Guess who’s FINALLY getting around to posting #6-10 on her Top 10 Reasons to Move to London list from last week? Really? Well, if you see her, please ask if she minds posting my list, too; it’s so hard to narrow it down!
All right, all right, I’ll see if I can limit it to just five more lovely London things…[drumroll, please]
6. London’s public transportation. While I have many blog posts already devoted to getting around London, allow me another shout-out to the incredible rail systems linking the city and its surroundings together in a sophisticated network via the Overground or Underground (a.k.a. “The Tube“) trains; the bus system (yes, those cute red double-deckers) also covers a wide range of routes—for both trains and buses, the Oyster card is the easy way to go to pay your fares. To make the city even more convenient to get around in (and in a healthier way), they’ve just implemented the Barclays cycle hire scheme, which so far seems to be going off without a hitch—if anything, they need to redistribute more bikes into the City centre by morning for all the people that have been riding them home from work every day. And if you’re willing to cough up the extra pounds to take the classic black London taxi, at least you’ll be treated to a well-maintained and spacious vehicle with a (most of the time) courteous driver with an amazing memory for London streets. If going on foot, the street signs and lamps are very conducive to helping you cross the road, though you might want to mind the sidewalks…
7. The food. Whether it’s local pub grub or exotic cuisine from all around the world, you will never experience more variety. Even the elusive Mexican food that we Americans so crave is becoming more prevalent on this side of the pond (we just scored a Chipotle in spring!), and you’ve got your American food stores as fall-backs. The freshness of the food is another draw in this largely agricultural country—have your pick of it at the many open markets in the city as well as enjoy the fresher prepared meals at London’s grocers vs. the frozen, preservative-saturated TV-tray dinner variety.
8. Shopping! Whether it’s the high street labels or the small boutiques (try Portobello or Camden for some fun finds), the latest from the runways of Fashion Week or the charms of vintage, you’ll find any range of creative styles strutting those sidewalks, truly rendering this a fashion capital. The Victorians would be amazed at how anything goes these days 🙂
9. The architecture. Last week, I addressed the profound historical merit of the city, and much of this shows through in its present-day structures in which you’ll live, work, eat, and shop. Maybe that doesn’t do it for you, but I’m a gal of aesthetics, so I enjoy the fact that I don’t have to be at a museum or palace to be treated to the intricacy and quality put into construction years ago—even as I type this, I can look out at a Victorian church and lovely row of terraced houses just beyond. Within my own flat, I crane my neck to look at the ceiling and delight in its ornate floral molding running around the entire perimeter, a special bit of eye candy along with other nooks and crannies to be found in older homes. Many London flats are located in these Victorian terraced houses, but the city also seems itching for modern architecture at any chance it gets (example: the “Gherkin,” as pictured above), and if you prefer modern construction for your living needs, you can find it in areas like Canary Wharf and Battersea.
10. While I’ve listed these in no particular order, I’ll close here with a nod to the overall laidback, appreciative zest for life that Londoners have. When I consider what I see in abundance here, it’s pubs and gardens. And what these signify to me is a city that works hard but knows when stop and play. It helps one strike a wonderful balance in urban life as opposed to the intensity of a city like New York. Sure, the financial district is buzzing by day here, too, but come 17:00, those business suits are filtering into their closest public house for a pint at day’s end, and even if you don’t drink alcohol, the pub atmosphere is just as cozy and calming to drink tea within. And for all the buildings that I just referenced in #9 above, a majority of windowsills are blooming with flowers and topiaries, and square blocks of prime central property are still gated off as private gardens for the residents to enjoy in addition to the public parks that abound like Hampstead Heath, Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, and Battersea Park (which all helps make this a very dog-friendly city). Leisure and green spaces are valued here as much as effort and commerce, and that’s a middle of the road that suits me quite fine while still being far from the ordinary.
When it comes down to it, it’s quite impossible to say there are only 10 reasons to move here, which in and of itself is your #11. So pack your bags and make that London relocation happen!