1. Everyone jogs
Whether it’s at the crack of dawn or late at night, you can always find people with their jogging gear on, music blasting in their headphones as they run–everywhere. (Note: I’ve seen some of the fittest people during my 3-day trip to London than I have in my travels all over the UK.)
2. It’s extremely easy to navigate
Because the city is so heavily populated with tourists from all over the world, there are countless “checkpoints” dotted around the main streets of London with maps on them in order to help whenever you’re lost. They’re extremely great for newcomers to the city–even illustrating how long it’d take to walk to any major landmark or destination within a 20 minute radius.
3. There are construction sites everywhere
London always seems to have so many projects on the go–from building new galleries to undergoing year–long restorations of old churches. The city is constantly in development, constantly in a state of repair and renewal, constantly trying to make itself even better than it already is.
4. Most things are beyond overpriced
Not only is almost everything in the heart of London a complete money grab, but I paid £2.50 for a small cup of the worst hot chocolate ever. That’s about $4 Canadian! And instead of being rich, warm and delicious, like I had hoped it would be (especially for that price), it was literally just lukewarm water sprinkled with a bit of chocolate-flavoured power. It was chocolate water.
5. Yes, some things in life are free
Despite how expensive it is in London, there are numerous free activities and entertainment for you to enjoy throughout the city. Many art galleries, museums and churches participate in a “free entry” policy–getting their money either through the gift shop or small donations from tourists who’ve enjoyed their time and wish to contribute to the maintenance and upkeep of the building.
6. You can buy flowers everywhere
From almost every corner store and street vendor in Kensington & Chelsea to beneath the streets of the London Underground, you can find florist shops everywhere you turn. They fill the streets with such vibrant color and the beautiful aroma of fresh flowers always seems to linger under your nose.
7. They make a mean breakfast
A full english breakfast, also known as a “fry up”, consists of fried eggs, back bacon, sausage, pan-fried tomatoes and mushrooms, baked beans and toast all served on a plate with tea. It was originally created to be high-calorie fuel for the 19th-century working class, but has become a tradition that extends to present day. Unless you bring a big appetite, it’s definitely a mouthful.
8. They don’t sell loose leaf tea
You can rarely find loose leaf sold in London, and even then, they don’t get really fancy with the flavors. (I think that’s just a North American thing.) However, the people of London love their English breakfast, as well as their ‘afternoon tea’, which is typically served in a teapot for two with little sandwiches, scones and sweet pastries for you to enjoy.
9. The patriotism is enormous
Union flags can be seen waving freely from every landmark, monument, statue or pub in London, while messages like “God Save the Queen” are sewn into aprons, cushions, tea towels and sweatshirts. I didn’t see one local–or even tourist, for that matter–who didn’t look incredibly proud to be standing on British soil. Heck, I was overjoyed to be there too. It’s an energy you can’t replicate, and the city is teeming with devotion to the crown.