10 Things You Didn’t Know About London

10 Things You Didn’t Know About London

1.   Your snot will turn black

If blowing your nose has left you with an unexpected Rorschach test, don’t worry. It’s not uncommon to find yourself with black snot after a trip on the London Underground, especially on older parts of the Tube network like the Bakerloo line. It will change back once you leave… possibly.

2.    London is one of the greenest cities of its size in the world

Black snot might raise some worrying questions about the air quality, but London is actually a very green city: it boasts 35,000 areas, or 11,000 acres, of public green spaces – equivalent to 40% of its surface area. Green spaces include parks, squares, gardens and even forests.

3.   We also have beaches!

The Caribbean it ain't, but London is home to several pop-up urban beaches every summer. There’s also a 60-acre sand beach at the Ruislip Lido!

4.   It actually doesn’t rain all the time

Contrary to popular belief. London in fact receives less rain on average than New York City. Cities such as Washington DC, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, and Mexico City also all experience more rainy days on average in any given year than London.

5.   The London Underground is mostly overground

4.8 million people ride London’s famous underground everyday, but despite its name, around 55% of it is located on the surface. The Tube - calling it anything just isn’t appropriate - is the world’s oldest underground network, its first line opening 154 years ago in 1863.

6.   London Taxi drivers are secret geniuses

In order to get a license to drive one of London’s iconic black taxis, or hackney carriages, drivers must learn and pass The Knowledge of London. Known simply as The Knowledge, this famous test requires prospective cabbies to memorise every route within a six-mile radius of Charing Cross, which includes 25,000 streets and 20,000 landmarks. As much as we all love a cheeky Uber every now and then, it’s London cabbies that rule the road.

7.   37% of the population were born outside of the UK

… making the city wonderfully diverse and chock-full of cultural events and festivals all year round!

8.   London was  European Volunteering Capital 2016

Much credit for this goes to Team London, the Mayor’s programme for volunteering and social action in the capital.

9.   There are more than 240 museums in London

London boasts an impressive array of world-renowned museums, including the likes of the National Gallery, the British Museum, and the Tate Britain and Tate Modern -- but that’s barely scratching the surface. London has more art and history than you can shake a stick at, and luckily most of its museums are free!

10. Trafalgar Square has the country’s smallest police station

It’s a small, unassuming box in the south-east corner of the square, with just enough room for one person. It was installed in 1926 so that the police could watch over the popular protest site.  

Written by Grace Waters

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