Looking for beautiful quotes about London, England? This glorious city has inspired novelists, historians, and travel writers for centuries.
From its beautiful riverfront to its epic architecture, the city never ceases to delight.
Whether you’re looking for travel inspiration or London Instagram captions, here are my favorite London quotes.
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The Best London Quotes & London Instagram Captions
Here are my favorite quotes about London from literature, history, travel, and beyond, broken up into categories (otherwise this list might be a tad overwhelming).
London Travel Quotes
Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.
Now the red rim of the sun pushes itself over the London cloud-bank. It shines on a good many folk, but on none, I dare bet, who are on a stranger errand than you and I. How small we feel with our petty ambitions and strivings in the presence of the great elemental forces of Nature!
The English language is like London: proudly barbaric yet deeply civilised, too, common yet royal, vulgar yet processional, sacred yet profane. Each sentence we produce, whether we know it or not, is a mongrel mouthful of Chaucerian, Shakespearean, Miltonic, Johnsonian, Dickensian and American… English, by comparison, is a shameless whore.
For me, London seemed to be frantic without going anywhere.
Paris is a woman but London is an independent man puffing his pipe in a pub.
London has the trick of making its past, its long indelible past, always a part of its present. And for that reason it will always have meaning for the future, because of all it can teach about disaster, survival, and redemption. It is all there in the streets. It is all there in the books.
I like the spirit of this great London which I feel around me. Who but a coward would pass his whole life in hamlets; and for ever abandon his faculties to the eating rust of obscurity?
Nothing is certain in London but expense.
London goes beyond any boundary or convention. It contains every wish or word ever spoken, every action or gesture ever made, every harsh or noble statement ever expressed. It is illimitable. It is Infinite London.
London’s like a forest… we shall be lost in it.
-Mary Elizabeth Braddon
The vibe of London as a city is captivating. It’s both fast-paced and extremely rushed but still has the calmness that would attract any big-city person.
The interesting thing about London is that there are always stylish surprises around every corner.
One might fancy that day, the London day, was just beginning. Like a woman who had slipped off her print dress and white apron to array herself in blue and pearls, the day changed, put off stuff, took gauze, changed to evening, and with the same sigh of exhilaration that a woman breathes, tumbling petticoats on the floor, it too shed dust, heat, colour; the traffic thinned; motor cars, tinkling, darting, succeeded the lumber of vans; and here and there among the thick foliage of the squares an intense light hung.
These friends – and he laid his hand on some of the books – have been good friends to me, and for some years past, ever since I had the idea of going to London, have given me many, many hours of pleasure. Through them I have come to know your great England; and to know her is to love her.
The city defeated him. It refused to be bent into shape; it stayed a willful, sprawling, sinful place. It even told him as much.
As to London we must console ourselves with the thought that if life outside is less poetic than it was in the days of old, inwardly its poetry is much deeper.
I don’t know what London’s coming to — the higher the buildings the lower the morals.
My Dad says that being a Londoner has nothing to do with where you’re born. He says that there are people who get off a jumbo jet at Heathrow, go through immigration waving any kind of passport, hop on the tube and by the time the train’s pulled into Piccadilly Circus they’ve become a Londoner.
This was London, in all its filth and glory. Nostalgic for the past, while yearning to cast off the chains of bygone ages and step forward into the bright utopia of the future. Proud of its achievements, yet despising its own flaws. A monster in both size and nature, that would consume the unwary and spit them out again, in forms unrecognizable and undreamt. London, the monster city.
One of the the things she most liked about the city -apart from all its obvious attractions, the theatre, the galleries, the exhilarating walks by the river- was that so few people ever asked you personal questions.
When it’s three o’clock in New York, it’s still 1938 in London.
This melancholy London — I sometimes imagine that the souls of the lost are compelled to walk through its streets perpetually.
The air used to be clean and the s** used to be dirty. Now it is the other way around.
From the top of the bus she could see the vast bowl of London spreading out to the horizon: splendid shops with mannequins in the window, interesting people and already a much bigger world.
Stopping abruptly in central London is a heinous crime, and immediately gives the people around you permission to kick you.
He dreamed of London and of a life that mattered.
I live in east London, but I’m not cool.
There are two places in the world where men can most effectively disappear — the city of London and the South Seas.
There’s only one London. That’s it. We are what we are.
London Quotes about Love
The most wonderful thing in life is to be delirious and the most wonderful kind of delirium is being in love. In the morning mist, hazy and amorous, London was delirious. London squinted as it floated along, milky pink, without caring where it was going.
In London, love and scandal are considered the best sweeteners of tea.
A broken heart is a very pleasant complaint for a man in London if he has a comfortable income.
