Get us in your inbox

Michael Garnett/Flickr

25 quotes every Londoner should know and live by

Written by
Luke Abrahams

London – a bastion of culture, literature, art and bloody good quotes. From Virginia Woolf to David Bowie, Charles Dickens to Vivienne Westwood, the wise words of great novelists, musicians, artists and the odd celeb or two continue to capture the spirit of London life like nobody's business. Whether you're a Soho party animal, tired Bloomsbury student or a Square Mile city slacker, here are 25 quotes you should commit to memory that get to the heart of what London is really about.

1. ‘London is a roost for every bird.’ – Benjamin Disraeli

2. ‘I’ve been walking about London for the last 30 years, and I find something fresh in it everyday.’ – Walter Besant

3. ‘A person who is tired of London is not necessarily tired of life; it might be that he just can’t find a parking place.’ – Paul Theroux

4. ‘Nothing in London is certain but expense.’ – William Shenstone

5. ‘In London everyone is different, and that means anyone can fit in.’ – Paddington Bear

6. ‘The man who can dominate a London dinner-table can dominate the world.’ – Oscar Wilde

7. ‘The streets of London have their map, but our passions are uncharted. What are you going to meet if you turn this corner?' – Virginia Woolf

8. ‘The English language is like London: proudly barbaric yet deeply civilised, too common yet royal, vulgar yet processional, sacred yet profane.' – Stephen Fry

9. ‘There are two places in the world where men can most effectively disappear – the city of London and the South Seas.' Herman Melville

10. ‘London is a modern Babylon.' – Benjamin Disraeli 

11. ‘By seeing London, I have seen as much of life as the world can show.’ – Samuel Johnson 

12. ‘A London boy, oh a London boy, your flashy clothes are your pride and joy, a London boy, a London boy, you're crying out loud that you're a London boy.’ – David Bowie

13. ‘My cousin's gay, he went to London only to find out that Big Ben was a clock.’ – Rodney Dangerfield

14. ‘Most people live in the city and go to the country at the weekend, and that's posh and aristocratic, but actually to live in the country and come to London when you can't take it any more is different.’ – Damien Hirst

15. ‘On March 4th, 1830, I arrived in London, where a new world seemed opened to me.’ – Henry Bessemer

16. ‘London is sexy because it’s full of eccentrics.’ – Rachel Weisz

17. ‘This melancholy London – I sometimes imagine that the souls of the lost are compelled to walk through its streets perpetually. One feels them passing like a whiff of air.’ – William Butler Yeats

18. ‘London is the epitome of our times, and the Rome of today.’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson

19. ‘The walls of London may be battered but the spirit of the Londoner stands resolute and undismayed.’ – King George VI

20. ‘London opens to you like a novel itself... It is divided into chapters, the chapters into scenes, the scenes into sentences; it opens to you like a series of rooms, doors and passages. Mayfair to Piccadilly to Soho to the Strand.' – Anna Quindlen

21. ‘It is difficult to speak adequately or justly of London. It is not a pleasant place; it is not agreeable, or cheerful, or easy, or exempt from reproach. It is only magnificent.’ – Henry James

22. ‘The parks be the lungs of London.’ – Charles Dickens

23. ‘Oh, I love London Society! It is entirely composed now of beautiful idiots and brilliant lunatics. Just what society should be.’ – Oscar Wilde

24. 'If you're curious, London's an amazing place.' – David Bailey  

And most importantly Londoners, if you should ever grow tired of our great city just remember... 

25. ‘There’s nowhere else like London. Nothing at all, anywhere.’ – Vivienne Westwood

For more inspiration, check out the 13 moments that make Londoners feel powerful beyond all measure.

Popular on Time Out

    You may also like
    You may also like