I am sure you have all seen the t-shirts, the tea towels, mugs and even tattoos that scream I Heart NYC, I most certainly have, in fact I own a number of them, owing to New York being one of my most favorite places, however as cities goes London is my new love affair. I Heart London.
Its been a long and rocky road to love for London and I, we started off when I was 14, you were too big and too loud and filled with things that terrified me, I cried all the way home, I wanted so badly to love you. But as with all true love stories, the more turmoil at the beginning the more wonderful the ending, that most certainly is the case with us. Now I couldn’t love it more, I fall in love a little more each time, every step I take along roads filled with the most fashionable, individual and inspiring people, the museums and exhibits that fill my imagination with joy and the beautiful men around every corner!
Every time I step foot into Kings Cross station I am filled with the most heart warming feeling, sure the people are a little more brisk than up north, and the general hustle and bustle can be a little daunting but the thing I am most aware of is how at home I feel, how inclusive the city feels, although sprawling and there is always a smile, always a door held pen, If you treat the city well the city and its inhabitants treat you well.
I love the decent into the tube stations, the retro tiled walls, the buskers adding a soundtrack to your day, the fruit sellers offering their wares, the smell of the city, a mix of sweet coffee and exhaust fumes, the soft light as twilight approaches and the hum of the people all getting on with their lives around you.
There are so many people who don’t love London, who find it abrasive and harsh, who dread the slow approach through the graffiti jungle into the space ship dimensions of Kings Cross, if you are one of those people, I have a little advice for you;
This should be a bit of advice for anyone, anywhere, any time, however its the thing people forget most often to do, a smile can literally open doors, it can also be an invitation for a new person to chat to you, or to make someone else day a little brighter. I made a deal with my self, when in London I am usually racing around to meetings, or events and I forget to be kind to others, I have been known to push and shove to get onto the tube, or grab a cab in the rain, so I remember to smile, it can be the difference between getting a mouth full from a grouchy southerner and a cheeky grin in return.
I know us northerners give southerners a bad rap for being rude and antisocial, but actually I would say they are some of the nicest people I have met, you just have to be nice to them!
2. Look Up
London is a beautiful city, filled with astounding architecture, both modern and ancient. The skyline is a sight to behold, scattered with glass sky scrapers, Victorian red brick and the church steeples of the early 18th Century. London is home to some of the most sensational buildings, which can be missed when you are staring steadily at a map or an app on your phone. So once in a while, stop and look up, be amazed by the Shard, be in awe of St Paul’s Cathedral or the Houses of Parliament.
It can be so easy to forget that millions of people come to London every year, they save up for years, they plan and get excited about arriving in this incredible city, from all over the world, and yet those of us who live a mere 4 hours away sometimes forget it exists when we are planning a city break, choosing Milan or Paris over good ol’ London Town.
3. Be Independent
Don’t stick to the tourist places, have an adventure, imagine you are on holiday and explore off the beaten track, I have found some of the most fabulous and favourite places by wandering down a road that wasn’t sign posted, like the community gardens that are hidden behind the grey of the city buildings, the little independent coffee shops and quirky stores that really show off what London is so fabulous at, being individual and different, never conforming or staying in line, surely in life we all strive for a little of that, we all want to rebel a little.
So there you have it, its not an exhaustive list of the things I could tell you to make your trip in London that little bit more perfect, but its a good place to start.
Like anything in life, you have to have a little patience with it, but trust me when I say that London is one of the most fascinating cities I have ever been to, and one I plan on moving to in the very near future.
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