271 things to love about London

On New Year's Day 2012, when we were living in Spain, I made a resolution to record 365 things I appreciated/were unique about Spain.  This was partly done to shift my focus from what I was missing back home to what I was missing out on by being a Debbie Downer; I also did it to record, for posterity's sake, the little things that I may forget down the road.  I ended up with one random, but hilarious, list of things that I still laugh at every now and then.

This New Year's Day, I resolved to do the same thing for things I love/are unique about the UK.  Like I did while in Spain, I kept track of the list on my phone; that way, travel wasn't an excuse to slack off.  Some days I would realllllly struggle to come up with something, and I'd scrape the bottom of the barrel with my entries.  Other days a flash of brilliance would strike me like a Zeus sucker punch to the face.  As I was typing these, I definitely noticed some repeats ("Puddings" made the list twice) and some that were just pathetic ("Bizarre canned items, like hot dogs").  Even though we moved before I could get all 365, this list is a good representation of all the places, people and bits of British culture that I've come to love.   So let's Auld Lang Syne, wankers!

  • January 1st: Pub culture
  • January 2nd: Traditional Sunday roast (Meat, Yorkshire pudding, greens, roasted potatoes, and gravy)
  • January 3rd: Westminster Abbey
  • January 4th: Rugby 7's at Twickenham Stadium
  • January 5th:  The John Lewis Christmas ad that marks the beginning of the holiday season
  • January 6th: Hiyah! being the standard greeting
  • January 7th: Beefeaters, and how that name still sounds like a euphemism

    Sing me a song! (January 22nd)

    Sing me a song! (January 22nd)

  • January 8th: EPL games
  • January 9th: Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in St. Alban's (supposedly the oldest pub in England)
  • January 10th: Arsenal games at Emirates Stadium
  • January 11th: The Covent Garden history pub crawl
  • January 12th: Sweaters being called jumpers (and tank tops being called vests)
  • January 13th: Every dessert being called a pudding
  • January 14th: The "Walkie Talkie" building
  • January 15th: Borough Market <3
  • January 16th: Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese pub and the list of monarchs since it opened in 1667
  • January 17th: "Wanker!" and other creative swear words
  • January 18th: Banoffee pie
  • January 19th: The 350th anniversary celebration of the Great London Fire of 1666, where they had a huge wooden model of London burn on the Thames
  • January 20th: St. Paul's Cathedral
  • January 21st: Bangers and mash
  • January 22nd: Finding Craigh na Dun with Erin and Mary but sadly not traveling back in time to see young Jamie
  • January 23rd: Tower Bridge
  • January 24th: Hampton Court Palace
  • January 25th: Buckingham Palace's Changing of the Guard
  • January 26th: Brick Lane Market on Sunday's
  • January 27th: Happy hours that spill out of pubs onto the streets
  • January 28th: West End theatre
  • January 29th: Islay Scotch aka Whisky
  • January 30th: Fish 'n chips (although I never actually ordered it while living there)
  • January 31st: Lovely!

 

  • February 1st: Exmouth Market stalls
  • February 2nd: Theatre pubs (It's a theatre...IN A PUB)
  • February 3rd: "Mind the gap" -RIP announcer man
  • February 4th: Lahore Kebab House and its chili mogo
  • February 5th: "Working man's" cafes
  • February 6th: State Room Tours at Buckingham Palace
  • February 7th: Boxpark Shoreditch
  • February 8th: HP Brown sauce
  • February 9th: Brits apologizing for everything, even sneezing
  • February 10th: The Wetherspoon and Nicholson pubs that are basically casinos

    All hail Tesco (February 23rd)

    All hail Tesco (February 23rd)

  • February 11th: BrewDog pubs (now in the US!)
  • February 12th: Afternoon high tea (Fun fact: this came about because electricity led to people eating later in the evening, and folks were getting 'peckish' around 4pm)
  • February 13th: Time Out offers (how I got to see Jon Snow in his underpants)
  • February 14th: The Queen!
  • February 15th:  The Crown Jewels
  • February 16th: The Victoria & Albert Museum
  • February 17th: My tomato sauce 'dealer' at Borough Market
  • February 18th: Walking/running along Regent's Canal
  • February 19th: Camden's punk culture
  • February 20th: Leather Lane
  • February 21st: BBC Radio One 'Text 8-double 1-double 9!"
  • February 22nd: Cask 'real' ale
  • February 23rd: The Banksy Tesco bag mural right by our flat
  • February 24th: The Greenwich Maritime Museum and being the only person over the age of 10 there without a chid
  • February 25th: Jack the Ripper tours in Whitechapel and learning that we drank in a pub that housed a suspect in its basement
  • February 26th: Redemption Brewery in north London
  • February 27th: The Churchill War Rooms
  • February 28th: Imperial War Museum by Elephant and Castle

