Our IELTS student, Luzie from Germany, has written a blog post all about the diversity you can find in London from the vibrant multi-cultural communities to the different & exciting neighbourhoods North, South, East & West!
London being the diverse, multicultural, bright and buzzing city that it is, has quite a lot of different faces. Samuel Johnson (google him) once said.”Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford”. Each and every borough and district is like a piece of art, a piece of music, a piece of poetry. It’s like you enter a different world every time you cross the border to another area. Not everybody likes London but when the city’s magic captures you, you never want to go anywhere else again.
The Thriving City
The city of London looks like Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the city, flashy and pompous. It’s like an expressionistic painting. It sounds like a factory, loud, exaggerated and bustling. Cars are tooting, people are screaming on the phone whilst crossing the streets and weaving through the messy traffic. The streets are crowded and impressions of posters advertising food, clothing, and the latest cellphones you need to have rain down on you. An aromatic mixture of chips, exhaust fumes and dust gushing out of the tube stations floats in the air and muffles you together with a stream of people pushing you in one direction. The city is pretty chaotic. So, if you do not have to go there, don’t. Seriously, don’t. It’s a nice place to do some shopping and go on a sightseeing trip, but I wouldn’t recommend going on the weekends. All in all, it’s a huge jumble.
The Lively North
The northern part of London seems to me like a mosaic. A mingle-mangle of lots of different cultures and traditions. It’s quite busy up there as well because it’s very close to the city centre. But the quite residential roads with their terraced housing and colourful doors seem to be far away from all that. The north is home to all age groups and nationalities and is therefore really interesting. Street markets, international food shops on every corner and a multicoloured mix of all kinds of people. It is after all a very touristy part of London. Because it’s close to the city, and as all kinds of nationalities inhabit this part, tourists from all over the world immerse themselves.
The Posh West
For a lot of people the West has a bad reputation. “Only the rich, snobby people live in the west”. Indeed, the west is one of the most expensive parts of London (but nowadays almost everywhere is) and just a ‘specific’ group of people can afford to live there. But it is one of the most fair and beautiful places as well (especially in Spring!). Rows of fancy, stunning mansions, lovely gardens with cherry blossoms in flower, quiet parks and nice cafes. The west sounds like a song from Frank Sinatra and looks like a painting from Monet. You could just spend hours and hours walking through the streets, listening to the sound of the birds singing about Spring.
The Flamboyant East
East London is one of my favourite places. It’s colourful, it’s edgy, it’s bustling and bursting with cultural diversity. It sounds like a Doors song mixed with a good old 80’s House track. But it’s also rough, hard and shabby. On the one hand, you can see the development that creative folk like artists, musicians and bohemian gentries have brought to the area. Loads of alternative cafes, bars and pubs with live music or different events on every corner and along every street. Many underground art venues or galleries open their gates and small clubs promote the underground House, Techno and Indie scene. Street markets take place throughout the week not to mention the great variety of vintage/secondhand shops and exotic food spots that you can find scattered across Hackney. On the other hand, you can still see the nasty side of London. Dirty and gritty streets, run-down houses and social hot-spots. It’s interesting, because the east-end exposes this contrast, the difference between rich and poor, in a very obvious way. Nevertheless, the east is definitely one of the most exciting parts of London.
The cosy South
Last but not least, there is South London. If you go further into zones 2 and 3 of the southern parts of London, life becomes quite suburban and homely. But don’t get me wrong – not suburban in the common sense, but more like a self-contained, lively village. In my opinion, the south is one of the most authentic and most ‘English’ parts of London. It seems to me as though the south is self-sufficient and has everything it needs. Local shops, pubs and restaurants, a town centre with shopping malls, bus and tube transportation, parks, libraries, gyms and much more. You could live there and would never have to leave (as I like to call it) the ‘southern village’. It’s like an intact, small system inside of a much bigger organism. To put it all in a nutshell, the south is like the cosy, little brother of London’s big centre.
As you can see London is a city of many faces. It’s loud but it’s quite. It’s exciting but it’s cosy. It’s rich and beautiful but it’s rough and tough. And that’s exactly what makes London so great. You either love it or hate it. But you can’t deny that it is what it is: a city of diversity.
Huge thanks to Luzie for taking the time to write this wonderful piece about our great city – London! For more information on our own vibrant neighbourhood – Camden Town, please visit our our website!