London: 10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know

There’s been a lot said and written about the British capital. So much so that any attempt to fully understand it, or even sketch out a brief itinerary, seems something of an almost impossible task. London continues to mesmerise travellers, and the number of tourists heading the capital climbs year on year. 

With most people arriving in through two of the city’s biggest airports though, people probably don’t actually know that much about London itself. So, here’s a few things to help you better understand it, interesting facts if you will, that you can scan from your bedside in the BW Plus Park Grand London Heathrow or any other inner city accommodation option.

Congestion Charge

A particularly useful one for those renting cars and staying outside the city proper, the London congestion charge is a fee exercised for driving in the centre of the city between 7am and 5pm. Capped at 10 pounds, this fee can be lowered by registering your car as a private taxi.

Tube Drinking Law

Up until 2008, drinking alcohol on the tube was a usual thing. Since then it’s been banned. the day before the law came into action thousands rode the Circle line while drinking for hours.

Ancient Polar Bear

Back in medieval times when the Tower of London loomed over the city like an evil intimidating presence, there lived a polar bear inside its walls. Gifted to Henry III in 1251 by the King of Norway, the bear was kept on a long chain so that it could dip in and out of the Thames as it liked.

Hidden River System

London underground can be a dark and eerie place. Couple that with the fact that there are over 20 hidden rivers moving beneath the surface of London and you might find it an even more spooky sight.

London is Really Small

Visitors to the capital might be surprised to learn that the City of London itself is actually one of the smallest of the UK’s cities, home to just over 7,000 residents. The administrative section however, is home to around 8.3 million people and large enough to fit Paris inside of itself 49 times.

Most Visited City

14.5 million people visited London in 2010, making it the most visited of all European cities and third nationally. Even more interesting is the number of people moving in and out of the city each year, which is estimated to be around 1.3 million.

Language Centre of the World

300 languages are spoken in the capital, making London the place where more languages are spoken than any other city in the world. Of course this is probably helped and fuelled by the fact that the city is home to over 4,500 pubs and bars, making conversation that tiny bit easier.


According to statistics Londoners live longer than residents of other cities around the UK. The average life span for London men is 77.9 years and for women it’s at 82.4 years, pushing the national average by just over 2 months. Visiting London isn’t said to make you particularly healthy but, judging by the statistics, who knows?

Great Fire of London

London’s Great Fire, despite its name, only caused the death of six people. Seven, however, were killed jumping from the Monument to the Great Fire of London before the safety rail was erected. The Monument too, was originally intended as a fixed telescope to study the motion of a star.

Rapid Growth

London was the first city in history to break the one million barrier in population back in 1811. It remained the largest city up until 1957, when Tokyo, Japan, took over.

London, as the facts depict, is a fascinating place full of wonder and intrigue. If this information hasn’t helped fuel your desire to head out and explore then we’re not sure what will. The city and its mysteries await.