Skip to content
Back Back to Insurance menu Go to Insurance
Back Back to Holidays menu Go to Holidays
Back Back to Saga Magazine menu Go to Magazine
Search Magazine

10 interesting facts about London

23 December 2016 ( 28 January 2021 )

Even those familiar with our capital's charms might be surprised to read these interesting (and sometimes bizarre) facts about London...

London at twilight

If you can't resist the pull of those big city lights, you're probably no stranger to London. After all, the UK capital boasts a fair old few. But of course, that's not all this enticing destination offers.

Whether it's world class shopping, diverse world cuisine or a host of historical and modern attractions you seek, you'll find it all in this dynamic and cosmopolitan city.

Yet even those familiar with our capital's charms might be surprised to find out one of these strange and interesting facts about London...

1. The iconic clock tower isn't called Big Ben

One of London's most famous landmarks operates under a false identity - its real name is simply The Clock Tower. Big Ben is the name of the bell within.

The best UK cities for history buffs

2. The Houses of Parliament are officially known as the Palace of Westminster

This makes this famous political landmark the largest palace in the country.

3. Great Ormond Street Hospital was gifted the copyright of Peter Pan

The Peter Pan copyright was gifted to the hospital by the author. J.M. Barrie - he had no children of his own so made sure that the hospital received royalties from all associated works and performances of his masterpiece.

4. It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament

So, don't even think about it unless you want to be accused of seriously flouting the law.

5. The Trafalgar Square Christmas tree comes all the way from Norway

To show their gratitude to the people of England for their alliance in World War II, the people of Oslo, Norway, present London with the Christmas tree proudly displayed in Trafalgar Square every year.

Get some tips on how to decorate a Christmas tree

6. There was a Circle Line party the night before London banned drinking on public transport

On May 31st 2008, the eve of the day the ban was to be brought into action, revellers took a trip on the Circle Line, many in fancy dress, for one last knees-up before the era of public transport prohibition began.

7. The City of London is actually one of the smallest cities in the UK

If we're getting technical, this itty-bitty city only boasts just over 7,000 residents. However, the administrative district of Greater London, plays host to roughly 8.3 million residents and spans a large enough area to squeeze in New York four times over.

Save hundreds of pounds on holidays and cruises - browse our available travel offers and find out more here.

8. The New York Police Department operates in London

Speaking of the Big Apple, the long arm of the New York Police Department stretches all the way to London and is operational in the city.

9. There are around 20 subterranean rivers flowing beneath London's streets

These underground rivers are the tributaries of the Thames and the River Lea which were built over as London expanded.. The largest is the River Fleet, which gets its name from the Anglo-Saxon word for 'tidal inlet', and from which Fleet Street gets its name (after Fleet Bridge, the old river crossing). All of London's underground rivers are now used as part of the sewer system.

10. The address 'Number 1, London' is a Grade I listed Georgian building

'Number 1, London' was once the home of the 1st Duke of Wellington. It's also known as Apsley House and is open to visitors keen to sneak a peek at one of the best preserved examples of an 18th century English aristocratic residence in town.

Go off the beaten track in London

Even if you’ve lived your whole life in the UK, there’s always somewhere new to discover. Find out more here


Saga Magazine is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site or newsletter, we may earn affiliate commission. Everything we recommend is independently chosen irrespective of affiliate agreements.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

Related Topics