Fun Facts about London
London is known for being Capital of the UK, but there’s much more to the city than its status as England’s biggest. From local secrets to historical facts, CityLife is here to bring you the top ten most interesting things about London.
London Started Life as an Italian City
London was founded when the Roman Empire settled on the island of Britain and started its life as Londinium, a typical Roman settlement. A major port, it had 50,000 citizens – massive for the time – and its status as Britain’s biggest city remains to this day.
Photo Credit: ‘Londinium (2016)’ by Clive Varley on Flickr (view licence)
No One Knows how London Got Its Name
Despite its size, no one knows how London got its name.
We can track how most British cities were named throughout the years by looking at their Old English spellings (Birmingham = Beorma + ing + ham = ‘homestead of Beorma’s people), but there is no record for the origins of the word ‘London’.
Some theories suggest it was named after King Lud, who once controlled the city, or an ancient name for the River Thames.
Photo Credit: ‘River Thames 1964_bonus’ by foundin_a_attic on Flickr (view licence)
London is a Region as Well as a City
Ever wondered what those strange-sounding stops on the far end of the London Underground are? Ruislip, Cockfosters, Croydon, Richmond?
Photo Credit: ‘countryside london’ by super awesome on Flickr (view licence)
The City of London is the financial district housing famous buildings like the Gherkin (the Houses of Parliament is in nearby City of Westminster), but over the years London has expanded, so the county of ‘Greater London’ includes stretches of countryside and old country houses, as well as skyscrapers and famous sights, all accessible by Tube. and…
London Has Its Own Beaches!
As well as stretches of sand along the Thames you can relax on during summer, London has its own big beach in one of those strange-sounding places. Ruislip Lido, in North West London, is a large man-made beach and lake, the perfect place to relax with an ice-cream on a sunny day.
Photo Credit: ‘Sandcastles in London’ by Matt Brown on Flickr (view licence)
London Wasn’t England’s first Capital
Although it’s one of the most famous cities of the world, London didn’t start out as England’s capital. After the Romans left, there were different kingdoms in what is now England, each with different capital cities. The first capital of the united Kingdom of England was Winchester, and London only took over in 1066 after William the Conquerer invaded the island. Imagine if Winchester stayed capital?
Photo Credit: ‘Winchester/Winchester Cathedral’ by Herry Lawford on Flickr (view licence)
The London Underground Was the World’s First Underground System
The Metropolitan Line of the London Underground was the world’s first underground railway, paving the way for the New York City Subway, Paris’ Metro, and all other underground systems in the world. The line linked the city’s centre to a few nearby areas for easy, car-free, access in 1863.
Photo Credit: ‘The underground’ by Peter Toporowski on Flickr (view licence)
The London Underground Was almost Water-Based, Apparently
According to some articles, the London Underground almost wasn’t a train system at all. Some engineers apparently proposed the underground tunnels get flooded, so boats could transport people around the city like an underground canal system.
Photo Credit: ‘Entrances and exists’ by sagesolar on Flickr (view licence)
The London Eye is Only 19 Years Old
London’s most iconic sight, the London Eye only opened in the year 2000 to celebrate the new millennium. It was built on the sight of the Skylon, an old landmark which was designed to look like it was floating in the air.
The London Eye is still one of the tallest observation sights in London, only beat by the Shard.
London is the World’s Richest City
Well, it has the most amount of billionaires – over 80, more than New York and Paris. More than 80% of billionaires in the UK live in London.
Photo Credit: ‘A Bank of England, British fifty pound note’ by The Laird of Oldham on Flickr (view licence)
300 Languages are Spoken in London
Did you know that Scottish, Welsh, and Gaelic are still spoken in different parts of the UK? Add to that list Mandarin, Hindi, and all matter of languages from Europe and all over the world – London is truly one of the most musical cities in the world when it comes to different languages!
Photo Credit: ‘Londoners’’ by Filippo Diotalevi on Flickr (view licence)
This post has been written by Matteo Everett