Likes & Dislikes

Opinions

London - Tower Bridge - r.k. photo

“A diverse metropolis with an unbelievable range of sights. A continually buzzing capital, where there’s always something to do. Not for those seeking a quiet time

Likes:


Hyde Park – amid all that bustle you need a green space where you can unwind a little, and that place is Hyde Park
Tower Bridge – You can take a lot of great pictures here, and not only of the bridge itself (which is great, especially when the central section opens) but also of the city, from the top of one of the towers
The British Museum – you could spend days here, but unfortunately there usually isn’t time
Soho – take a walk around this Bohemian district in the evening and you’re sure to bump into to extraordinary characters

Dislikes:

Sometimes the crush on the sidewalks is so bad that you can hardly move (half of them are often tourists) and that can be annoying
It’s expensive, so many people cut short their sightseeing
You’re in a constant race against time: there’s no way to see all the interesting attractions of this city in a single week, so you’re always weighing up which to see and which to skip. It’s a good idea to plan to come back 😊
At first it can seen strange that after 11pm you can’t buy alcohol either in a shop or in a pub. In most European cities young people stay up all night drinking and partying. It’s a good idea to do some planning ahead of time.


Public transport is superb. Travelling is easy, and the system is well joined-up. The London underground is very fast, so even though it’s a big city, you can get anywhere quickly. Travel passes are a good idea (don’t worry, you’ll get your money’s worth) and the public transport system runs well into the evening. The hop-on hop-off buses go to all the main attractions, and though overground transport is much slower, you do see more of the city en route.
I had no problems with public safety. I was the only white person I saw in East and West Ham, which as a Hungarian felt a bit odd, but of course nothing untoward happened.
The locals I met always seemed happy to help, and the multicultural milieu was interesting. It’s a very colorful city, and I’d recommend it to those who are open to new cultures, people and experiences. It’s a big city, but livable.
It’s worth making some kind of plan in advance, to make sure you see all the things you’re most interested in. Don’t worry if your accommodation is far from the center – you can save a lot of money that way, and you only have to travel back and forth first thing in the morning and last thing at night. The rest of the day can be spent exploring London, and the journey back and forth never takes long. Don’t be scared of hostels, either – most of the time they’re fine, as clean as any hotel, and you can meet some interesting people. Mostly it’s quite a young crowd, and not too expensive, which is a major consideration in such an expensive city.
You probably know this already, but an umbrella and a cardigan are always a good idea, even in the middle of summer! Better safe than sorry
You’d best plan on spending a fair amount of money, because eating out is expensive, and there are so many shops that you’re unlikely to have any spare space left over in your suitcase when you go home. Something is sure to catch your eye.

It’s worth trying Ducktours. The guides are really friendly, and the floating bus gives you a great opportunity to admire London from the Thames.
Try a jacket potato! This is just a potato baked in its skin, then stuffed with various fillings. You can find it as street food too. Fish and chips is also a must, obviously.
If you’re keen to go on the London Eye, it’s a good idea to buy your ticket in advance, if you want to leave yourself more time for sightseeing – the queue always stretches for miles
It will be tough for artistic souls to decide which events, museums and galleries to visit – there are simply so many to choose from!

There’s more for Beatles aficionados than Abbey Road – there’s also a Beatles’ store a stone’s throw from Madame Tussauds, where nostalgic moms and dads can pick up a few souvenirs. At the famous zebra crossing, meanwhile, feel free to take off your shoes – nobody will look at you funny, and the cars will all stop politely to let you cross.
(Sophie, 2015)

Practicals

Transport

The world's first traffic light was erected in 1868 in front of the House of Commons. A year later, that traffic light exploded, injuring a police officer just ready to turn on the lamp.

