characters that show the broad spectrum of inhabitants, their contributions and how they have built their own legacies, how they have built a home, and what this has involved.

Artist and filmmaker Ashton John is an award-winning filmmaker, specialising in documentary films.

Ashton’s films are about people for people, aiming to inspire change and raise social awareness. In his latest project, Ashton aims to delve deeper into the fabric of the Waltham Forest community and shine the spotlight on our brilliant borough.

Part of the Make it Happen Fellowship Funding programme.

This event will take place in locations across Waltham Forest.

 

Stay up-to-date with all the events, festivals, what’s new, and what’s happening on the streets of on London by following the Edward Hotel’s blog that covers everything from sports events to cooking festivals.

All of London, one blog.

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Paddington, London

Paddington, also known as London Paddington, is a central London railway terminus and London Underground station complex, located on Praed Street in Paddington. Paddington tube station is served by the Bakerloo, Circle, District, and Hammersmith & City lines. It is also the terminus for the Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect services to and from London Heathrow Airport. It is one of 19 stations in the United Kingdom managed directly by Network Rail. It is situated in fare zone 1.
Edward hotel is less than 1 mile from London Paddington Station, which is about 5 to 7 minutes walking distance.

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The London Dungeon (33 Minutes)

One can enjoy the gruesome experience of London darkest history at The London Dungeon. Get a walkthrough the funny and a bit scary experience. The dungeon's shows are staged on theatrical sets with special effects.

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Millennium Dome The O2

Visit the largest entertainment district in London, earlier known as the Millennium Dome The O2. While having a view of the dome from outside it appears as a large white marquee with twelve 100 m-high yellow support towers, each tower represents a month of the year, or each hour of the clock face, representing the role played by Greenwich Mean Time.

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St Paul’s Cathedral (32 Minutes)

St Paul's Cathedral with a spectacular vast dome is an eye-catching historical church in London. One can discover the magnificent interior and fascinating story about its history.

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Tower Bridge (33 Minutes)

Must visit one of the most recognizable bridges in the world London Tower Bridge. Inside the bridge is the Tower Bridge Exhibition, a display area that encompasses the walkway and the two famous towers where you can observe the Victorian engine room. Visitors can learn about the history of the bridge via photos, films, and other media.

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Harrods (31 minutes)

Harrods in Knightsbridge, London, is the world’s famous luxury department store. Harrods attracts millions of loyal customers from around the world with its unmatched product selection and world-class service. Harrods attracts not just the shoppers, but also the tourists across the globe. 

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Madame Tussauds (25 minutes)

This place is one of the major tourist attraction in London, the museum is famous for the waxwork of famous historical people and other famous celebrities. Tourist visit here to enjoy the life-size wax replicas.

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Buckingham Palace (12 Minutes)

Visit the most iconic royal building in the country. The Palace is the Queen's official and main royal London home. Buckingham Palace is home to over 775 rooms, 19 of these are State rooms along with 52 official royal bedrooms and guest rooms.

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Big Ben (22 Minutes)

Visit the most iconic landmark. The Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster is commonly known as the Big Ben. The name is given because of the massive bell inside the clock tower.

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