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News / City Life

Eight ways to tell a real Londoner from a fake Londoner

Eight ways to tell a real Londoner from a fake Londoner
You live in London, you work in London and you use your holidays to escape from London -–but are you are real Londoner? Follow our eight-point checklist to weed out those field-loving London imposters. 

1. Real Londoners have tried to open their front door with their Oyster card

Your Oyster card has become such an important part of your daily life that it's now more important than the keys to your house. Why can't we just beep home? It would be so much more convenient. Our Oyster love is so deep we even have special patterned holders for these cards, so special they make purses and wallets redundant. That's how real Londoners roll.

2. Fake Londoners smile even when they don't have to

Don't get us wrong, we Londoners are lovely people – some of the best out here. We just don't feel the need to inanely smile the whole time. We are saving our smiles to lure the bus driver who has already closed his doors or for reacting to the new pop-up restaurant right next door or for the free samples guy at Victoria station (hello, multiple free samples). Yes, if you spot any smile-happy people in London, they are definitely fakes.

3. Real Londoners know who 'Inspector Sands' is

Ever heard 'would Inspector Sands report to the operations room immediately' over the loudspeaker at a tube station? Well real Londoners know to be wary as it is tube code for 'there is a fire'. We will be the ones briskly walking towards the exit.

4. Fake Londoners change at Green Park

Error. There goes your whole afternoon, you tourist. Changing at Green Park involves far too much walking, people with suitcases slowing things down and a dangerous intersection of people walking so purposefully in contrasting directions that someone will inevitably be seriously injured. But mainly it's a time thing and playing human bumper cars might chip our manis. 

Renegade Travels

5. Real Londoners know how to get a 'Downing Street' selfie

We may not be invited to tea by the PM and Sam Cam but we know how to get our very own 'Downing Street' selfie – and who needs tea when you have a loyal Instagram following? We just pop down to 10 Adam Street just off The Strand and take our snaps there – it's almost identical to the Downing Street door and you don't have to sneak past the rifle-toting police. 

Flickr / Dave Collier

 6. Fake Londoners spend hours waiting for a bus

There is an app for that and it's called Bus Checker. Stop wasting your time, fakers.

© Rob Greig

7. Fake Londoners look like this

Boris may be Mayor of London and enjoy cycling around the capital but he was born in New York City, educated in Brussels and was MP for Henley until 2008. Busted.

Rob Greig

8. Real Londoners look like this

The brilliant Brixton-born David Bowie: ahead of the curve, incredibly talented and a game-changer – that's the real London right there.

On that note, here are 39 reasons why (real) Londoners love London. 

Or check out 20 things Londoners say vs what they REALLY mean



Glyn C

Sorry, a real Londoner doesn't have to have been born there. Nor, in fact, even live there all the time. It's a state of mind. I was born in Montreal, where I live. Mum and dad we born in London, West Ham and Manor Park. My great grand parents are buried 60m from Karl Marx in Highgate. London is my spiritual home, when I am there I feel more at home than at home. So any body who calls me a fake Londoner would be wrong, futhermore if this is how you feel, fake vs real, you have it all wrong, a real Londoner would know that. Twats.


What a load of shite! What so real Londoners just get tube, that's all it based round! Bet the person hat wrote this is from the Surry and went uni like all "real Londoners"! Probley only lived here 8 months and think this is home, talking about old times in London! Ha

sholto p

Absolute drivel, but fairly typical of Time Out's current level of writing. Blame the internet and decline of print media for the proliferation of this type of clickbaitey 'definitive list'. Still depressing that an institution like Time Out has plunged to such depths.

Sanaa S

This is really stupid and untrue. My mother is born and bred from brick lane and doesn't know any of this. Thus should be removed it's so ridiculous.

Dee C

Also if you are waiting that long for a bus? Get a tsci stupid

Dee C

I'm not a real Londoner and I know not to change at green park LOL

This Aussie knows not to change there. I generally charge at Baker Street. I never smile inanely, it's too fucken cold :) and if I see people running (ooops sorry walking briskly) towards an exit I follow them LOL

I may not be a Londoner but I'm not a complete moron either LOL

Paul B

Real Londoners went to primary school in London.  All the rest are fakes, frauds and wannabees.

Geoff Q

Real Londoners KNOW its called STRAND not THE Strand! Fail!!!!!!!!

Norseman G

What is an "expert blogger" ?
 London is an over-crowded, over-priced filthy slum !

Dee C

London has too much character to be a slum

James G

Jesus Christ, what absolute garbage. I hope she wasn't paid for this. 

Nyasha M

Not sure I agree with most of these...

1. That's a tourist marvelling at the oystercard and trying it on their hotel room door "just in case". Londoners wish this worked, but they know better.

2. Londoners smile all the time. Imperceptibly. With subtle nods. Usually when someone bumps into them and immediately apologises. When they they see someone just about manage to catch the tube as the doors are shutting. When a charity worker stops someone else on the streets, giving you a chance to escape with dignity...

3. This is true... Except for the 50% of Londoners with headphones on of course...

4. You can spot a Londoner who's about to change at Green Park. They're ones you see entering a state of mental determinism 2 stops before rushing out.

5. Londoners have no business visiting Downing Street...

6. 100% true.

7. Also true. Including those who work in the underground mines known as I.T.

8. On Friday clubbing night, definitely.