London - cab - Proudly African - k-t. g. photo

London - Oxford street - double-decker bus - e.p. photo

London - John Carpenter House - John Carpenter Street - Statue Of City Worker Hailing Cab - He has been waving since 1983, but no free taxis are coming -.m. photo

Accomodation

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London - The Eggerton House Hotel - r.g. photo

Food

“If you’re looking for good fish and chips, there are three factors which go together to make a real street food experience:

1.    Very fresh cod. Fresh, sea-scented, and virtually bone-free fillets, which turn snow-white and flaky after just four- or five-minutes cooking. Anyone who thinks they don’t like fish (I’m not the biggest seafood person myself, actually) is sure to be surprised at how good it is.
2.    Perfectly cooked potato chips. Many people imagine that it’s enough to take some French fries and chuck them into the deep fat fryer, and in fact, they’re not completely wrong – you just need to do it twice. Or maybe three times. But we’ll get to that.
3.    Perfect batter. Light, crunchy, golden-brown, and not dripping with grease.

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Maltby Street Market: In the slightly run-down district of Bermondsey, close to Tower Bridge, there is a place called Ropewalk, under a railway bridge. It opened a couple of years ago when the hipster craze was still at its peak. Today there are fewer hipsters, and fewer tourists too, so we can safely mingle and taste all sorts of weird and delicious food in this market, just like a real Londoner.

The Maltby Street Market is really just a single small street, but you can find everything here: beef jerky, ice-cream cookies, gin Bloody Marys, salty caramel brownies, hot dogs with real German sausages, Brazilian roast meats, oysters with champagne, and plenty more besides, all in one place.

My personal favorite is Little Bird Gin, which features Miss Ginger, the pin-up girl. This brand is famous for preparing their own gin, which is fantastic for mixing in cocktails.

This is where I drank the best Bloody Mary I’ve ever had, with real, grated horseradish and sliced celery, but the grapefruit and pink gin in a gorgeous crystal class was also first-class. If you can’t find a seat – which is often the case here – you can also ask for takeaway drinks, which come in a cute, striped glass with a striped straw.

The Maltby Street Market is well worth a visit in the morning. It is open from 9 am to 4 pm on Saturdays, and 11 am to 4 pm on Sundays.” (2016)

London - Beef Bagel - d.u. photo

Shopping

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London - Harrods Food Hall - n.f. photo

London - Selfridge Store - s.w. photo

London - Covent Garden - m.t. photo

London - Harrods - selling fresh fish in a fancy way - r.g. photo

Fun

“For Londoners, pubs are in effect the center of social life, and many English people spend more time in their local pub than in their own homes. In keeping with historical traditions, the design of an authentic pub is often more like a beautiful living room: carpeted floors, wooden furniture, old pictures on the walls, and a pleasant interior that exudes pride, serenity, and dignity.

In England, it is hard to imagine community life without pubs. People often go in, not so much for the sake of alcohol, but for the company. Most pubs are full to the brim on weekends, or in the run-up to the weekend. As pubs are now non-smoking, half the patrons are usually standing in front of the pub, while the other half is waiting at the bar for a drink inside. In big cities, however, the fashion these days is to drink industrial quantities of alcohol, until you reach total inebriation.

Pubs aren’t stupid – they know what’s good for them, so there are happy hour promotions in the afternoon (usually from 4 pm to about 6 or 7 pm) when you can buy drinks at half price, or three for two, or women drink free, or some such thing. This time period was not chosen at random, since it’s the fashion in Britain to go to the pub straight after finishing work. At such times, of course, drinking on empty stomach results in rapid alcohol absorption, so the sight of businessmen and women staggering home drunk at sunset is a common one.

Drink consumption is closely linked to dining, so pubs often serve excellent food – at least if you like typical, unseasoned English food. Then, at the weekend, the takeaway restaurants come into their own, and everywhere you go you see the little yellow, polystyrene boxes containing burgers, kebabs, chips, etc.…

Pubs usually have a huge range of beers on tap, and a serious liquor selection too. This is one of the reasons why the drinking culture is a little different here – there are many different varieties and flavors to try over the course of a night out. Ok, people still go out to just ‘have a beer’, but it’s also possible to get a light-brown, homemade, blended cider, with apple, pear, and strawberry varieties on offer.

