We are utterly, completely in love with the Big Smoke. Why? There is just one word for it: lifestyle. But if you need any more excuses to come see it for yourself, here are our top 10 reasons why you will fall in love with London.
The British Capital is truly a remarkable place. A lover of both collective culture and individuality, traditions and innovations, London is an embracer of multiculturalism, tolerance and all things new and old, which makes it one of the most diverse and eclectic cities on Earth and a place where you can truly be whatever you want to be. This is why so many people, from so many different backgrounds, thrive here. This is what makes London such an unique and special place.
1. Shopping Mecca
With outlets catering to every niche, London is an amazing place to shop. Whatever you are into, be it weird or wonderful, vintage, organic, vegan, high street fashion, designer or just plain bizarre, you are sure to find what you want here.
If designer fashion makes you weak at the knees, try Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney or Jimmy Choo for size. But please, don’t stop there. The list of designers is quite extensive. Just take a stroll down King’s Road, Bond Street or Knightsbridge for a quick look at our designer goodness.
For high street lovers… Topshop, New Look, Primark… Head to Oxford Street. You will understand why those two words – Oxford Street – have become synonymous with everything high street as soon as you get there.
On the other hand, if what you are after is something a little more niche or vintage, visit Camden or Portobello Market. For hippie-chic travellers, head to Carnaby Street. And if none of the above apply, have a look through these:
2. Weird & Wonderful Museums
As well as all the museums you would expect to find in a big city – maritime, national history, modern art, portrait galleries – London also has a wealth of, simply put, bizarre museums. Think anything from Chinese fans to packaging, you can even go and visit Churchill’s dentures! For a full list of wacky museums to visit, check these…
3. Hidden Bars & Nightlife
Oh the London nightlife… Where revellers of all shades come out to play. From a quiet drink at a stylish bar to fetish nights, from classy elegant hush-hush affairs to in your face let’s go crazy raves. Whatever your taste, preferred music or activity, you will find it in London.
For a taste of the highlife and to rub shoulders with the rich and famous while you party, read Luxury Lodon: The Royal Lifestyle. To go hunting for hidden, secret speakeasy bars, check The Ultimate London Hidden Bar Guide. For Alternative nights out check The Best Alternative Club Nights in the UK, most of them are in London. But if you just want an overview, then visit the Best London Club Nights Guide and go straight to your preferred genre of music for a list of where to go.
4. Diverse Culture
London is such a diverse city, you can travel the world without boarding a plane.
Fancy a little French experience? Visit the Institut français du Royaume-Uni for cinema screenings and French events. The Brazilian Embassy holds regular events and so do the The Polish Cultural Institute and many other language schools, universities, cultural centres, institutes and embassies… The list is endless. All you need to do is Google it.
That’s not to mention the huge array of international restaurant, shops and bars. If you are like us and love your food, the section below is for you. One thing is certain, you won’t be short for choice!
5. Amazing Food
From international cuisine to artisan street food, if you are a foodie traveller… welcome to heaven.
Now you might be thinking, ‘we are talking about England, not Italy or France, so why is it food heaven?’ Because London not only offers English cuisine, it also offers a culinary trip around the world. French, Italian, Indian, Turkish, Greek, Brazilian, Thai, Chinese, Indonesian… Take your pick, you will find a restaurant for it in London. If that wasn’t enough, at particular times of the year, you will also find international food markets, like the very German Oktoberfest, landing in the capital. Add organic, vegan, artisan and street food festivals, foodie pop ups and specialist supermarkets and restaurants… And voila! Welcome to foodie heaven.
6. Free Events
While you will find all the expected big names performing at the Wembley and O2 arenas, the real trendy thing about being in London are the free events. From the Portobello Carnival to the events in Trafalgar Square, there are all sorts of things you can do in London for free. Both the Queen and the Mayor of London enjoy throwing a few public events, so there is no need to bash the credit card to have a good time in capital.
For a full guide of free things to do in the Big Smoke all year around, read our 50 Free Things to do in London blog post. Other pages to keep an eye out for are the Lord Mayor’s events and the Lord Mayor Day.
7. Music Scene
The birthplace of David Bowie, Amy Winehouse and Adele, to name only a few, London’s music scene is always bubbling.
From indie events, open mic nights and free live music in pubs to festivals and world-famous artists, it’s all going on in the capital. Stop by the right places and you might even glimpse an upcoming star! Many British music superstars have started their careers performing at the favourite pub. For a list of the best live music venues in London click here. Otherwise you can search by genre and area here.
One of the greenest cities in the world, there are around eight million trees in London. In fact, 47% of the capital is covered in green space (source), so London’s greenery is definitely not to be ignored.
In Central London alone you will find seven of the major parks in the city – Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Regent’s Park, Holland Park, Green Park, St. James’ Park and Battersea Park. Bored of saying the word ‘park’ yet? We are not. Move over New York, we even have palaces in the middle of our greens!
Particularly stunning in spring or autumn, but at their most prominent in the summer, the capital’s green spaces are where Londoners enjoy their summer sun. During warmer months, you might even catch a glimpse of the exotic albino office worker species, with their rolled up trousers and tied up shirts, venturing out of their cages to sunbath on the grass. This miracle is only achieved by the powerful force that are our green space. Definitely, big brownie points for our urban reserves.
9. The Old & The New Architecture
Dating back to 43AD, London’s long history can be seen on the traces left behind on its streets and buildings. Sometimes the clash in between old medieval stone and modern glass structures even gives the city skyline the feeling of an alien invasion movie set. Stand in the right place and the view is quite stunning.
Admire the beauty and intricacy of old designs as well as the modern curves of new ones. Wandering through the British capital is quite literally a walk through history. And if you fancy an architectural tour, charitable organisation Open-City offers a few options.
10. Quirky things
And of course, no list of things we love about London would be complete without the quintessentially British double decker buses, Tube map, black cabs, red phone and post boxes and Royal Guard soldiers. You could see these icons anywhere and you would know instantly it’s London.
There you have it – London, one of the most amazing cities on Earth. So what are you waiting for? Come and visit!