London Landmarks – Unusual Facts

Updated: Nov 4, 2018


1. Kew Gardens

A scientific breakthrough took place at Kew Gardens in 1987. Turner’s Oak, a giant English oak planted in 1798, was uprooted by heavy storms. When Kew staff tried to remove it, they noticed that the roots had been allowed more space, air and access to water, which rejuvenated the tree. This discovery led to the development of new methods to treat old trees, such as injecting nitrogen underground, which shows improvements within a year. Tube stop: Kew Gardens

2. Tate ModernTate Modern opened in May 2000 occupying the old Bankside Power Station and is now the most popular modern art gallery in the world. The gallery has an estimated 4.7 million visitors a year. Tube stop: Southwark

3. St Paul's CathedralSt Paul’s Cathedral has 200 memorials. The first memorial belongs to Sir Christopher Wren, the famous architect who designed the cathedral, in 1723. Admiral Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and Sir Alexander Fleming have their memorials at the cathedral too. Tube stop: St Paul’s

4. The London Eye The London Eye has 32 capsules, each representing one of the 32 boroughs of London. The capsules are numbered from 1 to 33, with number 13 capsule missing. The wheel of good fortune it is! Tube stop: Waterloo

5. Buckingham Palace A flag always flies above Buckingham Palace. When The Queen is in residence, the Royal Standard flies. When the Sovereign is not present, the Union Flag flies instead.

Tube stop: St James’s Park

6. Trafalgar Square Thousands of pigeons used to hang out at Trafalgar Square, as people kept feeding them. In 2003, the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, banned people from feeding pigeons and selling of feed near the square. Slowly, pigeons found other favourite hang-outs and the square is now almost pigeon-free! Tube stop: Charing Cross

7. Houses of Parliament The Houses of Parliament is also known as the Palace of Westminster. The first royal palace was built on the site in the 11th century. It remained the primary residency of English royalty until 1512, when a fire destroyed much of the building. After that it became the home of the Parliament of England. Tube stop: Westminster Bridge

8. Tower BridgeOver 50 designs were submitted for the building of Tower Bridge, many of which can be admired at the Tower Bridge Exhibition. The winning design belonged to city architect Horace Jones in collaboration with John Wolfe Barry, and construction finally started in 1884. A whopping 31 million bricks were used to build the bridge, along with 22,000 litres of paint. Tube stop: Tower Hill or London Bridge

9. Westminster Abbey Westminster Abbey has been the home of every British monarch’s coronation since 1066. Since then, 39 coronations have taken place. The most recent was the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on 2 June 1953. Her Majesty the Queen, the eldest daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, is now the longest serving British monarch; on 6th February 2016, she became the first British monarch to celebrate a sapphire jubilee, commemorating 65 years on the throne. Tube stop: Westminster Bridge

10. Big BenAlthough many people confuse it, Big Ben is not the name of the tower, on the north side of the Houses of Parliament. Big Ben is actually the name of the great bell on the clock, which is located at the top of The Elizabeth Tower. Tube stop: Westminster Bridge

11.Tower of LondonIf the ravens leave the Tower, the Kingdom will fall… Legend says that the Tower and the monarchy will fall if the six resident ravens ever leave the Tower. There is even a spare resident raven, just in case. The ravens all have a wing clipped so they won’t fly too far; although one made it as far as a pub in the East End back in 1981.Their names? Hardey, Thor, Odin, Gwyllum, Cedric, Hugine and Munin. Tube stop: Tower Hill

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