Learning to love This City Life in London

As a native brummie, London definitely took some getting used to and I still have days where I feel like I’m on some kind of assault course, weaving around human obstacles, running for tubes and trying to breath in sardine tin spaces.   On a recent grumpy commute where I felt TfL was definitely against me I started to think how did I learn to love this city?  Here are my thoughts…

Realise London is your oyster. It’s a big place and definitely worth exploring with your oyster, the trick is to try something in every corner, East, West, North, South and Central.  Check out the Time Out website and twitter accounts like @VisitLondon @InLondonGuide @Londonist for inspriation.

Get into markets. London does them so well! My favourites are Borough market (pictured), Columbia Road Flower market, Spitalfields market and Portobello market.  I’ll definitely be visiting them again soon, along with some less well-known markets so check back here for more information.

Go for a walk.  London is an interesting city, rich in history so I definitely recommend getting off a few tube stops early.  It helps you get your bearings,  you get to know the city and it often saves time.

Find new shopping haunts.  I loved Oxford street before I came here, now I find it the worse human assault course in the city, I usually only go for Selfridges (to lust after Mulberry bags), post work shopping and guaranteed gift purchases.  I much prefer smaller shopping areas with independent shops like Islington.

Enjoy a few sweet tooth satisfactions.  I love sitting in independent cafes, enjoying a good coffee and cake and watching the world go by.  People watching is fascinating in London so grab a friend, a book, a magazine or your iPad/Kindle and find a place to sit for a few hours.

Stroll around a Park. When the weather’s good it’s great to pop down to one of the many beautiful parks in London.  Take a seat and relax, go for long walk, or if you’re feeling energetic hire a Boris bike.

More practically…

Move quickly and be confident. During rush hour if you want to get on public transport or walk down busy streets like Oxford street, it helps to be quick and confident. I learned quickly that my usual daydream state isn’t suitable for rush hour here!

Learn alternative travel routes for regular journeys. The tube seems so reliable but unfortunately it has it’s moments. It’s handy to know your alternatives, there’s nothing worse than being late and then taking a guess and ending up on some mad long journey .

Mind your manners. London gets a bad name for being a place full of rude people, and sometimes that is the case.  I don’t think this means you need to change your manners though, so avoid tube rage and help give London a better name by smiling apologetically if you cut someone up in the pursuit tube journey success.

Credit: Artist J Golden

Thursday is the new Friday.  I seem to get more invites for drinks on  a Thursday than on a Friday in London.  I find it sometimes helps to remember what’s in the diary on Friday before having that next drink!

I could go on but in the name of share-and-share-alike, if you have any tips on how to learn to love this city life, or you’d like to share your favourite things about London, go on comment below!


  1. Miriam Ingram
    March 1, 2012 / 9:11 pm

    Love your blog. Love your tweets. Love London too.

    • March 2, 2012 / 9:55 pm

      An Oyster is a sign of commitment to London. We’ll both gladly welcome you back on your next visit as a part timer 😀

  2. Eric Simpson
    March 3, 2012 / 10:18 am

    The sign written on the cars window generally elicits the response: “She is ! “