The best view of Big Ben is had from the Westminster Bridge. One can see the magnificence of the entire structure looking down river. Across the other way is a view of the monumental ferris wheel.
The day was pleasant, the sky gray, many steps were made starting at Montague Street by the British museum down to Buckingham palace, meandering back up through the quaint streets of London through Covent Garden, much to see along the way.
Like any big city of interest many people are from other lands, but if you look somewhat confused with a map in your hand usually a Londoner will come along and offer their help. In general the Londoners are extremely open, friendly and curious about you, especially when they hear your american accent. Their spirit is genuine. They appreciate a tip but it isn’t the reason they serve.