10 Reasons Why London Is The Best City In The World
With its international businesses and multicultural community, London is seen by many as the capital of the world. After living in London on and off for 10 years, we couldn’t agree more.
There’s a well-known quote that we Londoners hear time and time again: “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life“. The quote came from Author Samuel Johnson all the way back in 1777 but it couldn’t be more relevant today. London is full of life and there’s always something to do at any time of the day or night.
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We often hear complaints that to really enjoy London, you have to be monied, but we don’t think that’s true. London doesn’t have to be expensive.
Whether you’re living in London or visiting as a tourist, London has something to offer everyone on all budgets. It’s not all overpriced restaurants, designer shops and expensive theatre tickets. There’s a huge amount of things to do and see at an affordable price or even for free!
Check out why we think London is the best city in the world.
IT’S MANY MULTICULTURAL INHABITANTS
The travellers in us love how London has become home for so many different people from every corner of the world. We often walk through a neighbourhood or take a bus ride without even hearing the English language. Groups will walk past speaking Cantonese, Latin Spanish or Italian. We’ll be on the 432 bus seated next to Indians, Jamaicans and Portuguese, all speaking in their native tongue. Today there are 300 languages spoken in London!
You’ll find many international communities living in London, which brings amazing international food and fantastic cultural events. The Chinese New Year in China Town is a great example. The area turns into a huge street party full of Chinese Dragons, paper lanterns, brightly coloured parades, oriental food stalls and traditional music.
Another of our favourite cultural events is Notting Hill Carnival. A three-day summer explosion of tropical parades, elaborate costumes and loud sound systems. A colourful celebration of London’s West Indian community and culture. Think Rio Carnival but in the rain.
London is our home but because of its multi-cultural inhabitants and what that brings, we continuously feel like we’re travelling the world. It’s an interesting, vibrant and exciting place to live and visit.
SO MUCH GREAT FOOD
London’s multi-cultural population also brings food from all over the world to our restaurants, shops and markets. We can find almost any dish or drink we’ve devoured while travelling. London’s choice of food blows us away on a regular basis and we’re not just talking about the city centre.
Today’s delicious international cuisine is available everywhere in London. Gone are the days when if you wanted Chinese food then you went to China Town, or if you fancied an Indian curry then off to Brick Lane you went. In our local London suburb of Brixton alone, you can travel the world via your taste buds.
Cuisine available in Brixton’s covered markets and restaurants includes English, Thai, Malay, Vietnamese, Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Columbian, Mexican, American, Brazilian, Portuguese, Spanish, Moroccan, Jamaican, Italian, Indian and more! So with all this on offer in our own little pocket of London, it’s no wonder why we’ve become such big food lovers.
SO MUCH HISTORY
We feel lucky to call a city with a history that dates back to over 2000 years our home. London’s history includes Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Norman, Medieval, Tudor, Stuart and then followed by modern 18th, 19th and 20th century. London’s had its fair share of beatings from the plague, a devastating fire, civil war, aerial bombardment, terrorist attacks and widespread rioting. All this history, good and bad, has shaped London to be what it is today.
When living in London you’re never far away from some spectacular historic architecture. Highlights include St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster, St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Tower Bridge and the Royal Courts of Justice.
Just the other week, we took a walk down The Strand and Fleet Street using a London hidden walks book. In the two hours spent on foot, we discovered so much history that we didn’t even know was there.
We came across London’s first wine bar, which dates back to the 19th century and still operates today. Gordon’s Wine Bar is an amazing candle lit atmospheric underground cellar. It’s frozen in time but now used by today’s modern Londoners and tourists.
We discovered London’s very first retail shop. It was opened by Twinings 300 years ago and they still today sell their teas in the narrow shop unit.
We even found London’s last Victorian street lamp, powered by methane in the deep stinky sewers below. For the history buff, this is a fascinating part of being in London.
ITS UNIQUE LANDSCAPE
London’s landscape is pretty unique because it’s formed by lots of little towns and villages that have merged over time. There’s always a new area to visit, each with its own character, community and feel.
In 1901 novelist and historian Walter Besant quoted “I’ve been walking about London for the last thirty years, and I find something fresh in it every day.” After living in London for 10 years now we too have experienced the same.
If we feel like a relaxing stroll in a quaint English village, then we head to areas such as Highgate, Hampstead Heath or Wimbledon. At times we want graffiti covered cafes and hipster bars set inside old warehouses and railway arches, so areas like Shoreditch, Hoxton or Hackney would suffice. If we want to experience the sights, smells and tastes of the third world, then markets in areas like Tooting or Brixton wouldn’t let us down.
ITS AMAZING TRANSPORT SYSTEM
Getting to all these different parts of London is incredibly easy because everywhere is accessible by the Underground system or train. No matter where you are in London, you’re never more than a10 or 15-minute walk away from a station.
