As I’m writing this post I’m actually back in my hometown of Leeds, England which is about four hours north of London. I’m very happy to be back here for the summer but I can’t help but be a little sad that my time in London is over so I wanted to share with you the top ten things I will miss about London, in no particular order, I’m hoping you will enjoy this off beat list and if you’re planning on visiting London this summer, as many are, this list might give you a little insight into what makes London such a vibrant city and it might give you ideas of how to spend your London days. So here it is, Enjoy!
1) Dapper Gentlemen
London is one of the few places I’ve been in the world where the men have a tendency to dress better than many of the women. From the snazzy suits the financial district men wear to the grungy looks of the boys in Camden Town there is an undisputable style that the men have in London.
They are in my humble opinon, dapper gentlemen. It seems easy for them too as though they just rolled out of bed, threw on what they had in their closets, tutted at their girlfriends over the top heels and fur and went out to strut down Oxford street.
It was always exciting for me, coming from my beloved Warren Wilson where boys forget they need to bathe, to see a city full of stylish, clean and well groomed men. I will miss seeing that and boys if you visit London take some notes from the dapper gentlemen wandering around town and please take that confident unspoken style back to wherever you call home.
2) Pimping Window Displays
Perhaps I’ll miss this one because of the bus route I had to taken into town a.k.a central London and to my internship in Dulwich but I would travel through Knightsbridge, the street where Harrods and Harvey Nichols call home. The the number ten bus would take me right past their windows and I adore the window displays. Especially Harvey Nichols newest one which is focused around The Queens Diamond Jubilee and shops from the fifties. It really is a gorgeous display and it always made me smile as I passed it. They were the most imaginative and impressive displays I had ever seen.
You can see more photos from that particular display at this article from the Telegraph.
3) The Art Scene
I have been truly blessed to see so much amazing artists in London. Modern artists and old artists alike. I have seen street artists like Banksy, I have seen Van Gough’s Sun Flowers, a Picasso and my many works of my favorite artist J.M.W Turner. There is so much free and accesible art in London. I spent hours in the National Gallery, studying the art and doing my best to recreate works in a sketch. I spent a day in the Tate Modern being confused and amazed at the work and I’ve grinned like an idiot when I saw Banksy’s work at the end of Portobello Road market.
If you are ever in London be sure to soak up the incredible art scene that exists there, you can visit classics like the National Gallery, the Wallace Collection, The Tate Britain etc and you can visit more modern places like the Tate Modern etc. Most of these places are free and offer you one of the most impressive collections of art I’ve ever seen.
Also be on the look out for street artists like Banksy, London is full of such art especially in places like Camden and on old churches in Notting Hill. Everytime I discovered street art it felt as though I had uncovered a secret gem and made me smile just as much as seeing the old masters in the galleries. Yes, the art scene in London is incredible and perhaps the thing I will miss the most.
4) The Theater
I was lucky enough to take in some great theater in London ranging from the Lion King to Comedy of Errors. The theater scene in London is again one of the best I’ve ever been around and the variety is just incredible. So my advice for people visiting London is simple, expand beyond the West End and give yourself some variety.
I saw two big musical shows in the West End, Lion King and Singing in the Rain. Both were utterly fantastic and Lion King may just be the best show I’ve ever seen but I was also able to see off beat plays such as Bloody Poetry in 30 people theaters, I even went to a production of MacBeth in a theater over a pub and those experiences although vastly different from the West End musicals were just as wonderful. So take in a musical but branch out as well and be delighted by ALL the theater London has to offer.
5) 24 Hour Transport
One of the wonderful things about London is you can always get around via the transport system. There’s the tube, which I was never a fan of, the river boat, the overground trains and my favorite the buses.
The wonderful thing is that from wherever you are in London you can get anywhere else in London thanks to the transport system. The number 9,10 and 176 bus served me faithfully and I was able to get from Kensington to Dulwich and everywhere in between. Even at two am in the morning you can get to where you need to go thanks to the nightbuses and the adventures that lay within them. So if you’re in London you never have to worry about getting home and that’s a great advantage to the city.
