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10 Facts You May Not Have Known About London

Daniel Riley March 15th, 2024 556 views

London. Picture Credit: Canva
London, the bustling capital of the United Kingdom, is a city steeped in history, culture, and endless attractions. While many travellers are familiar with its iconic landmarks like the Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, there are numerous lesser-known, yet fascinating, facts about this vibrant metropolis. Whether you're planning a trip to London or simply curious about this remarkable city, here are 10 intriguing facts that you may not have known.

1. The City of London vs. London

London is often used to refer to the entire capital city, but it actually consists of two distinct entities: the City of London and Greater London. The City of London, also known as the Square Mile, is the historic core of the city and is governed by its own unique municipal authority, the City of London Corporation. Meanwhile, Greater London encompasses the entire metropolitan area, with 32 distinct boroughs.

2. The Ravens of the Tower of London

The Tower of London is not just a historic fortress; it's also home to a group of ravens. Legend has it that if these ravens ever leave the tower, the monarchy and the kingdom will fall. To prevent this, the ravens, quite cruelly, have their wings clipped, ensuring they stay close to the tower. They are one of the main attractions inside the tower grounds.

3. The Oldest Public Loo

Hidden beneath the bustling streets of London lies the remains of one of the world's oldest public restrooms, dating back to Roman times. Known as the Roman amphitheatre, these ancient conveniences offered a surprisingly advanced sewage system for their time.

4. A Forest in the City

London may be a concrete jungle, but it's also home to numerous green spaces. One of the most intriguing is Epping Forest, a vast ancient woodland that's been designated as a protected area since the 19th century. It's a great escape from the urban hustle and bustle and perfect for a peaceful stroll.

5. The Whispering Gallery

St. Paul's Cathedral boasts a unique architectural feature known as the Whispering Gallery. Located 30 metres above the cathedral floor, the gallery is famous for its unique acoustic properties. A whispered message against one wall can be heard clearly on the opposite side, almost 42 metres away.

6. The Great Fire of London's Monument

The Monument to the Great Fire of London is not just a commemorative column; it's also a giant sundial. On the anniversary of the fire each year (September 2nd), the sun aligns perfectly with a copper plaque, creating a fiery reflection on the ground below.

7. London's Ghost Stations

Beneath London's bustling streets, there are several disused "ghost" Underground stations. These abandoned stations, such as Aldwych and Down Street, have rich histories and can sometimes be visited as part of guided tours.

8. The Most Multicultural City in the World

London is one of the most diverse and multicultural cities on the planet, with over 300 languages spoken within its boundaries. This vibrant mix of cultures is reflected in its food, music, and festivals, making it a global melting pot.

9. The Oldest Sporting Venue

Wimbledon, one of the most prestigious tennis tournaments in the world, takes place at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. What many don't realise is that this venue is one of the oldest tennis clubs in existence, with its roots dating back to 1868.

10. The Hidden House of Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes fans will be delighted to discover the Sherlock Holmes Museum on Baker Street. While many visit the museum, not everyone knows that 221B Baker Street, Holmes's fictional address, was actually created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In reality, the museum is located between numbers 237 and 241.

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