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London: Fun Facts About The Capital

London is the capital of the United Kingdom and home to us here at Laundryheap. Above all, it is a city filled with history, culture, social diversity and unbelievable stories that go back as far as the Romans. 

The cities rich and enchanting past plays a pivotal role in drawing foreign tourists, students and prospective residents every year. As a result, London is now one of the most diverse cities on Earth and has evolved into a modern metropolis. 

  • 8.7 million people call the city home.
  • Over 300 languages spoken inside the city every day.
  • Most Billionaires in the world. 
  • The tallest building in the EU is in London. 
  • There were fewer deaths in the Great Fire of London than you might think. 
  • We’ve been calling Big Ben the wrong name all along.
  • London’s black cab drivers are some of the most knowledgeable in the world. 
  • London’s transport system is a story in itself.
  • There are over 170 museums in the city.
  • Some of the worlds most famous figures lived in London.

London has over 8.9 million people.

According to the latest reports, Greater London now hosts 8.9 million people that call the city home. Consequently, the city is now the 26th largest city in the world by population.

 The British capital has a higher population than any city in the US, with New York being its nearest competitor with 8.6 million people. The second-largest city in the UK is Birmingham, which has a population of 1.1 million.

Over 300 languages spoken inside the city every day.

You would be stuck to find a city more diverse than London. Expats from every corner of the world move to the city each year and make up a significant proportion of the 8.9 million population. Due to this, the city boasts that a jaw-dropping 300 different languages are spoken inside it every day.

Besides English, Polish is the most common language spoken in the capital. Other languages like Bengali, Gujarati, French, Urdu and Arabic follow closely behind on the list. 

Most Billionaires in the world. 

London is home to at least 80 billionaires, making it the city with the highest number of billionaires living in it. Furthermore, London billionaires make up 80% of all billionaires living in the UK. 

As a result, the city can claim to have more billionaires than cities like New York, Moscow, Paris, Milan and Berlin. Most of these billionaires reside in the borough of Kensington in West London. 

The tallest building in the EU 

The Shard, located in the London borough of Southwark, is the tallest building in the European Union (for now). Once Britain leaves the European Union, it will be the fifth tallest building in the entire European continent. 

Erected in 2012, The Shard stands 1,016 feet high and has 72 floors. If you get a chance to visit London, you can visit the building and go to the top level where a restaurant and bar await you. As you can imagine, the views are stunning. 

There were fewer deaths in the Great Fire of London than you might think

If you have any interest in the history of London, then you surely have heard about the devasting Great Fire of London. The fire swept through London in 1666 and reduced most of the city to ash. 

Despite the mass destruction caused by the fire, the verified death toll was only six people. However, the real number is unknown, as it is impossible to know now how many people died from causes brought on from the fire. The Monument building was built in 1677 to commemorate the tragedy and still stands today. At the time it was the highest building in the city.  

We’ve been calling Big Ben the wrong name all this time.

Arguably London’s most recognisable landmark, Big Ben was completed in 1859. Most importantly though, it was initially named the Clock Tower and was later renamed Elizabeth Tower. 

So, how did the British cultural landmark come to be known as Big Ben, you ask? Well, the name Big Ben actually refers to the Great Bell of the striking clock at the North end of the Palace of Westminster. The Ben part of the nickname came from Sir Benjamin Hall, who oversaw the construction of the great bell. Now, next time you hear someone refer to the tower as Big Ben, you can correct them with your new-found London knowledge.

London’s black cab drivers are some of the most knowledgable in the world.

Black Cab drivers are recognised the world over thanks to countless depictions in film and TV. But, most people don’t know how hard it is to become a black cab driver in the capital. 

To become a black cab driver, you must first complete ‘The Knowledge’, a rigorous test where you have to memorise every single street in the city. Black cab drivers can spend years learning the roads before they can pass the test. Many of them use scooters or walk around the city to remember all the intricate back alleys and side streets. 

London’s transport system is a story in itself

There as so many fun facts about the London Underground that we could make a whole post dedicated solely to Tube facts. With eleven different lines and 270 stations, it should come as no surprise that there are some stories embedded underground. 

One example of a bonkers tube fact is that Aldgate Station has over 100 bodies buried underneath it. After the Great Plague the bodies were buried on mass. In the same vein, another London underground fact we found especially interesting is that American talk show host Jerry Springer is one of only three known people to be born on the London Underground. He was born at Highgate Underground Station.

There are over 170 museums in the city.

London’s reputation for being a city of culture isn’t just a result of its multiculturalism. The vast number of museums also add to the cultural identity of the capital. The city is home to over 170 different museums. 

