London Fun Facts – 30 Curious & Interesting Facts About London

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London is an awesome city with an interesting history. Lots of things have happened in London over the centuries, so it’s only normal that some of them are wackier than others.

After putting together a London Q&A Quiz, with lots of fun questions about the British capital, I figured it was only natural to write this compilation of London fun facts!

If you’re searching for the weirdest and most fun facts about London, this guide has you covered! So let’s dive in, and discover lots of quirky and unique things about London!

Sunset over the London Eye, the Thames and Westminster from South Bank
Sunset over the London Eye, the Thames and Westminster from South Bank

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Generic fun London trivia facts

London is actually the smallest city in England

If I told you London is the smallest city in England, you would probably think I’m bonkers. Well, be ready to be proved wrong!

Technically, the City of London is only 2.9km squared and has a population of just over 9,000 people. Greater London however, is a whole other matter.

Technically London is a forest

Another fun fact that might seem weird for a big city like London. However London there are lots of gorgeous parks in London, with over 8.4 million trees dotted all over the city.

As per the UN definition, London can be classified as a forest thanks to its high concentration of green areas.

Enjoying the view over Regents Park and the London skyline from Primrose Hill
Enjoying the view over Regents Park and the London skyline from Primrose Hill

Over 300 languages are spoken in London

We all know London is a very international city, but that gives you an idea of just how much!

Only 6 people died in the Great Fire of London

For something that is called the “Great” Fire of London, and which went on for four days, ravishing four fifths of the city, I was surprised to discover that only six people died!

Monument to the Great Fire of London is one of the most beautiful viewpoints in London.

The view over London from the Monument to the Great Fire of London
The view over London from the Monument to the Great Fire of London

There are over 10,000 foxes in London

When I first moved to London I had no idea there were foxes around the city. I grew up in Milan after all and we don’t have foxes there, I didn’t think cities could be so different!

The first time I saw a fox was just off Gower Street, outside my university and I was positively baffled. Since then I’ve seen loads more foxes, with some of them even coming in my courtyard at home!

The colourful houses of Neal's Yard in London
The colourful houses of Neal’s Yard in London

The Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square has been a gift from Norway since 1947

Every year Norway donates a huge Christmas tree to the people of Britain, which is regularly displayed in Trafalgar Square.

This tradition has been going on since 1947, as a token of gratitude for British support to Norway during Second World War.

Great Ormond Street Hospital owns the copyright to Peter Pan

This is such a wholesome fun fact. The author of Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie, didn’t have any children, so after his death he donated the copyright of Peter Pan to Great Ormond Street Hospital (a children’s hospital).

Over the years the many cartoon and movie remakes of Peter Pan have earned the hospital a decent amount.

The big Christmas tree in Covent Garden, London
The big Christmas tree in Covent Garden, London

London was founded by the Romans

Being Italian, I quite like this fun fact! The city of London was actually founded by the Romans, and was originally called Londonium.

London isn’t actually that rainy

As someone who hates the cold and rain, people often ask me why I live in London. While it’s true that winter in London can be quite grey, and it does often rain in London, it’s not as rainy as people think.

Actually, as far as statistics go, London actually has less annual rainfall than other European cities like Rome, Libson and Zagreb. So let’s stop hating on the British capital, and enjoy all the awesome things to do in London!

Playing with long exposure shots and light trails in Oxford Street
Playing with long exposure shots and light trails in Oxford Street

London University was the first to allow women to study

I love this London fun fact. University used to be only for men, and London University was the first to allow women to enrol.

The main quad of University College London
The main quad of University College London

Weird London fun facts

Harrods sold cocaine up to 1916

I guess this isn’t that weird given the context of the time, where cocaine was a legal drug. You could buy simply buy cocaine from Harrods.

London went through a Gin Craze

While I’m the first one to appreciate a good gin & tonic, our consumption of G&Ts today is far from that during the Gin Craze.

In the first half of the 18thcentury the consumption of gin was so high that Parliament had to pass five major Acts to control the consumption of gin.

If you want to explore some of London’s coolest bars, check out these bars in Camden, Notting Hill and these beautiful rooftop bars.

Cocktails with a view at LSQ Rooftop in London
Cocktails with a view at LSQ Rooftop

There was a beer flood in London

In 1814 there was an accident at Meux & Co’s Horse Shoe Brewery, where a 22-foot tall wooden vat of fermenting porter burst. This lead to what is now known as the London Beer Flood.

Between 580,000 and 1,470,000 litres of beer were released in the streets of London, causing eight deaths.

Enjoying the sunset over St Paul's Cathedral from Madisons Rooftop Bar
Enjoying the sunset over St Paul’s Cathedral from Madisons Rooftop Bar

British people celebrate Guy Fawkes Night

On my first year in London all my university mates were super excited that the 5thof November was during reading week, so that we could have a huge celebration for Bonfire Night (or Guy Fawkes Night).

I had no idea what it was, so I went up to read on it and turns out it’s the annual commemoration for Guy Fawks failing to blow up the House of Lords. You read that right, we celebrate that someone tried to (and failed to) blow up the House of Lords.

The Shard, Tower Bridge and the London skyline as seen from the River Thames during our dinner cruise
The Shard, Tower Bridge and the London skyline as seen from the River Thames

You could pay entrance to London Zoo with an animal

This one is a bit of a dark one. In the 1700s instead of paying the three and a half pence entrance fee to London Zoo, you could pay with a cat or dog.

These were then used to feed the hungry lions and tigers.

