Sure, London’s got its problems (in fact, by a strange quirk of fate, it has precisely 99 of them), but it’s clear to anyone that this vast metropolis does a great many things better than anywhere else. These are those things…
Concrete jungle? Please. 47% of London is covered by green, including beauties like Hampstead Heath, Victoria Park, and Hyde Park. Richmond Park alone is triple the size of Central Park and even has wild deer running around in it.
Complaining about the weather
Yes, it is practically a national pastime, but in London, we manage to either fully shut down our public transport (and therefore, the city) because of it, or make it essentially unbearable to use without breathing apparatus/psychological scarring.
Want some of the best fish? Go to Billingsgate. The finest meat? Head to Smithfield. In the mood for some vintage goods? Spitalfields or Camden has you covered. There are songs, films, and books about Portobello Rd’s famed market, and we haven’t even mentioned Borough Market, or the plethora of more local setups. No where else will you find this variety, quality, or abundance.
While no single London festival is a big as Glasto or Coachella, there’s such sheer variety on offer over the course of the year that there really is literally something for everyone. From jazz, to electronic, to country, to good ol’ pop — if you like music, London has a festival for you.
Here in London, the Queen (bless her) can walk the tightrope of remaining politically & culturally relevant without actually compromising the democratic process, or to put it another way — she wields her powerlessness like an axe. The result? A global obsession with our royalty, and a TV audience of 300 million people for her Grandson’s wedding.
London has over 270 different cultures represented and 300 different languages spoken, yet these communities — for the most part — have successfully integrated into the city at large, and there are few instances of isolated ethnic enclaves, as is the case in so many other cities.
As we’ve said before, London is the world capital of cocktails at the moment. Both in terms of innovation & sheer quality, this city’s scene is head and shoulders above the competition. In fact, for one, Artesian at The Langham took home the “World’s Best Bar”, “Hotel Bar”, and “Bar Team” awards at Tales of The Cocktail, and the No.1 spot in the 50 Best Bars awards last year.
Who has a restaurant here? Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay, Heston Blumenthal, Michel Roux Jr., Alain Ducasse, Wolfgang Puck, Bill Granger, Raymond Blanc, Daniel Boulud… the list goes on.
This may seem like an obvious one, but we’re the only city that’s hosted it three times, and for good reason. Even on a stripped-down, recession-perforated budget, we still rocked the hell out of it.
At the moment, London, Paris, and Washington DC dominate the most-visited takings. But unlike these other cities’ venerable tourist magnets, London’s are free. This means that London has the highest percentage of residents who actually visit a museum (over half!) of any city.
London was founded in 43 AD. Between then and now, Shakespeare, Dickens, Hitchcock, Chaplin, Bowie, and so many, many more have lived their lives here — just walking around, you’ll see hundreds of blue plaques, as well as the occasional building that’s older then some countries. It’s pretty awe-inspiring. The city has more UNESCO world heritage sites than any other, and the events that have happened here boggle the mind — plagues, great fires, gunpowder plots, empire building…
Count ’em. The Millennium Wheel, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, British Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, Tower Bridge… all globally famous, and iconic in their own right, and that’s not even mentioning the museums, parks, markets, galleries, department stores, and more. Hell, even the Tube is considered to be a draw. And it explains why this city draws more international tourism than any other on Earth.
Yep. It’s tough to argue that any other country has a better comedy scene than Great Britain, and it’s even tougher to argue that it doesn’t revolve around London, especially places like Comedy Carnival.
This feature originally appeared in Thrillist.