99 awesome things about London* ** ***

It has been brought to my attention that I haven’t posted as much as normal lately. This is partly because I am a little loved up. But also because it’s frickin’ freezing outside so I’m hibernating. But I’m feeling the tug, tug, tug of London, pulling at me to go out and see her again, so this list is for me really. Here’s what I love about London:

  1. Holding hands and wandering down the South Bank from Waterloo to the Tate Modern to take in the street theatre and eat at a nice restaurant (Skylon or the Blueprint Cafe) overlooking the Thames
  2. Being on a night bus and hearing 7 different languages being spoken at once
  3. Markets – Borough, Portobello, Brixton, Camden, Smithfields, Broadway, Brick Lane, Columbia Road
  4. Anything that is happening in the UK tends to happen here first – trends, food, music, house price falls
  5. The arty poshness of Notting Hill and its lovely pavement cafes
  6. The Evening Standard Friday magazine
  7. Having friends who are into, and parts of London that cater for, a million different tastes which you can dip in and out of as and when you fancy it
  8. The Royal Academy summer exhibition for sheer fun, volume and mentalness
  9. People wearing ridiculous outfits and no-one blinking an eye
  10. The O2 for its big name stars and nostalgia-fests (Suede, Prince, Tina Turner and er… Simply Red)
  11. Random gastro / art experiences at Dans Le Noir, the Wapping Project and Gingerline
  12. Kings Road shopping followed by coffee at the Peter Jones top floor cafe or a wander round the Saatchi Gallery
  13. That moment on the tube you all realise you’re smiling at the same thing
  14. The fact that you can see a Korean film festival and eat at a Zimbabwean restaurant in one day
  15. When your tube isn’t running and you get to work and realise 30 people in your office were in the same boat
  16. Drinking champagne at the top of Tower 42 or the Oxo Tower
  17. Booking your diary up weeks in advance, feeling really knackered and then have a friend cancel at the last minute so you get an impromptu night in
  18. The village in a village that is Crouch End and Herne Hill
  19. The yummy mummy shops and market of Northcote Road, Clapham Junction
  20. Filthy late-night drinking venues – in your twenties The Roadhouse and Infernos, and any time after that random joints in Soho, the Dalston Jazz Club and any pub that will give you a lock-in
  21. East end trendies and cool bars in Shoreditch, Bethnal Green and Hoxton
  22. The way that most Londoners are equal parts intolerant and friendly
  23. The Barbican, Riverside Studios, the Tricycle Theatre and Soho Theatre leading the way with surreal, modern, fascinating comedy and theatre
  24. It is the only city in the UK where you can have a million pound mansion on the same street as a housing estate
  25. Fantastic comedy at the Comedy Store, Jongleurs, the 100 club, Chuckle Club and Banana Cabaret
  26. We got the Houses of Parliament and City boys. Yes, they’ve fucked our lives up, but they’re OURS
  27. Supper clubs popping up throughout London – a modern, exciting and great value way to dine
  28. The Eurotrash and monied folk of Chelsea and Mayfair and pretending you are one of them at London’s best hotels
  29. You can do a course in n’importe quoi at the School of Life, City Lit and loads of local colleges
  30. Massive, friendly, funny, supportive blogging community
  31. A new and exciting film scene, led by the BFI and London’s independent cinemas
  32. The romance and sadness of Highgate Cemetry
  33. Saturday lunch in the million and one restaurants in Upper Street, Angel
  34. Cycle superhighways and bikes – we’re all having a bit of a giggle about it aren’t we?
  35. Afternoon tea at the Ritz or the Wolseley
  36. Going to a new undiscovered area of London and getting to know it better
  37. Treating to yourself to a posh meal in one of London’s fabulous Michelin-starred restaurants
  38. Old school Roman spa days with girlfriends at the Porchester Spa, Bayswater
  39. A day out at the Natural History Museum or the V&A followed by shopping on High Street Ken or lunch at the Kensington Roof Gardens
  40. Great gig venues like the Brixton Academy, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Koko and the Jazz Cafe in Camden, the Slaughtered Lamb in Clerkenwell and Cargo in Shoreditch
  41. Every London school appears to be churning out a decent band (not quite, but see Mumford & Sons, Florence & the Machine and the XX)
  42. Late night exhibitions at the V&A, British Museum, Natural History Museum and National Portrait Gallery
  43. The gorgeous Georgian houses of Islington and the romantic-sounding De Beuvoir
  44. When someone on the tube offers you the empty seat (and not because they think you’re pregnant. Oh)
  45. We’re holding the Olympics here in 2012, and we’re all a little bit nervous that it’s going to be crap
  46. Spending your hard earned salary (or simply imagining it) at the beautiful Selfridges, Liberty and Harvey Nicks
