“The best bribe which London offers to the imagination, is, that, in such a vast variety of people and conditions, one can believe there is room for persons of romantic character to exist, and that the poet, the mystic, and the hero may hope to confront their counterparts” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Strange Facts About London
- Waterloo Bridge was mostly built by women
- Hitler planned to dismantle Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square and display it in Berlin
- Covent Garden is actually a spelling mistake. The area used to be a market garden for a convent
- There was great opposition on the proposal of building the London underground from Victorian Churchmen, they believed it would ‘disturb the devil’
- Heathrow Airport is named because the land it was built on was once a sleepy hamlet called Heath Row
- The upper part of Tower Bridge was originally a walkway but it was closed in 1910 as it had become a haunt of prostitutes
- In 1995 a flock of starlings landed on the minute hand of Big Ben and put the time back by five minutes
- In 1829, with London running out of space to bury its dead, an architect called Thomas Wilson proposed building a 94 story pyramid on Primrose Hill to house five million corpses
Strange and Quirky Places to Visit in London
London is a place of many strange attractions if you know where to look. If you’re after the unusual and outlandish, avoid the usual touring haunts and check out the capital’s best kept secrets.
The Old Operating Theatre – Ever wondered how doctors performed surgeries in days of yesterday? Check out the 18th and 19th-century collection of surgical memorabilia at the Old Operating Theatre. The theatre has an interesting collection of unusual potions, herbs, and concoctions; as well as a bizarre assortment of rusty iron instruments and equipment that look more like tools for torture than items used for healing.
The Fan Museum – Many years ago, every young lady had to learn the proper way of handling a fan and the Fan Museum will bring you back to that time. Inside are hundreds of staggeringly expensive fans from all over the world, some of them are made from tortoiseshells and ivory!
Dennis Severs House, Folgate Street –House no. 18 on Folgate Street appears to be no different from the other Georgian terraced houses until you step inside. As soon as the front door closes, you will be transported into the 18th century. Each room is candlelit, and gives the impression that the occupants have only just slipped out for the day. There are unmade beds, half-eaten meals, there are even peculiar smells wafting around. The details are not only impressive, they’re almost obsessive.
Hunterian Museum Cabinets –If you’re not squeamish, check out the Hunterian’s collection of body parts kept in glass jars. You will find the digestive tracts of humans and horses, as well as the genitals of different mammals and most weird, Churchill’s dentures.
Wilton’s Music Hall – The world’s oldest and only surviving great music hall is a crumbling treasure in the most literal sense of the word. You can arrange for a tour as well as check out the events regularly held there, such as concerts and opera. The music hall has an amazing history. It served as a rag warehouse in the 50’s and a shelter during the blitz. It is presently falling apart so visit it before it’s gone forever.
Little Venice – Little Venice is London’s answer to the famous Italian city. A great area to visit in the summer where you will find many Londoners enjoying a stroll or eating and drinking in the many waterside cafes and pubs.
Admiralty Arch Nose – Admiralty Arch is a landmark building in the city commissioned by King Edward VII in memory of his mother, Queen Victoria. Now a Grade I listed building. On the inside wall of the northernmost arch you can find a life size stone nose producing out of the wall. Artist Rick Buckley put it there in 1997 as part of a campaign against the “Big Brother” society.
The Gold Grasshopper – On top of the Royal Exchange in the financial district there is a large gold grasshopper looking oddly out of place. It is actually a weather vane and has been there since the mid 16th Century. The grasshopper was the personal emblem of Tudor financier Sir Thomas Gresham.
This is what makes London such an exciting city to visit as there is always something worth seeing even if a little strange!
Here at Traditional Tours UK we love seeking out unusual and quirky attractions. We have a number of London Tours including a Quirky London Tour where you will get the chance to explore the obscure and unravel the mysteries behind some of London’s little oddities. Follow the link below to see all the London Tours we have put together.