Thursday, May 28, 2015

London Link-Up: The (Superficial) Reasons Why I Love Living in London



When my friends visited me in London a few weeks ago, something extraordinary happened: I saw London through their eyes (as a visitor) rather than my own (as a resident). Curious, they asked questions about everything - from how to flag down a bus to the CCTV cameras on the street - and suddenly, everything felt new to me again. I stopped marching around on autopilot and started looking up, down, and all around me.

It was a beautiful, refreshing experience.

More than anything, however, showing my friends around the place I now call my "hometown" instilled a sense of pride that I hadn't felt before.

Here are a few (unapologetically superficial!) reasons why:

London is stunning in the sunshine.


While a glimpse of the sun can be rare (it's England, after all), when it comes out - there's no denying that the city is at its aesthetic best. I'd forgotten about this gorgeous view of Southbank from the corner of Westminster Bridge. Of course, why else would I ever visit the overcrowded, busy corner on a "normal" day?

We have some of the most incredible architecture in the world.


This is one of my favorite ways to see St. Paul's: on the way up in the elevator at One New Change (there's a fantastic rooftop viewing platform at the top where you can get a panoramic view of the city - not many people know about it!). I love the reflection of the cathedral against the dark, plated glass of the modern shopping center. I'm an architect's daughter: whenever my dad visits, he's in full sketch-mode heaven!

Our museums are free and open to the public.


I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I work near the British Museum ... as well as the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery. Why? Because I hardly ever visit, despite them being very nearly literally on my doorstep. But I popped into the National Gallery with Kara during her last few hours in London and found it magical to sit in front of John Donne's portrait for a few minutes in silence - taking in the fact that we were surrounded by original pieces of artwork dating back hundreds and hundreds of years.

London is breathtakingly beautiful from above.

 
I remember my dear friend Kara getting teary eyed as we sat down for brunch at Duck & Waffle - the spectacular views (and food!) there can be so overwhelming! Whenever I visit a new city, I love to see it from above - whether that's from a rooftop bar, or at the tippity-top of a museum or landmark. It gives you a terrific sense of scope and I love the way the traffic crawls along like tiny insects down below.

The city is rich with history and tradition.


Where else can you finish reading Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall, attend the stage production, and visit the place where Thomas Cromwell was executed - all in the same day? As an American, this is a biggie for me (even though, of the two of us, John's the real history buff!), particularly since I'm from the West Coast, where everything is still relatively "new". I used to marvel at the history of my East Coast college (founded in 1837), but then I went to study abroad at Oxford and, well, I couldn't even begin to grasp or to comprehend the legacy of the buildings, the colleges, the whole city, for that matter.

We have gorgeous green spaces (both indoors and out!).


One comment that surprised me the most from Deborah and Kara was just how green London seemed to them. Although I didn't get a chance to take them to any of the amazing parks in the city, they  commented on the pretty tree-lined streets of where I currently live and the fact that so many people keep their front yards (or "gardens") pristine and pretty with roses and box hedges. Or even just the fact that, driving around the City, buildings had hanging plants and floral displays embedded into the facades and doorways. It's something I take for granted, but I am so glad that London has its pretty, green spots. It's a welcome relief to escape the urban, concrete jungle of highrises and buildings for picnics in Green Park or a stroll around London Fields.

These snapshots only touch the surface of why I love living in this amazing city. Despite the negative comments I often receive in the US when I reveal that London is my now-hometown, it's a place that I am so damn lucky to have enjoyed for so many years - particularly in my early 20s.

What do you love about the place where you live?

This post was part of the new London Link-Up hosted by London-based bloggers Lauren and Amy. Head over to their blogs to read more about what makes London so special to them!
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25 comments

  1. Thanks so much for linking up Jaime! I totally agree with all of these, London really is one of the most gorgeous cities in the world! I too love seeing where I live as a tourist, it's so fun! Finally, YES London is so green - it always amazes me!

    Lauren xx

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    1. It was a fun post to write, Lauren! I also had photos that I'd been meaning to post from my friends' visit, so it was a great excuse to use them here :)

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  2. That's a great round up Jaime, and I'm glad that green spaces are on the increase - I definitely think every new office space should have a roof terrace, even if only for its own workers

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

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    1. Thanks so much, Suze! I TOTALLY agree with the need for roof terraces and green spaces near/in offices!

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  3. I have yet to visit London and I live in England, definitely going this Summer though! Looks beautiful.

    Travel Blog / http://jolifromwithin.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Definitely come down for a visit, Sophie! Where are you based? xo

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  4. We moan moan moan about our adopted city, but it is truly the most fabulous place! We are soooo lucky to have this life experience! x

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  5. You've absolutely right, and just sometimes it takes a visitor to re-magic those London lights for us - I'm much the same I'm sad to admit!

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    1. Think we're on autopilot far too often :) x

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  6. When you go to the cinema and the opening titles are an aerial view of sunny London ... swoon! Favourite spots for me and mine are Little Venice, Strand on the Green (near Kew bridge), The Gherkin at St. Mary Axe with the old church reflected in it and Hyde Park when you have a group of families and dogs together.

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    1. YES! I totally forgot about that, Ruth! Thanks for reminding me. And I love the corners of London that you shared! We used to live in Little Venice and I miss the beauty of that area a lot. So gorgeous!

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  7. I work near Westminster and my colleagues all make fun of me because I take the longer route to walk to the tube station every day just so I can gawk at the Houses of Parliament like all the other tourists :)

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    1. AH, thanks so much for reading and commenting! I would NOT blame you for taking the long route to work if I worked by the Houses of Parliament as well! They're one of my favorite London landmarks ... just so *London*, you know what I mean? :)

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  8. free museums! i work in a museum in america and i'm always thinking about how many museums overseas are free. it's a lovely perk! can't wait to visit england someday. definitely london and some rural parts too :)

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    1. Definitely come over for a visit, Yelle! Yes, as an American, I definitely appreciate the access to the arts here ... even theater and concert tickets are relatively cheaper. I need to take advantage of it more often! Thanks for stopping by :)

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  9. I loved living in London and miss it every day but I'm starting to become a lot happier in my new hometown of Brisbane, Australia. I love the 99% constant sunshine and the incredibly friendly people. The excellent (and cheap!) coffee helps of course!

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    1. It sounds like you've had the best of both words, Jade - lucky you! Enjoy the sunshine for me :)

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  10. Wow, beautiful photos, especially of Duck and Waffle. I've got to pay it a visit.

    Young London

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    1. Thanks, Amy! Yes, you HAVE to go! You'll love it.

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  11. Totally agree with all of this! You have captured London beautifully in your photos and words Jaime :-)

    Polly xx
    Follow Your Sunshine

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  12. Absolutely adore hearing reasons why people like England, it's not often i take England for granted but it does re-open my eyes to things i hadn't noticed before! xo

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    1. I feel the same way when I hear English people saying nice things about the States :) It shifts my perspective! Thanks so much for reading, Amy xo

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  13. As you can tell I'm a little behind on my Bloglovin feed! I loved reading this, especially given that we're moving to London in just a few short weeks. I'm so excited to start discovering the city in a whole new way. It's also nice to be reminded to look at the familiar for there is beauty and wonder there too.

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