I love living in London and have been lucky enough to call the city home on and off for 11 years now. In fact I would proudly walk around the streets wearing a “I
LDN” t-shirt if they were not so commercially touristy! As with settling into any new city, you slowly adopt the mannerisms of the locals. So below are a list of some of the tell tale signs you are changing. Eventually you will know you are a Londoner when…1. You don’t stop at pedestrian crossings.
Londoners are always in a rush and despite the international reputation that the British enjoy queuing /waiting it certainly is not the case in London. As Natalie liked to remind me “we are Londoners, we just go!”. A red crossing man is purely a light hearted suggestion to a Londoner. Like a red rag to a bull it just incites us to cross the road a little faster. Buses, lorries (that’s a truck to the rest of the world) and emergency services vehicles will have no influence on our desire to get to the other side of the road as quickly as possible. In fact next time you are waiting for the lights to change watch the locals as they make the dash, many will be shaking their heads at everyone waiting.
2. You will start to complain about all the tourists.
As London streaks towards becoming the world’s most visited city in 2014 the huge increase in tourism means the streets of central London are bulging. Saturday shopping in Oxford or Regent streets can be more like a contact sport and a venture into Primark? Forget it! Despite the need for the influx of tourism dollars, Londoners all secretly wish for the streets to be ours again! Could we really be turning into our arch rivals the Parisians?
Prepare to fight with the masses if you want this shot
3. You know a better curry house than anything in Brick Lane.
While the beloved chicken korma is now considered to be one of the UK’s national dishes, most visitors intent on experiencing British Indian food head down to the famous Brick Lane in the East End. As a Londoner you will proudly state that nothing in Brick Lane comes close to the curry house on the high street around the corner from where you live. To be honest, you are probably right!
A London institution, but you know a better place to go!
4. You hit the parks at the first sign of the sun!
There is no better city in the world when the sun comes out than London. Fact! The city comes alive, the convertible roofs on cars are lowered, everyone spills into the parks (of which London has World class options) or green spaces and the streets in front or behind the local pub become THE place to be. I still find it mildly amusing that people will be sunbathing in the park as the mercury hits a stifling 18 degrees Celsius, but we have to make the most of the sun when we see it! (Maybe I am not a fully fledged local just yet). Oh and often Tesco’s sell out of burgers – sun=BBQs!
5. You will walk 10 minutes past multiple coffee shops to visit your favourite coffee chain.Costa, Cafe Nero and Starbucks monopolise the coffee shop scene in London and most Londoners have their favourite. Sometimes you will drop your standards to the second choice but everyone of us has one of the big three we wouldn’t be caught dead in. Sometimes that 15 minute walk (it would have been 20 if we waited for the lights) was worth it.
Sometimes it is worth the walk to stay loyal
6. You don’t talk to strangers on the Tube.
Seriously! During London 2012 the vibe in the tube was incredible but as soon as the Olympics finished that spirit disappeared faster than Usain Bolt in the 100 metres! Whether you are on your own, travelling with your friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, wife husband or even kid, most Londoners pile onto the tube in deathly silence. No eye contact is made, a look of disdain will be flashed at the overly noisy tourists and no word uttered until the cone of silence ceases when the tube doors open and you step onto the platform!
The smiles will stop and silence ensues as the train pulls up
7. You don’t catch black cabs.
Sure they look cool and are one of the symbols of the city but do you know how much they cost?! Unless you are a high flying banker where (our) money is no object, most locals will walk, tube or if a taxi is a must, take a mini cab. There are always exceptions but if you do have to take a ride it is never a very long one.
The Black Cab, icon of London but too expensive for most locals
Of course this is not a definitive list. There are numerous other tell tale signs you have evolved merely from living to in London to becoming a true Londoner. Do you have any more? If so, leave a comment below or share with us on Facebook.
Deano, you are making me envious I am not there. I have always, and always will call London my second home, but you have been there much longer. I can still recall the “streets of London” and feel so, so comfortable, as if I would be in Melborune. Another of the world’s great cities!!!!!!!!! Cheers from here. Love me xx
Just all SO true Dean, you really are a Londoner!
1 & 2: within a month, but you get this being a Sydney resident also. 3: it took me 6 months before i was dragged to Brick Lane, and my local off Shaftesbury Avenue was way better. 4: in my downtime / job hunting periods i would spend whole days walking in parks, it was lovely. 5: i only ever walked into coffee shops i’d never heard of before, and it was always good. 6: only once! coming back from Brixton at 11pm with a carriage loaded with drunks there was some pretty funny chatter going on. 7: i only caught black cabs when i had local distance trains/buses to catch and i slept in, which was only about 3 or 4 times in the space of a year 🙂 I would add catching a bus (a trip-based fare) over the Tube (a distance-based fare) as the bus is cheaper no matter how far you travel, as long as you know where the bus is going! On one perilous trip I fell asleep and woke up in in Dartford ugh. Although another time I took a 1-hour trip from the centre to Greenwich for 1.20, slow but occasionally worth it.