10 fun facts about London

Our city has so much life and history in it, we’re constantly discovering new things and finding more and more to love about our home. We thought it would be nice to share some of our favourite fun facts about London.

Big Ben isn’t what you think

As one of London’s most popular attractions, we thought it made sense to share this fact with you… it’s not actually called Big Ben! The building is actually called The Clock Tower, and Big Ben is the bell inside it.

London still has sheriffs

Just not the ones that might have come to mind when we said Sheriff. They don’t protect the city from lawlessness like the ones from Westerns, London Sheriffs carry out the instructions from the High Court of Justice and support the Mayor.

London cityscape

We’ve had a deadly beer tidal wave

In 1814, a brewery accident caused a huge tidal wave of beer to sweep through the town. The neighbourhood of St Giles was particularly hard hit and the force of the wave caused houses to collapse. Eight people were killed as a result.

Steam powered underground

When it was first built in 1863, the London underground ran steam trains along its tracks. It was a real effort for engineers to figure out how to reduce the steam and smoke output and keep all rail users safe.

Norway gifts us a Christmas tree every year

Every winter, the tree in Trafalgar Square is one that has been gifted to the city from Norway. It’s a tradition that began as a thanks for the UK’s support in World War Two and continues on to this day. It’s decorated in traditional Norwegian style and gets covered in hundreds of white lights.  

Ravens must always roost in the Tower of London

Legend tells that there must always be six ravens in the Tower of London. If they were to leave, it’s said that the Tower, and the Kingdom, will fall to ruin. We employ a special Ravenmaster to care for the birds and make sure they’re happy to call the Tower home.

trees and river in London

London is technically a forest

With London being the capital city, it’s no surprise people aren’t always familiar with our green spaces. The density of trees in London per square meter technically qualifies it as a forest under the United Nations definition.

We’ve had polar bear swimming in the River Thames

Yes, you read that right, we’ve had a polar bear swimming in the River Thames. Henry III was given a polar bear 1252 which was allowed to swim and hunt in the river.

We have false houses

One of our favourite London facts is that two houses in Leinster Gardens aren’t houses at all! They look like the other buildings on the terraced street, but numbers 23 and 24 are actually just facades. Behind the carefully constructed frontage is an exposed section of the underground railway.

Winnie-the-Pooh lived in London Zoo

Winnie, a female black bear, was gifted to the zoo by a Canadian regiment in World War One. When AA Milne brought his son, Christopher Robin, to see the animals, Winnie quickly became his favourite and was the inspiration for the beloved story.

Have we surprised you with any of these fun facts about London? Share your own with us on Twitter!