London is certainly one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, attracting over 26 million visitors a year.
Yet, certain myths continue to persist about this timeless city that are either no longer true, or never were in the first place.
Here are 6 of the top myths about London and the truth behind the hype.
1) London is too expensive for the average person to visit
Certainly, you’ll have to do your homework and search out specials before you go and whilst you are there.
Booking online can help you find a flight to London with accommodation for much, much cheaper than you would get separately.
Don’t forget that London buses go everywhere, so you won’t need to take the pricier Tube all the time.
And as with many major cities, there are certain days that museums are free or reduced.
London can be done on a budget as long as you take some time to plan. Photo by Trodel
2) It’s always cold, rainy and damp
Yes, the weather in London can be a bit dreary.
But the constant clouds, rain and snow is not the whole truth about London weather.
The reality is that London can and does have decent – though not extremely warm – weather.
I’ve been there at different points in the year; three weeks in June, a week in August and during Thanksgiving.
Yes, I kept a jacket on me for the nights, even in the summer months. But I’d say I saw more sunny days sitting in Hyde Park than during the same time of year in San Francisco.
Walking around the last week of November was comfortable in a moderately thick coat.
Don’t let the false idea that it’s constantly raining keep you away.
London has more sunny days than you may think: Bank Holiday in Trafalgar Square by Rev Stan
3) The people are standoffish and very “British”
Yes, British people are British. But I’ve found them to be super funny and often very open.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say they’ll run up to you with arms outstretched, but I find it’s generally untrue that the Brits, or Londoners, are standoffish.
The important thing to remember about travel in general is that we’re all a lot more alike that we think. Most people are going to be open and helpful to visitors.
Getting into conversations with people in pubs, who either grew up in London or have lived there for a long time, is a great way to see their animated discussions and sparkling wit.
You’ll more than likely end up doubled over laughing at some point.
4) Londoners only drink tea
You will have absolutely no problem finding coffee in London.
Actually, you may have more of an issue finding the traditional British black tea with cream outside of High Tea in Kensington Gardens and other top-end places throughout the city.
Try and take two steps without spotting a Costa, Caffe Nero, or everyone’s favorite worldwide chain, Starbucks.
Though the green logo was a welcome sight in 2002 when Starbucks was the only place I could get my soy latte, when I visited again in 2007 every coffee place provided all the accoutrements Americans are used to.
Coffee is just as important to Londoners – if not more so – than tea. Photo by Matt From London
5) The British have bad teeth
We may blame Austin Powers for making this notion popular, but the jokes about British teeth preceded the movie.
Contrary to the rumors, British teeth are fine, with people in London probably more concerned about their teeth than outside the city.
The Guardian asked the question, “Is there actual evidence that British teeth are worse than anyone else’s?” It’s interesting to read the answers from people both in the UK and the US.
As for this American, the teeth in London have never made me not want to smile.
6) British food is awful
Although this myth is on its death bed after a long, slow battle, some people still think British food is awful.
Here are the reasons this is wrong: London offers every type of world cuisine you could probably think of, and most ‘traditional’ pubs now serve either Thai or Indian curry rather than bangers and mash or fish in chips.
It’s also easy to get quick, healthy take-away in places such as Pret A Manger, Wagamama, Marks and Spencer, and Whole Foods.
Open air meat, fruit, and vegetable markets abound, and there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options throughout the city.
Borough Market is just one of London’s great open air food markets. Photo by Wolfiewolf
Did it rain when you visited London? What’s your position on the teeth? Let me know what you think below.
If you liked this, you might also like: 12 Tacky but Terrific Things to do in London.
Main image by Leonardo, easthastings.