Welcome to our learning resource page for all things London! Colour-in and discover more about the history of London, its famous attractions, and fascinating landmarks.
- The King’s royal standard flag means the King is in residence at Buckingham Palace but when the Union Jack flies it means he is away!
- Buckingham Palace was built in 1703 and has 775 rooms, 760 windows and 1,514 doors…wow!!
- The Changing of The Guard occurs at 10.45 outside the palace and lasts for 45mins.
- Even in an age of mass media, royal births and deaths are still announced through hand-written scripts posted outside the palace to inform the public, which follows an old tradition.
- In 1851 Queen Victoria made the first ever public appearance on the Buckingham Palace balcony and unknowingly started a tradition that carries on today!
Did you know it is rumored that underneath Buckingham Palace there’s a labyrinth of secret tunnels? These secret passageways are said to connect Buckingham Palace to Clarence House and the Houses of Parliament. It is claimed that the Queen Mother and King George VI once descended underground to explore these passageways and met a man who had been living in the tunnels!
You can find the London Eye on the South Bank of the River Thames.
Fun facts about the London Eye:
- The wheel was officially opened on New Year’s Eve in 1999 by Britain’s Prime Minister at the time, Tony Blair, but only opened to the public in March 2000.
- The London Eye is the tallest wheel in Europe and the fourth largest in the world!
- This big wheel stands at over 135 meters high (443 ft) – wow, that is so tall!
- The London Eye is one of London’s most famous attractions, drawing in more than 3.75 million visitors each year – it’s the most popular paid-for attraction in the UK!
- On a clear day looking out from the top of the London Eye, you can see a 25 mile (40 km) radius – all the way to Windsor castle!
Did you know there are 32 capsules attached to the London Eye? And no, this number was not chosen randomly - each of these pods represents the 32 London Boroughs!
Fun facts about Big Ben:
- The tower that holds Big Ben is a whopping 96 meters tall (316 ft) and the climb to the belfry (the part of the tower that houses the bells) is 334 steps!
- This incredible tower is the largest four-facing clock tower in the world!
- You can hear Big Ben chime every 15 mins (these are known as the ‘quarter bells’) and there is a big bong on the hour, every hour!
- It takes 1.5 hours to wind Big Ben up and it’s hand wound 3 times a week!
- The bells of Big Ben first chimed on 11th July 1859.
Did you know that the real name of the clock tower is the Elizabeth Tower? It is theorized that the tower got its nickname from Sir Benjamin Hall, the civil engineer who oversaw the rebuilding of the Houses of Parliament following a fire. His name is inscribed on the bell hanging in the clock tower – hence the nickname ‘Big Ben’!
Tower of London
Fun Facts about the Tower of London:
- The crown jewels are kept at the Tower of London and have been locked away since the 1600s. These jewels contain over 20,000 gemstones!
- The seven ravens that live at the Tower of London are famed for being guardians of the tower – the old legend is that if the ravens ever leave the Kingdom, the Tower of London will fall!
- The White Tower is the most famous and oldest part of the Tower of London – if you visit the White Tower you can find the original executioners block and axe.
- Beefeaters and their families live in the tower of London – the fortress is somewhat self-sufficient, as it also has an onsite doctor, a church and a village green (plus a secret pub called The Keys)!
- The Tower of London was the very first zoo in London – housing a menagerie of exotic wild animals including lions, monkeys and bears that had all been given as gifts to the royal family from 1200s to 1835!
‘Halt, who comes there?’
Did you know one of the oldest military rituals is still in place today among the Yeoman Warders (aka Beefeaters!)? At precisely 9.35pm every night the guards take part in the Ceremony of the Keys where the King’s keys are examined and put away safely. The sentry cries out ‘Halt, who comes there?’ and this begins the traditional ‘locking up’ of the tower.
St Paul’s Cathedral
You can find St Paul’s Cathedral on Ludgate Hill, the highest point of the City of London.
Fun facts about St Paul’s Cathedral:
- St Paul’s Cathedral has one of the largest domes in the world at 111.5 metres (366 feet)!
- In the cathedral, there is a ‘whispering gallery’ which can transmit sound at a distance. Sound carries so that you can whisper from opposite sides of the cathedral and hear each other from 112 feet away!
- St Paul’s was designed by Sir Christopher Wren after the old cathedral was destroyed in a great fire in 1666 – and Wren was the first person to be buried at the cathedral.
- This magnificent cathedral has been the site of many films and tv shows including Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Sherlock Holmes and Thor!
- In 1913 the suffragettes planned to blow up the Bishop’s throne in St Paul’s in an attempt to raise awareness for equal voting rights.
Did you know that Martin Luther King gave a sermon at St Paul’s Cathedral? The congregation totalled over three thousand people (wow!) who came in 1964 to listen to King deliver the sermon now known as ‘The Three Dimensions to a Complete Life’.
The first post boxes in the UK were four cast-iron pillar boxes placed on the island of Jersey in 1852 and then in 1853 the trial extended and more pillar boxes were placed on Guernsey. The trial was a success so post boxes came to the mainland.
The earliest post boxes were red, then in 1859 they were standardised as green. Complaints were made because people had difficulty finding them and so they returned to a bright red in 1874 (it took 10 years to repaint each one – wow!). After the 2012 London Olympics some post boxes were painted gold in the hometowns of UK gold medal winners!
The UK’s oldest post box is at Barnes Cross, Holwell, Dorset, which dates back to 1853 making it 170 years old!
Buses in London were originally carriages pulled by horses! In the 1900s workable motor buses started to appear and London’s transport system was operated by rival companies.
In 1907 London Motor Omnibus Company (LGOC) owned most of the buses and painted their vehicles red to stand out from competitors. Red has been the colour of London buses ever since – becoming famous around the world.
Buses have changed and evolved to work with the city’s unique conditions - from being pulled by horses to steam engines and motors, from petrol and diesel to now being powered by pollution-free hydrogen!
More fun facts before you go!
- It is illegal to feed the pigeons in Trafalgar square!
- You can see the HMS Belfast (a decommissioned naval ship) moored at Queens Walk!
- The famous National Gallery is situated in Trafalgar Square!
- The Shard is the tallest building in London standing at 1,016 feet!
- Shakespeare chose to build The Globe in Southwark because it was outside the control of the city officials!
- Traitor’s Gate which can be found in the Tower of London was so named due to the number of prisoners, accused of treason, who have passed through it!
- To celebrate London entering the 2000s, two landmarks were built – these are the Millennium Bridge and the Millennium Dome!
Spot the difference!
Find 6 differences hidden in the below London street scene! Answers are at the bottom of this page.
Spot the difference answers are circled! How did you do?