10 facts about London you might not know

After spending a lot of time walking in London (as a means to save money and do sports), watching several Youtube videos about the royal family (simply because I am interested in history), and googling cultural events, I have compiled a list of ‘facts’ that I think are interesting/ fascinating/ weird… about this great city!! Enjoy!

1. Westminster Abbey is the chapel of Westminster School, an independent co-educational boarding institution. It is located next to the Houses of Parliament and the Abbey itself. All students there are required to attend services at the Abbey twice a week.

2. Have you heard of the name Tyburn? (I would be very impressed if you have) Tyburn is the name of a stream running underneath Buckingham Palace!

3. Every year, St Paul’s Cathedral holds Christmas concerts presented by professional musicians. This year, I spent 2.5 hours enjoying Handel’s Messiah performed by Choir of St Paul’s Cathedral and City of London Sinfonia. The music was brilliant and definitely got me into the mood of celebrating Christmas. The tickets were free but sold out very quickly. Other churches in London also host various performances annually. Just make sure you look for them as soon as November! I guarantee you will have a memorable experience!

4. London’s annual fireworks display on this year’s New Year’s Eve was the first multi-sensory fireworks ever. It was expected that the audience would be able to ‘taste and smell’ seven fruit-flavored sweets. I was on Westminster Bridge and granted, I did smell a faint scent of strawberry (side notes on New Year’s Eve: the first few hours of the new year are the only time you could use the public transportation for free. But do not try to take the train home at any cost because chances are you will be stuck in a station full of hundreds of other human beings).

5. The Prime Meridian of the World (which is defined as ‘a north-south line selected as the zero reference line for astronomical observations’ and has longitude of 0°) is in Greenwich, London. It is actually not very far away from King’s Waterloo campus (32 minutes by bus).

An absolutely breathtaking view near the Royal Observatory Greenwich

An absolutely breathtaking view near the Royal Observatory Greenwich

6. London has Noses, believe it or not! The Seven Noses of Soho are scattered in marvelous Chinatown in Central London. Myth has it that if you find them all, you will be granted infinite wealth. You can locate them using google map or join one of the walking tours.

7. Greater London consists of City of London and 32 Boroughs. It is the area most people refer to as ‘London’.

8. When you go to London, you will probably visit  Marble Arch near Oxford Street and Hyde Park. It was originally constructed as Buckingham Palace’s gate and then relocated under Queen Victoria’s reign.

9. St Martin’s Theater (a 17-minute-walk from Waterloo Campus) is home of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, the play with the longest initial run of any play in history.

Home of The Mousetrap

Home of The Mousetrap

10. University of London has 18 self-governing Colleges and 10 research Institutes. Founding Colleges? Surprise surprise! University College of London (1826) and King’s College London (1829).

11. Bonus fact no.1: London has so many statues and sculptures. Here is one of the coolest.

Bizarre sculpture. Unfortunately, I cannot recall where I took this picture in London

Unfortunately, I cannot recall where I took this picture in London :(

12. Bonus fact no.2: London has one of the best system of buses in the world! Underground trains do not run overnight, but buses do (unlike in Berlin where it was the other way around. I was a tiny bit confused when I was told that the first time). And they do lock the stations when there is no train running :D

The iconic double decker bus

The iconic double decker bus