-George Bernard Shaw
The best bribe which London offers to-day to the imagination, is, that, in such a vast variety of people and conditions, one can believe there is room for persons of romantic character to exist, and that the poet, the mystic, and the hero may hope to confront their counterparts.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
No, the last thing she cared about was whether people were staring at the boy and girl kissing by the river, as London, it’s cities and towers and churches and bridges and streets, circled all about them like the memory of a dream. And if the Thames that ran beside them, sure and silver in the afternoon light, recalled a night long ago when the moon shone as brightly as a shilling on this same boy and girl, or if the stones of Blackfriars knew the tread of their feet and thought to themselves: At last, the wheel comes to a full circle, they kept their silence.
It was a summer night: laughter fell softly: it was the sort of night that if you wasn’t making love to a woman you feel like you was the only person in the world like that.
Quotes about London at Night
One thing about London is that when you step out into the night, it swallows you.
I like walking round London at night, I do it all the time. Not for no reason, just cos… it’s home, innit? It’s brilliant, you can’t ever get bored of London cos even if you live here for like a hundred and fifty years you still won’t ever know everything about it.
London was beginning to illuminate herself against the night. Electric lights sizzled and jagged in the main thoroughfares, gas-lamps in the side streets glimmered a canary gold or green. The sky was a crimson battlefield of spring, but London was not afraid.
It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents, except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.
I knew this with my intuition, and yet I sat there in my dark room, looking at the hazed wet brilliance of the purple London night sky, longing with my whole being.
Live your life in any way, London says. It encourages defiance. I loved what it gave me, who it allowed me to be. On the nights I could afford a minicab home, I rolled down the window while crossing the river and watched the lights on the water, knowing most late-night minicabbers were reaffirming their love of London with the same view. I loved its messiness, its attempts at order. I loved the anonymity it afforded.
London Food Quotes
Tea at the Ritz is the last delicious morsel of Edwardian London. The light is kind, the cakes are frivolous and the tempo is calm, confident and leisurely.
The man who can dominate a London dinner-table can dominate the world.
I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricasie, or a ragoust.
The first time I was in London, I went to an English greasy spoon to get some breakfast and realised that all the waiters were speaking Italian. That’s when it hit me what an international city this is.
Quotes from Poems about London
Go where we may, rest where we will,
Eternal London haunts us still.
You are now
In London, that great sea, whose ebb and flow
At once is deaf and loud, and on the shore
Vomits its wrecks, and still howls on for more
Yet in its depth what treasures!
-Percy Bysshe Shelley, You are now / In London, that great sea
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn.
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.
Flowed up the hill and down King William Street,
To where St Mary Woolnoth kept the hours
With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine.
-T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land
And marbled clouds go scudding by
The many-steepled London sky.
Earth hath not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare, Ships, towers, domes, theatres and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
-William Wordsworth, Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802
I wander thro’ each charter’d street,
Near where the charter’dThames does flow,
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.
-William Blake, London
And every day there passes by my side,
Up to its western reach, the London tide—
The spring tides of the term. My front looks down
On all the pride and business of the town;
My other fair and more majestic face
For ever gazes on itself below,
In the best mirror that the world can show.
-Abraham Cowley, On the Queen’s repairing Somerset House 1668
Prepare for death, if here at night you roam
And sign your will before you sup from home.
Some fiery fop, with new commission vain,
Who sleeps on brambles till he kills his man;
Some frolic drunkard, reeling from a feast,
Provokes a broil, and stabs you for a jest.
-Samuel Johnson, London
London, thou art the flower of cities all!
Song Lyrics about London
London, London, London town,
You can toughen up or get thrown around.
London calling to the faraway towns
Now war is declared and battle come down
London calling to the underworld
Come out of the cupboard, you boys and girls
London calling, now don’t look to us
Phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust
London calling, see we ain’t got no swing
Except for the ring of that truncheon thing.
-The Clash, London Calling
You hear him howlin’ around your kitchen door
You better not let him in
Little old lady got mutilated late last night
Werewolves of London again
-Warren Zevon, Werewovles of London
Dirty old river, must you keep rolling, rolling into the night
People so busy, make me feel dizzy, taxi light shines so bright
But I don’t, need no friends
As long as I gaze on Waterloo Sunset, I am in paradise
Every day I look at the world from my window
Chilly chilly is the evening time, Waterloo sunset’s fine.
-The Kinks, Waterloo Sunset
Me and you about to get down
Who the hottest in the world right now
Just touched down in London town
Tell them put the money in my hand right now
Tell the promoter we need more seats
We just sold out all the floor seats
London Fog & London Weather Quotes
I’m leaving because the weather is too good. I hate London when it’s not raining.
