The good, the bad, the incredible and the damp – every moment I’ve spent living in London so far has been unforgettable. I can’t believe six months to this day X and I bought one-way tickets to the city and haven’t looked back since. It hasn’t been easy, and sometimes when it’s cold and wet I’m ready to move somewhere with palm trees, but I really do love living in this massive hive of action. Honestly, it’s been way more interesting adjusting to a giant city than dealing with any sort of culture shock. But as much as it can be chaotic, the amazing facets of a major metropolis make up for anything negative.
Do you just have a quick visit to London? Here’s a great 2-day itinerary to get you started!
London was founded back in 43AD, so it’s unsurprising that it brings with it an enormous amount of history. Each area of London has it’s own stories and they are each fascinating in their own ways. You will find different styles of buildings from Roman, Tudor, Stuart and Victorian periods still present around the city and different traditions in different boroughs, and yet they may just be around the corner to one another.
If you’ve ever walked down the street and wondered why everyone is staring at you for wearing…that! Worry, no more. In London, you can wear what you want, be who you are and befriend who you like without any judgement. Everyone is individual and so consumed with the busy London lifestyle that no one bats an eyelid at your individuality. You can rest assured you will be welcomed with open arms and you will always find groups of people who have your ideals, values and beliefs. But I definitely have left the yoga pants in my suitcase and opt for something a little more stylish when popping down to the grocery store!
Where else can you bump into Prince Harry on the street? Well, at least I hope to real soon. I have a thing for royalty. And redheads. Anyways the The Queen lives here too and many household names have lived, worked and still reside in London. You’ll find blue plaques placed all over London to commemorate iconic figures in history who lived or worked in certain places. Blue Plaque spotting is actually a popular family event, and you’ll find some very popular ones on exclusive Mayfair properties, where people then choose to rest for lunch in the famous Bloomsbury Square.
The music scene in London is second to none, with gigs all over the city every night. You can find local performances in many small venues, while huge performances sell out very quickly and attract the biggest of artists to London. The first month I was here we made it to the SW4 Festival in Clapham Common, which was practically in our backyard! Not everyone can say they saw top EDM acts only steps from their front door.
With award winning restaurants and award winning chefs dotted about London, you’ll never struggle to find fine dining. You can also get amazingly good food from street stalls. The markets around London bring together a wealth of variety and culture and are a very popular destination for locals and tourists alike. Try Borough Market and Camden Market as a starting point. Even the pickiest of eaters will feel at home in London when it comes to eating.
You can travel in every way possible around London. The Tube being the most popular option for many commuters. With an easy to use top up card, there is no delay trying to find loose change to pay for your tickets, you can just hop on and off and away you go. You have the other traditional options of car, taxi and bus and London is also very proud of it’s popular bike system, the Boris Bikes, where you can rent a bike to ride around the city and drop off at another point. The first 30 minutes of every ride is free so it’s a great way to get around. You can also pop across the ocean to France on the Eurostar and you can get reasonably cheap flights to almost anywhere in Europe very regularly, so the world literally is your oyster when you live in London.
With every high street fashion retailer and almost every high end fashion retailer present at least once somewhere in London, you’ll never find yourself short of something fashionable and on trend. There are many fashion events held all year round and London also has it’s very own London Fashion Week each year, which brings thousands of models, celebrities and important fashion orientated people to the city.
The West End
The theatre hub in London rivals that of Broadway in New York. With some performances running as long as 60 years and more. You’ll get lost in the amount of theatres around the West End, but you’ll never be short of entertainment. You can buy tickets from stalls around the city and make your way to theatre the same day. Some of the theatres themselves bring a huge amount of history and are some of the most stunning buildings you’ll ever see.
Living in London puts a huge amount of landmarks right on your doorstep. From the classic Big Ben and London Eye to The Shard and Buckingham Palace; people flock in millions to visit these wonders and it just adds to the bustle and fun of the city.
With 43 universities and two of the best universities in Europe, you can guarantee a solid education from London. Even after full time education, you can continue learning for as long as you like, with accessible courses and workshops throughout the city at a variety of locations, price ranges and open to all ages. Creatives will love this aspect of London as you can hone your art, design, writing, photography, theatre, dancing and modelling skills without any difficulties at all.
Have you ever moved far from ‘home’? Do you have an expat story too?