In the words of Norman Foster: “There's nowhere like London.” Indeed, London is many things: it's busy, it's loud, it's crowded, it can be dusty, it can be damp, and sometimes it's the last place you want to be. But mostly London manages to be larger than life, and so are the myths surrounding the city.
7 London Myths Debunked
1. It's the City That Never Sleeps
Photo credit: Pedro Carballo
Much like New York, people think London is just as crazy at night as it is during the day. Well, you can forget about that, mate. While it’s true that, compared to the rest of the UK, London has later opening hours, it's still not the all-night party town you might think.
No self-respecting pub is going to ring the bell later than 11:00 pm, and you will find that most neighbourhoods are pretty quiet after dinner time. That said, you can definitely find an all-night party if you want it- you just need to know where to look!
2. You Can’t Get Decent Food
Photo credit: sharonang
Our most disliked stereotype by far. Not just food in London, but British food gets its fair share of criticism, which is absolute balderdash!
Now, we are aware British food is, more often than not, represented by things like jellied eels and the humble Meal Deal, but we’ve moved past that! Especially in London, you can find pretty much any cuisine in the world and more, as well as loads of cheap restaurants or open-air markets. Also, we dare you to say no to a Sunday Roast, Fish and Chips, and heck, even beans on toast get a golden star in our book…
3. People drink tea at 5 O’clock
Photo credit: Brian Patrick Tagalog
Now, semantics might have something to do with this one. See, in some parts of England tea is not hot leaf water with pastries and sandwiches, but actually, dinner. And nowadays dinner might be more of a 6:00/7: 00 pm endeavour, but people used to sit down for it at 5:00 pm.
Which would explain why you’ve tried to get an afternoon tea and found they finished serving it by 5:30 pm. So no, the English are not wolfing down their scones, they’re just having them between 3 and 5 to leave space for dinner and supper!
4. 'The Big Smoke'
Ok, this one is not so much a myth, especially if we check the latest figures on city pollution (leave the car at home, guys!) but it does paint London as a Dickensian town with grimy black factories, where there’s more concrete than flowers.
Well, you’ll be surprised by how much greenery you can find! Especially in the Spring/Summer seasons, there’s flowers everywhere. Now, London is certainly not a garden city like Singapore, but it’s not lacking parks and grassy spaces! (Which you will find full to the brim on every single sunny day.)
5. Rain, Rain, Go Away
If you talk about the weather with a person from outside of London, you will quickly find out how good exactly we have it. Not many people, especially if you come from Southern Europe or the Middle East, will consider London a dry, sunny city at all. But head over to pretty much everywhere else in England, and you’ll discover London is, in fact, a fairly warm microclimate within it!
It’s all a matter of perspective, I guess…
6. Money, money, money.
So this one is partially true as well, but we’re trying to bring some optimism here. Yes, London is one of the most expensive cities in the world, rent being one of the more alarming expenses Londoners have to incur. However, what most people won’t tell you is how thrifty you can be in London.
Plenty of supermarket chains like Iceland, Asda or Aldi will keep your shopping cart full, nutritious and cheap. Most museums and exhibitions are free, you can score theatre tickets for £5 or £10, not to mention there are loads of free live music shows and open-air events around the year.
We’re not gonna pretend London is cheap, but hey, let’s look on the bright side!
7. Oh, rats!
One silly little plague in the Southbank and suddenly everybody thinks we’re swarmed with rats in London! The Great Mouse Detective is probably to blame too…
Well, the plague was back in the 15th century. Nowadays, despite the rumour saying you’re always six feet away from a rat in London, we can guarantee that isn’t true. We would be tripping over them if that was the case! 164 feet away is closer to reality, according to the latest data.
Hopefully, we’ve convinced you to forget your fears and to come to visit this wonderful, weird, loud, colourful city. If so, then why not check out our English language school in London.