 

  • March 1st: Swimming in the Ladies Pond at Hampstead Heath
  • March 2nd: Mince pies at Christmas
  • March 3rd: Bizarre canned items like hot dogs
  • March 4th: Fizzy drinks
  • March 5th: London Bridge
  • March 6th: Absinthe shots at Prague Bar on Essex Road
  • March 7th: Sky TV and its billion channels, most of which had nothing but crap on
  • March 8th: Freakshakes at Maxwell's in Covent Garden
  • March 9th: Columbia Road Flower Market, where everything is a "fiver!"
  • March 10th: The opulent Prince Albert Memorial in Hyde Park
  • March 11th: "Takin' the Mick"
  • March 12th: Le Tunnel across the English Channel

    Fancy pants guards (March 29th)

    Fancy pants guards (March 29th)

  • March 13th: Prudential Ride London Free Cycle
  • March 14th: Camden Lock and Camden Market
  • March 15th: Prince Harry <3
  • March 16th: Double decker red buses
  • March 17th: Gazzano's Italian deli by work
  • March 18th: Never waiting more than 5 minutes for a tube, even if they're like riding in an enclosed armpit
  • March 19th: Shitty triangle sandwiches that are served at meetings (maybe not unique to the UK but still prevalent)
  • March 20th: Pret!!!!
  • March 21st: Every food place trying to outdo the other with their Christmas lunch sandwiches
  • March 22nd: Mary Poppins' style chimneys
  • March 23rd: Royal ascot hats
  • March 24th: The best curries in Europe
  • March 25th: The Prime Meridian at the Greenwich Royal Observatory
  • March 26th: The Full Monty (the breakfast, not the movie)
  • March 27th: The Mister Men and Little Miss book series
  • March 28th: Oi!
  • March 29th: The Horse Guards at Buckingham Palace and the tassels on their helmets
  • March 30th: Black cabs even though they're ridiculously expensive
  • March 31st: Harrod's and Selfridge's

 

  • April 1st: The British Library's insane archives
  • April 2nd: Eating pulled pork while listening to street music on Brick Lane (an oddly specific one, I know)

    IMG_4557

    Letters from Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn to Cardinal Wolsey? Why not? (April 1st)

  • April 3rd: The Amy Winehouse art trail
  • April 4th: Caffe Nero iced lattes...until I learned they found fecal matter in their ice supplies
  • April 5th: The perpetual buzz of activity around Trafalgar Square
  • April 6th: Lord Nelson's statue (aka Nelson's Column) whose hat looks like a bird is perpetually perched on his head
  • April 7th: Edinburgh Castle and the Scottish Crown Jewels
  • April 8th: The chairs you can rent at Green Park and chill out for the day
  • April 9th: The smell of the cherry blossoms on the trees
  • April 10th: City foxes
  • April 11th: Little Bird Gin
  • April 12th: Maltby Street Market and the Gay Farmer's pesto
  • April 13th: Cadenhead's Whisky Shop in Edinburgh
  • April 14th: Salisbury Cathedral and the Magna Carta
  • April 15th: The Pie Minister not being as rare a thing that Melissa and I thought when we were in Amsterdam
  • April 16th: The history of Westminster's Great Hall
  • April 17th: Sarnies, baps, and bunties all meaning sandwiches
  • April 18th: Cadbury chocolate craze
  • April 19th: Ant & Dec (The two TV hosts in Love Actually when Bill Nighy tells the kids to buy drugs)
  • April 20th: The Gherkin building
  • April 21st: Silent discos at the Shard
  • April 22nd: The Borough Market Cheese Fest bust of 2016
  • April 23rd: The laughable 'American Section' at the grocery store (Pop Tarts and Fluff)
  • April 24th: Tube names like "Cockfosters" that make me laugh like I'm a 12 y/o boy
  • April 25th: The Great British Bake-Off and its cult-like following
  • April 26th: Windsor Palace
  • April 27th: Stag and hen party costumes
  • April 28th: Soccer hooligans...sorta
  • April 29th: Yorkshire puddings
  • April 30th: The famous British politeness that sometimes masks passive-aggressive'is

 

