London has been settled for nearly 2,000 years, which means there is a lot of history and facts about London. Visiting the English capital and learning the interesting facts about London is part of the travel fun.
You can do London as cheaply or elaborately as you want. It is a safe and very diverse city that will make you fall in love with it time and time again. Here are some fun facts about London that will make your trip more interesting.
Don’t forget to check out the London pass when you visit or some of the popular tourist passes in Europe destinations. These can be good time and cost savers.
Historical Facts About London
How London Got Its Name
There is a lot of debate on how London got its name. The most common answer is that it is a derivative of the name Londinium, which is the name the Romans used as early as 46 AD.
This is also when scholars think the area was originally settled as a sports city. There is also a theory that name comes from the Celtic word “Londinous” which means “bold”.
London Bridge Is Falling Down (And Has Many Times)
Many will incorrectly assume that the very large and ornate Tower of London Bridge is THE London Bridge. However, if you are aware of facts about London Bridge you will know better.
The London Bridge is located a bit down the Thames and has existed in some form since the Romans settled this area. The bridge was originally built of wood and then made of stone in 1176.
The stone bridge was completed in 1209 and last more than 600 years! On this bridge was a chapel, shops and homes, a drawbridge, and even a mill. At the end of its life, the bridge’s maintenance became too much and it was replaced by a version made of granite and was opened in 1825.
Nearly 140 years later, it appeared that the London Bridge was “falling down” as the bridge sunk into the Thames due to increased traffic.
The current bridge was opened in 1973 and has collided with the warship HMS Jupiter but is otherwise still standing and functioning with car and foot traffic today. With nearly 900 years of history, there are tons of London Bridge facts.
Geographical Facts About London
London Is Technically A Forest
Walking around London and exploring places like Hyde Park, you certainly wouldn’t think the city is lacking trees and green spaces. However, London is technically defined as a forest by the United Nations due to the density of trees per square mile. It’s certainly an urban forest, at the very least.
If you are looking for some coastal action, then you will have to head to some of the beaches near London.
London Doesn’t Get Much Rain Compared To Other Cities
London has a reputation for being wet and rainy all the time. But, one of the more interesting facts about London is it actually gets less rain than cities like Miami, Rome, or Sydney. That is in consideration of 1) how many days it rains a year and 2) the volume of rain that comes down.
London Proper Is England’s Smallest City
London proper, where all of the main sites are and what you picture when you are thinking of traveling to London, is only 1.2 square miles! Only 7,500 people live in this small area, which makes this England’s smallest city.
Greater London Is The UK’s Largest City
The area surrounding London proper, or the Greater London area, is 606 square miles and has over 8.7 million residents. This makes London the most populated city in the United Kingdom and is probably more aligned with what you thought about London when planning a trip!
Each district has its own unique flavor and vibe to offer, making it an exciting city for exploration.
Cultural Facts About London
London Has The Most Billionaire Residents In The World
London is home to more than 80 billionaires, more than other considerably wealthy cities like New York, Paris, or San Francisco.
With charming houses rich in history dotting the streets, it’s not surprising that many want to call this part of the world home (for at least one house, of course). This is a fact about London that will surprise many people!
Over 300 Languages Are Spoken By London Residents
London is considered by many to be one of the most diverse cities in the world. This of course can be traced back to the English having so much influence over the world for centuries and bringing people to London.
Across the 8.7 million residents in London proper, more than 300 languages are spoken. There are also more Indian restaurants in London than there are in Mumbai!
London Has Over 170 Museums
London was at the forefront of centuries of global English rule. The English capital is an extremely historic and culturally important city not only to the English but those that the monarchy and their decisions have influenced.
As such, there are over 170 museums within Greater London that range from history museums with artifacts dating back to the Roman Empire settling this are, to art throughout the ages, science, and technology, and so much more.
London Is Home To The Smallest Statue
It may seem silly, but the smallest statue in the world is located in London and it’s two mice eating a piece of cheese. Legend has it two men on a building project fought to the death over a piece of cheese that one accused the other of eating.
The story goes that it was later found out that the culprit was a little mouse. London fun facts and monuments like these make a trip here so fun!
Interesting Facts About London For Travelers
The Underground Is Mostly Above Ground
When you visit London, chances are you will take the subway, or Tube, at least once on your trip. This transport system is one of the things that London is famous for.
Officially known as the Underground, more than half of the tracks for this public transit system are actually above ground! No matter, the Tube is a great way to get around safely and cheaply.
The Houses Of Parliament Is The Largest Palace In UK
The official name of the building where the Houses of Parliament meet is the Palace of Westminster. It is the United Kingdom’s largest palace and construction began in the 11th century.
There have been two devastating fires, one in 1512 and the next in 1834, so the only original remaining rooms are the Jewel Tower, the Cloisters of St. Stephen’s, the Chapel of St. Mary Undercroft, and Westminster Hall.
This is a regularly working building, with both the House of Lords and the House of Commons meeting here in their respective chambers.
Big Ben Isn’t Actually Named Big Ben
Many tourists will take a photo in front of the Palace of Westminster trying to touch the tip of “Big Ben,” the clock tower on the side of the building.
Even locals will call the tower itself Big Ben. The tower’s official name has been Elizabeth Tower since 2012 and was the Clock Tower before. The clock inside the tower is what is actually named Big Ben.
The tower of London is one of the most famous landmarks in London.
London Eye Fact: It Is The 4th Largest Ferris Wheel In The World
There are many facts about the London Eye that even if you’re scared of heights, it is absolutely worth it (and also not scary). It takes about 30 minutes to get around, and it is the most popular paid attraction in the UK. Grab a skip-the-line ticket here to save time.
There are 32 capsules that you can ride, which represents the 32 boroughs of London. And on a very clear day, you can see out to Windsor Castle. Knowing these London Eye facts should help make your trip around even better.
Tower Of London Facts—the Prison That Wasn’t Meant To Be
Originally built as a Royal Palace and fortress under William the Conqueror, the Tower of London was never supposed to become the legendary torture prison it is now known as.
The Queen does have an official residency on-site, and the Tower is also home to the Crown Jewels of England, which are estimated to be valued at $32 billion.
There are always six ravens living on the grounds, as King Charles II was superstitious that any less would mean the Tower would crumble. The other modern residents of the Tower are the Yeoman Warders, who act as security.
There are many ghosts said to haunt the Tower. Ghosts of former prisoners like Anne Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey. And also, the ghosts of the two young princes killed by their vindictive uncle, King Richard III.
There’s even a grizzly bear ghost from when the Tower had a zoo. The last execution on these grounds was a German spy during World War II.
Traveling To London
These fun facts about London have hopefully motivated you to book your next vacation to this ancient and historic city. Find out some of the best things to do in London.
Make sure you pack your walking shoes and are ready to rattle off all of the interesting facts about London to your travel buddies while enjoying popular london dishes!