Quotes about London | 120+ of the best London Quotes for Instagram

We’ve travelled many places around the world but, let’s be honest, there is still nowhere like home. And our humble abode? The bustling city of London, England! We think we know the city quite well – from its most iconic landmarks to the secret spots and hidden gems in London you might not even know. But, more than its prominent places, there’s also many a quotable quote about ‘The Big Smoke’, which we thought we’d bring together, in this ultimate list of quotes about London.

Perfect to pair with an Instagram shot of Big Ben, or to accompany your postcard of Buckingham Palace, we’ve curated everything from short and sweet London quotes to lengthier sayings from famous authors like Woolf, Wilde and Whitman!

All the best quotes about London

Read next: Traveling to London with your partner, why not check out some of these awesome couple travel quotes!

Top 10 Quotes about London

Need your London quote but feeling a bit lazy? Read no further – we’ve put our favourite ten together for you below!

London is a dizzying delight, full of pomp and pedigree, a place where high culture and cutting-edge trends feed off one another. Suzanne Rowan Kelleher, Donald Olson & Darwin Porter

London is a world by itself. We daily discover in it more new countries, and surprising singularities, than in all the universe besides. Thomas Brown

London is like a great birdcage. She, that innocent, gentle and single-hearted, is fluttering in there along with other millions. She can’t get out. She’s at the mercy of any cold-eyed, rapacious brute who will get her into a corner. Maurice Hewlett

London opens to you like a novel itself… It is divided into chapters, the chapters into scenes, the scenes into sentences; it opens to you like a series of rooms, doors and passages. Mayfair to Piccadilly to Soho to the Strand. Anna Quindlen

Paris is a woman, but London is an independent man puffing his pipe in a pub. Jack Kerouac

Take a perfect day, add six hours of rain and fog, and you have instant London.

The English mist is always at work like a subtle painter, and London is a vast canvas prepared for the mist to work on. Arthur Symons

The man who can dominate a London dinner table can dominate the world. Oscar Wilde

The streets of London have their map, but our passions are uncharted. What are you going to meet if you turn this corner? Virginia Woolf

To walk alone in London is the greatest rest. Virginia Woolf

London captions - to walk alone in London is the greatest rest - Virginia Woolf

Famous Quotes about London

So many places, poets and pastimes in London make the history books. Let’s delve right into some of them, with prominent sayings, a few celebrity snippets and even distinguished Dickens quotes about London, to top off this list. 

I’ve been walking about London for the last 30 years, and I find something fresh in it every day. Walter Besant

If the parks be “the lungs of London” we wonder what Greenwich Fair is – a periodical breaking out, we suppose – a sort of spring rash. Charles Dickens

If London is a watercolour, New York is an oil painting. Peter Shaffer

It is difficult to speak adequately or justly of London. It is not a pleasant place; it is not agreeable, or cheerful, or easy, or exempt from reproach. It is only magnificent. Henry James

London always reminds me of a brain. It is similarly convoluted and circuitous. A lot of cities, especially American ones like New York and Chicago, are laid out in straight lines. Like the circuits on computer chips, there are a lot of right angles in cities like this. But London is a glorious mess. James Geary

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. Peter Ackroyd

London is like a cold dark dream sometimes. Jean Rhys

London is the clearing-house of the world. Joseph Chamberlain

London is the epitome of our times, and the Rome of today. Ralph Waldo Emerson

London, with its monotonous and melancholy houses, seems like an inharmonious patchwork, as if pieced together without design. Yet it is lovable in its sprawling confusion. Joseph Fort Newton

Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford. Samuel Johnson

The English language is like London: proudly barbaric yet deeply civilised, too, common yet royal, vulgar yet processional, sacred yet profane. Stephen Fry

The interesting thing about London is that there are always stylish surprises around every corner. Natalie Massenet

There are two places in the world where men can most effectively disappear — the city of London and the South Seas. Herman Melville

This melancholy London – I sometimes imagine that the souls of the lost are compelled to walk through its streets perpetually. One feels them passing like a whiff of air. William Butler Yeats

When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford. Samuel Johnson

You find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford. Samuel Johnson

London famous quotes

Need more ideas for your trip to London? Here is the ultimate guide on the best things to do in London.

