Has alcohol-free January lost a bit of its appeal? Can’t quite make yourself go for a run in the dreary weather? We all want to reinvent ourselves this time of year, but these days a spot of healthy eating just isn’t going to cut the mustard. Nothing short of a complete overhaul will do – so why not slip under the skin of a Londoner on your next trip to England? Follow our step-by-step guide to be accepted as a true pub-loving, Oyster-card-flashing, gently tutting Londoner.
It’s time to perfect your placard writing: when Londoners express their indignant rage, they do it ever so politely. Take inspiration from Ian Hislop’s I Object exhibition at the British Museum. Seething about the issue of the day? Write something wry on a sign. Outraged at terrible service? Send a cross-sounding email. Fuming over somebody cutting in line? Tut and roll your eyes, but maintain your composure. It’s the British way.
From cereal cafés to gourmet kebab shops, London loves nothing more than hero-worshipping everyday food. Soho’s Hipchips is the latest joint to buy into the fad with a menu featuring only artisanal potato chips. The humble spud gets the star treatment here with flavour-packed dips both savoury and sweet. Got an idea for a ham-sandwich speakeasy? you could be a foodie champion in 2019.
Londoners, it turns out, have a tricky relationship with geography. Amsterdam for lunch? Sure. Three-day wedding in Mexico? No problem! Take the Overground to see your friend in Zone 3? Oh, well, you know, that’s kinda tricky… Do something bold this year. Get on the DLR, say, or visit Catford Constitutional Club for live music and top-notch pub fare –you’ll be seen as a pioneer.
New architectural projects and shopping destinations may be transforming the city at a rate of knots, but more than 40 per cent of Greater London is still designated green space. There are enough trees to meet the UN classification of a forest, no less, which makes it surprisingly easy to enjoy alfresco rambles without wellies or Barbour jackets. Try Walthamstow Wetlands’ huge wilderness – just 15 minutes from the centre and yet a whole world away.
As the hops start to settle on the craft-beer boom, locals are calling time on unsporting bar behaviour. That is to say: no earnestly sampling a dozen IPAs for slight variations in flavour profile while a thirsty crowd brews behind you, please. Your fellow pub-lovers will respect you. Head to a historic no-frills boozer for a proper pint: Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street has been around since the Great Fire, and if it’s good enough for Dickens…
Image credits: © Catford Constitutional Club; © Catford Constitutional Club; © Pink Hat (Pussyhat), 2017; © Justin de Souza; © Catford Constitutional Club; © Walthamstow Wetlands; © Alamy