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Thoughtful Tuesday: Unveiling London's Lesser-Known Facts

A glimpse of London's greenery with the majestic Elizabeth Tower in the background, showcasing the city's blend of urban forest and timeless heritage.
The iconic Elizabeth Tower under the London sky, where the famous Big Ben bell resides – a testament to London's historic charm and architectural marvels

Greetings from London, fellow Pilates teachers and enthusiasts!

It’s Michael here, on what I’m calling a Thoughtful Tuesday, sharing insights from my journey. After a wonderful event in Scotland last weekend, I find myself back in London, filming for Body Control today. There's something about returning to London, with its familiar sights and streets, that feels like a warm embrace after years of living here. Yet, today, I want to step away from our usual Pilates discussions to delve into some of London's lesser-known facts that might surprise you.

The Smallest City in England?

Yes, you read that correctly. What we often refer to as London is actually Greater London, encompassing the City of London, which is merely a tiny fraction of this sprawling metropolis. With a population of just 9,123, it holds the title of the smallest city in England. A fascinating tidbit that often goes unnoticed!

London: An Urban Forest

Despite its concrete façade, London is technically considered a forest, according to the United Nations' definition, due to its dense tree population per square mile. This greenery enriches our urban life in ways we seldom acknowledge, offering a slice of nature amidst the hustle and bustle.

The Underground That Isn’t Always Underground

The London Underground, affectionately known as 'the Tube', surprisingly spends a lot of its journey above ground. So, while we often associate it with the depths below, it’s not all tunnels and darkness.

Big Ben: A Misnomer

A common misconception among tourists is that the iconic clock tower itself is named Big Ben. In reality, Big Ben is the bell housed within the Elizabeth Tower. It’s a detail that locals and history buffs relish correcting.

Rainy London? Think Again

Contrary to its reputation, London is not the rain-soaked city many believe it to be. In fact, it receives less rainfall than Rome, Miami, and Sydney, challenging the stereotypical image of a perpetually wet London.

A City of Global Residents

Walking the streets of London, you’ll meet fewer 'true Londoners' than you might expect. With a resident population of just over 8.5 million and an influx of over 16 million visitors annually, London is a melting pot of cultures and nationalities.

A Culinary Surprise

London boasts more Indian restaurants than Mumbai, offering a culinary experience that rivals, if not surpasses, that of India itself. For a tantalising curry, London surprisingly outshines many cities in India.

Traffic: A Century-Old Challenge

Navigating London by car? You might be surprised to learn that the average speed of city centre traffic is around 7.4 miles per hour, mirroring the pace of a horse-drawn cab from 100 years ago. Sometimes, walking might just be quicker!

Driving on the Right? Only on Savoy Court

In a city where driving on the left is the norm, Savoy Court stands out as the one street where you're legally required to drive on the right. It's a quirky exception that delights visitors and locals alike.

As Pilates teachers, we often focus on the balance and harmony within our practice and our lives. Today's reflections on London remind us to appreciate the balance between what we think we know and the surprising truths that lie beneath the surface. Whether it's rediscovering the city we thought we knew or challenging our preconceptions, there's always something new to learn.

Warm regards,


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