  47. The buzziness of Soho to make you feel young again (until the morning after)
  48. The Jamaican roots of Brixton and its up-and-coming music, market and bar scene
  49. Interesting and eccentric museums like the Foundling Museum in Bloomsbury, Sir John Soane’s house in Holborn and Dennis Severs’ house in Shoreditch
  50. Seeing free live music (including Ed Harcourt!) at London’s victorian bandstands courtesy of Bandstand Busking
  51. Riverside pubs, rahs and rowing in Putney, Hammersmith, Barnes and Parsons Green
  52. Fantastic gastropubs – the Eagle, Anchor & Hope, 32 Great Queen Street, Harwood Arms, Canton Arms, Drapers Arms, the Bull & Last
  53. London’s ghostly plague-ridden past which you can re-visit in late night walking tours
  54. The beauty and science of Greenwich park and observatory, followed by a huge pub lunch
  55. Amazing history – the great fire of London, the blitz, Big Ben
  56. London Eye is surely the biggest Eye in the UK
  57. Being a 1 hour drive or train from the countryside of Surrey, Kent and Berkshire  
  58. The view from Waterloo Bridge at night
  59. You can wander round London’s incredible architecture and beautiful buildings every year courtesy of Open House
  60. Realising Essex is actually quite beautiful (I’m not looking at you, Billericay)
  61. Brick lane markets, pubs and curry houses
  62. When you have an amusing tube driver who makes funny comments
  63. The glamour of Canary Wharf and the City (I LOVE the guerkin)
  64. Giving in to your cheesy side and seeing a West End musical
  65. The music scene and hanging out by the canals in Camden
  66. Fantastic coffee shops like Store Street Espresso, Kaffeine, Lantana and Flat White
  67. Festivals in Clapham Common, Victoria Park and London Fields throughout the Summer
  68. Impromptu “snow days” where you try reeeeally hard to get into work (not really) and then you “work from home” (while building snowmen, posting  photos of snowmen on facebook, giggling at neighbours building snowmen…)
  69. St Pauls church and the little churches hidden in the City for being beautiful, soothing and doing lunchtime concerts
  70. It is the inspiration for brilliant songs – London Calling by the Clash, London Town by James Taylor, LDN by Lily Allen, the Lambeth Walk
  71. And films – Mary Poppins, 28 Days Later, Bridget Jones, About A Boy, An American Warewolf In London, Austin Powers, An Education, The Chronicles Of Narnia, The Krays, Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels, London River, London Boulevard, and most things by Richard Curtis and Mike Leigh
  72. Ultravox’s Vienna was actually set in Covent Garden – but it means nothing to me
  73. Fantastic plays and famous actors at London’s historic theatres
  74. We got Buckingham Palace and THE Queen. Our continental cousins only have “A Queen”, whose name we forget
  75. Richmond Park for having deer! In a throbbing metropolis!
  76. East end cockneys, barrow boys and pearly queens
  77. The view from Parliament Hill in Hampstead Heath, followed by coffee at Kenwood house or a pint in one of Hampstead Village’s pubs
  78. Eastenders
  79. East Dulwich’s Lordship Lane for its cafes, pubs, delis and bars, and just a hop skip and a jump from Dulwich Gallery, Village and Park
  80. Four major airports and the Eurostar can take you from London to the beach in a matter of hours
  81. Pre-theatre dinner deals in Covent Garden (even if you’re actually going to the pub afterwards)
  82. If you run out of conversation, we can ALWAYS bitch about public transport
  83. We are the only city in the world with a trillion green and gorgeous city-centre parks to sunbathe in all summer (like the 9 million bicycles song, that’s a fact. But unsubstantiated)
  84. Seeing famous people all the time in random places, but mostly Soho
  85. Camberwell, Peckham and New Cross for being arty and up and coming
  86. We have better weather than most of the UK, all year round
  87. You can swim outdoors in London Fields, the Serpentine and Brockwell Park
  88. Funky exercise options like every type of hot and sweaty yoga, Frame and Pineapple dance studios, British Military Fitness, pole dancing and burlesque
  89. Mosquitos in summer – how very continental
  90. The kebab shops of Stoke Newington and Dalston
  91. Cool and trendy members clubs like Milk & Honey, Soho House, the Ivy, the Graucho and Shoreditch House, and managing to blag your way in at least once
  92. Boris Johnson and Ken Livingston – whatever you think of them, they are certainly characters
  93. That smug feeling that you are no longer a tourist
  94. There’s something bonding about everyone always being skint
  95. Amazing curries, Indian markets and Primarni in Tooting
  96. Seeing a monk or a nun in an incongruous setting like Oxford Street, holding an HMV plastic bag
  97. We have the beautiful Royal Courts of Justice, steeped in history, pomp and ceremony, and men in wigs (for a short time only)
  98. Listening to drunken, loud and largely unsuccessful flirting on the last tube home of the night
  99. The Vietnamese restaurants on Kingsland road