Short London Quotes

Need to keep it brief? We’ve gone and collected some of the best short quotes about London, to say it best in just a few short words.

By seeing London, I have seen as much of life as the world can show. Samuel Johnson

Fragmentarily the City is nothing, but collectively it is gigantic… Charlotte Riddell

I like the spirit of this great London which I feel around me. Charlotte Brontë

I think London’s sexy because it’s so full of eccentrics. Rachel Weisz

If London is a watercolour, New York is an oil painting. Peter Shaffer

Keep calm and go to London.

London is a modern Babylon. Benjamin Disraeli

London is a roost for every bird. Benjamin Disraeli

London’s greatest strength is our diversity. Sadiq Khan

New York has a great energy, but London is better. Jaime Winstone

There’s nowhere else like London. Nothing at all, anywhere. Vivienne Westwood

If you’re curious, London’s an amazing place. David Bailey

London is a city that has reinvented itself upon the remains of the past. Leo Hollis

London’s like a forest … we shall be lost in it. Mary Elizabeth Braddon

Nothing is certain in London but expense. William Shenstone

One thing about London is that when you step out into the night, it swallows you. Sebastian Faulks

Our haughty life is crowned with darkness, Like London with its own black wreath. William Wordsworth

Spare London, for London is like the city that thou lovedst. Thomas Nash

Quotes about london life

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Quotes for Londoners

Find yourself living in London? Spending your days fighting for a spot on the Tube, elbowing your way through Waterloo station and definitely kicking back with a pint at your local pub on a Friday? Capture the essence of living in one of the world’s most dynamic cities with one of these cracking London quotes:

A city like London was always going to be a paradox, the best of it so very riddled with the opposite, so Swiss-cheesed with moral holes. China Mieville

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. Goldwin Smith

How can you ever be late for anything in London? They have a huge clock right in the middle of the town. Jimmy Kimmel

In London, everyone is different, and that means anyone can fit in. Paddington Bear

In this city 300 languages are spoken and the people that speak them live side by side in harmony. This city typifies what I believe is the future of the human race and a future where we grow together and we share and we learn from each other. Ken Livingstone

It is not the walls that make the city, but the people who live within them. The walls of London may be battered, but the spirit of the Londoner stands resolute and undismayed. King George VI

London is a cluster of communities, great and small, famous and unsung; a city of contrasts, a congregation of diversity. Roy Porter

Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner, That I love London so; Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner, That I think of her wherever I go. I get a funny feeling inside of me, Just walking up and down; Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner, That I love London town. Hubert Gregg

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. Ben Aaronovitch

Oh, I love London Society! It is entirely composed now of beautiful idiots and brilliant lunatics. Just what society should be. Oscar Wilde

One of the things I 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. Julia Gregson

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

To the outsider, London is a sightseer’s theme park, a rich assembly of landmarks and historic buildings, where blue plaques chronicle the passing of time right back to the Middle Ages.

London Bridge quotes - Paddington Bear

Related: Travelling to Paris? Here are the best Paris Quotes.

Quotes about London from literature

Some of the world’s leading literature hails from the halls of London’s universities, pubs and homes with a huge number of the globe’s leading writers calling the city home. Dive into the novels and non-fiction of the city, with some of these fantastic quotes about London straight from the pages of its literature.

A mighty mass of brick, and smoke, and shipping. Dirty and dusty, but as wide as eye. Could reach, with here and there a sail just skipping. In sight, then lost amidst the forestry. Of masts, a wilderness of steeples peeping. On tiptoe through their sea-coal canopy. A huge, dun cupola, like a foolscap crown. On a fool’s head – and there is London Town. Lord Byron

And London shops on Christmas Eve, are strung with silver bells and flowers. As hurrying clerks, the City leave. To pigeon-haunted classic towers and marbled clouds go scudding by. The many-steepled London sky. John Betjeman

I journeyed to London, to the time-kept City. Where the river flows, with foreign flotations. There I was told: we have too many churches, and too few chop-houses. T.S. Eliot

I long to go through the crowded streets of your mighty London, to be in the midst of the whirl and rush of humanity, to share its life, its change, its death, and all that makes it what it is. Bram Stoker, Dracula

