London is the capital and the largest city of the United Kingdom. It is also the cosmopolitan centre of Europe, and is home to the British monarchy. Visitors are known to throng popular spots such as Buckingham Palace, the British Museum, the National Gallery, Westminster Abbey, Madame Tussaud’s waxwork collection, the Tower of London, the Natural History, Science, Museum, the Victoria and Albert and the Tate galleries. If you were to start exploring the city from Trafalgar Square as a tourist on foot, you would cover most of the tourists spots within a radius of 10 square miles or 26 square km in all directions.
But here are ten uncommon facts about London which are interesting and quirky, enlisted in no particular order:
· London weather is infamous for being rainy, grey, gloomy and cloudy. But London is actually Britain’s driest city. In fact, it receives an annual rainfall of some 23 inches, much less in comparison with New York that gets 47 inches, or Rome at 32 inches and Sydney at 39 inches.
· 10 Downing Street, the most popular address in London is the official residence of the British Prime mInister. But it’s not easily accessible owing to the heavy security cordoning around it. If you are craving for that selfie, then a 5-minute walk will take you to 10 Adam Street, just off the Strand. This is an exact replica of its more famous neighbour. At least the selfie problem can surely be solved!
· At a time when the entire world is grappling with the Corona virus, the London plague does occur in many conversations wherein people draw similarities. Since the plague was also highly contagious, many wealthy folks during the Elizabethan era were so unhappy with the crowds thronging to watch Shakespeare’s plays as theatres were always overcrowded. Therefore to prevent the spread of the plague, they tried to get theatres banished from London. We’re not sure that we blame them entirely!
· Did you know that London has nearly 8 million trees which makes a tree each for every Londoner? Nearly 50% of this city is classified as a green zone. London is dotted with flourishing woods, gardens and parks that make the city not just look so enamouring but also ends up absorbing some 2000 tonnes of pollutants from the environment on an annual basis. Surely Delhi can take a page from this book!
· Big Ben is actually the name of the largest bell in the clock tower, and not the name of the clock tower itself, which is the Elizabeth Tower.
· Despite its name, London Underground, 55% of it is above the ground.
· Most people are familiar with London’s bustling pubs but the best part is that you can actually get a drink at 7 am! Yes, yes you heard it here…on London’s market-side, pubs such as the Market Porter and many others cater to night shift workers on their way home and are licensed to serve alcohol at 7 am though most regular pubs start by 11 am. Cheers to that!
· Bet you don’t know this one! Well, until 1916, Harrod’s sold cocaine legally and was extremely popular for people looking forward to a real high besides shopping.
· It costs £4.90 to take the tube between Leicester Square and Covent Garden stations on the Piccadilly Line despite the fact that they are only 260 metres apart. Despite this being less than a few minutes’ walk, this is one of the busiest journeys in entire London. FitBit be damned!
· Jack the Ripper, London’s most notorious serial killer has actually never been caught. Whilst hundreds of conspiracy theories have circulated down the years regarding his real identity, Scotland Yard has never been able to solve this mystery.