It's not a great time to visit the UK as a tourist. Besides all the Brexit nonsense and the December weather, one of our greatest tourist spots is under scaffolding and silent.
Poor old Big Ben (and its Elizabeth Tower) are undergoing refurbishment at the moment, so there's not much to see if you want to snap a photo of the famous view:
Lovely out and back run on the Thames path - Parliament & Big Ben perhaps appropriately wrapped up! pic.twitter.com/ni8HGcHRmN
— Carol Austin (@jumpylegs) December 20, 2018
Even with a Christmassy atmosphere it's not quite the same:
Big ben. London. pic.twitter.com/ktjePZBsiJ
— ♚Mr. J♚ (@JotaaBe14) December 19, 2018
Snapchat's decided the way to fix this is with a Westminster-specific Snapchat Lens. When you activate the lens and point the Snap camera at the tower, the scaffolding peels back and Large Benjamin is there in all his glory again.
And of course it's Christmas, so Ben gets a snowglobe and a massive "Happy holidays" sign. If it's a selfie, the person taking it also gets a Union Jack top hat, because tourism. That'll save you at least seventeen quid at the souvenir stall.
Cleverly, the lens includes making the clock face show the correct time, and it even bongs correctly on the hour and at every quarter.
Eitan Pilipski, VP of the Snap Camera Platform says:
"We are thrilled to unwrap Big Ben for our Snapchat community in London. This holiday, we wanted to showcase the imaginative power of Snap’s Augmented Reality experiences by deconstructing the scaffolding around Big Ben – at least for a few special moments.
We believe that every great AR experience reveals new possibilities. Our goal was to bring together the most cutting edge mapping and imaging technologies to create the kind of unique, location-specific experience that only Snap – and perhaps Father Christmas – can deliver."
Apparently, the lens will be available for a few months yet, and they'll be updating how it looks -- which is handy, because it's not ideal to send a 'happy holidays' selfie in February.