It is my belief, Watson, founded upon my experience, that the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside. Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes

London, London, London town; You can toughen up or get thrown around. Kano

London, that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

London, thou art the flower of cities all! Gemme of all joy, jasper of jocundity. William Dunbar

Sir, London is a strange place, and you must look with a keen eye, and stay in it a great while, before you will be a master of half its expedients. Randal, Squire Randal’s Excursion round London

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 Shelly

You will recognise, my boy, the first sign of old age: it is when you go out into the streets of London and realise for the first time how young the policemen look. Sir Seymour Hicks

London quotes poem - TS Eliot

Related: The ultimate London to Cornwall road trip.

Funny Quotes about London

It’s a city that can suck you in, but definitely spit you out. Stuck in never-ending torrential rain, bedraggled after many an hour lost on the almost endless Underground or simply overwhelmed by the sheer pace of it all, London is a non-stop city. Find the lighter side of it all, with one of these funny quotes about the city:

A bad day in London is still better than a good day anywhere else.

A person who is tired of London is not necessarily tired of life; it might be that he just can’t find a parking place. Paul Theroux

In London, love and scandal are considered the best sweeteners of tea. John Osborne

London is a bad habit one hates to lose. William Sansom

Nothing is certain in London but expense. William Shenstone

Yes, London. You know, fish, chips, cup o’ tea, bad food, worse weather, Mary-f*cking-Poppins. London! Dennis Farina

London is a splendid place to live in for those who can get out of it. George John Gordon Bruch

A flat black bug, that is London. Paul Velaine

In many ways, London is like a great big pinata, and everyone who lives here is like an excited, blindfolded child with a heart full of hope and a big flailing stick. Aim that stick right and London will split at the seams like a ruptured spleen, showering you with the most extraordinary places to visit, places like you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Get it wrong and the chances are you’ll lose your footing and end up in a frustrated, eyeless heap. Paul Carr

I’m leaving because the weather is too good. I hate London when it’s not raining. Groucho Marx

London has now become almost like a gigantic frog! With its long tongue it draws curious insects from all over the world inside itself! Mehmut Murat Ildan

London is a bad habit one hates to lose.

London is a city of clubs and private houses. You have to be a member. Alec Waugh

London is like a woman with too many years to encourage confession. Louise Closser Hale

London’s like a bad set of teeth. There are gaps, there are bad dental bridges just about holding on and there are rotting stumps that needed to be pulled ages ago. John Lawton

London’s like a black-browed brute that gets an unholy influence over you. Robert Smythe Hichens

London’s like a monster with one hundred arms … as wide as it’s long. It’s noisy. It’s dirty. It’s everything. You’ll see. Kevin Crossley-Holland

London’s like one of the flash women at Frisco — fine to look at, cruel as the snow. Joseph Hatton

Quotes about the city

Beautiful Quotes about London

While many might bemoan the grey skies, there is no doubt that London boasts some of the world’s most incredible architecture and, on a sunny day, there is almost no better place to be on this planet. With that in mind, here are a few great quotes about the city’s beautiful, plus a sprinkling of achingly poetic pieces about the city:

Aesthetically, London is just beautiful; it’s a gorgeous city. The architecture, monuments, the parks, the small streets – it’s an incredible place to be. Sara Bareilles

And yet London is a solid city, in spite of the broken images it evokes in the mind of a wanderer like myself. There is a grandeur there, an impersonal power of endurance that is somehow comforting beneath the rot. James Wright

But hail thou giant City of the world, Thou that dost scorn a canopy of clouds, And in the dimness of eternal smoke, For ever rising like an ocean-stream, Dost mantle thine immensity — how vast, And wide thy wonderful array of domes, In dusky masses staring at the skies! Robert Montgomery

By seeing London, I have seen as much of life as the world can show. Samuel Johnson

Go where we may, rest where we will. Eternal London haunts us still. Thomas Moore

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? Charlotte Bronte

I travel continuously and I see many cities, but there is nowhere like London. Norman Foster

I went to London because, for me, it was the home of literature. I went there because of Dickens and Shakespeare. Ben Okri

London is a city that sleeps too much. This is the mould of its quality. A magnetic contract: to reinvent itself on the other side of dream, each day. And such dreams, smouldering against the tidal spine of the river, telling and retelling the tales that must be told to manifest a city’s bones. Whispering the night architecture back into stone. Iain Sinclair

London is like a dream come true. As I ramble through it, I am haunted by the curious feeling of something half-forgotten, but still dimly remembered, like a reminiscence of some previous state of existence. It is at once familiar and strange. Joseph Fort Newton

London key quotes

Looking for a list of iconic landmarks beyond London for this quote? Check out our list of the most famous landmarks in England here.