The Royal Albert Hall in South Kensington, London
The Royal Albert Hall in South Kensington, London

Fun facts about London landmarks

The Shard is the tallest building in London

With its 309.6 metres, the Shard is the tallest building in London and the UK, as well as the sixth-tallest building in Europe.

Inaugurated in 2012 and designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, the Shard has become a modern London landmark.

The Shard as seen from Sky Garden
The Shard as seen from Sky Garden

The last execution at the Tower of London was in 1941

In 1941 the German spy Josef Jakobs was executed by firing squad in the Tower of London. Bet that’s way more recent that you would have thought?

The Tower of London is home to six ravens

A group of six ravens is always present at the Tower of London. Superstition says that if the ravens of the Tower of London are lost or fly away, The Crown will fall and Britain with it.

The tradition still holds, and the ravens are still present at the Tower of London, protecting The Crown and the Tower.

The Tower of London and Tower Bridge at golden hour
The Tower of London and Tower Bridge at golden hour

Big Ben isn’t what you think it is

I see loads of people walking along South Bank snapping gorgeous Instagram photos with “Big Ben”. However what most people don’t realise is that Big Ben isn’t what they think it is.

Big Ben is actually the name of the bell; the clock tower is called Elizabeth Tower. So considering you can’t really see the bell, people should really be saying Elizabeth Tower.

Big Ben and a red phone box in Parliament Square
Big Ben and a red phone box in Parliament Square

The Royal Standard flies wherever the Queen resides

Buckingham Palace is the official home of the Queen and the British monarchy, but how do you know if the Queen is home? The Royal Standard (not the Union flag) is flown at royal residences only if the sovereign is present.

St Paul’s Cathedral could have looked very different

One of the original designs for St Paul’s suggested having a 60 foot stone pineapple instead of the current dome. It’s a shame they didn’t go ahead with it, the tropical touch would have been nice if you ask me!

St Paul's Cathedral in the fall
St Paul’s Cathedral in the fall

There is a time capsule beneath Cleopatra’s Needle

Cleopatra’s Needle is an Egyptian obelisk located in the City of Westminster, on the Victoria Embankment near the Golden Jubilee Bridges. Buried beneath the monument there is a time capsule.

Some of the items in the capsule include photos of women considered to be beautiful when it was buried, cigars, children toys, a portrait of Queen Victoria, a set of British coins and copies of the Bible in several languages.

The inside of the Natural History Museum in London
The inside of the Natural History Museum in London

Feeding pigeons in Trafalgar Square is illegal

I’ve never been a fan of feeding pigeons, but it’s a popular activity at most tourist hotspots all over the world. In 2003 they actually made it illegal to feed pigeons in Trafalgar Square, in a hope to reduce their numbers.

Driving past Trafalgar Square during our afternoon tea bus tour
Driving past Trafalgar Square

The London Eye has 32 capsules – one for each London borough

There are many fun facts about the London Eye, however this is probably my favourite. There is a capsule for each London borough, however they’re numbered up to 33.

Like in many other occasions (planes, floors etc) they skipped numbering capsule 13.

The London Eye as seen from Westminster Bridge
The London Eye as seen from Westminster Bridge

London Bridge isn’t the one you think it is

Some of you may already know this London Bridge fun fact, but I thought it was worth mentioning. That iconic London bridge, the one with the two towers, is in fact called Tower Bridge, not London Bridge.

London Bridge tube station is fairly equidistant to both bridges, so it’s easy to make the mistake.

Sunset over Tower Bridge and The Shard
Sunset over Tower Bridge and The Shard

Fun facts about the London underground (the tube!)

Londoners secretly love the tube. We love complaining about it and we hate how hot and packed it gets, but considering the ease and speed with which it allows us to travel around London, we actually all love it deep down.

It’s only natural that so many tube memes have emerged, as well tube etiquette rules. And it’s only natural that a whole section of guide is dedicated to fun facts about the London tube.

All sorts of things have been forgotten on the tube

Forgetting something on the tube can happen quite easily. After all when it’s so packed, if you have multiple bags it’s easy to put one down and forget to pick it back up again.

Some of the weirdest things that have been forgotten in the London underground include a samurai sword, a coffin and a human skull.

How does one forget a coffin?? Surely it’s big enough to realise you don’t have it on you! (I guess the real question is why were they bringing it in the tube in the first place).

Westminster tube station in London
Westminster tube station in London

More than half of the Underground is actually over ground

We call it the London Underground, however over half actually runs over ground. The London Overground doesn’t have the same ring to it.

There is a massive grave below Aldgate Station

London is one of the cities that was most affected by the Plague. When they were building Aldgate Station they found a massive grave with over 1,000 bodies.

St Paul's Cathedral reflected in the shop windows of One New Change
St Paul’s Cathedral reflected in the shop windows of One New Change

The London Underground has its own special breed of mosquito

I hate mosquitos, but you have to recognise they are pretty resourceful creatures. A completely different breed of mosquito has developed and lives only in the London underground.

Six babies were born in the underground

How crazy is that?! Six babies were born in the London underground or at London tube stations!

Enjoying the sunset over London from Sky Garden
Enjoying the sunset over London from Sky Garden

Final thoughts on the craziest London facts

There you have it, the ultimate compilation of London fun facts! Whether it’s for a London games night or a pub quiz, these fun facts about London are perfect for any occasion.

Do you know any other London fun facts that you think should feature on this list? Let me know in the comments below!

Want to find out more about London? Check out these guides!

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Photo collage of the view over the Thames River from the Shard and the sunset over Westminster from South Bank with text overlay saying "30 fun facts about London"

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