  • May 1st: Hot salt beef sandwiches
  • May 2nd: The Old Royal Naval College on the site of Greenwich Palace
  • May 3rd: The history behind the simple pub names (see pub crawl link)
  • May 4th: Delicious Victoria sponge cakes
  • May 5th: Meat Liquor milkshakes
  • May 6th: Cricket lasting 10,000 days
  • May 7th: Rugby thighs (You read that right.  Not just rugby.  Rugby THIGHS)
  • May 8th: Cuppa tea?
  • May 9th: Posh accents vs. cockney accents vs. all the other accents
  • May 10th: Saying good morning every day to Charlie, the old guy down the street
  • May 11th: Volunteering at the Charles Dickens Museum
  • May 12th: Street art on the canal at Stratford
  • May 13th: RHS Chelsea Flower Show
  • May 14th: Traitors Gate at The Tower of London

    Check out the image in his sunglasses (May 22nd)

    Check out the image in his sunglasses (May 22nd)

  • May 15th: Earl of Essex beer garden
  • May 16th: Eurovision obsessions
  • May 17th: Southwark Cathedral
  • May 18th: You can get anything "bespoke"
  • May 19th: The plaques throughout Islington that honor the local soldiers who died during WWI and WWII
  • May 20th: Breakfast in bread on the canal
  • May 21st: Keep Calm and Carry On
  • May 22nd: Hadrian's Wall
  • May 23rd: Canterbury Cathedral and the history behind it
  • May 24th: Powdered wigs on the lawyers and judges
  • May 25th: Scotch eggs
  • May 26th: Five airports for one freaking city
  • May 27th: Working at ETI :D
  • May 28th: "Feeling peckish" for some "nibbles"
  • May 29th: The wonky school system setup
  • May 30th: Being a U of Leicester "grad"
  • May 31st: The Olympic Stadiums in East London

 

  • June 1st: Petite little houses
  • June 2nd: Pop-ups EVERYWHERE
  • June 3rd: How people get so into dart competitions
  • June 4th: The goodness of the London people following terror attacks
  • June 5th: Scotland Yard actually being a place
  • June 6th: Labour vs. Tories vs. the other people no one cares about

    Elliot, Court, Elizabeth, and Ben outside Westminster

    Elliot, Court, Elizabeth, and Ben outside Westminster (June 21st)

  • June 7th: Piccadilly Circus ("What a shitty circus")
  • June 8th: Cereal Killer Cafe
  • June 9th: Surprise election results (both good and bad)
  • June 10th: People not putting up with RyanAir's bullshit
  • June 11th: Gorgeous downtown Inverness
  • June 12th: Glastonbury
  • June 13th: Iconic red phone booths that smell like pee
  • June 14th: Trooping of the Colour for Her Majesty's b-day (Part 2)
  • June 15th: Fries vs. chips vs. crisps
  • June 16th: Hever Castle-Anne Boleyn's childhood home
  • June 17th: Brighton Beach
  • June 18th: Ordering at the bar (and the portable credit card machines that just make so much sense)
  • June 19th: Marmite (Just kidding, I don't actually appreciate it)
  • June 20th: The Queen's Speech ritual
  • June 21st: The stark differences in style between the House of Lords and the House of Commons
  • June 22nd: Spotted dick pudding...whatever that is
  • June 23rd: Bagels that are basically a roll with a hole in the middle
  • June 24th: The Order of the Garter
  • June 25th: St. George's Chapel and the tomb of Henry VIII
  • June 26th: Old school Tube maps
  • June 27th:  The famous Brick Lane curries
  • June 28th: Hamley's Toy Store
  • June 29th: The walking trails throughout the city (Clerkenwell Historic, Jubileee, etc.)
  • June 30th: The amazing northern accents

 

  • July 1st: Abbey Road photo opps
  • July 2nd: The Sherlock Holmes address that exists but isn't real
  • July 3rd: The robotic and flaming running Jesus statues in church (long story)
  • July 4th: Secret London runs
  • July 5th: The Wales coastline that always ends up in Buzzfeed posts
  • July 6th: King's College London
  • July 7th: Tube station mosaics
  • July 8th: Finding your "local"
  • July 9th: London Pride (the event, not the beer.  Although the beer is pretty good too...)

