Moments that make Londoners say ‘ah, the city we live in’

Small moments of joy

Londoners rarely get excited. It’s a badge of honour rather than an insult that we’re so hardened by living in the big smoke – which by the way you should never, ever call it – that we rarely get rattled. Even when killer clowns invade our streets we respond in a characteristically London way; by shrugging and moving on with our lives.

But we’re not all doom and gloom, and there are some things which still warm the cockles of our smog-grey hearts. Here they are.


When you see something being filmed near your house – and then you wait for it to come out so you can see it and say “oh, they filmed that near my house”.

Standing at the exact right spot for the doors to open on the tube.

When you stand next to a famous person on the tube but deliberately don’t acknowledge them because London.

Seeing a minor celebrity on your way to work (once I saw Gillian McKeith in Farringdon – shit but mildly entertaining).

Hearing a slightly-funny-slightly-exasperated announcement from your driver explaining why your tube is being held at a red signal.

When you go into an authentic pub and realise it’s actually a Spoons so everything is slightly cheaper than before.

Walking from one area unto another area and realising they’re connected they connected and you’re like woah, Euston is right next to St Pancras?

Accidentally leading the traffic lights stride.

When you arrive at Pret five minutes before the lunchtime rush and as you’re leaving you see the crowds and you are like yes, I have prevailed.

When someone gives up their seat for an old person on the tube.

Getting a tube conductor who is unusually perky and maybe dances on a morning commute.

When the quote of the day is a good one.

When Citymapper recommends a carriage on the tube and actually gets it right.

When tourists ask you where something is and you know it because yes you live in London it is your city.

When Citymapper says it’s less than 45 minutes to get somewhere.

Finding a street that’s cobbled.

When you’re coming back from a night out and your car goes over Tower Bridge and you’re like yes, London, the city I live in.

Uber without surge.

Realising that the difference between you and your destination is walkable, and deciding to walk it.

Pretending to drive the DLR.

Stumbling upon a canal.

Watching someone miss their bus.

Watching someone get trapped in the tube doors.

Getting a seat on the tube in the morning.

When a stranger does something small and kind, like handing you something you’ve dropped or letting you know your label is hanging out.

Getting free stuff outside the station that isn’t shit.

Bumping into people you know. There are eight million people in London, and yet here you are, bumping into someone you know. Mad.

Seeing London from a rooftop.

When Itsu does the half price sale before closing.

Discovering a new bottomless brunch place.

Seeing a Banksy and acting like it’s no big deal.

When an Uber comes in like two minutes and your friends who don’t live in London look at you in shock and awe.

Getting wifi on the tube.

When something is mentioned in a book and you now where it is because you live in London.

Seeing a fox.

Seeing a french bulldog on the train.

Finding a really big supermarket – like an Asda or a Lidl.

Going to dock your Boris bike and there’s only spot left.

Seeing something filmed near your flat on TV.

That feeling you get when you’ve been in the country in the weekend, and the warm, exciting, polluted air hits your lungs and you’re like ah, London, hello old friend, I’ve missed you.

Contributions from Daisy Bernard, Grace Vielma, Tom Jenkin, Bobby Palmer.