Cultural Experience | London

15 Ways I Fell in Love with London

1. Everything sounds better in a British Accent. I’ve been insulted, complimented and asked directions and I’ve been astounded as to how ‘which way is High Street’ sounds so elegant. I’ve been in pubs before and have asked Brits to say ‘water bottle’ because trust me, nothing is more entertaining or sounds more elegant then a confused Brit saying ‘water bottle’.

2. Saying ‘Cheers!’ instead of ‘Thank You!’ sounds so much more beautiful. You are so welcome.

3. Rain is surprisingly endearing. You end up caring an umbrella with you wherever you go because there is no such thing as a day without rain in London.

4. You’ll forever be confused when you hear the word ‘football’ and constantly ask for clarification. I’ve asked hundreds, if not thousands of people, whether they mean soccer-football or American-football.

5. When you begin to understand the tube map and realize that it’s the most simplistic public transportation ever. Considering I’ve gotten mindlessly lost in Boston, where I’ve lived for four years, I was expecting never conquer the Underground. Nope. I conquered the Underground my second night out and have never felt more accomplished. Plus the tube is cleaner than any type of public transportation system I have ever used. Way cleaner.

6. Every public museum and art gallery is free. FREE. Free in the sense that you never had to pay to walk around aimlessly for six hours or six minutes. When museums are free you tend to want to go back and explore.

7. There are over 4500 pubs, therefore over 4500 places to go drinking. 4500 places to explore and meet new people. It should be illegal to do nothing on the weekends because there’s always somewhere new to eat or drink at.

8. You can hop on a train and go to Edinburgh. Or Paris. Yes, there are trains to Paris. The train goes in the Chunnel, which is an underground train that goes underneath the English Channel. England may be an island but it provides you with plenty of transportation to go anywhere in Europe.

9. Every big band or musical performer performs in London. This is not limited to British singers and bands; everyone stops in London on their world tour. One night you could see James Bay in a small pub and the next night you could see Ed Sheeran at Wembley Stadium.

10. TimeOut magazine telling you what to do on the weekend. TimeOut magazine is a weekly magazine that tells you of all the free, or not free, events going on throughout London. Find TimeOut. Read TimeOut. Read it religiously.

11. The Queen lives here. And William. Kate. Harry. Baby George and baby Charlotte. I lived in Kensington, right next to Kensington Palace. One of my friends witnessed Kate Middleton walking around the gardens. You’re pretty much best friends with royalty (not really but we’ll pretend).



12. Whatever type of food you want, you will find it. London is one of the most diverse cities in the world. You could be walking down a street and pass a Chinese, Indian, Italian, American and crepe stand all within minutes.

13. There’s this really big clock named Big Ben. It will leave you breathless every time you walk by it. There’s nothing more soothing than the chimes going off every hour.

14. If you need anything in the world, Harrods will have it. With eight floors, if Harrods doesn’t have it you probably don’t need it.

15. There’s never been a more appropriate place to drink tea and eat scones. Tea and scones are accepted at all hours of the day in all types of atmospheres.

You’ll fall in love with this city and never want to leave. Boarding the returning flight home and leaving the city you’ve fallen in love with will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. You’re leaving friends, a relaxing life and fancy accents. You’ll find yourself constantly looking at flights online wondering when you can return. The only way to cure this is to go back and to go back often.

Alea Gilhuly-Mandel

Richmond, the International University | 7 stories

Currently attending Richmond, the International University in London to finish her Master's Degree in Journalism & Public Relations, Alea considers herself a professional traveler. Follow her on instagram (@aleagilhulymandel) to see where her travels take her, how much coffee she consumes and how many dogs she pets.

3 responses to “15 Ways I Fell in Love with London”

  1. Tracey says:

    Well written. Would love to explore London again.

  2. Kirk Hazlett says:

    It’s one thing to watch a travel show written and produced by a professional traveler who has “been there; done that” hundreds, if not thousands, of times. It’s another to read the travel experience of a young college student who is experiencing a city for the first time. Alea Gilhuly-Mandel absolutely nails the excitement, uncertainty, delight and temptation (to return) of travel. Great article!

  3. Sam Dziekan says:

    I have not yet made it to London, but the stereotypical complaints are how expensive it is and how the food is terrible. I’m surprised to hear about the free museums that seems like a great trade-off for some of the other more expensive things. The diversity of food that you advertise tells me that people that say the food is bad aren’t trying hard enough. Cheers!!!

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