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  • 10 things you (probably) didn’t know about London



    When it comes to hugely popular tourist destinations like London, so much has been written about them that you feel like you know the place even if you haven’t been there in your entire life. But the tourist brochures are not all-encompassing lexicons of information, and besides, the best places are always off the beaten track and only a local can tell you the most interesting things about the city.

    So when you’re (re)visiting London, look for the hidden things and experiences that few tourists know about. Here are ten things that you might not have known about London.

    1. Did you know that if you ride the subway (or tube, as it’s called in London) you get the ‘disease’ known as “Black Bogies”? It’s not really a sickness, so relax, but if you blow your nose you might be shocked to discover that the contents are…black, because of all the dust on the tube’s brake pads.

    2. There are 200,000 French people living in London nowadays, which technically makes London the fourth largest French city in the world.

    3. There is a huge number of free art museums in London, and the most famous ones, like the British Museum, Tate Modern or the National Gallery don’t cost a thing (or very very little).

    4. The London tube can be a hassle, especially at rush hour, and it is expensive too (about $6 for a single ride). Walking is much more convenient, and in the city center the stations are really not far from one another – plus you’ll see some great sights on your way!

    5. Since London is built on the banks of the River Thames, there are bound to be many bridges across it. The number are: 26 bridges, 2 tunnels and one ferry service within it’s environs of London Town.

    6. The famous tower located south of the Palace of Westminster in not called Big Ben, but simply the Clock Tower. Big Ben is the great bell of the chiming clock (the largest in the world), and the tower is third-tallest free-standing clock tower in the world.

    7. There is only one building in London that still has a thatched roof: the reconstruction of the Globe Theater, the very one built by Shakespeare’s playing company. The modern theater supposedly looks very similar to the original one.

    8. The emblematic black taxis in London are called Hackney Carriages, which used to be horse drawn in the 18th century. Interestingly, there is a very old law (kept for unknown reasons) according to which each Hackney must carry with it sufficient fuel for its horse, that is, a bunch of hay.

    9. There is one street in London where cars have to drive on the right, called Savoy Court, the entrance to the famous Savoy Hotel. This is so that after the hotel was built, carriage drivers could open the back door of their cabs without having to leave their seat when passengers got off.

    10. London is not only the first city in the world to have outdoor electrical lighting, but also the first city to have a shopping mall, the arcade on Piccadilly Circus built in 1819.

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