What is “Big Ben”? Most people have an impression that it’s the name of the world famous clock, or perhaps the tower that houses it. Not true! The name actually refers to the 13 ton bell, while the tower is known as St. Stephen’s Tower.
The Queen’s official residence, Buckingham Palace was built in 1702… on the site of a notorious brothel!
In 1870, thanks to the potato famines in Ireland, there were more Irish living in London than there were in Dublin. (At the time, there were also more Catholics living in London than there were in Rome.)
The Thames is the oldest place name in Britain, and the river is a combination of four other rivers.
The Great Fire of London in 1666 created substantial damage across the city and raged for days, causing parts of London to be rebuilt. However, only around eight lives were lost in the catastrophe.
The city that is presently known as London has gone through a variety of names during its history. At the time of the Roman Invasion, it was called Londinium. In Saxon times, it became known as Lundenwic. And during the kingdom of Alfred the Great, the city was known as Lundenburg.
About 25% of all people today living in London were born in another country. A culturally diverse and multi-ethnic city, London is home to people speaking over 300 languages.
There are over 19,000 listed structures in the British capital. Gaslight was introduced in London in 1807; prior to this, torchlight was used. Her Majesty the Queen is not allowed to go into the House of Commons because she is not a commoner.
Rumor has it that Windsor Castle is haunted by a range of ghosts, including King Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I, Mad King George, and Charles I.
About sixteen percent of the UK’s restaurants are located in London, and there are more Michelin-rated restaurants in London than in any city except for Paris.
London’s underground system, commonly called “the tube”, was the first to be built anywhere, and it is one of the largest. Now, however, it is one of the most unreliable –and costliest.
Each week, the 409 escalators in the London subway cover an astonishing distance: The equivalent of several trips around the globe!
Streets are NOT numbered (First Street, Fifth Avenue), they have names. Some streets do not have the word Street, Road or Avenue after the name. Examples include Haymarket, Pall Mall and Whitehall.
King Henry I of England (1068-1135) is supposed to have died from indigestion caused by eating moray eel.King Henry I of England (1068-1135) is supposed to have died from indigestion caused by eating moray eel.
'Blighty' is another nickname for Britain. In the first World War, soldiers would pray for a 'blighty'. This was a wound that would get them back to 'Blighty' for treatment. Some people say it's a corruption 0f 'beauty' but more probably it's derived from a Hindu word meaning 'stranger' and picked up by the British while ruling India.
It was believed that an army attacking a castle in the early Middle Ages in Britain could invoke supernatural forces to their aid if they marched anti-clockwise round the castle walls.
There are some 30,000 shops in London. In the 2009 Tourism Awards, Selfridges was voted the visitors favourite store.
More than 300 languages are spoken in London.
The streets of London were lit by gaslights for the first time in 1807. Before that, torches were used.
In 1971 London Bridge was purchased by an American, and shipped to Lake Havasu City, Arizone, to be displayed as a tourist attraction. Legend has it that the purchaser thought he was actually buying Tower Bridge.
London has 1200 hotels, of which 300 have full restaurant facilities
Thieves tried to break into the Millennium Dome at Greenwich, England during November 2000, to steal a priceless collection of diamonds. They failed, and even if they had succeeded they would have quickly realised the diamonds were all fake!
Taxi drivers in London, England, are required to pass a training test based upon the "The Blue Book". Preparation for this test takes between two to four years. Of ten who start, eight or nine drop out before completion.
The only House in England that the Queen may not enter is the House Of Commons as she is not a commoner.
Cockney rhyming slang began in London around the 1850's as a statement of independence felt by those who prided themselves on having been born within the sound of Bow Bells.
Tea is the most popular drink in Britain – far more popular than coffee.
Cockneys invented a new dialect – rhyming slang – that has been in use since the mid-19th century. Rhyming slang uses a phrase that rhymes with a word, instead of the word itself – thus ‘stairs’ becomes ‘apples and pears’, ‘phone’ becomes ‘dog and bone' and ‘word’ becomes ‘dicky bird’.
You must make it to any pub within London and try the fish-and-chips with malt vinegar - and, of course, if you drink, enjoy a nice British brew while catching a local soccer match on the tele!
The Great London Fire of 1666 started in a bakery on Pudding Lane. Rumor has it, that the owner, Thomas Farynor, oversaw some blaze in the oven.
In England, in pubs or bars, you can have drinks but you are not allowed to get drunk; and in Scotland you are on the wrong side of the law if you are drunk and in possession of a cow.
Although it has never actually existed, 221b Baker Street is one of London's most famous addresses. It was, of course, the home of Sherlock Holmes and his companion, Dr Watson.
Jimi Hendrix, the rock guitarist, died in London on September 18, 1970. The cause of death was drinking a barbiturate and alcohol cocktail.
Britain’s most popular ‘fast food’ is fish and chips. Fish and chips shops first made an appearance at the end of the 19th century.
The streets of London were lit by gaslights for the first time in 1807. Before that, torches were used. .
The Queen of England, who once enjoyed extensive powers and authority over almost the whole world, and despite all her present majesty and glory, is not allowed to enter the House of Commons simply because she is not its member!
The English are tea addicts: an Englishman drinks more tea than any person of any other nation (over twenty times more than Americans!).
One of the most well-known theatres of The United Kingdom is the Theatre Royal Bristol that has been continuously staging “Cats” since 1766!
Did you know that London has had many names in the past? It was called Londonium during the Roman Invasion, Ludenwic in Saxon times, and Ludenburg during the kingdom of Alfred the Great.
The London Eye is the tallest observation wheel in the world and each rotation takes about 30 minutes.
In the Great Fire of London that wreaked havoc on the city and necessitated massive reconstruction work, the casualty count was only eight!
The treasures contained in the British Museum span two million years of world civilization.
You must have heard the “London Bridge is falling down” nursery rhyme. Did you know that this rhyme might be over a thousand years old? The Saxons destroyed London Bridge using boats and ropes to tear it down. People think that is how the rhyme originated
Did you know that the river Thames, which flows through London, has over 200 bridges and 20 tunnels?
London, the capital of England and the UK, is the world's ninth-largest city. Its spans nearly 2,000 years, beginning with the arrival of the Romans soon after their invasion of Britain in AD43. London is situated on the banks of the river Thames, in southeast England.
London was the first city in the world to have an underground railway, known as the 'Tube'.
The Pearly Kings were the leaders of the Victorian street sellers. They got their name because they wore 'pearl' buttons on their hats as a sign of authority. Later they began to wear clothes covered all over in buttons. The title of Pearly King is passsed down in the family, and there are Pearly Queens, Princes and Princesses too. They now spend their free time collecting for charity