Greenwich is one of London’s most loved boroughs and home of some of London’s most iconic museums and landmarks like the Prime Meridian Line, the Cutty Sark or the Royal Observatory Museum.
The Cutty Sark is the first thing you’ll notice when out of the DLR, the historic merchant ship suffered from a fire in 2007 but has been restored after that.
But, let’s start the day from the Royal Observatory.The Royal Observatory is home to the Greenwich Mean Time and Prime Meridian line, you’ll get the chance to learn about the discoveries of the 18th century while also having one on each side of the line and be in both eastern and western hemispheres at once.
Next stop is the National Maritime Museum. Here you can learn about the tales of explorers and brave sailors through an interactive collection of artefacts and displays.
Greenwich is a great place to stop for food for its famous food market, there’s a fantastic range of street food from various part of the World, you’ll sample mini pancakes, macaroons and churros, marmalades and jam or authentic dim sum and dumplings and much more.
After lunch, you can visit the Fan Museum, the world’s only museum dedicated to fans. Greenwich’s Fan Museum contains over 4,000 antique and unique fans dating as far back as the 11th century. The museum will take you through exhibitions about their social importance and cultural significance over time.
You can end up your day in Greenwich in one of the most iconic pubs in London: The Gipsy Moth overlooking the Cutty Sark there is one of the most hard-to-beat views of any riverside pub.
It has been five years since I’ve decided to take a couple of suitcases with me and wave goodbye to my folks in Rome to start a new adventure in London. As an Italian however, the first approach to the Anglo-Saxon culture can be a bit of a shock (in a non-dramatic, but the entertaining and funny way).
What I’ve always been repeating to myself though, is pretty much ‘When in Rome do what Romans do’ and it worked out well. Embracing a different culture can only enrich your soul and widen up your mind. However, still, there’s some funny stuff that I couldn’t help but share with you – if you’ve ever considered moving – and that’s what most Italians thinks when in London.
Info overload is a thing in London, Mind the Gap anyone?
Although, admittedly, in few instances, it had actually helped me. In fact, if it wasn’t for the mindful floor sign at the crossroad – that shouts where to look at – I’d probably won’t have lasted that long in London when first moved (and even now at times, well actually most of the times).
That ‘awkward’ silence on public transports
Memories of Italian’s loud and overcrowded public transports are all long gone by now. Public journeys in London are actually sacred mediums for silence and contemplation. Most people can get annoyed if you are talking too loud over the phone… Beware! Although, rules are rules and those might be slightly different on any given weekend after 5 pm.
Happy Hours don’t actually involve the presence of food
As an Italian, (stereotype alert!) I’m used to drinking wine or cocktails as part of a meal or at an aperitif. Our ‘Aperitivo’ or ‘Happy Hour’ mainly consists of a buffet with all sorts of foods (the more the merrier!) that you can eat along with your ONE drink of choice.
Which literally means give me more food than booze.
Although it may sound awkward, being recognised for your efforts in Italy is not an easy and so standard process. Working hard could sometimes lead you to actually be even more frustrated than anything else as – rarely – there’s a chance of a big pay rise. Sad truth.
Another upsetting truth is that finding jobs in Italy is not an easy task – nevermind your dream job – so, what has really shocked me (in an astonishingly and beautiful way) was that after moving to London, it only took me a few weeks to find my first occupation.
Without getting into too many details, youth unemployment rate in Italy, even tough recently has decreased is still quite high (36.90 percent). Therefore having to move abroad sometimes is not really a choice but a necessity.
Ever happened to you? Entering the tube when it’s sunny and hot and getting out when it’s windy dark and cold? Well, It definitely has to me and that is NOT so funny. Lol. Cloudless blue skies can soon part to make way for torrential downpours.
The fine art of the small talks
Small Talks or “Chit Chat” are quite a fundamental part of the British Culture and at first got me totally unprepared. In fact once happened when being asked, “How was I doing” that I’ve replied with an ingenuous “Totally shit today!” and got a fearful and scary look in return. Do never do that, for any reason. Whatsoever.
That subtle – typically British – way of explaining tough stuff by always starting on a positive note it’s a tricky art to master, especially for an Italian!
Yes, there is such a thing.
The “I’m sorry, not so sorry ritual”
Finally, the amazing and multicultural melting pot that this City really is and that I’m grateful to be part of.
Moving to London? If you are trying to figure out which area could possibly be the best to live in… well… I might have some info for you based on my personal experience.
Having relocated few times already, I had the feel of the various vibes that certain areas of London could give you.
Although, at the time being, many areas of London are undergoing into the process of gentrification and are in constant change – read change as “getting way more expensive”- this is how I’ve seen London within the last 3 years:
House n.1 – Belsize Park – North London
When I first moved to London I had the pleasure to live in the lovely area of Belsize Park, where I shared the flat with Eliza (also a blogger ) and Hanna.
Most of the North London area is very elegant and classy. You can find there some of the most popular residencies (and some celebrities too), but the whole package can come up with a pretty high price.
In fact, Belsize Park is quite central, suburban and the average price of a double room can come to up to £1000. Mainly, the reason why I moved somewhere else.
If you’re looking for something more affordable, you’ve got:
– Kentish Town – West Hampstead – Finsbury Park
House n.2 – Wimbledon – South London
I absolutely loved living in Wimbledon! Leafy, pretty (Postcard Pretty) and with that “small, happy villagey” vibe.
The village is my favourite part, especially during the summer months. These pictures were taken at the Cannizaro House, a picturesque hotel/ park/ restaurant close by to the Wimbledon common park, which I’ve discovered randomly when I got lost in one of my walks.
South London is definitely not only confined to Wimbledon though, but is a very mixed bag of places. Running from the multi milion pound mansions to the poorest and roughest areas.
Streatham and Balham have now improved a lot over the last decade and are getting more pleasant, whilst areas like Nunhead and Peckam are still notorious for being… ehm not the “safest”.
And, if you don’t mind living a bit further out from Central London you can try Croydon. You can get the overground train and in 28 mins ca you are already into Central London, you might just need to remember to catch the last train home or you could be in for a very, very long bus ride!
House n.3 – Greenwich – South East London
Been living nearby Greenwich for almost 6 months now, definitely not one of my longest tenancy.
Very good in terms of safety, less in terms of transportation links (especially if you work nearby east london). In this instance as well, if you miss the last train home there is only one night bus that runs only almost EVERY HOUR, therefore you’d better not.
Accommodation wise is still reasonably priced, and in the future a good amount of businesses will be moving in too.
Greenwich hosts few antique and food markets and is the set of many London films such as “The Italian Job”.
Neighbourhoods to live in this area would be:
Greenwich Canary Wharf
Soon to be… House n.4 – Dalston – East London
Young, creative? Then Dalston is definitely the place for you. In 2009 Vogue Italia declared Dalston as the trendiest and coolest neighbourhood in London. Will need to update you on this bit once I move in!
Those, in my opinion, are some of the best places to look at.