London is too full of fogs and serious people. Whether the fogs produce the serious people, or whether the serious people produce the fogs, I don’t know.
London and Fog! When these two come together, it is time to be a writer!
In London, the weather would affect me negatively. I react strongly to light. If it is cloudy and raining, there are clouds and rain in my soul.
Wet weather in London, but when was it anything else?
Once on a dark winter’s day, when the yellow fog hung so thick and heavy in the streets of London that the lamps were lighted and the shop windows blazed with gas as they do at night, an odd-looking little girl sat in a cab with her father and was driven rather slowly through the big thoroughfares.
-Frances Hodgson Burnett
In London the day after Christmas (Boxing Day), it began to snow.
Everything in London is quite good, apart from the weather: it’s cold and rainy there, and the winter is long.
River Thames Quotes
On Waterloo Bridge where we said our goodbyes,
the weather conditions bring tears to my eyes.
I wipe them away with a black woolly glove
And try not to notice I’ve fallen in love
I have admired the romantic elegance of the Place de la Concorde in Paris, have felt the mystic message from a thousand glittering windows at sunset in New York, but to me the view of the London Thames from our hotel window transcends them all for utilitarian grandeur – something deeply human.
Twenty bridges from Tower to Kew –
Wanted to know what the River knew,
Twenty Bridges or twenty-two,
For they were young, and the Thames was old
And this is the tale that River told.
Millions of people swarming like flies ’round Waterloo underground
Terry and Julie cross over the river where they feel safe and sound
And they don’t, need no friends
As long as they gaze on Waterloo Sunset, they are in paradise
-The Kinks, Waterloo Sunset
And if the Thames that ran beside them, sure and silver in the afternoon light, recalled a night long ago when the moon shone as brightly as a shilling on this same boy and girl, or if the stones of Blackfriars knew the tread of their feet and thought to themselves: At last, the wheel comes to a full circle, they kept their silence.
Quotes about St. Paul’s Cathedral
St. Paul’s Cathedral is the finest building that ever I did see
The heavy bell of St. Paul’s cathedral rang out, announcing the death of another day.
When he walked through the gutted wreck of old Saint Paul’s, he tripped and fell over a piece of rubble — a tombstone. When he got to his feet and dusted himself down he saw that it read, in Latin, ‘Resurgam’ — ‘I Will Rise Again.
Human beings, for some reason or another, like symmetry. You leave a bunch of them next to a jungle for a couple of days and you’ll come back to find an ornamental garden. We take stones and turn them into the Taj Mahal or St. Paul’s Cathedral.
In my youth, I saw St Paul’s Cathedral. The Big Ben touched my precious silent heart, forever!
London is not a city, London is a person. Tower Bridge talks to you; National Gallery reads a poem for you; Hyde Park dances with you; Palace of Westminster plays the piano; Big Ben and St Paul’s Cathedral sing an opera! London is not a city; it is a talented artist who is ready to contact with you directly!
-Mehmet Murat ildan
It is good to recall that three centuries ago, around the year 1660, two of the greatest monuments of modern history were erected, one in the West and one in the East; St. Paul’s Cathedral in London and the Taj Mahal in Agra. Between them, the two symbolize, perhaps better than words can describe, the comparative level of architectural technology, the comparative level of craftsmanship and the comparative level of affluence and sophistication the two cultures had attained at that epoch of history.
Quotes About King’s Cross Station
Temple of the Rat King. Ark of the Soot God. Sphincter of Hades. Yes, King’s Cross Station, where, according to Knuckle Sandwich, a blow job costs only five quid – any of the furthest-left three cubicles in the men’s lavvy downstairs, twenty-four hours a day.
Dear Mr. Potter, Please note that the new school year will begin on September the first. The Hogwarts Express will leave from King’s Cross station, platform nine and three-quarters, at eleven o’clock.
To Margaret—I hope that it will not set the reader against her—the station of King’s Cross had always suggested Infinity. Its very situation—withdrawn a little behind the facile splendours of St. Pancras—implied a comment on the materialism of life. Those two great arches, colourless, indifferent, shouldering between them an unlovely clock, were fit portals for some eternal adventure, whose issue might be prosperous, but would certainly not be expressed in the ordinary language of prosperity.
I might be good at what I do, but despite the fact that King’s Cross station is indeed where Harry Potter headed off for Hogwarts, I do not possess an invisibility cloak.
The imaginations of black Hermione’s detractors can stretch to the possibility of a secret platform at King’s Cross station that can only be accessed by running through a brick wall, but they can’t stretch to a black central character.
Quotes About the Tower of London
Three hundred years ago a prisoner condemned to the Tower of London carved on the wall of his cell this sentiment to keep up his spirits during his long imprisonment: ‘It is not adversity that kills, but the impatience with which we bear adversity.
