London: The City Which Never Sleeps

The beautiful light of the moon came streaking in through the window and fell on my face. It woke me up. I checked the time; it was almost 2 am in the morning. My friend was fast asleep. I kept staring at the beautiful tree outside, whose leaves shined and glowed in the moonlight. At that very moment two things crossed my mind- Did Shah Jahan feel the same way as he watched the monument of love glowing in the moonlight with his old worn out eyes? Does moonlight still fall across my bed in my room in India?

My stream of thoughts were interrupted by a loud siren of an ambulance -the 6th since I came to London. I saw my friend stir a little and went back to sleep.

I didn’t realise how time flew. It felt like only a minute ago when we were out on the streets but now were both in bed; one sleeping soundly and one enjoying the beauty of the night.  Images from our little night walk flashed in my mind’s eye.

It was still one of those days when the sun bid an early good-bye. After a tiring sightseeing, I went back to my hostel room. My friend and I were watching some random English movie when a quick glance reminded us that it was about  time we went for dinner. After a quick dinner, we left to explore the streets of this beautiful city by night. We decided to keep it short and just take a walk around Fitzroy Street, but our adventurous side took away all our weariness and we extended our walk to a longer one. 

It was around fifteen minutes to ten and the shops had just started to shut down for the day. Those that were already shut, still had lights on displaying their products in a surreal glow. Interestingly, I noticed that most of the shops around the street were furniture shops apart from various eateries and a customary (rather mandatory) Pret A Manger in every other street. 

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Even though the shops were shutting down, the roads still had a large crowd of people. The lights were switched on in almost every building that we passed through and it did not seem that it was almost 10pm. People of all nationalities and cultures intermingled in this big city. I had heard , read and used the adjective ‘cosmopolitan’ for the city quite a number of times myself; but that day, I realised the true meaning of the word. 

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Soon after, I came across this huge Graffiti. Even if this might not hold a lot of significance in the post, I added it as it reminded me of an old friend from Calcutta. He is a Graffiti artist himself and honestly, every time I see one, he is the first person who comes to my mind. 

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My walk took me to this pub called The Court. Though, we did not stop there, but I could not help but notice that the pub was so full inside that there were people sitting in the chilly wind outside enjoying a pint or two. It was then that I realised that the temperature had begun to fall and we had to head back. It was almost 10:30 pm. 

But. . . .I also realised that given our tight schedule it would not be possible to come out exploring the streets for another night; and it would be a shame coming this far and not seeing the Parliament House glowing in the bright lights at night. That majestic scene which has never failed to be a part of all Bollywood and Hollywood movies justified the essence of London at night. Just the thought of having a glimpse of that scene filled me with a new enthusiasm. And thus my destination was decided and there was no looking back. . . .

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While I stood there gazing at this sight, I did not realise the time, the temperature or even how long had I wanted to see this. A lot of mixed thoughts came to my mind- Harry Potter and his friends flew in their broomsticks with this background ; Sherlock Holmes lived in London; Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham was shot in London; Saifeena’s favourite holiday destination is London and so on. These strings of thoughts did not really have any relation to the ethereal moment I was experiencing; but I guess true Happiness does not come with a definition and an explanation of how a person should react. 

A check on the watch let me know that we should be REALLY heading back. The day ahead had lots of interesting and amazing things in store for me and I did not want to sleep through it all or look dreary eyed. 

On my way back, the streets had finally started emptying . It came to my mind that probably everyone finally found time to sleep unless they suffered from insomnia. 

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But the people who did not sleep were the neighbours of Fitzroy street. The pub was still full of people merry-making and chatting with their near and dear ones.

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With the lights diminishing in the streets now, except for the street lights; every man on the road had their mobiles switched on which made their face glow in the dark. 

I went to the hostel room and finally called it a day; but before sleeping I took some photos of the neighbourhood. . . . . Let me leave you today with those photos . . . Because the next Sunday would introduce you to my Adventures on Day 2. From the British Museum to the London Traffic and even getting lost in the city. . . 😛 Do come back for more next week. . . .

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81 Replies to “London: The City Which Never Sleeps”

  1. I didn’t know London is called the city that never sleeps. Often it is related to NYC or Moscow (just like its American twin it never sleeps indeed) I’d love to visit London, hope one day my dream come true!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not safe past ten. I went to London with a friend so there were two of us. But for a lone female traveller , at nights, I dont think London would be very safe. during daytime its ok. But my advise would be to avoid the nights alone.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love the photos, night wandering in big cities always hypnotizes me – I like to do people watching, when they rush from work, their daily routines and read their day from expressions on their faces.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I always thought that no other city would be busier than New York, but London is a top contender. I never saw it as a place that was busy at night, that’s a new side of London for me. Really amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didnt expect this sort of a nightlife either. i thought people must be really tired working hard all day . On weekends i might have been less shocked but on a Tuesday night when the week had just started , there was so much of a buzz at night; I could hardly believe my eyes.

