These are some curious things in London that visitors don’t know and even some Londoners are unaware of.
Here is my personal list of interesting facts about my city which I discovered by living here, by word-of-mouth or by doing some researches.
1 – Just like some cities such as Miami or Amsterdam, London was built on water and swamps.
Many marshy areas have been reclaimed to create habitable areas but others have been preserved (and somewhat enhanced!) and nowadays form part of the urban landscape, such as the London Wetland Centre.
This place is a very beautiful natural area where to do birdwatching and picnics on weekends.
2 - There are about twenty streams other than the Thames River in London and one of them is subterranean and it runs under the Royal Palace of Buckingham.
From Sloane Square station, if you look up, you will see a tunnel in which the Westbourne runs through, this is another of the lost rivers in London that nobody knows (or cares) about given the importance of the river Thames.
3 - One of the most curious places in London in my opinion is Leinster street, a quiet street near Hyde Park.
Could you ever imagine that right in the centre of London there are two houses which aren’t real?
Near Leinster Gardens indeed there are two facades with doors, windows and balconies painted on the wall.
Behind these facades there is absolutely nothing, just the tracks of an old railroad built at the end of the nineteenth century that the neighbours decided to hide so as not to ruin the aesthetics of the neighbourhood!
A sort of fake façade like in a film studio right in old London.
4 – It’s no secret that London is the ninth largest city in the world but not many know that it has a population of more than eight million people and roughly one in three people is a foreigner.
This makes London one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world with over 300 different languages spoken here!
According to some statistics, London is also the world's most multimillionaire city (and for multi-millionaires we mean people with a wealth of at least $30 million!) thanks to some very wealthy residents who have chosen to buy homes here.
6 - Although many people refer to the Westminster clock tower with the name of Big Ben, the Big Ben is actually just one of its old bells and not the tower itself.
This tower clock is one of the most beautiful and precious that has ever been built.
I read the interesting fact that in the 90s a flock of birds sat on one of its hands and managed to delay it by 5 minutes?
7 - We all know that in England you drive to the left but there is an exception that confirms the rule: the Savoy Theatre.
In the driveway just in front of the theatre the cars must be driven on the right side as established by a law of the early 1900s.
This law was created to allow women to first get off the carriages and enter directly into the Savoy Theatre without stepping onto the road.
This law has never been modified and is still in force.
8 - The London Tube is the oldest in the world and began operating in 1863.
Although it’s an underground, only half of its tracks are actually underground. It is rumoured that the only place in the city where there are mosquitoes is the Tube but to be honest I’ve seen some flying around the river...
The Aldwych Tube station, which was closed in the 90s after a century of activity, was recently used as a movie set in the Sherlock Holmes films.
Experienced guides take visitors meters and meters below the ground to visit its original ticket office, the old lifts, the tracks and its abandoned tunnels.