Do you know where to find the Tower of London? How about Buckingham Palace? If you’re looking for a fun way to explore London with your kids, look no further! This blog post will discuss 11 fascinating facts about London that will make your next trip even more enjoyable. We’ll also provide a few tips on making the most of your time in this fantastic city. So what are you waiting for? Start reading and get planning!
1. World’s first zoo was London Zoo
When the London Zoo was established in 1827, it was only intended to be open for scientists to conduct research on animals and their behaviour, so regular people weren’t allowed to enter. But, this changed in 1847, when the Zoo was officially opened to the public, becoming the first place to do this.
Today it’s still one of the largest zoos around the world.
2. London is a forest?
Did you know that despite being one of the busiest cities in the world and home to over 8 million people, London falls under the United Nations definition of a forest?
The reason for this is that London has a lot of trees as well as a lot of people.
About a fifth of it is woodland, and 40% is public green space such as parks and gardens.
3. Red buses weren’t always red in London
Almost everyone knows the big red London buses, but not everyone knows they weren’t red until 1907.
Until then, buses were painted in different colors depending on their route.
As a result of competition between bus companies back then, they were only painted red. It was the London General Omnibus Company who painted theirs red in order to stand out from the rest.
Since then, they have grown into London’s largest bus company!
4. The Tower of London was built to subdue Londoners
Perhaps you think that the Tower of London was built to defend London against enemies sailing up the Thames, but that’s not the case. The Normans built it after they invaded England to maintain control in case of a rebellion.
5. Few medieval buildings can be found in London
As a result of the Great Fire of London in 1666, very few medieval buildings remain in London today. Among the buildings that remain are the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Westminster Hall, Guildhall and St James’s Palace.
6. One of the toughest jobs in the world is becoming a London black taxi driver
London’s black cabs are another famous mode of transportation.
However, do you know how difficult it is to drive one?
For black cab drivers to qualify, they must pass a challenging test called ‘The Knowledge’.
It involves memorizing and remembering any of the streets within 320 driving routes, and it can take years to prepare for.
It’s no surprise that learning 25,000 road names takes so long.
7. The Queen still owns the Royal Parks
Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, and Richmond Park are known as Royal Parks for a reason. Through the centuries, these lands have been protected from development as hunting grounds for the ruling monarch. Today they are all public parks and can be enjoyed by everyone throughout the whole year.
8. There are two cities within Greater London
Two cities are part of Greater London: the City of London (aka Square Mile), one of the world’s top financial centers, and the City of Westminster, which is a major political center with the Houses of Parliament. London’s other districts are called boroughs.
9. The City of London has its own police force
There is a separate police force in the square mile of the City of London, which wears distinctive uniforms.
The Thames River used to be an open sewer called the “Great Stink”
Until the late 19th century, human and industrial waste were dumped directly into the Thames. The result was a devastating effect on the environment (the Thames was literally dead), not to mention the horrible smell and numerous cholera outbreaks as a result of the contaminated water.
10. The streets of London are almost paved with gold
London’s streets may not be entirely made of gold, but gold is stored beneath them. In fact, there’s over 200 billion dollars worth of gold under the streets, that’s about a fifth of the world’s gold reserves. The deposits are quite low underground, so you’ll have to dig a long time to find them.
11. Winnie the Pooh lived in London Zoo
Winnie was the name given to a bear by a Canadian army regiment during World War I.
AA Milne and his son, Christopher Robin, were introduced to her in the Zoo, where she lived for 20 years, from 1914 to 1934.
So there you have it, 11 fun facts about London for kids.
Your kids might enjoy putting together a fact file about London as part of their at-home homework.