London is one of the most popular travel destinations in the whole world, attracting around 30 million international visitors every year.
Yet, London’s urban myths sometimes can picture the capital in a very different way. Certain myths continue to persist from things of the past that are either no longer true, or never were in the first place.
Here are 7 of the top myths about London and the truth behind the hype.
It rains all the time, in London.
Britain is an island. The surrounding sea gives a varied climate. Such variable climate which changes from day to day, it’s hard to predict the weather.
The thing about rain in London is:
– It’s doesn’t amount to much rain. London has less rain than:
Zurich: 42.5 inches
Milan: 39 inches
New York City: 47.2 inches
Miami: 60 inches
New Orleans: 63 inches
Dallas: 37 inches
While London only 29 inches.
But in all honesty, it does rain quite frequently.
It rains about 140 days a year in London. Which is more than New York (120 days), San Antonia ( 85 days), Miami (130 days),
But London’s reputation for rain is higher than the reality of it, because:
It rains throughout the year.
It rains for a long time.
It rains on sunny days, and thus people notice it. In New York, you don’t go outside on rainy days because it’s obvious it’s wet. In London, you think it’s sunny and BOOM.
When it’s not raining, it’s cloudy, which people still think it’s crappy. And people talk about it relentlessly.
So why does it rain so much?
It rains less in London than in many other parts of the U.K.
The wettest areas of the U.K. are on the western side of the country, not the eastern side. This is because the U.K. weather is characterized by westerly wind patterns, bringing wet air in from the Atlantic, which deposits most of its rain before it reaches the eastern side.
So, contrary to popular belief, it DOES NOT rain all the time in London! Yet, it is always advisable to bring some waterproof clothing and be psychologically prepared!
London is foggy
London in the middle of the 20th Century was a very industrialized and dirty city. The fog was actually smog and “The great smog of London” in 1952 killed over 4000 people. … On cold evenings the fog can still make an appearance; however, the smog has mostly been eliminated, making London no foggier than other major cities.
Too often visitors think that: “London is small”.
Many people that travel to the U.K., often underestimate how vast London is. It’s natural to think that London is a small city compared to cities in China, India or America; but, London is a massive place. Spread over 600 square miles and 10 million or so people live in the Greater London area. One of the hardest things to imagine is how big it is.
This shouldn’t put you off. The actual touristy areas of London are in Central London. That area is pretty small and manageable.
The Tube is the best way to get around London, and it will profoundly influence your spatial perception of London. But you don’t have to take the Tube everywhere. Many of the tourist sites in Central London are pretty close, and unless you want to ride the Tube over and over, you can walk between most places (and it’s much cheaper).
Usually as soon as one mentions London,
“London is expensive” follows.
Yes, London is pricey. Like New York, San Francisco, Berlin, and every other major city in the world, it depends on how you approach it.
Indeed, you’ll have to do your homework and look out deals before you travel or go out. Accommodation nowadays can be very affordable – you can find some beautiful places on Airbnb.
Also, several museums and the most popular tourist attractions don’t cost anything to visit.
Food in London sucks
Although this myth is on its death bed after a long, slow battle, some people still think British food is awful.
Here are the reasons this is wrong: London offers every type of world cuisine you could probably think of, and most ‘traditional’ pubs now serve either Thai or Indian curry rather than bangers and mash or fish in chips.
It’s also easy to get a quick, healthy takeaway in places such as Pret A Manger, Wagamama, Marks and Spencer, and Whole Foods.
Open-air meat, fruit, and vegetable markets abound, and there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options throughout the city.
Borough Market is just one of London’s great open-air food markets.
The people are standoffish and very “British”
Yes, British people are British. But I’ve found them to be super funny and often very open.
I wouldn’t go so far on say they’ll run up to you with arms outstretched or shout your name if they see you walking on the high street, but I find it’s generally untrue that the Brits, or Londoners, are standoffish (distant and cold in manner).
The crucial thing to bear in mind is that we’re all a lot more alike than we think. Most people are going to be open and helpful.
Getting into conversations with people in pubs, who either grew up or have lived in London for a long time, is a great way to see their animated discussions and dry humour.
You’ll probably end up doubled over laughing at some point.
Londoners only drink tea.
You will have no problem finding coffee in London.
You may have more of an issue finding the traditional British black tea with cream outside of High Tea in Kensington Gardens and other top-end places throughout the city.
Try and take two steps without spotting a Costa, Caffe Nero, or Starbucks.
Coffee is just as important to Londoners, if not more than tea.
After earning my Economics degree from the Royal Holloway University of London, I entered the media publishing world to explore my passion for creative writing, journalism and discover the best social media marketing strategies. I am the creator of Only in London, where I'm focused on writing blogs, reporting exciting news stories in London, and marketing it all around.