What’s So Great About London?

The stream of people on the Millennium Bridge is a cross section of the world's community.

The stream of people on the Millennium Bridge is a cross section of the world’s community.

OPINIONS FROM THE BRIDGE | Darrin Henry

If you want to sample the greatest variety of people from around the world in one place, come to London. Just walking through this incredible city it’s immediately noticeable the accents and languages we can hear are as varied as the faces that are streaming past us.

‘Cosmopolitan’ is the buzzword the brochures like to use when describing Britain’s capital city but it’s just so appropriate. I’m always astounded by the number of nationalities I meet in London. Even more fascinating are their stories; why people are here. Our story about Dan Ground, the homeless bucket drummer, is one example. Maria Sergejeva, the Olympic figure skater from Estonia is another.

Right now it’s the start of summer and Sharon and I are back in London for a few weeks, and taking our time to just soak up the city again.

People watching is something we all do – I think! It’s fascinating to quietly guess what it is each person does or where they’re from. We’ve decided to stop guessing today and just ask.

John from Cambridge

After expecting to be amazed by peoples of the world, ironically the first person we said hello to was an Englishman! We met John on the Millennium Bridge, leaning on the rail, taking in the view. John is an accountant and has worked in the City of London for 15 years, although he doesn’t live in London, rather he commutes 80 miles each day from Cambridge. John’s daily journey, one way into London “takes two hours, door to door.”

John commutes from Cambridge to work in London.

John commutes from Cambridge to work in London.

We popped the question we were experimenting with today: What’s so good about London?

“The good thing about London is there’s lots going on; it’s a very busy city. You can stop and have a chat with so many interesting people, like yourselves! Which is nice. Anyone visiting for just one day, what would I recommend seeing? Let’s see. St Paul’s Cathedral.”

St Paul’s Cathedral in its present form was completed in the late 17th century, designed in the English Baroque style by Sir Christopher Wren. The original church on the site from 604 AD, was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666.

St Paul’s Cathedral in its present form was completed in the late 17th century, designed in the English Baroque style by Sir Christopher Wren. The original church on the site from 604 AD, was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666.

St Paul's Cathedral at night, at the end of the Millennium Bridge.

St Paul’s Cathedral at night, at the end of the Millennium Bridge.

 

A little further on we thought we would try again, this time picking out quite clearly an oriental face.

Bess, from Hong Kong

Although Bess was visiting from Hong Kong today, she is no stranger to London. The UK was home for five years up to 2012, when she studied Business Management at university in Surrey. She returned home to Hong Kong after completing her studies, but returned just eight days ago for a short holiday and to visit friends.

Bess from Hong Kong.

Bess from Hong Kong.

“The best thing about London is that it’s classic,” says Bess. “For me it’s good to be back. The Shard is awesome. I’ve just come from having a good breakfast there on the 31st floor. The views are great and the staff are really nice.

“The main difference between Hong Kong and London; in Hong Kong people don’t know how to relax. When I go back to [another place I know in England] St Austell (Cornwall) the people there they can relax for the whole day. In the UK this is good; it’s good to have a balance. In Hong Kong they are always thinking of business, all the time.”

The Shard is one of the newest additions to London’s skyline, completed in 2012. Its 95 floors are located on top of London Bridge tube station, and it is currently the tallest building in the European Union, standing at 309.6 meters high.

The Shard is one of the newest additions to London’s skyline, completed in 2012. Its 95 floors are located on top of London Bridge tube station, and it is currently the tallest building in the European Union, standing at 309.6 meters high.

The base of the Shard was a lot smaller up close than we had expected.

The base of the Shard was a lot smaller up close than we had expected.

The Shard is now a very prominent feature on London's nightscape.

The Shard is now a very prominent feature on London’s nightscape.

 

More people stories from London to come – sign up by email to be the first to know when they are posted.

2 thoughts on “What’s So Great About London?

  1. Pingback: Skylarking In London | What The Saints Did Next

  2. Pingback: Being a Police Woman In London – Amazing and Terrifying | What The Saints Did Next

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