Long Quotes on London

Needing something weightier, with a bit more length than your standard Insta caption? We’ve found some of the best quotes about London that are akin to phrases or paragraphs, waxing lyrical about the city and all it has to offer:

Down in Farringdon Street the carts, wagons, vans, cabs, omnibuses crossed and intermingled in a steaming splash-bath of mud; human beings, reduced to their due paltriness, seemed to toil in exasperation along the strips of pavement, bound on errands, which were a mockery, driven automaton-like by forces they neither understood nor could resist. George Gissing

For the bookish, London is a book. For criminals, a map of opportunities. For un-papered immigrants, it is a nest of skinned eyes; sanctioned gunmen ready to blow your head off as you run for a train. When the city of distorting mirrors revealed itself, through its districts and discriminations, I discovered more about London’s past as a reworking of my own submerged history. Iain Sinclair

I had neither kith nor kin in England and was therefore as free as air — or as free as an income of eleven shillings and sixpence a day will permit a man to be. Under such circumstances, I naturally gravitated to London, that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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. David Thewlis

In some of the great cities of Europe – Paris, Vienna, Prague, and Brussels – tourists bored with life above ground can descend below. All these cities have sewer museums and tours, and all expose their underbelly willingly to the curious. But not London, arguably the home of the most splendid sewer network in Europe. Rose George

East London quotes - Iain Sinclair

London always reminds me of a brain. It is similarly convoluted and circuitous. A lot of cities, especially American ones like New York and Chicago, are laid out in straight lines. Like the circuits on computer chips, there are a lot of right angles in cities like this. But London is a glorious mess. It evolved from a score or so of distinct villages, that merged and meshed as their boundaries enlarged. As a result, London is a labyrinth, full of turnings and twistings just like a brain. James Geary

London is a friend whom I can leave knowing without doubt that she will be the same to me when I return, to-morrow or forty years hence, and that, if I do not return, she will sing the same song to inheritors of my happy lot in future generations. Always, whether sleeping or waking, I shall know that in Spring the sun rides over the silver streets of Kensington, and that in the Gardens the shorn sheep find very green pasture. Always the plaited threads of traffic will wind about the reel of London; always as you up Regent Street from Pall Mall and look back, Westminster will rise with you like a dim sun over the horizon of Whitehall. That dive down Fleet Street and up to the black and white cliffs of St. Paul’s will for ever bring to mind some rumour of romance. Stella Benson

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. I resign, the evening seemed to say, as it paled and faded above the battlements and prominences, moulded, pointed, of hotel, flat, and block of shops, I fade, she was beginning. I disappear, but London would have none of it, and rushed her bayonets into the sky, pinioned her, constrained her to partnership in her revelry. Virginia Woolf

Private courts, Gloomy as coffins, and unsightly lanes; Thrilled by some female vendor’s scream, belike; The very shrillest of all London cries, May then entangle our impatient steps; Conducted through those labyrinths, unawares, To privileged regions and inviolate, Where from their airy lodges studious lawyers; Look out on waters, walks, and gardens green. William Wordsworth

Proportion … You can’t help thinking about it in these London streets, where it doesn’t exist … It’s like listening to a symphony of cats to walk along them. Senseless discords and a horrible disorder all the way … We need no barbarians from outside; they’re on the premises, all the time. Aldous Huxley

London Bridge quotes - James Geary

Sir, if you wish to have a just notion of the magnitude of this city, you must not be satisfied with seeing its great streets and squares, but must survey the innumerable little lanes and courts. It is not in the showy evolutions of buildings, but in the multiplicity of human habitations which are crowded together, that the wonderful immensity of London consists. Samuel Johnson

