How much do you know about London? Here are seven fun facts about the capital city of Great Britain!

1. Polar bears used to swim in the Thames

As surprising as it may sound, there was a time when Londoners would watch a polar bear jump into the water of the Thames. However, polar bears weren’t endemic to Britain. Back in the 13th century, Henry III was given a polar bear as a gift by a Norwegian king.

2. Parakeets

The second fun fact about London is this oddity. If you’ve strolled in the streets of south-west London, you may have spotted colourful birds. Don’t worry you’re not going crazy! You’ve probably encountered some of the 60,000 strong flocks of parakeets that live in south-west London. No one actually knows where they came from. But a famous urban myth says that the original breeding pair came from Jimi Hendrix’s flat that he owned in Mayfair in the 1960s because he was known to have a couple of rose-ringed parakeets.

3. Karl Marx’s tomb is in London and you have to pay to see it!

London was many things to Marx. For example, it’s where he wrote both Das Kapital and the Communist Manifesto. This and other reasons, is certainly why Marx chose to be buried in London in the Eastern Cemetery of Highgate. Ironically, if you want to visit it, you have to pay £4!

4. The Great Smog

This anecdote about London is a little less cute… On Friday, 5 December 1952, fog-covered London. Yet, that time, it wasn’t the usual pea-soup. That time, it was due to thousands of tons of soot pumped into the air by the London factories. 12,000 people died during the five days the smog lasted.

5. The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world

The first underground railway section was opened on 10th January 1863. It linked Paddington (then called Bishop’s Road) and Farringdon Street.

6. Foxes and ravens

Some cities have pigeons and rats. London has foxes and ravens. Actually, Londoners share their city with around 10.000 foxes. They can be seen late at night or early in the morning. Regarding the ravens of London, I couldn’t find an estimated number but there are also at least six captive ravens that are residents to the Tower of London. Traditionally, their presence is believed to protect the Crown and the Tower.

7. There is an entire pet cemetery in Hyde Park. 

The final of this list of fun facts about London is both creepy and cute The cemetery was opened from 1881 to 1903. By the time it closed, there were 300 tiny burials. Example of gravestone: « In memory of our faithful little friend ‘Wobbles’« 

Those are only but a few fun facts about London. Do you know others?

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