"Does The Queen really own all the swans? The short answer is YES. The Queen specifically owns any unclaimed mute swan in open water in both England and Wales."
As a Londoner, I thought I was pretty clued-up about my city… that was until I started looking for quirky facts and stories. There are so many peculiarities connected to history, transport and the famous sights; here are just a few that might surprise you too.
Get ready for the top 15 Bizarre Things About London.
- A prosthetic leg, £15,000 in cash, an urn of someone’s ashes and a judge’s wig are some of the weirdest items commuters have left on the Tube.
- The City of London only has about 9,000 residents over 2.9km2.
- London was originally called Londinium by the Romans who founded the city.
- There are about 40 Overground and Underground train stations that have been abandoned.
- US talk show host and presenter Jerry Springer was born in Highgate Tube station in 1944 while it was being used as an air raid shelter.
- There are about 20 rivers flowing underneath London.
- Dolphins have been sighted in the River Thames.
- There is a pet cemetery in Hyde Park.
- Great Ormond Street Hospital was bequeathed the copyright of Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie.
- You are not allowed to feed pigeons in Trafalgar Square.
- The Thames provides about two thirds of London’s drinking water.
- The Great Fire of London (1666) destroyed about 80% of the city.
- Big Ben is the name of the bell rather than the tower – officially called The Elizabeth Tower.
- Marble Arch was designed to be the entrance to Buckingham Palace, but was eventually relocated.
- The word ‘Soho’ was originally a hunting cry – what is now Soho was hunting ground in the 16th century.
So, now you can impress your friends with some quirky facts about London.
Getting around London by foot
Here is a simple guide to help you make the most out of your stay in London. Our fantastic location in central London (The West End) makes us a great choice to learn English in the home of the English language.
SGI's Closest landmarks
Oxford Circus 0.2 miles
Oxford Street 0.2 miles
Soho 0.3 miles
Regemt's Park 0.8 miles
Marble Arch 1.0 miles
Hype Park 1.1 Miles
Great Ormond Street Hospital 1.1 miles
Big Ben 1.5 miles