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  4. I just went there last month. And my husband is from London. It is just like what you have written, amazing.. We were considering moving there from Sweden since he is a British citizen but really a pity the housing there is really expensive compared to in Sweden 😦 he’s there now for a week to catch with his friends and having great nights out I suppose! Your pictures are beautiful! Will definitely have to go to Southempton when I’m there again 🙂 thanks for sharing xxx

    Rebecca • http://www.momaison.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thats lovely. Yes, I saw it myself when I was in London . Its a very expensive city for student/budget travellors . couldnt even imagine how expensive would actually living there be. But its worth a visit. P.S I found Scotland (Edinburg) even more expensive than London 😛

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  5. Im absolutely smitten by London ! nothing ever compares with London and every time I go there I discover new places or I see the old ones in a new light . funny but yes ur right sometime worth revisiting

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    1. I liked what you said ‘ see the old ones in a new light’. I think even of the places dont change the way we perceive it changes after some time. So, the way Ill see Tower Bridge today wont be the same way when I see it 5 years later. 😛

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  6. I DO love your way of telling this London night, it looks like a novel! And you make me miss London so much, even if I was there less than one month ago! I was in Southempton (for the first time) and I loved it! London by night is so charming. And you show it very well in your pics!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank Yoy main aim is to show the readers more about everyday life; budget travel etc etc. I am a student and frankly everyday life and budget travels are all I can afford . Hehehe 😛

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  7. It would be so hard to go to bed with sights like that! I can see myself getting caught up thinking of what has happened there. I am excited to read the next installments of what you did here!

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  8. I never thought of London as a “night” city, you know? New York yes, but not London. This is a great post! A side of London I would never have considered. And your photos are awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I believe every city has a nightlife. In some it is found in discos in some on the streets and in some nightlife is best defined by sipping tea post midnight sitting in the balcony and gazing at the starry sky amidst twinkly lights coming from faraway houses. But in all these cases nightlife exists. Night is usually taken to be silent.but in that silence a thousand words are spoken one just needs to hear them. 🙂

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    1. Hi, To answer your first question I stayed at the YMCA hostel in London on Fitzgerald Street. It is well connected to the tube, bus station and very near to the Euston Train Station and Madame Tussauds. We took only rooms and it cost us around £70 per night. But I shared the cost with a friend so it was £35 with complimentary breakfast and dinner.
      Regarding how safe is it, also let me tell you that both of us were girls and we found it safe enough to wander till about midnight to half past. Maybe not beyond. also, in the morning after 4-5 am it becomes quite safe.
      I hope I have answered your queries. Let me know if you want some more info. 🙂

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  9. I may not fully appreciate London, but the way you present your night there gives me the will to spend actually one there. The pace and writing style of your nocturne adventure was enjoyable to read !

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  10. It looks like you are having a wonderful adventure in London, it’s been so long since I’ve been there but I too loved the diversity of the people you see out and about on the streets, and I loved the way the pubs stayed open so late! Here in LA, on some nights the bars and restaurants shut down by 10pm. Look forward to the rest of your posts of your London trip.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I love London. Although I don’t live in the city, I make sure to go there on weekends. Saturdays to be more precise. It is 1 hour and 20 minutes by drive from my place. There are so many options to eat out and entertain yourself there. You have got lovely pictures in the post.

    Fatima | http://www.blogsbyfa.com

    Liked by 1 person

  12. London might not be the most beautiful city but it is certainly one of the most entertaining. It never sleeps and offers non stop variety, from its gay scene to nightclubs right through to theatre there is something for everyone.

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  13. London is one of those city in which you can’t get bored, no matter if it’s day or night. Streets will always be populated and people will be always going somewhere, even if it’s the middle of the night. I like how the picture with the Parliament came out, you have really steady hands. And it’s always good when the ambulances passes and doesn’t stop at your building, how it did this morning, at my place, for one of my neighbors.

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  14. It’s interesting. I’ve lived near London for most of my life, and don’t have the slightest interest in the place. But I love just walking aimlessly around Delhi or Calcutta, even though I’m really not a city person.

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    1. Have you been to Calcutta? I am originally from there. Nice to hear you speak about it. You know I usually fix what I want to shoot and go for shooting photos with a fixed plan. But sometimes, the more aimlessly I take a stroll the better the vision and the words become for me. 🙂 also, it was my first time to London and I did not want to miss any aspect of the city.

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      1. Oh thats Wonderful! 🙂 Hmm i have somehow seen that the best photographs comes out candid. Whatever I plan and take , they are monotonous and similar to ace photos. the element of newness is missing. But what I dont plan and shoot gives me more joy. 🙂 In fact, I have shot the same place in different times of the year or in different hours of the day and have got varied results.

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      2. I agree with you. Each time i go to the same place I discover a new aspect of the place. somehow known places never grow old as the days pass; they just become more newer than ever. 🙂

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      3. Yes. Calcutta has know taken up the trend of photowalks quite seriously. there are few established groups which go on photowalking tour of heritage places in Calcutta. I was myself associated with them before moving to Manchester last year. I would again go back this year end.

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