IQBar boasts and incredible and diverse body of Buddies around the world and we always want to celebrate that. The teaching school is however, primarily based in the UK and many of our students are looking to learn about British culture and British English. That’s why we’ve come up with the Great British IQBar Road Trip looking at landmarks across the country from the hometowns of the management team! Buddies, here you can learn a little about British culture, the strange quirks around the country, the weird places the team live and interesting facts that you can pass on to our Breadies if they so wish to find out about what goes down in Britain. We hope you enjoy the ride!

This week we’re moving away from quaint coastlines to the bustling streets of the capital where IQBar’s founder and CEO Helen lives. Most people know a little about London. What first comes to mind is Big Ben, the London Eye, Sherlock Holmes on Baker Street – and these are all excellent landmarks to visit but they do not make up the heart and soul of London. London is a rich and vibrant city with every culture you can think of sewn into its history. The food in the city is delicious and everywhere you turn there is something to look at and something to do. This week’s road trip will include a whistle stop tour of some of the aforementioned landmarks with a little of each of their history alongside a few places those of you who aren’t from London may not be familiar with.

First things first – transport. What better way to get around London than on the Tube?  

This may sound a little dull you say, starting with transport, but there are a lot of stories and interesting facts about the London Underground – commonly referred to as the Tube which you may take for granted as you’re whistling along. For example, did you know that the Tube covers 249 miles (400 km!) and there are 49 ‘ghost’ stations which are abandoned? If you’re riding the tube, sometimes you can see them as you pass through! Most of them still look like normal stations but they’re dark and no one is there… creepy.

The Tube is one of the fastest ways to get around London and first started transporting passengers in 1863, meaning that it is currently 154 years old and is the oldest underground train system in the world. In the current heatwave, lots have been complaining as without air conditioning, it has been reaching temperatures of around 40C in rush hour!

Also, during the Second World War, prized artefacts from the British Museum were hidden in the Jubilee line!

Where’s our first stop? Big Ben

Perhaps the most famous landmark in London, and one of the most recognised landmarks in the world, Big Ben is a huge clock that rings out hourly to the surrounding areas. For our Breadies, it is something they will easily recognise so if you would like to talk about London in your sessions, why not bring up Big Ben?

So where to start. Big Ben was designed by Charles Barry and finished in 1859 – just four years before the first Tube stations were open – a very busy period in London’s history! The clock and its tower were developed as part of Westminster Palace after the original was mostly burned down in a huge first in 1834. If you can remember Bonfire Night from last week, it was the burnt building which Guy Fawkes tried to destroy.

Most people refer to the whole clock tower as Big Ben, but it is actually the bell that rings out that have this name, the whole tower is called the Elizabeth Tower. There are no exact figures of how many tourists visit Big Ben each year however, the number of estimated visitors from the UK to Big Ben is around 75,000 – add that to how many foreign tourists visit and you can imagine that’s a particularly large number. People sometimes question why Big Ben is as famous as it is and whilst nobody has a definite answer, a number suspect it’s due to the Second World War and the BBC world service broadcasting the chimes around the globe.

Next up – The Walkie Talkie

Our next tour stop is one with far less history but a little more controversy perhaps – the Walkie Talkie Skyscraper! If you’re not from the UK, you may not have heard of this one but you will be glad you have. Heralded as the ugliest building in London (with an award to prove it!), many questioned how it got planning permission with its large curved edges and bulky frame.

Not only is it seen as an eye sore by many, but due to the angle of the glass walls, sunlight formed a concentrated beam onto the street below. This beam was so hot it melted the tyres of cars, blistered paint and even was hot enough to fry an egg! The architect had to apologise and cover the whole of the window in a large anti reflective sticker. Others have also complained that the shape of the building causes wind tunnels strong enough to make passers-by fall over.

It does however, have a very nice garden at the very top with a bar and restaurant, and has recently been bought by a Hong Kong investor with the highest price paid for any building in London – so it must have done something right.

Well, we’re coming to the end of our tour. London is so vast with so much to do that it is difficult to cover it all. For those of you who have been to London, please comment below your favourite parts of the city, your favourite landmarks and – if you would like – a follow up article about what the city means to you.

Thanks for reading everyone! As always, send us a message with any questions you may have to