13 Symbols of London

Are you interested to know some symbols of London?

The English capital of London is widely recognized as a global metropolis. As such, it features abundant examples of contemporary art, cool cultural activities, interesting historical sites, beautiful parks, and fascinating traditions.

London is famous for many things, including Harry Potter, the Beatles, James Bond, the Royal Family, Tower Bridge (not to be confused with the London Bridge), double-decker buses, and tea.

Whether you’ve been to London or not, you’ve probably seen at least a few of these sights on postcards or other images of the city.

13 Symbols of London

13 Symbols of London
13 Symbols of London

Today, we’ll take a look at the official and unofficial symbols of London that you’ll notice all across this ancient metropolis.

Official Symbols

1. Coat of Arms

13 Symbols of London
Coat of Arms
© Sodacan | Wikimedia Commons

The City of London is one of the many municipalities that make up Greater London. The city’s Coat of Arms consists of the shield carrying the arms, the crest on a helmet above the shield, supporters on both sides, and a motto on a scroll underneath the arms.

These are the blazons featured on the coat of arms:

• Argent, a cross gules, with a pale sword pointing upwards in the first quarter.

• A dragon’s wing argent that is charged with a cross throughout gules and sits on a wreath of the same colors as the coat of arms.

• To prop up the banner, there are two argent dragons, each with a cross throughout gules emblazoned on its underside.

• “Lord, direct (guide) us,” the city’s motto, is written in Latin: Domine dirige nos. Since it wasn’t in use before 1633, it probably gained popularity in the 17th century.

2. Dragon

13 Symbols of London
A dragon boundary mark in London

Especially prominently perched atop the Temple bar, the Dragon is the City of London’s mascot and a symbol of its medieval gates. However, these terrifying beasts are located all across the city.

Leadenhall Market was designed by Horace Jones and built in the 19th century as a poultry market, and it features dragons in its ceiling.

At the pinnacle of St Mary’s Church in Le Bow, you may see one in mid-flight. The church, which had been rebuilt by Christopher Wren but destroyed in The Blitz, reopened in 1964, but its golden dragon had been in place since 1679.

3. Flag of the City of London

13 Symbols of London
Flag of the City of London

The City of London flag takes its design elements from the English flag, which features a red St George’s Cross in the canton and a red sword on a white field at the center (the top left quarter). It is believed that Saint Paul, the patron saint of the city, was decapitated with this sword.

As the blade always points skyward, the flag’s sword should be printed such that it is on the left side when displayed in a banner fashion.

Only the historic City of London is represented by this flag; the rest of London is represented by a different flag. Unless otherwise stated, this article’s focus is solely on that city, and not the Greater London area.

Cultural Symbols

4. Big Ben

13 Symbols of London
Palace of Westminster, double-decker bus, and Big Ben

An image often seen in London postcards, Big Ben is a nickname given to the Great Bell that is housed in the Great Clock of Westminster, which is located at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London.

The name is frequently extended to refer to both the clock itself as well as the clock tower. The official name of the tower in which Big Ben is housed was The Clock Tower. However, in 2012, in honor of Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, the tower’s name was changed to Elizabeth Tower. Big Ben is housed within this tower.

5. The Black Cab

13 Symbols of London
London taxi

London is recognizable around the world for its iconic black taxis. They are all accessible to those using wheelchairs, and they have access to bus lanes that are reserved exclusively for them – along with motorcyclists, cyclists, and, of course, buses.

In addition to this, drivers of black taxis are required to pass a difficult exam known as “The Knowledge,” which assesses their familiarity with London’s major thoroughfares, side streets, and shortcuts.

6. Beefeaters

13 Symbols of London
Beefeater at the London Tower

Guarding the Tower of London, which is steeped in history and tradition, are some of the most recognizable figures in all of London. Their real name is “Yeoman Warders,” but they are commonly referred to as Beefeaters for reasons that aren’t entirely clear — possibly due to their love of meat!

Visit the Tower of London and have an actual Beefeater lead you on a tour to get the full London experience. You won’t want to miss out on this opportunity!

7. Buckingham Palace

13 Symbols of London
Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is not only a royal residence but also the administrative center of the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom.

The palace, which can be found in Westminster, is frequently the focal point of both state occasions and royal hospitality.

Buckingham Palace is known all over the world as the place where the monarch resides. It is also the center of attention during national and royal celebrations, and it serves as the setting for the traditional “Changing of the Guard” ceremony.

8. Cup/Pot of Tea

In the year 1840, the Duchess of Bedford revealed her shameful habit of drinking tea and eating light snacks a few hours before supper, therefore establishing a pattern that would eventually become a widespread custom in the United Kingdom.

Today, taking afternoon tea in London is considered a tradition worthy of celebration, and the teacup (together with the teapot) has evolved into an iconic symbol of the city. They often appear on “I Love London” souvenir goods such as shirts, caps, sweaters, and tote bags.

9. London Bridge

13 Symbols of London
London Bridge

London Bridge is known throughout the world thanks to the song “London Bridge Is Falling Down.”

The contemporary version (and not about to fall) of the London Bridge is a brand-new, ultra-strong construction that reserves only half the area for walkers while providing four lanes for automobile traffic.

London Bridge is the city’s first and oldest river crossing, and it connects river traffic with road traffic. It was reconstructed numerous times; first out of lumber, then stone, then concrete, and finally steel.

Before the completion of Putney Bridge in 1729, the Thames could only be crossed at one point, and that point was London Bridge.

10. London Eye

13 Symbols of London
London Eye

London Eye is Europe’s tallest big wheel. Its location on the banks of the Thames River allows it to rotate so slowly that we are not even aware that it is doing so. This is another recognizable London symbol seen on postcards and souvenirs and is probably among the first things you’ll notice as you approach the Thames River.

The London Eye may seem like a touristy thing to do when in London, but if you want unique views over the historic city, this is a must!

We have an article featuring the London Eye if you’re looking for the perfect Instagram post showcasing the best views of London. Check it out!

11. Double-decker Bus

The city’s bus system revolves primarily around these buses, one of the most iconic London symbols. They are up-to-date, modern, and environmentally friendly (there are hybrid and electric models), and there are a large number of them.

It seemed as though almost every single public bus in London was a double-decker, and there were very few regular ones. These buses are operated by several different companies, including Arriva.

If you want to explore London, spend an hour or so inside one of these and sit on the upper deck. You will be charged £1.5 for an hour of unlimited ride.

12. Red Telephone booth

13 Symbols of London
Red telephone booth and Big Ben

Probably the most well-known symbol of London is the iconic red phone booth. Unfortunately, these have become obsolete as smartphones have replaced the necessity for landlines. Despite this, thousands of red phone booths are still operating across London. Some booths had phones that worked, but the majority felt completely abandoned.

Still, these phone booths remain to be among the most photographed London fixtures. The iconic red telephone booth is also used as a time machine in the long-running series Dr. Who and is definitely a treat to fans visiting the city.

13. Tower Bridge

13 Symbols of London
Tower Bridge

You’ve most likely seen pictures of Tower Bridge, located about half a mile from the actual London Bridge. This famous bridge spans the Thames River, on postcards, stamps, and even bookmarks.

The two most popular crossings of the Thames River are Tower Bridge and London Bridge.

If you are visiting the area, you may even be lucky enough to be there one of the few times a day that the Tower Bridge opens to let larger ships pass through. That’s a memorable sight that you wouldn’t want to miss!

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