Always there have been six ravens at the Tower. If the ravens fly away, the kingdom will fall.
For a fair maid of England hath told me
That the crows are departed the Tower.
So I’ll seek for my bailiwick elsewhere,
Sniffing out some new dungheap of power.
London Quotes by Shakespeare
Now could thou and I rob the thieves and go merrily to London, it would be argument for a week, laughter for a month, and a good jest forever.
Would I were in an alehouse in London.
After them! nay, before them, if we can.
Now, by my faith, lords, ’twas a glorious day:
Saint Alban’s battle won by famous York
Shall be eternized in all age to come.
Sound drums and trumpets, and to London all:
And more such days as these to us befall!
Harry Potter London Quotes
Even if I could, I wouldn’t. Scars can come in handy. I have one myself above my left knee that is a perfect map of the London Underground.
Don’t let the Muggles get you down! Try and come to London,
And the ground and the dirty buildings on either side fell away, dropping out of sight as the car rose; in seconds, the whole of London lay, smoky and glittering, below them.
Harry had never been to London before. Although Hagrid seemed to know where he was going, he was obviously not used to getting there in an ordinary way. He got stuck in the ticket barrier on the Underground, and complained loudly that the seats were too small and the trains too slow.
Quotes About Hating London
I’ve started to hate this city, this country, all these STUPID F***ING PEOPLE.
I walk to Oxford Street and climb on the number 8. It’s freezing and it starts to rain and it’s the ugliest bus I’ve ever seen, rattling down the ugliest streets, in the ugliest city, in the ugliest country, in the ugliest of all possible worlds.
Come with me, ladies and gentlemen who are in any wise weary of London: come with me: and those that tire at all of the world we know: for we have new worlds here.
Do you realise that people die of boredom in London suburbs? It’s the second biggest cause of death amongs the English in general. Sheer boredom…
The truth is, that in London it is always a sickly season. Nobody is healthy in London, nobody can be.
London, that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained.
-Arthur Conan Doyle
Have you read any beautiful quotes about London recently? If so, leave them in the comments, and I’ll add it to the list!
Want more Travel Quotes?
I’m a little obsessed with travel quotes. If you are too, check out this massive guide to 250 Inspirational Travel Quotes & Travel Instagram Captions, plus:
- 50 Quotes About Paris Celebrating Its Triumphant Beauty
- 50 Eternally Beautiful Rome Quotes from Literature, History, & Travel
- 50 Gorgeous Quotes about Venice & Instagram Caption Inspiration
- 30 Quotes about Iceland Celebrating Its Mysterious Beauty
- 50 Eternally Beautiful Rome Quotes from Literature, History, & Travel
5 Things to Pack for Your Trip to London
If you’re headed to London, I have an entire London packing list that goes over exactly what to bring to with you. However, here are five items you definitely don’t want to forget!
- The Lonely Planet England guidebook or the Rick Steves London guidebook for your trip. It can be kind of a pain to find the major guidebooks once you land, or you’ll find them overpriced. I always like to pick mine up ahead of time.
- An Unlocked Cell Phone so that you can use a British sim card while here to help navigate public transportation.
- Backup Charging Bank for your cell phone since you’ll be using it as a camera, GPS system, and general travel genie.
- A Camera since London is super photogenic. I use a mix of my Nikon D810 and my Samsung8 smartphone these days.
- A Great Day Bag so you can carry what you need with you (like your camera, snacks, water, sunscreen, cash, etc). My current favorite is the Pacsafe Citysafe, which is especially great for London because it has many anti-theft features designed to deter pickpockets. It also transitions to a night bag more easily and won’t embarrass you if you go to dinner directly after sightseeing all day.
More London Travel Resources
Headed to London? Start with my London Packing List, so you know what to bring with you and what to wear each season.
If you’re interested in visiting UNESCO sites and historic places around London, check out my posts on How to Visit the Tower of London, How to Visit Westminster Abbey, and How to Visit Westminster Abbey.
Love to listen while you plan your travels? I have episodes about London on both of my podcasts. You can check my podcast episode about the Roman Baths, The History of Windsor Castle, and Banqueting House.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance!
Before you leave for England make sure you have a valid Travel Insurance Policy because accidents happen on the road. I pay for World Nomads, and I happily recommend them. It’s especially important to get travel insurance if you’ll be hanging out in cities (like London…ahem) where tourists can be the victims of pickpockets.
I have been a paying customer of World Nomads for travel insurance for three years, and I happily recommend them. If you get sick, injured, or have your stuff stolen, you’ll be happy to have the ability to pay for your medical bills or replace what’s stolen or broken.