If you’re thinking of leaving London, please allow us just two minutes of your time.
Earlier this week, it was announced that hundreds of thousands of people were expected to leave London in 2021. Naturally, we were outraged by this news, so we posed the question: “How would you convince someone to stay in London?”
We shared a few responses to our Instagram story, but there were so many compelling reasons that it was impossible to share them all. You cited the city’s infinite opportunities, all of the extraordinary places, parks and restaurants it has to offer, and many of you said that London just felt like home.
Of course, a lot of you told us you wouldn’t bother to convince anyone – because you either wanted more of it for yourself, or because you felt you simply didn’t have to. After all, why would anyone want to leave? But even our very own Instagram poll revealed that 46% of people would consider moving from the capital.
This doesn’t even come close to the exhaustive list, but we’ve picked out a few of our favourites that just might convince you to stay.
1. “It’s a unique place that has the potential to shine again”
Lots of you mentioned the C word, and how London was pre-pandemic. You made it very clear that “nothing compares to an ‘open’ London” and I couldn’t have put it better myself. Or, another favourite: “London will always bounce back and you won’t want to miss out when it does”.
2. “Go for a walk while it’s quiet to be reminded of how beautiful it is”
Cannot stress this enough.
3. “You’re never more than five minutes from a coffee shop”
This is a necessity when choosing where you’re going to live for the rest of your life. Here is our Ultimate Coffee Shop Guide that you might want to base your search around (if you haven’t already got a trusty local, of course).
4. “Living in London allows [you] to connect with the whole world”
This was mentioned a lot. I mean, a lot. And it’s true: when we can travel again, there is simply no better place to be than London. You can basically touch mainland Europe if you’re after glorious city breaks, ski trips and sunny getaways, and you’re never short of flights further afield.
5. “It’s still easy to escape to the countryside”
So many of you mentioned the city’s proximity to the countryside as well as the beach. So, if you ever do get sick of city life, it’s so easy to escape for an adventurous day trip, or a beautiful staycation weekend. Best of both worlds!
6. “You can eat food from every country every day without travel!”
You know we weren’t getting through this list without mentioning food. London is home to some of the best restaurants in the world, and you can eat around Europe and beyond without ever leaving the city. Here’s a list of the most delicious and authentic international restaurants that London has to offer.
7. “There is in London all that life can afford”
Many of you quoted our man Samuel Johnson: “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” And, well, London does have everything, so he’s right about one thing at least.
8. “In London everyone is different, and that means anyone can fit in”
And Johnson wasn’t the only wise fella you quoted. Everyone’s favourite, marmalade sarnie-loving bear Paddington really knows what he’s talking about.
9. “It’s ancient and modern, beautiful and ugly, fast-paced and peaceful”
Obsessed with this one! London truly is all of these things, and we wouldn’t change it for the world.
10. “Can’t beat a bottomless brunch in London”
Ah, bottomless brunches. An excuse to get absolutely sozzled in the middle of the day without judgement! When we’re all allowed out again, boozy brunch spots really won’t know what hit them. Here are some of our favourites so that you can plan ahead.
11. “So much opportunity to explore and endless hidden gems. You’ll never get through it all.”
You can say that again.
12. “It’s going to be the centre of entertainment once again when all this is over”
Ain’t this the truth! We really can’t wait for the theatre to open back up again.
13. “No one does a pub quite like London. No one.”
Ask any Londoner what the first thing they want to do when lockdown is over is, and nine times out of ten they’ll scream “PUUUUB!” in your face, like some kind of crazed monkey. There’s truly nothing quite like taking a sip of your third pint at the pub (especially a London pub, more to the point), surrounded by people you love (or at least tolerate). The time will come, we can almost taste it.
14. “A city that embraces all cultures, cosmopolitan is London’s middle name”
A huge number of answers were in this vein, and for good reason. London really is “one of the most integrated cities in the world, with people and food from all over the world”. Full of legends, am I right?
15. “A bad day in London is still better than a good day anywhere else”
16. “It’s not a city, it’s an emotion”
That is all.
(Featured image: Shannon Tremaine)
Also published on Medium.