London, the bustling metropolis that it is, has some interesting tidbits that often fly under the radar. While the famous landmarks get their fair share of attention, there’s of course more to the city than meets the eye. In this blog post, we’re digging into five lesser-known facts about London. From quirky stories to surprising histories, these nuggets of information offer a different perspective on the city’s character.
Fact 1: London is considered a Forest
By a UN definition any area that has at least proportionally 20% of tree coverage is considered a forest. London, at the last count has 22% tree coverage making the city an urban forest.
Trees are predominantly located in many of London’s large parks and open spaces such as Hampstead Heath, Epping, Regents and Hyde Park just to name just a few.
Fact 2: Over 300 different languages are spoken in London!
Everyone knows London is one of the most multicultural places on earth, but perhaps not everyone knew it was to this extent! Some languages are spoken more than others which include Polish, Turkish, Punjabi, Bengali, Tagalog, Kurdish and of course Arabic. Interestingly French-based Creole figures in the statistics.
According to Boris Johnson (at the time he was Mayor) “There over 400,000 French men and women in London and making him the mayor of the sixth biggest French city on earth.” To underline this, London hosts 420 French schools and institutions.
Fact 3: The Story of 10 Downing Street
10 Downing Street in London has been the official residence of the Prime Minister since 1997. The building is in fact three houses knocked into one and is used as the seat of political government for the UK. What you did not know is there is a replica of the famous building (and door) at 10 Adam Street just off London’s Strand. You can’t access 10 Downing Street, but you are free to take photos and selfies at 10, Adam Street.
Fact 4: London’s “Underground” Isn’t Underground?
The majority of the London Underground train (tube system) is actually 55% is above ground!
Every week the total travel of London Underground escalators roll the equivalent of two circuits round the word. That’s 49,802 miles. Every week! The American financier Charles Yerkes was the biggest influence. That’s why London’s underground carriages are called “cars”
Fact 5: The “City” Of London
- The City of London is in fact a city within a city. It is 1.2 square miles and known as the Square Mile.
- It has its own Lord Mayor and, wait for it, the monarch is required to seek permission from the mayor before entering the City of London.
- The City of London has more banks than Tokyo or Manhattan and makes more international telephone call’s than any other city.
- About a quarter of the buildings are replaced every 25 years.