The Things I Miss Most About London
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The Things I Miss Most About London

Brexit renders change imminent for Londoners, but this UK city has a lot more going for it than just EU membership.

The Things I Miss Most About London
Kelly Bergh

A year ago, I was living in a part of southwest London called Roehampton. Next to Barnes, a town known for its wildlife preservation, and Richmond, home of Virginia Woolf, it was just a short trip over the Putney Bridge into the central most part of the city. Just about every day I took the Tube from Hammersmith to Westminster, and each trip showed me something new about the city with which to fall in love.

London culture is diverse. It’s edgy and daring while still maintaining that air of royalty, grounding itself in history so that a more classical approach to life is still attainable. The Queen lives in the center of everything, and around her, locals lounge in green parks and tourists tote shopping bags full of kitschy Union Jack-branded tee shirts and mugs.

The UK’s recent vote to leave the European Union changes the way its future will play out, certainly, and it will affect both its natives and visitors. But politics aside, the country has established itself as an incomparable hub of culture. It is the immigrants that the union of nations has allowed to enter its borders and the health of its economy that define it. London represents the UK in terms of what it is capable of both socially and politically. It is hip and liberal, home to some of the most intelligent and practical people in the world who are responsible for hosting and playing out groundbreaking ideas. Here are the five most notable things about London in my eyes.

1. The Food

Many people of many ethnicities reside in London, and their diversity is reflected in the cuisine available in the city. My favorite Mexican restaurant is in the heart of Covent Garden. Jamie Oliver’s Italian can be found on just about every corner. Diners decked in 50s-themed décor influence Brits’ impressions of America whilst a cupcake shop is nestled into the middle of the three-story Oxford Street Topshop. Mediterranean food trucks serve hot pitas wrapped in foil perfect for eating while waiting on a cab. Cuban cuisine stands dot Portobello Road market and make entire neighborhoods smell like heaven. Pret A Manger is a personal favorite of mine because I cannot cook but am health conscious. And London Cocktail Week? Yeah, it’s a thing.

2. The Shopping

Before Brexit, the pound was strong, and I like to believe that was in large part due to the avid clothes shoppers of London. Because the city is so large, there’s so much room for stuff. Designers’ flagship stores are places of beauty, the stylish shoppers serving as models. The shopping bag fee of 5 pence encourages smart spending, and Primark makes that feasible by offering anything and everything for dirt cheap. My only complaint is that T.J. Maxx is known as T.K. Maxx in the UK for absolutely no apparent reason.

3. The Locals

To be more specific, the locals' accents and their humor. Those traits alone will ensure that the UK remains an admirable place regardless of unions of which it is a part. Britons are witty, and such is displayed in their most casual interactions. If that doesn’t give you hope that they’ll be able to thrive on their own, nothing will.

4. The Public Transportation

The amount of cars per capita is significantly lower in the UK than it is in the US because of its size. Brits—Londoners in particular—make the most of the public transportation available by actually replacing their cars with it. Busses and the Tube and trains are all quick and easy to use while still being relatively cheap. Oyster Cards are prized possessions, as they open up the world of London with just a tap. A tip: Citymapper is the best app for navigating the schedules of local stations.

5. The Art

From the National Portrait Gallery to the British Museum, the city proudly displays its finest pieces of art and artifacts in dozens and dozens of free exhibits throughout the city. Though Brexit will change the course of history for the city and its home country, its past will undoubtedly be beautifully preserved and publicly shared in many mediums.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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