What London Means to Me

We’ve had friends to stay with us this weekend who happened to come on the rainiest weekend in July, oops!  Anyway, while planning what they wanted to do and see in London, it got me thinking.  I have lived in London for for 20 of my 27 years and I am in love with the city, but I am sure that everyone has a different view of what the real London is.  I always say that I am not at all patriotic about being English or British but I am very patriotic about being from London.

When you hear ‘London’, what do you think of?  Many people conjure up images of Big Ben and The Houses of Parliament, a trip on the London Eye, The advertising board at Piccadilly Circus, red double decker buses and phone boxes and busy streets.DSC03756DSC03765DSC03774For me, these things don’t feature in my images of London.  London to me is so much more, which is why when people come to visit I try to show them my London.  London to me is:

  • Discovering: Having food from anywhere in the world. Ethiopian food?  No problem!  Korean BBQ?  A Swedish café?  Yep!  Your taste buds can travel the world around London, we are spoilt for choice both in restaurants and market stalls.  {Chilean sopaipillas, salmon from a Finnish Christmas meal and afternoon tea:}DSC03249DSC02821DSC00920
  • Picnicking : Setting up for a picnic in the sun in one of the many green spaces we have.  Despite people sometimes complaining about how busy London can be, London is actually 47% green space!  Crazy!  My favourite green places are Greenwich Park, Regent’s Park and Kew Gardens and there is nothing better than spending a summer day in one of these green places. {View over Kew Gardens and cherry blossoms in Regent’s Park:}DSC03704DSC03327
  • Walking :  I still love the fact that when I walk around London I stumble across a place I have never laid eyes on before; a cute street, a lovely looking café or a tree lined square.  London is so big that there are always new places to see and you can get lost despite having lived here for so many years. {Beautiful reflections seen on The Thames Path, street art spotting in Shoreditch and walking the Regent’s Canal:}DSC03777DSC03229DSC03333
  • Learning : We are so lucky to have an abundance of free museum and art galleries.  Ranging from the huge Natural History Museum to smaller galleries like Whitechapel Gallery in Shoreditch.  There is always learning to be done.
  • Festivals : There is always a free event, festival or exhibition happening.  Want a free craft activity?  To see photos from around the world?  From January to Decemember you can always find something.  The Southbank Centre is always worth checking out, and Time Out always lists what is happening this week. {Festival of Love at Southbank Centre}DSC01880
  • Markets : What is better than spending the weekend perusing a market and selecting which food to eat, which handmade knick knacks to pick up?  And taking in the atmosphere. {Honey Beer at Maltby Street Market and a delicious lunch at Brixton Village:}DSC02988DSC02357
  • Being Multicultural : I have friends, colleagues and neighbours from all over the world.  As I sit on the tube, I hear multiple languages.  I get to learn so much from other cultures and the best thing is that we all call ourselves Londoners too.  Cheers to that! DSC03770

What do you think of when you think of London?  What does your hometown mean to you?  My favourite parts of London, here 🙂

Marcella xx

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33 thoughts on “What London Means to Me

  1. Love this post! I agree that London is so much more than the postcard images. I love the green space, art everywhere, amazing food (love those Mama Lan vege balls!) and how there is always, ALWAYS something to do, usually something you’ve never even tried before.

  2. Aw you’re definitely making me want to move to London sooner than later! I miss living in a city that is so multicultural and where things are always happening! I love living in Scotland, but I’ve definitely learned I’m a city girl through and through!x p.s. I’m drooling over those sopaipillas! I miss Chilean cuisine so much already!

    • Totally agree, I’m a city girl through and through and I can’t see that changing any time soon, if ever! Multiculturalism adds so so much to a place and I love it so much! Also, that place with the sopaipillas now also do avocado and lime ice-cream, oh my!! X

  3. I’ve lived near London for most of my life, and although I often find it quite a stressful place, I do think it’s pretty great too. I love finding new things around every corner, the fact that if something exists anywhere in the world you can usually find it in London, and the multi cultural aspect is pretty cool, too. You’ll never be bored in London, that’s for sure!

  4. Wow, I never would have guessed that London is 47% green space ! I love stumbling across new places too. I’ve just returned to the UK after a year in France and I’d forgotten just how different London is to Paris — but I think I love it just as much!

  5. Aww so cool!! For me London is one of those cities that was design to BIG and wonderful! I feel like it’s almost like the capital of the world. I loved reading your perspective about it!

  6. I studied abroad in London and have a great fondness for it. My hometown is a small farm town and evoke memories and simplicity and nice people always waving and saying hello.

  7. I love this post!! I’ve been reflecting a lot about London (I’m going to be writing about the city on my blog for the month of August) and just wrote a post to put up on Monday about why it’s one of my favorite cities. So I won’t say too much, but I loved reading your perspective today!

  8. You did a fantastic job of showing that London is much more than its sights. Makes me want to visit it right away. i haven’t been since I was a teen so I guess a visit is in store for me in the near future. I agree that the multicultural aspects of London would be a huge draw for me as I love ethnic food and love to spend time people watching.

      • I think I will. I saw it when I was much younger and I don’t think I really remember it as I should. I need to see it with “older eyes” now and explore it for more than a ” seen it, tick it off the list” kind of experience.

      • Yes, mine were “staying with a family friend who was much older and served us lamb and mint jelly” and it kind of freaked me out. 🙂 As a result, the city seemed older and greyer and not at all what you reflect in your post!

  9. I love living in a big city because there are so many things to do (like festivals and concerts) and food to try! I wish that my city had more gardens and parks that we could enjoy though!

  10. I love this! I could say most of your points about Southern California too…. except for the walking part… you definitely cannot walk anywhere in SoCal. I do miss that about it, that it’s so multicultured and you can literally get anything you want. But I think London is way cooler, hehe. I would love to live there someday if only I could afford it!

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