First Time In London — 6 British Stereotypes That Are Actually True

I have never been to London, but all stereotypes about it somehow made me feel otherwise. You know how you almost always hear bunch of stories about something that turn out to be rather exaggerated? Well, this story is from the other bunch.

British stereotype #1 — red buses

The first and main stereotype has been confirmed right from the start — the iconic red double-deck bus. It does exist and exists in a notable abundance. I mean, if you’re in the center and you look in any direction you will see at least 3 to 5 of them. They are literally everywhere. If you’re taking a photo and you want to have a London touch to it — you usually need to wait just several seconds for the bus to pass and pose for you. The cherry on top for me was riding the authentic bus — the very first model that is occasionally launched into traffic for nostalgic purposes. For this ride the standard ticket is valid, but since there are not many of them it’s a lottery to catch one.

One of the many British stereotypes — the double decker bus — is true

We got a chance to drive in an authentic red bus
With an open door at the back
Those red buses that are newer are more fancy

British stereotype #2 — weather

Well, there is nothing surprising about the cloudy and a bit rainy weather if you’re visiting London in December. I guess I was lucky that it was not pouring rain, but in any case the stereotype stays valid (at least until next time)

No surprise — the weather was gloomy

British stereotype #3 — politeness

This was literally the most polite country I’ve ever been to. Nowhere in the world I seen the word please added to the word “push” on the entry/exit door. The politeness here is on a whole new level, just as I heard before about Brits.

This is the first time I see please push

British stereotype #4 — pub crawl

It appears like people in London do take the pub experience seriously, as all pubs appeared full with people who were even standing outside when it was only around +5. That was on Saturday, but my host noted that it’s not much different during weekdays, as many catch up with each other after work and, apparently, pub is the most relevant place to do so. In the one I’ve been to there was even something like a family reunion ongoing.

British stereotype #5 — shopping and dining

Did both of these as well — the amount of shops in London and the variety of the supply is quite amazing and I had hard time not to buy too much. I imagine on an average day the amount of people in shops is somewhat high in London, but with such proximity to Christmas it was too much… I’ll just say I’m glad I don’t work there and can imagine how tough it is for those who do.

What’s more amazing is the way how many streets are decorated. Of course a big share of people don’t really go shopping but rather walk around creating an even bigger crowd. But Christmas rush is well worth it — in the end it happens only once a year.

Soho area
Soho is well-decorated before Christmas
All of the streets here were decorated

British stereotype #6 — small British icons

London somehow managed to leave all those small iconic items untouched despite growing into a large multinational city. Eventually, they add up to the whole experience and make your stay appear traditional and, in a way, organized. As a result, most of the pictures I brought from London are full of red buses, red telephone booths, cabs and post boxes. Even the cloudy sky made the experience more British.

Small icons that make British stereotypes true

I can imagine that you are never going to run out of things to do, or go to, or at least buy in London.

British stereotypes may not be stereotypes after all

For more adventures, experiences and endurance training resources visit my website — The Athlete Blog.

I am a self-trained competitive athlete and I love to travel. I blog about both on

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store