Call Yourself a Londoner?

Have you really experienced the city?

Isn’t it funny that many Londoner’s, and indeed inhabitants of other big cities, haven’t visited the iconic places that represent them? You know, the so-called “attractions” that tourists flock to see. Many of us claim to be citizens of the great city, however, how much about it do we actually know, and how much of it have we experienced? I mean, it’s all well and good to know that the number 23 bus gets you to Liverpool Street, and be aware that Brent Cross is one of the only shopping centres in the city to offer free parking (Brent Cross, we love you!), but surely there’s something special about the numerous hotspots that guide books direct tourists to, right?

The city of London has been around for centuries, and with that comes a lot of history!  The monarchy is seen as one of the defining characteristics of the UK and we have one of the royal palaces- Buckingham Palace, sitting right on our doorstep! (Now there’s something to get the Americans jealous!) With the buzz around the royals as of late, the palace is definitely an interesting place to visit. I was lucky enough to go on one of the summer tours of the palace with a friend a while ago, and it was breath taking! Why not have a day as a princess (or prince) and visit the palace; it is fun to play dress up once in a while!

And then of course there’s the London Eye which offers panoramic views of the city. How many people from London have actually taken a ride on it? I for one haven’t. And what about the iconic English pastime of afternoon tea? Available at some of the finest hotels in the world, such as Claridge’s, The Dorchester, The Grosvenor and The Ritz, afternoon tea is such a special treat that everyone should endeavour to experience! Dainty sandwiches, scrumptious pastries and of course a fine cup of tea- absolute bliss.

Being a literature enthusiast, one of the things I love about London is the literary history that surrounds it. Home to some of the greatest British writers such as Geoffrey Chaucer and Virginia Woolf, it offers a literary scene that is unrivalled in the world. But how many have been to the libraries holding ancient manuscripts, or the dozens of theatres such as Shakespeare’s Globe which put on amazing plays? We should take advantage of them shouldn’t we?

Aside from places to visit, London is also famous for hosting sporting events such as the annual tennis tournament Wimbledon. Tennis fans from across the globe travel to London to see the likes of Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, and my favourite, Novak Djokovic, play, so why don’t those of us who live merely a train journey away from the grass courts? I say this summer we make it happen!

London is such a great city and it’s a shame that some of us take for granted what so many others value and look to as spectacular aspects of London. So come on, let’s all hop on the tube, visit a few London hotspots and become a tourist for the day! There’s always something to discover.

by Halima