12 Classic Quotes About London And What They Really Mean

Annabel Usher Annabel Usher

12 Classic Quotes About London And What They Really Mean

London is one of the best loved and most famous cities in the world. It’s fantastic culture and history have inspired authors, artists, poets and playwrights for many a generation. However, it must be noted that some of these lovely quotes are a little too lovely for the London we know. It’s not quite the poetic words of Oscar Wilde that spring to mind when trundling along the Northern line drenched in sweat at 8am, but rather something altogether less eloquent and containing a lot more ‘fucks.’ Nonetheless, here are our favourite quotes about London and how they perfectly sum up day-to-day happenings in the capital…


1. ‘When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.’ Samuel Johnson.

Reality: When a man is tired of London he falls asleep on the tube and ends up in Morden.


2. ‘I think London is sexy because it’s full of eccentrics.’ Rachel Weisz.

Reality: I think London is in no way sexy because of the ten unwanted dick pics I get sent on Tinder everyday.


3. ‘Nothing is certain in London but expense.’ William Shenstone.

Reality: It is certain that everything in London is very, very expensive.


A photo posted by @omgwtfamidoingitssodark on


4. ‘There are two places in the world where men can most effectively disappear – the city of London and the South Seas.’ Herman Melville.

Reality: There are many places in London where men can effectively disappear. One of them being Tottenham Court Road Underground Station.


5. ‘Panic on the streets of London.’ The Smiths.

Reality: Panic on the streets of London whenever anyone hears the phrase ‘Replacement Bus Service.’


6. ‘There’s a hole in the world like a great black pit and the vermin of the world inhabit it and it’s filled with people who are filled with shit and it goes by the name of London.’ Stephen Sondheim.

Reality: Vermin do seem to be everywhere in London. And you are pretty much guarantee to see a few rats between the train tracks.


7. ‘Nobody is healthy in London, nobody can be.’ Jane Austen.

Reality: Nobody is healthy in London owing to all the Freakshakes/Franco Manca restaurants/Ben’s Cookies outlets.


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8. ‘The man who can dominate a London dinner table can dominate the world.’ Oscar Wilde.

Reality: The man who can get a table at Dishoom on a Friday night can dominate the world.


9. ‘London is a roost for every bird.’ Benjamin Disraeli.

Reality: London is a roost for every pigeon in England. And they will shit on your head.


10. ‘I don’t know what London’s coming to. The higher the buildings the lower the morals.’ Noel Coward.

Reality: I don’t know what London’s coming to. The higher the buildings the more likely they’ll resemble genitals or be named after a penis.


11. ‘I love London society. It is entirely composed now of beautiful idiots and brilliant lunatics.’ Oscar Wilde.

Reality: I love London society. It is entirely composed of beautiful, beautiful people that you will fall in love with in the street.


12. ‘London, that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained.’ Arthur Conan Doyle.

Reality: Okay so it might be a cesspool, but it’s still pretty.



A photo posted by Irene Ime Nardin (@izzie_isobel_stevens) on

Feature Image: [instagram: @hbb_photographer]

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