I lived in London for three short years during my studies at the R.A.D. Thinking about it, three years sounds like a while but time truly flew by. There are a few things I dislike about the city and I simply could never imagine myself living there long-term, but there are even more things that I absolutely love about it. This city is very close to my heart and I cannot wait to get to visit it again.
1. Commute. London had the best public transport ever. Yes, it was very annoying when my bus was about a year late sometimes. However, throughout my three years there I barely ever used a taxi. You had the underground, trains, and buses, some running for 24hours. I could always take National Express to get home after a redeye flight. And I had all the freedom in the world to get where ever I wanted to. It was awesome.
2. Oxford Street. I mean, need I say more?! Shopping in London was sooo good. And it wasn’t just Oxford Street. Think of any store you like and there is probably an XL version of it in London. And of course, let’s not forget about the opening hours. Shops in Central London were open until 20:00 or even 21:00 sometimes (during a busy season like Christmas).
3. Multicultural. In London, you really felt like a Citizen of the World. In a very odd way, you felt at home in a huge city full of people. Amongst the crowd, I felt like that city had a special place for me and I very much belonged there. Walking down the street, commuting to and from uni/work, going shopping or out for a meal, I felt like I was one with the crowd (in a good way).
4. Performances. London was and still is the place to be if you love performing arts. I did go to a couple of performances throughout my time there but I deeply regret not taking advantage of this more. Musicals and dance companies are all there in London and they are there to amaze you and move you. Live performances make you feel things you have never felt before. I cherish every single one I got to watch while living there. All of them touched me very deeply and opened up my mind -and soul- to a whole new world full of life and emotions.
5. “Freedom.” This is probably one of the things I miss the most about London and it is something I don’t think I can experience anywhere else. This is a feeling very hard to put into words but I will do my best to explain it. London is a very big city and unlike other places, every single nook and cranny of that city is FULL of life. There is always something new to see, something to do, something to experience, something to admire. The feeling of getting on the underground, getting off at a random stop, and just walking around the streets of London is something I miss dearly. This made me feel so free. I know this is hard to grasp but it felt like my soul was free in that city. Even when I had nooooo idea where I was, or how to get home, I never felt lost. (That was also because I could always count on Google Maps to get me home and also because there was an underground station around every corner -almost-). Walking around the streets of London during the weekend was the ultimate city adventure. This is what I used to do for fun on my own and I miss it so much.
6. Pret A Manger, McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Nando’s around every corner. This is pretty self-explanatory but basically I loved finding some of my favourite cafes/restaurants everywhere in the city.
7. Fashion. Walking around the streets of London wasn’t exactly like walking down the runway but it did come pretty close sometimes. In places like Covent Garden, Shoreditch, and other central London location, I could always spot so many people with amazing personal style (especially on the weekends). People with a passion for fashion and dressing up. People that you could tell put effort and thought into their outfits. That gave me so much fashion inspiration and exposed me to so many different styles. It also gave me the confidence to experiment more with my style and try out different things.
8. The Non-Fashion. In London, you could be your most fashionable self, however, you could also be exactly the opposite. I have seen everything in London, in terms of “fashion” and I felt totally comfortable wearing my most ugly outfits when I felt like it. Even walking down Oxford Street in my least fashionable outfit ever, was totally cool. In busy cities, with so many people, you really feel like you can do whatever you want.
9. Christmas. I never spent Christmas Day in London, however, I was always there until early/mid-December. It is true what they say, London is magical during Christmas. Everything looks so pretty, all the shop displays, the many many lights, the Christmas Trees and of course Winter Wonderland. The city goes above and beyond for the Christmas season. It is truly beautiful. London in December is the definition of a Christmas Wonderland.
10. Harrods. Harrods, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, and all those big luxury department stores are all something to see. *Keyword: luxury.* I never went to those places for a shopping spree, but I loved walking around and just admiring all the beautiful things they were selling. From clothes, shoes, and bags to art, makeup, skincare, jewellery, food, drinks… These places have it all. And they were also some of the best places to people-watch for fashion inspiration.
11. Airports. London has six airports and I have been to four of them. Being a student I was flying home every few months and all the airports made it so much easier for me. More airports, more flights, more options! It was the dream. Plus all the airports I flew from were pretty big and that was something I looooved. Yes, big airports tend to be busier but they are the best. Imagine being stuck in a tiny airport for two hours, with one cafe and a tiny duty-free section versus being in an airport that looks like a shopping centre.
12. Dance Shops. Growing up there was only one dance shop in my town and that sadly ended up closing down. I was used to buying things online but nothing beats the feeling of being in an actual dance shop. And of course, the best part of it all is being able to get fitted for pointe shoes!!! It really was a dream getting off at Covent Garden and having so many amazing brands like Bloch and Freed at your fingertips. Even when I didn’t need to buy anything I loved visiting those dance shops for fun.
Thank you so much for reading. Let me know if you have any ideas for future blog posts or if you would like me to do more posts on life in London etc.