It’s sometimes hard to believe when you look at London’s choking traffic jammed roads, but most Londoners don’t own a car. There’s no need! Why would you choose to have the expense of owning a car, only to sit in standstill traffic jams?
The London Underground, or the Tube, as Londoners call it, opened in 1863 with just one line. Today the underground system consist of 11 lines sprawling all over the city with 250 miles of route and 270 stations. It’s an engineering marvel with an incredible history.
In addition to the Underground and trains, there are hundreds of bus routes and many taxi services like the traditional black cab and Uber. If you fancy travelling by boat, then the Thames has it’s own Thames Clipper service which zig-zags the city’s length of the river.
London’s newest addition is the Air Line cable car, which crosses the River Thames between Greenwich Peninsular and the Royal Docks. Unless you live in the area, it’s not a particularly useful route but worth the trip for a bird’s eye view of East London’s skyline and beyond.
SO MANY PUBS!
The British have an obsession with the pub. Not just in London but all over the country. Pubs are part of our history, the heart our communities and play a big role in most of our lives. Pubs are the perfect place to meet with family and friends. There’s nothing we love more than getting a crowd together on a Sunday to catch up over a few drinks and tuck into a traditional Sunday pub roast dinner.
The pub is for any time of year. From staying cosy and warm by an open fire in the winter months to enjoying a sunny pub garden BBQ in the summer.
Every British city, every town and every village have its pubs. Particularly London, which has a vast amount of pubs all over the city.
With so many pubs in London, it’s no surprise that they all offer something different. From the old traditional history rich pubs to the new breed of gastro pubs offering good quality food. From the sports pubs with TV screens on every wall to the live music pubs showcasing local bands. When in London, no Saturday night is complete until you’ve sunk a few pints of beer in one of London’s many pubs.
LOTS OF RELAXING GREEN SPACE
Did you know that London is one of the greenest cities in the world? Recent statistics show that 49% of London is green space. 49%!!! It might be busy, noisy and traffic congested but there are so many parks and other green spaces to get away from it all. Even in central London.
London’s biggest green space is Richmond Park in the south-west of the city. The park is a national nature reserve and with its sheer size, natural woodland and wild deer roaming around, it can feel like you’re miles away from a busy capital city.
Heaths like Hampstead Heath are also worth visiting for kilometres of green hills, wild grasslands and walking paths offering great city views.
LOADS OF MUSIC FESTIVALS
Another use of all this green space is live music events. Over recent years, London has seen a massive increase in music festivals. Each summer festival season sees at least a couple of new players in the festival scene. They cross most genres of music from Dance, showcasing the world’s best DJs, to Rock, with huge international headlining bands.
Unlike the larger UK countryside festivals like Glastonbury and Reading, camping is not an option at London festivals. No problem! You get to sleep in the comfort of your hotel room before heading to the festival site. No wet muddy tents or dirty communal showers to put up with.
Tickets are pretty good value too. A day ticket to most of the festivals will cost around £50. With an average of 5 stages and artists performing from midday through to midnight, that’s amazing value!
GREAT MARKETS ARE EVERYWHERE
Markets aren’t new to London. The city has always had its markets, with some, such as Billingsgate Fish Market and Spitalfields, dating back to the 1600’s. However, the recent trend in international street food has seen an explosion of new markets and improved markets.
London’s growing market scene has given budding entrepreneurs the opportunity to try starting their own business. A business without the high overheads of leasing premises and hiring a team of staff. It enables chefs to take risks and try offering something new. Like Indian spiced burgers, Japanese noodle pancakes and Korean inspired burritos. With London’s open minded and food loving population, there really are no limits when running a mini market kitchen.
Some fantastic food markets to check out are Borough Market, offering one of the biggest selection of street food vendors and fresh produce. Brixton Market and it’s covered streets, now being called Brixton Village, is an international cuisine delight. And Tooting’s Markets with enough food stalls to satisfy the fussiest of foodies. While in Tooting, do check out our friend’s new craft beer shop and bar! 🙂
London’s markets aren’t all about food. Head to Portobello Road for antique browsing, Bricklane for retro clothing, Spitalfields for arts and crafts and Camden Town for all of the above. There are so many to choose from!
Hot Tub Cinema
Have you ever wanted to jump on an adult bouncy castle? Ever fancied dining in the pitch dark or go to a morning rave before heading to the office? Well, you can do any of these activities and more in London!
It seems that going to a restaurant, museum, bar or cinema is no longer enough entertainment for some Londoners and tourists, so more unique activities have been invented. Yoga Supper Club? 80s Roller Disco? Bamboo Bike Workshop? London has it covered!
If like us, cinema is your thing, then there are heaps of interesting ways to watch your favourite films. Cinema events in the city have become incredibly popular. Options include watching films in a church, floating in a swimming pool, sitting in rooftop hot tub and lazing on giant pillows in a discussed railway station. What’s not to love!
What do you love about London? Why do you tink it’s the best city in the world? Share your love for Love by commenting below.