Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
Understanding London's Culture
London is probably the easiest city in the world to blend in. Home to over 200 different na-
tionalities and who knows how many native languages, the city is an amalgamation of ideas
and personalities, shaped on a daily basis by an evocative blend of competing cultures. Oth-
er than having your face in a map, or wielding a telescopic camera lens, there's little that will
make you stand out. Staunch right wingers will say that almost everyone in London is a vis-
itor and the city's original roots have been lost. But that's just ideological nonsense. London
is all the better for this thick coating of random influence.
Looking confused in front of a metro map, or standing in awe at a monument, also doesn't
mark you out as a tourist. London has a transient population, with a large proportion of its
residents spending a few years in the “big smoke” before moving elsewhere. So expect to
meet local residents in the most famous of museums. Swapping tales about homelands and
backgrounds is something you'll be doing on a regular basis, whether it's in a small cafe or
black taxi.
Many guidebooks can be filled with what to eat, drink, how to colloquially say hello, and
which cultural faux pas's to avoid. But what is traditional London food anyway? The fried
breakfast at your Bed and Breakfast or the Indian Curry on Brick Lane? Sausage rolls or
Lebanese buffets? There's no need to get hung up on customs or etiquette. Just be yourself
and enjoy the experience.
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