London pet peeves

London is an exciting and vibrant city, no denying that. Those who’ve just landed here must feel like they’ve just been dropped into a different planet and are busy exploring and enjoying themselves like the bloggers from The Young Londoner.

However for a typical Londoner like myself, frustration and outrage are the dominating emotions when living in London. Take for example our legendary reactions when we miss a Tube train despite the next when being a mere minute away. I took a little time out of my evening to ask my fellow Londoners what drives them mad living in the big city.

If you find yourself moaning in agreement with most of the list, consider yourself a Londoner.


1. Transport for London

No surprises on the number one thing that incites Londoners to tear their hairs (or what’s left of it) in a blind rage. From the rancid body odour that penetrates the air on both buses and Tubes to the expensive fares (a bus journey used to cost 70p; now it’s more than £4). And that’s just the crux of the problem. People’s other complaints are:


  • Lack of ventilation on both bus and Tube.
  • Being sardined during rush hour.
  • Not enough bins.
  • Tourists (see below).
  • Fare dodgers. Why should we pay large amounts why you hop on for free?
  • Bus randomly terminating before their last destination (route 391).
  • Confusion between zones. E.g. Notting Hill Gate station. Is it Zone 1 or 2?
  • The Wimbledon branch of the District Line.
  • Snow.
  • The idiot who plays his/her ‘choons’ out loud on the back of the bus.
  • Strikes.
  • The inaccuracy of the digital bus timetable.
  • ‘Passenger incidents’. Entire line suspended. Thanks.
  • People who get off tube/train/bus and stop dead on platform/pavement, preventing smooth flow of passengers out of vehicle.

The list is never ending. Although, just watching this BBC documentary shows how much effort is needed to keep all lines up and running. Unfortunately, it’s not going to deter those complaints anytime soon.

2. Tourists

Another favourite London pet peeve is, of course, the tourists. There are times where I just won’t acknowledge their value to London’s economy because they just won’t hurry up and get out of my way. They’re either too busy photographing every square inch or can’t tell the difference between Oxford University and Oxford Street on a map to acknowledge people are usually in a rush.

I find the best way to vent my frustration is either to send them the wrong way (‘where’s the King’s Road, Chelsea?’ You need to head to north London – it’s near Hampstead) or either casually ‘photobomb’ – jumping into a camera shot uninvited – the poor sods. Give and take, I say.

3. Racism in a culturally diverse city

Good grief.


4. Oxford Street

Shopping in the heart of London is like entering a never-ending war, with Oxford Street and its surrounding areas acting as the stage for battle. You enter along with other combatants – numbers reaching a hundred thousands – all looking for first blood at the shops. And that’s on a good day. Enter during the sales – particularly on Boxing Day – and you’ve got yourself a free-for-all merciless melee, which was highlighted when a young man died during last year’s Boxing Day sales. Shop locally instead. It’s calmer, safer, friendly and probably a hell of a lot cheaper.

5. Red telephone boxes

I used to love these things and this was before smartphones became prevalent in today’s society. It made me feel like a proper Londoner when I used them but now it’s become like a private booth for the uncouth, with sex cards plastered everywhere and the distinct smell of urine lingering around. You’re better off borrowing a stranger’s phone.



Nielsen Cerbolles


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