There’s a whole heap of totally unusual London facts that most of us miss when traipsing around some of the best areas of London. Worst of all, most are within plain sight! I mean, it’s the kind of city that once you begin to scratch the surface you’ll find a treasure trove of exciting and unusual facts about London to uncover.
After all, one of the best things about London is how diverse it is and with all that diversity and long history comes a heap of unusual London facts that might even surprise a few Londoners, too.
Now, that being said, there’s a heap of things I wish I’d known before moving to London that I just had to share with you. Including, some of those more secret London spots and haunts and quirks that make London such a cool city to explore.
Take a look at some proper gems and unusual London facts that I hope will surprise you on your visit to our city. 🇬🇧
1.) Scotch Eggs aren’t Scottish
Well, purportedly at least… they’re from London!
According to the big wigs at Fortnum and Mason, the Scotch egg isn’t Scottish at all and was created by Fortnums almost three hundred years ago. Created in the 18th-century it has become a picnic staple and amazing treat (especially when the eggs are still runny).
Head to their food pantry downstairs where you can still grab a yummy Scotch egg.
2.) London has a crying church
So, most visitors to St. Bartholomew The Great still have little idea why it’s gained the nickname the ‘weeping church’. It was only after going four our friend’s wedding that we even found out.
When the weather gets cold and wet, the stones of the church actually become pretty porous. Unless the church is heated and dried, you’re almost guaranteed to see the walls weeping.
You’ll even find evidence written in the church with the inscription, ‘unsluice your briny floods’. It really is one of the area’s hidden places and unusual London facts that most people miss out on seeing.
3.) There are ears and noses dotted around London
Covent Garden is a gorgeous neighbourhood in London. Filled with little streets, a gorgeous market and an incredible venue… no, not the Roadhouse nightclub 🤣, but the incredible Royal Opera House.
When you’re next in Covent Garden (or even, Soho), make sure you keep your eyes peeled for some of the more quirky things that are hidden in the area. There’s a whole load of ears and noses that are attached to the walls. All watching and, ummmmm, smelling everything in sight!
If you can’t find them, just settle for some bubbles and call it a day! Ha! 🍾
4.) There are plague pits in London
During the 17th-Century, the plague hit London very badly with almost a 1/3 of the population being killed by the disease. Now, this is pretty macabre but lots of the small parks and green spaces actually became vast plague pits where tens of thousands of bodies were left.
Some of the most famous are in; Golden Square Park in Soho, Green Park, Knightsbridge Green, and at the start of the Bakerloo Line in Elephant and Castle.
Thankfully, it’s definitely one of the more hidden places and unusual London facts that isn’t in plain sight anymore. Try not to think of that next time you’re in the park, though! 😱
5.) There’s a Harvard family pub in London
Borough and Borough Market have become one of the most popular markets in London. Filled with everything from cakes, coffee and clams – it’s foody heaven.
What some people don’t realise is that just 30 seconds walk away is the old pub that was once old by the famous Harvard Family (the ones that set up Harvard University in the USA). Situated at 103 Borough High Street, this was once a thriving little-tavern, though it seems the family went off the booze and headed for academia instead. 🤣
6.) We have an underground mail train
Newly opened to the public this year. The mail train is a historic set of tunnels that were once used to funnel letters and important packages across the city. Deep underground, these tunnels have just been opened to the public. You can even ride the actual train, too.
This is definitely one of the hidden places and unusual London facts that’s only just come to light this year.
7.) You can drink coffee in a graveyard
Now, lots of people don’t know this but if you head to the Watchhouse Coffee Shop you’ll actually be sitting in the historic room where Victorian police used to spy on possible grave robbers. Perched on Bermondsey Street, the Watchouse Coffee shop sits on a historic, affluent, graveyard that once was the go-to place for grave robbers. Eerie! 😱
They make an amazing coffee and yummy cakes, too. It’s my favourite coffee shop in London which is easily housed in building filled with unusual London facts and history that most people don’t see.
8.) You can see the Berlin Wall in London
Around 15-minutes walk from the London Eye is the Imperial War Museum of London.
Free to enter, this museum has sections of the original Berlin Wall outside (in the gardens). A stark piece of history that anyone can visit.
9.) The oldest garden in London
Nope, it’s not Hyde Park or Regent’s Park, it’s actually the much more isolated and quiet, Westminster Abbey’s College Garden.
With almost a 1,000 years of history, it’s considered one of the oldest gardens in the UK and associated with Westminster Abbey.
10.) You can visit Benjamin Franklin’s House
Yes, London has the only surviving home of Benjamin Frankin from across the globe.
This is where Franklin lived on the very eve of the American Revolution and one place you can now visit when in London. Based at 36 Craven Street – it’s a proper gem and one of the unusual London facts that lots of people don’t know exists in the city.