The appearance presented by the streets of London an hour before sunrise, on a summer’s morning, is most striking even to the few whose unfortunate pursuits of pleasure, or scarcely less unfortunate pursuits of business, cause them to be well acquainted with the scene. There is an air of cold, solitary desolation about the noiseless streets which we are accustomed to see thronged at other times by a busy, eager crowd, and over the quiet, closely-shut buildings, which throughout the day are swarming with life and bustle, that is very impressive. Charles Dickens

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

The fret and fever of the day are o’er. And London slumbers, but with murmurs faint. Like Ocean, when she folds her waves to sleep: ‘Tis the pure hour for poetry and thought. When passions sink, and man surveys the heavens. And feels himself immortal. Robert Montgomery

To us London is a hundred different places. It is never easy to know exactly what we mean when we use the word. Indeed, to the question ” What is London? ” there is no satisfactory answer, unless it be that it is the original little walled city that still exists. It contains St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Mansion House, the Guildhall, the Bank of England and London Bridge. Thousands of people work there in the daytime, but no one sleeps there at night but the Lord Mayor of London and a few hundred caretakers. Yet the physical boundaries of this ancient city are still visible. It is still possible to walk along the line of the Roman Wall that centuries ago limited the size of London to one square mile. H.V. Morton

Unreal City. 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 stock of nine. T.S. Eliot

London Eye quotes - Robert Montgomery

More Quotes About London

Did really none of the London quotes above tickle your city-inspired fancy? Here’s our final attempt at putting together a cracking list of quotes about London for Instagram, Facebook and – well – any social media platform you can think of!

Do you realise that people die of boredom in London suburbs? It’s the second biggest cause of death among the English in general. Sheer boredom. Alexander McCall Smith

I came to London. It had become the centre of my world and I had worked hard to come to it. And I was lost. V. S. Naipaul

I don’t know what London’s coming to — the higher the buildings, the lower the morals. Noel Coward

I have often amused myself with thinking how different a place London is to different people. James Boswell

It is difficult to speak adequately or justly of London. It is not a pleasant place; it is not agreeable, or cheerful, or easy, or exempt from reproach. It is only magnificent. Henry James

London has long been regarded as a vibrant, busy, historical metropolitan city rich in history and beautiful iconic buildings. However, like most cities of this scale, it also has a characteristic local side: beautiful village-like enclaves that are extremely photogenic and full of character. Partner all that with a unique style and you’re left with something pretty special. Siobhan Ferguson

London is a city that offers all kinds of temptations, and whenever I go for a walk I discover things that I would like to bring back as souvenirs. But my resources are very limited. I cannot buy anything, and I make a point of taking my walks a good distance from these riches. Soseki Natsume

London quotes for Instagram - James Boswell

London is a hell, where the Moloch of globalization is worshipped through the nightshifts. Yosefa Loshitzky

London is like the grave in one respect – any man can make himself at home there; and whenever a man finds himself homeless elsewhere, he had better either die or go to London. Nathaniel Hawthorne

London is like the tropical bush – if you don’t exercise constant care the jungle, in the shape of the slums, will break in. John Buchan

London isn’t a stodgy place. Trend-setting London is to the United Kingdom what New York City is to the United States: the spot where everything happens first (or ultimately ends up). Donald Olson

Never was there a dingier, uglier, less picturesque city than London … it is really wonderful that so much brick and stone, for centuries together, should have been built up with so poor a result. Nathaniel Hawthorne

The truth is, that in London it is always a sickly season. Nobody is healthy in London, nobody can be. Jane Austen

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. Ali Fazal

There is always a romance that we leave behind in London, and always London unlocks that flower for us, and keeps it fresh, so that when we come back, we have our romance again. Stella Benston

There’s a hole in the world, like a great black pit and the vermin of the world, inhabit it… And it goes by the name of London. Stephen Sondheim

When exploring London, you will come across lots of excitement by chance, so try to take everything in rather than just rushing around to all of the major tourist haunts. Richard Branson

Quotes about london for Instagram - Jane Austen

So, what do you think of our list of the best quotes about London? Are we missing you favourite London quote off the list? Let us know in the comments below as we’d love to keep on adding and improving it.

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