What Londoners See of London

Most people have seen this kind of view of the 25th largest city in the world:

This one is from Wikipedia.

You’ve got the London Eye on the left (famous basically because its still standing), the Palace of Westminster in the middle and the clock tower housing Big Ben on the left. Very nice. But what kind of views do everyday Londoners’ get of these world-renowned landmarks?

When I commuted into the capital I saw none of this. Just a series of Tube Stations and other peoples armpits. However the other day I had a meeting in an office on the South Bank of the Thames which had a pretty impressive view (for an office in South London that is):

It’s a shame you can’t see more – I mean unless you live in a penthouse this is about as good as it gets. But what were things like back in the good old days – I mean the really good old days?

Well back in the 19th Century the view would have been something like this:

You can’t really see much from this painting by John Anderson from the 19th Century but it gives you an idea of what the South Bank was like back then (Parliament is behind the tree in the middle).

This picture shows where I was standing when I took my photo (courtesy of the Houses of Parliament itself):

So when you get London rammed down your throat during the Olympics this year, spare a thought for all the Londoners out there who often don’t see any of it!

What’s the view like from your office/home?


24 thoughts on “What Londoners See of London

  1. When I lived in London, three times so far on different occasions, I kept meaning to go to all the usual places, Madame Tussauds, the galleries, museums etc, but either could never quite find the time to, or in the last instance, simply couldn’t afford to!

    I think the same probably goes wherever you live, life simply takes over and gets in the way, one way or another, and when you do eventually have the time and money, the last place you really want to be spending your leaisure time is often never so close to home/work!

  2. It’s amazing that only when I’m away on holiday do I like the idea of returning home to London. Holidays are fantastic but London has a unique feel to it. Truly a melting pot of different sights and sounds.

  3. Good point. Or do we see these impressive vistas so much we take them for granted, not really “seeing” them anymore? Right now my workview is the creek and woods below our house, which is on stilts. The view is closer to the John Anderson painting.

  4. Haha, great point! Isn’t it funny how little we actually see of the places we live?! My partner and I were considering moving down to London recently, but your post reminded me that we are probably better off living in the countryside and just going to London as tourists! Luckily this is what has worked out in terms of jobs!

    Do you have tickets for any of the Olympic events?

    ~Emily~

  5. I have to admit it: when I look up the street I see the Empire State Building. Every night it gets lit up with different colors. Some are really hideous, but some are really nice. But good or bad, I always love it.

  6. It’s amazing how, whichever country we live in, tourists will flock from all over the world to see our landmarks yet we never get to experience it ourselves.

    What’s the view like from where I am? Errrr, all I can see is a concrete jungle and a few factories. I think I’ll relocate to a tropical island…

  7. From my home/workplace I am extremely lucky… I have magnificent views of two medieval castles and to the south are rocky hills covered with trees, trees, and more trees! (Bavaria, Germany).

  8. Wow, that really puts things in perspective. People often forget what big cities look like from the ground. To outsiders they are these mystical places with incredible architecture as far as the eye can see. We forget that people actually live there and work there, have places to be, and need to just lead regular lives. Thanks for putting it in perspective!

  9. From my computer I can see the Pleasanton Ridge which is a series of hills near me covered with oaks, California bays & sycamores. It’s beautiful and today we had a sunny day. (I live east of San Francisco.)

  10. I think the two best views I ever had were: 1) view of Chicago from the 78th floor of the Amoco building (it is called something else now) and 2) a view of an 11th century church in Inkberrow, Worcestershire. Different kinds of beauty….

    Thanks for commenting on my blog.

  11. On a clear day I can see Mt. Rainier from our back yard. If I go to a street that runs east/west I can see the Cascade Mountain Range to the east and the Oylmpic Mountains to the west. And many coniferous, house studded hills surround us. I live in Seattle.

  12. Ha! I used to live and work in London, have commuted too. The best views I had were when I got in at London Bridge then walked to Tower Bridge, crossed that and into the Royal Mint buildings. i worked there for a year and always enjoyed those views, particularly at sunset. But as I say that view was a rare one!

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