Ever wondered why everybody wants to visit London once. It has some signature attractions just like any metropolis. Then what makes it such an intriguing city? There is far more to the British capital than at first appears. And there’s always something new and surprising you’ll find about the city rich in history and character. I’ve visited London and sharing a few facts that surprised me!
• No, the Tower in the picture is not Big Ben and neither the big clock. Most people visiting London have a wrong impression! Big Ben is in fact, a 13 ton bell inside the Tower which is known as Clock Tower (not the St. Stephen’s Tower)
• Buckingham Palace, the official royal residence was constructed in 1702…on the land of a notorious brothel!
• You must have heard of the Great Fire of London in 1666 that devastated 13,200 houses, the Royal Exchange, original St Paul’s Cathedral, and 87 parish churches. But surprisingly, only “eight” deaths were reported!
• The city that you now call London has gone through a choice of names in its long history. During the Roman invasion, it was called Londinium whilst it became known as Lundenwic in Saxon times. And during the kingdom of Alfred the Great, the city came to be known as Lundenburg.
• London city, the centre of the “British Empire”, is surprisingly home to people speaking over 300 languages. This is why it is also popularly known as the most linguistically diverse city.
• There exists a place in London where even the Queen of England cannot enter…it’s the House of Commons because she is not a commoner.
• London was the first ever city that launched underground metro system called “the tube”. It’s one of the largest and oldest tube networks in the world. And it’s so old that it has developed its own mosquito species and is also one of the most unreliable and costliest one. But is still the heart of London.
• London has a reputation of being a rainy city; however, this is not true. It doesn’t rain all the time in London. In fact, London gets about 22.9 inches rain per year which is less than NYC’s 50 inches.
• If you want to grab late night ale, London has over “5000” pubs to choose from. Yes, you heard it right. These pubs serve roughly 7.75 million gallons of beer per month which makes it about one gallon beer per person for a city with 7.8 million populaces.
• Covent Garden, one of the most famous tourist hotspots in London is actually a spelling mistake. This area used to be a market garden for a convent.
• It's no surprise that London hotel tariffs tend to be “highest” in Europe! However, what's surprising is that i managed to find a nice hotel for just 30.00 GBP through Londonhotels4u . So, you need not worry as far as staying in London is concerned.
• The Savoy Hotel is the only place in the world where you are allowed to drive on the right side of the road. A thing that you can only do in London!
• If you’re a shopaholic, you must be familiar with the most famous shopping centre in London, Harrods, selling the best of designer collections and everything a fashionista wants in his/her wardrobe. However, until 1916, Harrods sold only pure cocaine to its customers.
• Pre the O2, no one had any idea what to do with the Millennium dome. During Christmas 2004, the place was used as a shelter for the destitute.
• Waterloo Bridge that has now become a tourist attraction of its own was mostly built by women.
• London cab drivers have to learn 320 different routes, 20,000 landmarks, and 25,000 streets to become certified chauffeurs. And the process can take 2 to 4 years known as “The Knowledge”. However, all the efforts pay off. A study showed that the cab drivers in London have larger hippocampuses which is a part of the brain related to memory.
• Things left behind on London tube include, a skull, a coffin, a samurai sword, and a stuffed puffer fish. Quite surprising, right?
That’s not all! London always surprises with something new. Visit London and you might explore something that not many are aware of like i did.