* Yes, well spotted. Idea shamelessly plaigirised from 1000 awesome things. Only less clever and without the accompanying book deal.

** Fuck me, this took me ages. I hope you like it 🙂

*** Yes, 100 would look and sound better, but I’m done. Phew.

31 responses to “99 awesome things about London* ** ***

  1. Pingback: The 12 London Nights Of Christmas « Christopher Fowler's Blog

  2. Pingback: Things To Do In London | toptable.com blog

  3. very amazing post, so MANY things, I can never leave this town! I particularly like how you managed to turn the crap weather here into a good thing 🙂 (86).

  4. I love you! you sound ridiculously happy! : )

  5. Tis marvellous.
    All except Billericay/Essex which doesn’t count as London.

    Really, REALLY lovely list.

  6. Pingback: Ik woon in Londen en daar zou ik het volgende kunnen doen | Dagelijkse Standaard

  7. This is lovely. I love London more than is safe. I would definitely stalk it on Facebook.


  8. Nice post- only a bit sad you don’t think some of Billericay is pretty. I think you’ve mistaken TV with the real deal! Or you’re thinking of Pitsea. XD

    • Oh sorry. I have a very good friend in Billericay and his house is very nice. And his garden. And Standstead Mountfichet is quite lovely, and has a lovely roman ruin. I will go to Billericay again soon I promise. Crikey I don’t think I’ve EVER insulted anyone on here *whimper* xx

  9. Great Post. I love your list. Herne Hill/Denmark Hill was a good call.
    The Thames Barrier and Arcades are under represented – either could make a good #100

  10. Excellent post! and you have inspired me to write one on my blog with my favourite parts of the borough where I live. Will have to get to that. Will let you know when I do!

  11. Brilliant, I love this list and relate to a lot of it! Makes me want to make one too, only that sounds pretty ambitious at the moment so thanks for taking on the effort :p

  12. Lovely list, amazing. You have missed the villagey atmosphere of Pimlico and Moreton Street. And , how about those hidden squares in Kennington with tucked away pubs… no TVs, games machines, where people talk openly. scrummy!

  13. lovely lovely list. re #75 – greenwich park has deer too. deer! in zone 3! how about adding in something about foxes too? i like how they make cycling home at night feel like i’m on safari.

    • Oh I love the bit on foxes! That’s so true, they are sort of scary and exciting and exotic. I should devote an ENTIRE POST to foxes. One stared me out the other night. And there’s always a huge one that runs into the garage next door. I suspect he’s the guy digging up my garden. Love the red colour, love seeing them. Good call Becks x

  14. This is fabulous…..
    Thank you.

  15. Kusumaning ati
    Duh wong ayu kang tak anti-anti
    Mung tekamu biso gawe
    Tentrem ning atiku

  16. I enjoy how number 1 is not something awesome about london that can be enjoyed by anyone, but a specific description of an event that happened in the writer’s life. It could also read like ’99 awesome things about London, #1. That time I walked up Covent Garden on my birthday and stepped in dog turd but it was okay because my boyfriend snaffled it off’

  17. Hey

    Love this. Love your blog, found it via Twitter.

    I agree with so much you say, especially about 30-something women and the posh bistros you love are the ones I love too.

    I loved Making Slough Happy and you’re the only other person I know who’s heard of it (not that I know you, but you know what I mean). I have the manifesto on my desktop.
    Have you read Oliver Burkeman’s book ‘Help!’? If not, you should as I think you’d love it.

    Thanks for all the great posts :o)


  18. Hee hee indeed, although all the bistros are playing havoc with my waistline!

    I bought lots of plants for my terrace recently as a belated result of the Slough thing, I’ve had them for a few weeks now and am not finding the nurturing very enjoyable, is a real pain watering them everyday and I might just give up – I’m sure Slough says it’s supposed to nurture our souls. I’d probably better not have any children in case I get bored of them too….xx

  19. Pingback: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly « Canada From Five Feet

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