The English capital, London attracts tourists from across the world and not many can stay away from the pull of the big city. Whether it is shopping, world cuisine, modern and historical attractions, or education you seek, you will find everything in the cosmopolitan city of London.
History of London
When you think about London, you might think of the big city it is today with the stunning places to dine and magnificent green spaces. But London is one of the oldest cities on Earth and has a rich history. Legend dictates that the city was founded on the banks of River Thames around 1000 BCE. It was founded by Brutus of Troy who called it New Troy and then changed the name to Trinovantum. Britain was named after the Brutus of Troy who was the first king and ruled for 24 years. In 43 AD, the Roman conquest of Britain began and several battles were fought by Romans against Celtic tribes. The Romans improved infrastructure in the town and built several temples and houses.
They built the London Wall around 225 AD which survived for 1,600 years. In the 5th century, the Roman Empire declined after which settlers from Denmark, Germany, and Netherlands arrived looking for a new homeland.
In 1016, Cnut the Great, the son of Sweyn Forkbeard conquered Lunenburg and entire England. Cnut’s stepson, Edward became king and he built Westminster Abbey and the Palace of Westminster. He died in 1066.
Later in 1212, Louis of France became the King of England and there was a rebellion in the forces. During this period, London grew in terms of trade and became an ideal destination for commerce. The population grew rapidly to 80,000 inhabitants. In the 14th century, London lost much of its population to the Black Death, which was a plague carried by fleas residing on rats which came in trading ships. However, the economy revived and was soon operating as normal. In 1707, the Act of Union joined the parliament of England and Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. There was the restoration of St Paul’s Cathedral, which is one of the best buildings in Britain.
London was a main port for international commerce from 1825 and it soon became the capital of the British Empire. It became rich as a center of the trade world but millions of people were poor and lived in slums. After a huge rise in crime, in 1829, the Home Secretary, Robert Peel formed the Metropolitan Police that operated in all of London.
It was a time when the London railway had a long run, from London Bridge to Greenwich and was finished in 1836 and soon the termini was built which gave London access to more areas across Britain. London Underground was built in 1863 and people started to move to suburban areas which had more space.
In the 1900s, London became the biggest empire in history and the population reached 7 million. London hosted the first Olympic Games in 1908 and The Great Depression of the 1930s affected the population of London in a significant manner. There were a huge number of unemployed people in the East End. In 2000, the Millennium Dome in Greenwich was built and the London Eye was completed. It attracts millions of visitors each year. In 2011, there was a countrywide riot that started after Mark Duggan was shot dead by police, and shops around the country were looted.
London hosted the 2012 Summer Olympics in Stratford and it became the first city to host the modern games thrice. London remains one of the top destinations for education, business and commerce. It is a British capital that sparks the interest of many across the world. Over the years, London has only flourished into one of the best cities in the world and continues to do so. It remains a popular destination for sports, music, arts, and culture.
Tourists from every part of the world visit London and are mesmerized by the charm of the city. It offers the best of modern culture and rich history. London is one destination that never gets old and one visit to London is never enough.
List of 25 Fun, Interesting Facts About London
Even those living in the dynamic city will be surprised to know about the interesting and fun facts about London.
- The best way to start with facts about London is with the city’s famous attraction. London is famous for the clock tower and it is not named Big Ben. The name of the tower is Elizabeth Tower (previously named Clock Tower) and the name of the bell inside it is called Big Ben. The most famous landmark of London operates under a false identity.
- The Houses of Parliament are called the Palace of Westminster and it is the largest palace in the entire country.
- One of the most interesting London facts is that it is not legal to die in the Houses of Parliament so don’t even think about it or you will be accused of flouting the law. Fun fact about London!
- Peter Pan author J.M.Barrie had gifted the copyright of his book to Great Ormond Street Hospital. Since he did not have children, he wanted to ensure that the hospital received a royalty from his work.
- London banned drinking on public transport from June 1st 2008. On May 31st 2008, there was a Circle Line party where revelers took a trip on the Circle Line in fancy dresses for the last time before the era of public transport prohibition began.
