City life is not for everybody but London has something that will charm everyone. Here are a few reasons to make London your home, even if only temporarily.
London is a city of many people from many places. It is a multi-cultural society with most nationalities represented. This means London is a fairly tolerant place where anything goes. Suited businessmen can walk alongside pierced and brightly-coloured punks as well as people from other countries.Whatever you miss from home will usually be available somewhere too.
|Caribbean mask at the Notting Hill Carnival, London, UK|
With the huge variety of cultures represented comes a wide variety of eating options. Just about every cuisine is represented from Japanese sushi trains to French Bistros, German Beerhouses, Turkish mezze restaurants (complete with belly dancers), American diners and Ethiopian cafes. Certain areas have gained a notoriety for specific cuisines. For example Chinatown by Leicester Square hosts a variety of Chinese restaurants. Brick Lane is the place to go for a curry and North London boasts many Middle Eastern restaurants.
|Spanish Paella, London, UK|
London is a large city made up of several villages. The various boroughs each have their own character and many retain their original focus. Historically certain trades operated in specific boroughs. Some of these traditions are maintained but nowadays more modern factors have influenced this, mostly dependent on the nationality of immigrants dominating an area. Brixton has a lively Caribbean atmosphere and Kensington has a large French population. To get a taste of the different neighbourhoods think about renting a holiday apartment and experience living like a local for a while. Click here for more information.
|Notting Hill Carnival, London, UK|
Shopping and Markets
Some London markets reflect the people living in the local area, with pigs’ trotters and exotic Caribbean fruit available in Brixton, while Tooting market stalls feature a lot of the ingredients of Indian and Pakistani cuisine. Borough market is a famous food market and Portobello Road is popular with second-hand furniture enthusiasts. Markets aside London is a fantastic shopping destination, with just about everything under the sun available somewhere. Bargains are as readily available as the high-end designer label stores too, so it doesn’t need to be expensive.
|Brixton Market, London, UK|
London is a very green city so if you are a country dweller at heart you should still manage to get your fix of the great outdoors. Parks and gardens are strewn across the city from Hampstead Heath in the north to Richmond Park in the south. Regents Park contains London Zoo and in summer hosts an outdoor theatre. St James Park has the Serpentine running through it if you fancy a swim, and Clapham Common holds a music festival in summer. London also has a network of waterways and it is possible to take a canal boat ride in Camden and many other areas north of the river. When winter hits London ice rinks pop up around the city making ice-skating a popular pastime.
|Hampstead Heath, London, UK|
London has a long and fascinating history that can be discovered in the various museums in the city. There are also lots of monuments, castles, palaces and other features telling the city’s story. London Underground stations were used as bomb shelters during the war, which is hard to imagine as you pass through them now. London also has several wonderful galleries hosting regular large exhibits as well as touring exhibitions. Most of the museums and galleries in London are free to enter too.
|Ice skating at the Natural History Museum, London, UK|
If you are a night owl you will enjoy the open all hours nature of London. It is not quite a 24-hour city but restaurants and bars stay open late into the night and with so many theatre productions, shows and cinema screenings to take advantage of, it is easy to stay up late.
|Night out in London, UK|
One thing London can seriously boast about is the public transport network. London Underground trains run from 6am to after midnight each day. Some bus routes run 24 hours and taxis can be called at any hour. It is usually fairly easy to get home wherever the party leaves you.
|London Underground, London, UK|
Great Travel Links
While you are based in London it is easy to take advantage of the extensive travel links to other places and the low fares available. London is a hub for many air carriers, which means you can fly almost anywhere if not directly, then within few changes. With cheap return fares around Europe available you can spend weekends in Paris, Rome and Istanbul.
|Cocktails by the Mediterranean are only a short flight away from London, UK|
If you live, or have lived, in London what are your favourite things about the city? If not, do you want to?