When it comes to cocktails, they can usually make many more types than are listed, and then of course there are the wines… Overconsumption of alcohol is a serious issue in England, so each bottle is marked with the recommended daily allowance. For instance, 3-4 units of Teacher’s Whisky is the daily limit recommended by the state. One unit, however, means a half, which is just 25ml! Half of our half, in other words 😊


London - Trafalgar Square's Fourth Plinth - A giant swirl of whipped cream with a cherry on top, as well as a fly and a drone - r.m. photo

Public safety

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London - police - g.h. photo

London - 10 Downing street - r.g. photo

London - Notting Hill Carnival - police presence - r.g. photo

London - bike cop - r.m. photo

Health

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London - street art - k-t.g- photo

London - This bar is now carbon negative - r.m. photo

Others

1. Bring a water bottle because public drinking fountains are comparatively rare, and bottled water or refreshment drinks are costly. There are many public toilets where you can refill a bottle.

London - quay - r.g. photo

London - Shad Thames - Elter photo

Background

Destination in brief

London is the largest urban area and capital city of the United Kingdom. London lies in the southeast of Great Britain.

According to the most accepted presumption, the name for London originates from the old Celtic word “Londinous,” which means to be bold.

The River Thames runs through London. 35 bridges cross over the Thames.

Population (in 2020): 9.3 million - Its residents speak over 300 languages and are from almost every known ethnic group of the world.

59,8% White, 18,5% Asian, 13,3% Black, 5% mixed, others (estimation of 2020)

12% of the entire population of Britain resides in London, a very densely populated city. 

About 20 million tourists visit London per year. The Tate Modern art gallery is most visited tourist attraction in London.

The area of central London with the Parliament, Westminster Abbey, and Big Ben is called Westminster.

Average net monhtly salary (in 2020): 3500 USD (UK average: 2400 USD)

The majority of British people do not consider London as a real British city.

It rains in London approximately 156 days a year out of 365.

Until 1916, the prominent department store, Harrods sold cocaine and heroin over the counter.

Climate

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London - Blossom - Late March - Ata photo

History

London was the first city in the world with a population of over one million. That was in 1811. Until 1957, London was the largest city in the world, then Tokyo took the lead.

The upper, pedestrian part of Tower Bridge was closed by the authorities in 1910 because the prostitutes overran the place, making it to their haunt.

Hitler planned that after the occupation of London, the statue of Admiral Nelson would be removed from its place and taken to an exhibition in Berlin. It didn't work out for him either.

In the early 1950s, in principle, anyone could call Prime Minister Winston Churchill by phone. At the time, his telephone number was in the public telephone directory.

The only real home that all Beatles members shared at the same time was an apartment near Hyde Park. The address of the building is 57 Green Street. They lived there in the fall of 1963.




Nowadays

"Multiculturalism is a lie. It's not what some would like to make you believe.  That is just a false slogan, which doesn't bring people together but separates people. There are many nationalities, ethnicities in one place in London, but there's nothing multicultural about it; it is just a mere physical coexistence.

The indigenous English people in London are boring, but at least helpful. Their open-mindedness is limited to a few formal words. Frankly, they are physically unattractive. I can not generalize about the 'non-natives. I could only define the Caribbeans living here, but I'm afraid to do it because the Thought Police may catch hold of me." (Andras from London)

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“There are places where as many as five different underground lines meet, and possibly several kilometers of walkways between them. That’s not really a problem, though, because buskers along the way play many of our favorite songs, in a range of different styles. This isn’t begging, but rather a service, which you can pay for if you like it… Really quite different to what we’re used to back home. But even the homeless have a totally different appearance here. First, their sleeping bags are better quality than mine, and they don’t stink of BO or booze. Even when they look a little grubby, and pull a sorry face, they only ask quietly if you might have a little change. Strangest of all, though, even if you don’t give anything, they still say thank you!

London - The Gherkin - Elter photo

Tourist etiquette

“We went to see the musical Cats at the Palladium in London. The performance was spectacular, but I’m more interested here in pointing out something practical: Londoners don’t like to stand in line at the cloakroom after a performance, so even the most elegant ladies are happy to stuff their coats under their seats, though the seats in the Palladium are no bigger than in most other theaters around the world. (phica, 2019)



Attractions

Covent Garden

London - Covent Garden - p.j. photo

London - Covent Garden

Bridges

London - Tower Bridge - Elter photo

London - Tower Bridge - Elter photo

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