    Holyrood Abbey (July 22nd)

    Holyrood Abbey (July 22nd)

  • July 10th: Bobbies and their hats
  • July 11th: Scones with clotted cream and preserves
  • July 12th: Fortnum & Mason's
  • July 13th: The Sutton Hoo burial site
  • July 14th: Snowdonia National Park
  • July 15th: Paddington Bear
  • July 16th: Wimbledon and the mad dash for tickets
  • July 17th: How the new Dr. Who doctor is major breaking news
  • July 18th: All the craft breweries that have exploded in the UK since we visited in 2011
  • July 19th: Aperol spritzes being all the rage
  • July 20th: Flowers that decorate pubs
  • July 21st: The home of literary giants like Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and Charles Dickens
  • July 22nd: Holyrood Palace and its exposed abbey
  • July 23rd: The gardens inside the shell of the old stone church
  • July 24th: Scottish clans
  • July 25th: Yeoman warders living in the Tower of London
  • July 26th: Tea on the Thames cruises
  • July 27th: Glorious reality TV like The Only Way is Essex
  • July 28th: Camden Passage
  • July 29th: The postal code system that just makes so much sense
  • July 30th: Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
  • July 31st: The incredible diversity of the city

 

  • August 1st: Smithfield Market and its ever present smell of blood
  • August 2nd: Old Spitalfield's Market
  • August 3rd: Turning 32 and 33 in London

    War of the Roses

    War of the Roses (August 4th)

  • August 4th: The old city walls of York
  • August 5th:  The Cutty Sark
  • August 6th: Vindolanda Tablets
  • August 7th: Cambridge University's colleges
  • August 8th: Wembley Stadium's incredible acoustics
  • August 9th: Nonsense soccer chants
  • August 10th: East London nightlife
  • August 11th: Cornwall beaches (so I hear, haven't actually been)
  • August 12th: Hoop & Grapes Pub, the oldest in London (supposedly)
  • August 13th: Boston sausage burgers
  • August 14th: The Roman London Wall
  • August 15th: Gladiator films at the old Roman amphitheatre
  • August 16th: The Museum of London
  • August 17th: Secret underground tunnels throughout the city
  • August 18th: Kilts
  • August 19th: Newcastle's bridges
  • August 20th: The Cotswolds area
  • August 21st: Literal names for streets/pubs/etc.
  • August 22nd: Skins
  • August 23rd: St. James Palace, the real home of the monarchs
  • August 24th: The super basic NFL coverage on TV
  • August 25th: Akari's sashimi
  • August 26th: Ocean Wine's insane craft beer selection
  • August 27th: Muffins not actually being muffins
  • August 28th: Taking the piss
  • August 29th: Sherwood Forest being an actual forest
  • August 30th: Mews places being old horse stables
  • August 31st: Nick "Grimmy" Grimshaw on Radio 1

 

  • September 1st: I hate Oxford Street so much, but I feel like it needs to be on the list for being so iconic
  • September 2nd: The dozens of historic houses throughout the city
  • September 3rd: The Chapel hair salon (shout out to Luke!)
  • September 4th: Bubble 'n squeak
  • September 5th: Haggis, neeps, and tatties
  • September 6th: Hootananny's live music in Inverness

    The face of a girl just tasting haggis for the first time

    The face of a girl just tasting haggis for the first time (September 5th)

  • September 7th: Dry British humor (or humour)
  • September 8th: Going on "holiday"
  • September 9th: BBC TV shows
  • September 10th: The Scottish Highlands
  • September 11th: Haberdasheries
  • September 12th: Mother Mash
  • September 13th: The history throughout the city (and the entire country)
  • September 14th: Call the Midwife
  • September 15th: Being baffled that pantyhose is still a thing
  • September 16th: American historical sites in London
  • September 17th: Gunpowder night (Remember, remember, the 5th of November)
  • September 18th: Gareth Bale's man bun
  • September 19th: Manx, Mancs, Scousers, Brummies, Geordies, Taffies, Wegies
  • September 20th: The old-school gas lamps that are still burning
  • September 21st: Living on the spot where Alfred Hitchcock's first movie studio stood
  • September 22nd: The National Trust
  • September 23rd: English mustard
  • September 24th: Squash drinks
  • September 25th: Home fans only allowed in pubs on match days
  • September 26th: Ottolenghi
  • September 27th: Cheeky!
  • September 28th: Having the opportunity to live in a city so rich with history, culture, and diversity

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    On the surface, I may appear as any other 32-year old gal, but if you look a little closer you'll see that I'm like Batman dressed in an Indiana Jones fedora: I have an adventurous life that is filled with travel, brunches, insane stories from teaching in the city, and a luck of the Irish that rivals that of the Lucky Charms leprechaun.

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