6) Free Museums
One of the most wonderful things about London are the museums from the Victoria and Albert Museum to the British Museum. These museums contain the treasures of England and other countries and best of all they’re FREE admission. The Victoria and Albert museum is referred to as England’s attic since odd knick knacks of every generation since the museums creation has been through in there.
The V and A also boasts one of the most beautiful sculpture collections I have ever seen and is well worth a visit. The Science museum which is located right next to the V and A is also a great FREE museum, especially if you have kids with you. During the day its full of young minds playing with all of the interactive exhibits but on the first Wednesday of every month the science museum hosts a late night event for adults only.
The late night event hosts specific exhibits and displays just for the older crowd and the late nights host a silent disco which for me was a highly entertaining and amusing experience. There is silence in the hall as everyone who is dancing has headphones on so its hilarious to watch people dance to no music and then you can tune into the same DJ station as your friends and all dance along to the same tune or be on different stations and be dancing like a maniac to completely different genre. So be sure to check that out if you happen to be near the Science museum on a Wednesday night.
Finally the British museum is the museum to end all museums (I couldn’t help it ;p) and within its walls lay the ruins of entire civilizations including the Egyptians and Greeks. In fact the British Museum boasts the largest mummy collection outside of Egypt. It also a great experience if you’re an art lover like me since it is full of sculptures from different civilizations and times. However be warned if (like I did) you plan to sit down quietly and sketched the Egyptian busts be prepared for many over the shoulder looks from curious tourists. But all in all some of my favorite memories from London are the ones of me spending the day just getting lost in a museum and I highly recommend the experience.
7) Living Over a Tesco
So this one isn’t necessarily limited to London but my apartment in London was situated right over a Tesco express. It was fantastic! Whenever I needed to grab simple things like milk and bread it was there but best of all when late at night my roommate and I would get the craving for something sweet we would travel downstairs and around the corner to the Tesco decked out in a combination of our pj’s and whatever portion of the days outfit was on our body creating unique and odd outfits that thrilled the employees of Tesco to no end.
That being said if you ever have the chance to move into an apartment that rests over or right next to a Tesco express or any other supermarket/grocery store you should most certainly do it, it makes for a excellent living experience. Without a doubt I will miss the convenience of living over that Tesco and all the smiling staff we met at all hours of the night.
8) Royal Influence
The evidence of a royal presence in London is everywhere from the flags surrounding Buckingham palace to all the buzz surrounding the reopening of Kensington Palace (where Will and Kate will live). There is also evident of past monarchs such as the monument outside of Charring Cross station that is a replica of the sculpture King Edward the first created to mark the final resting place of his wife. There is also the huge monument set up in Kensington gardens across from Royal Albert Hall that Queen Victoria commissioned upon the death of her husband Albert.
The royals are everywhere around London and it was my opinion that I felt the presence of the royals in London more than anywhere else. Indeed the Queens face is plastered over ads, the Metro news and the tacky souvenirs tourists buy from the shops on Oxford street. Yes indeed London and the royals have a special relationship and it just seems to add to the charm of the city.
9) My Internship
One of the best things about my time in London was my internship with Dulwich Onview
My internship allowed me to travel throughout South London visiting art galleries, shows, cafes, plays and more. Without my internship I would have never gotten to know the South of London and all its dynamic art communities. It was a real thrill for me to wake up and know my job was seeing wonderful art in famous places like The Tate Modern Gallery and not so famous places like the GX gallery.
My internship caused me to look at art in a unique way and hunt out its unique qualities to create worth while stories that people would want to read. I’ve had great feedback for the stories I’ve written during my time at Dulwich Onview and even had artists/owners e-mail me to thank me for the reviews I’ve written. Truly the internship was one of the best things about my time in London and I will mist traveling around London hunting out art, great cafes and moving plays to write about for Dulwich Onview.You can read all of my Dulwich Onview articles on my author page.
So that’s it, those are the things I will miss the most about my time in London. It has been a great experience in London and something I wouldn’t trade for the world. I hope this post gave you some fresh ideas if you are thinking about visiting London and if you’re not going to be in London anytime soon I hope you found this post entertaining! I would love to hear your thoughts on this post and anything you miss about London if you’ve spent anytime there.
Until Next time be blessed, stay strong and never give up,