Some of the most famous of these museums are The Natural History Museum, The Science Museum, The Victoria & Albert, TATE Modern and The Imperial War Museum. What is the best part of all these great museums? They are all 100% free to enter with just a few exhibitions requiring a fee.

Some of the worlds most famous figures lived in London.

London has been a hub for the worlds most famous intellectuals, writers, musicians and cultural icons for centuries. Some of the capitals most famous residents over the years include Oscar Wilde, William Shakespeare, Ho Chi Minh, Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie and 100’s more. 

If you live in London or you are just visiting the famous capital, why not get Laundryheap to take care of all your laundry needs? We can help free up your time so you get to take in all the culture the city has to offer.


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Birmingham: Fun Facts About The UK’s Second City

The UK’s second city isn’t always first on everybody’s must-visit list, but we are here to change that. Birmingham is best known for its industrial background, hardworking people and famous waterways, the ‘City of a Thousand Trades’ also has a rich history of arts, music and culture. 

  • The First Game of Lawn Tennis Was Played in Birmingham
  • Birmingham has More Canals Than Venice
  • The Busiest Theatre in the UK in in Birmingham
  • Cadbury Chocolate and HP Sauce are both from Birmingham
  • Inspiration for the Lord of the Rings
  • Home to some of the UK’s most famous metal bands
  • Bullring Shopping Centre has been going since the Middle Ages
  • Home to the real-life Peaky Blinders

First Game of Lawn Tennis Was Played in Birmingham

Modern-day tennis as we know it can be traced back to Harry Gem and his friend Augurio Pereraw who are credited with playing the first game of modern lawn tennis in their house in Edgbaston, Birmingham. Edgbaston Lawn Tennis Club remains the oldest in the world. Take that Wimbledon! 

Birmingham Has More Canals Than Venice 

Birmingham’s famous waterways stretch for a whopping 35 miles, meaning it has more than the famous Italian city. These canals are enjoyed by walkers, cyclists and narrowboat owners alike and serve as a reminder of the cities industrial past.

The Busiest Theatre in the UK is in Birmingham

With a whopping 520,000 visitors per year, the Birmingham Hippodrome is officially the UK’s busiest theatre. Here you can catch year-round performances varying from dance, pantomime, musicals and theatre. 

Cadbury Chocolate and HP Sauce are from Birmingham

That’s right, two of Britains most iconic food brands call Birmingham home. Cadbury’s chocolate started opened for production in 1905. Cadbury made its first Dairy Milk bar in 1914, with a higher percentage of Milk than previous bars, it soon became the company’s best selling product. 

Another titan of the British cupboard is the famous HP Sauce. The ‘HP’ stands for Houses of Parliament, although this sauce’s roots don’t trace back to Westminister, but to its factory in Aston.  

Birmingham was the inspiration for the Lord of the Rings

Not many people know that Lord of the Rings author J.R.Tolkien spent his formative years in and around the city. It was the landscape of the city and surrounding countryside that provided part of the inspiration for his books.

Locations like ‘The Shire’, home to his famous Hobbit characters, was inspired by a village called Sarehole, which has now been absorbed into Birmingham’s suburbs. 

Home to some of the UK’s most famous metal bands

Another lesser-known slice of Birmingham’s history is the cities connection to Heavy Metal music. Bands like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Judas Priest all played their first gigs in the city, with many of their members having grown up in Birmingham. The city still hosts a strong metal scene today in venues like the Tunnel Club and Scruffy Murphy’s. 

Bullring Shopping Centre in Birmingham has been going since the Middle Ages

Bullring Shopping Centre is situated in an area that has been a shopping hotspot in Birmingham since the middle ages. Long before enormous shopping malls and department stores, this area was host to a bustling corn market. The market legally began trading in 1154 and lives on today in the form of the Bullring Shopping Centre. 

Home to the real-life Peaky Blinders

If you haven’t heard of the BBC’s hit period drama Peaky Blinders yet then where have you been? Set in post World War One Birmingham, the show has done more in recent years to put Birmingham on the map than anything else.

Tommy Shelby and his gang brothers have become the new heroes of the city. Championing the Brummy accent not just across the UK, but now taking America by storm since the hit streaming service Netflix has started airing the series. Based loosely on a real gang from the city with the same name, this show is a gateway to Birmingham life in the 1920s.

Thinking about visiting Birmingham to experience some of this amazing history first hand? You can also get your laundry done while you visit. Laundryheap operates throughout the city, all you have to do is book a same-day laundry and dry cleaning collection with free next day delivery.