- The Christmas tree at Trafalgar Square comes from Norway. Through the tree, they thank the people of England for their help in World War II. The tree is displayed in Trafalgar Square each year. I am sure this is one of the facts about London you never knew.
- There are 20 subterranean rivers that flow through London beneath the streets. A lesser known London fact!
- One of the lesser known London music facts is that there are more than 17,000 music performances every year across different venues. It is indeed an interesting and important fact about London.
- The City of London is one of the tiniest cities in the UK. It has about 7,000 residents. The district of Greater London has more than 8.3 million residents and it spans a huge area.
- One of the top facts about London is about its crucial transportation system. The transportation system in London is known to be exceptional. Every year buses in London travel about 12,128 times the circumference of the Earth, which is nearly 302 million miles. The transportation system is one of the most important features of London.
- ‘Number1, London’ is an address which is a Grade I listed Georgian building that was home to the 1st Duke of Wellington at one time. The building is open to visitors who want to get a peek into the best example of a traditional English residence.
- Could you think of a soccer pitch right in the center of the city on the edge of River Thames? If the London Eye was unrolled, its size would be more than 3.5 times the length of a soccer pitch. This is one of the facts about London Eye not many are aware of.
- More than 300 languages are spoken in London and the most popular languages after English include Gujarati, Bengali, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Punjabi.
- The hardest job in London is that of a black cab driver. They need to pass a very tough geography exam known as ‘the Knowledge’. The test requires the applicants to learn the 320 routes, 20,000 landmarks within a 6 mile radius of Charing Cross, and all 25,000 streets in the routes. It takes about 2 to 4 years to memorize this information.
- The official ceremonial entrance to Buckingham Palace and St James’s is the Horse Guards. However, the clock face on the entrance has a black bolt that marks the hour that King Charles I was executed, that is, 2 pm. Isn’t it a strange way to commemorate the death of a monarch?
- One of the top London attractions is the London Zoo which was the home of Winnie-the-Pooh. A Canadian regiment gave Winnie to the zoo as he was called up to fight in the First World War. Because of this, Winnie was in the zoo from 1914 to 1934 when the author AA Milne brought his son to the zoo. He became his favorite animal. The Winnie at the zoo was a female black bear and not male with a yellow color. She did not eat honey and probably was not friends with a piglet!
- London is a very famous tourist spot in the world and it is not legal to fly a kite at any site in London. It was made an offense under the Town Police Clauses Act in 1847 and is applicable even today.
- When it comes to London facts and information, one cannot miss out on mentioning the London Underground. London Underground is used by close to 3 million people in a day and three babies have also been born right on the tube. Jerry Springer, the US talk show host is one of the most famous person to have been born in a London Underground station.
- One of the top fun facts about London is that there is one specific road in London where you have to drive on the wrong side. This road leads to the entrance of the Savoy Hotel.
- The Great Plague hit Europe in the 15th century and it is said to have killed a third of Europe’s population. It affected London significantly due to the lack of sanitation and narrow streets. It killed about 25 million people. There were men known as ‘Searchers’ who carted away the dead bodies and threw them in mass burial pits. Surprisingly, Londoners are still discovering them today.
- There are six ravens inside the Tower of London. Charles II ordered them to be placed in the tower and they are still kept there. They must remain there at all times. All ravens have their wings clipped and there is a spare raven if one flies off.
- The Queen has many royal residences but she still sometimes resides in Buckingham Palace. You see the royal flag when she is home. The flag is known as the Royal Standard and is only flown from buildings where the Queen is present.
- Cleopatra’s Needle is an Egyptian artifact which is located on the Victoria Embankment. It is a time capsule. Erected in 1838, there were many things placed underneath including a copy of the Bible, a map of London, a rupee, few daily newspapers, and 12 photos of English women.
- Once renowned for housing thousands of feral pigeons, where tourists often fed and posed with, Trafalgar Square does not allow feeding pigeons anymore. In 2003, there was a ban on feeding them or selling feed near the square. It is a lesser-known fact about London.
- London is home to some of the most famous people in the world. This includes Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Sylvia Plath, Florence Nightingale and many others.