How London is Different from Mumbai — from the eyes of a Mumbaikar


It has been a little more than 4 months since I have moved to London, and I’ve had a glorious experience so far.

I’ve moved cities before — Mumbai – Bangalore – Mumbai – London — and like all great cities, this one has a different charm to it that makes me love it in its own unique way. In these 4 months, I have explored as much of the city as I possibly can, and here are my experiences…

So without further ado, here are the top 10 ways in which London is different from Mumbai:

10: The Weather


Any conversation about London cannot begin without the mention of the weather. Everyone is talking about it and it is almost always used as an ice-breaker! The rains in London are a steady mist, mixed with the occasional downpour. Everyone I have spoken to, tell me this is pretty much how it is throughout the year. While some people might have a problem with that, I absolutely love this weather. I must confess that I have no idea how it will be like in December, so more updates then!

<Broad_generalisation> While pretty much everyone here complains about the weather </Broad_generalisation>, did you know that annual precipitation is higher in New York than it is in London? Ha!

09: The scenery


Absolutely nothing prepares you for the stark difference in scenery between Mumbai and London. Save for Nariman Point and a few other places, there are not too many lung spaces in Mumbai. London is a polar opposite. I’m absolutely gobsmacked by the beauty of the place. The urban-explorer monkey in my head goes *clap-clap-clap* every time I head out on one of my long walks.

While the walk on Marine Lines can be rejuvenating, it is short. In London you can walk along the Thames for miles and miles! That said, each place has its own charm.

08: The British Words & Phrases


When you move to London, something very peculiar happens. Your friends and acquaintances start using British words and phrases with you. All of a sudden, you see an increase in the usage of words/phrases such as cheers, God save the Queen, good lad, right then, I say, etc.

I understand that the British have their vernacular down pat, but when you start noticing folks you have known for years use them, it does sound a bit fishy!

07: Nothing is ‘spicy’, everything is ‘hot’


It is true. If you tell someone here that a food dish is spicy, they won’t understand. Here, ‘hot’ is interchangeably used for ‘spice’. I have no idea what will happen when I warn someone about a scalding hot plate of food. That will be fun.

06: High-fives Are Uncommon


I hate to admit it, but on more than one occasion, I’ve been left hanging. Quite a few people here just don’t get high-fives and in the end you end up with one hand awkwardly in the air for some weird reason.

I’ve stopped giving high-fives. Onto the next point then, no. five!

05: Plan Weekends 2 Weeks in Advance


In London, planning is EVERYTHING. No one will meet you spontaneously. Everything is planned weeks and weeks in advance. I actually bought Fantastical, so I can easily manage my calendar!! Nobody wants to meet for a quick, unplanned coffee or ice-cream. Your experience may vary.

04: Chopped Veggies


Let’s be honest here, while chopped veggies are available in Mumbai, most of us are not rich enough to buy them from places like Nature’s Basket! In London, the chopped veggies are actually cheaper than their organic counterparts. Every week, my dreams of cutting onions as fast as Gordon Ramsay are dying a slow painful death.

03: The Ales


Nothing, and I mean absolutely N-O-T-H-I-N-G compares to the sheer variety and quality of Ales available in London vis-a-vis Mumbai. You’ll just have to believe me on this one. I have no interest in writing a novel about it.

02: CityMapper


I’ve been an absolute Google Maps devout from the time the app was launched. My faith has been unwavering, even when it has taken me down shady alleyways, promised that I could take a car down a road that was too narrow, and in one instance asked me go down a path when no road existed! I have persevered. The experience has been great and with every incremental update, my relationship with Google Maps has become stronger.

Then, I laid my eyes on CityMapper. It was an ex-boss (my very first boss, actually) who introduced me to her. I had to admit the real-time updates on the next bus/train were pretty sweet. Add to that its ability to calculate fare costs across multiple travel routes and you have a winner.

I do go back to Google Maps from time to time, but now, I primarily use CityMapper for all my urban exploring needs! I hope they launch the app for Mumbai soon!

01: Sorry


By far, the most biggest difference I have seen between London and Mumbai is the apologetic nature of Londoners. They are incessantly apologising for everything. Sometimes, for the most banal reasons. Am sure there are different ways of being polite. Much to my chagrin, I find myself apologising needlessly too these days. Sometimes, an old dog can learn new tricks.


Too many of them! I’ll let the pictures do the talking. All from my Instagram account (I’m actually tired of typing now):









  1. Hey Asfaq,
    Nice story. Everything above makes sense …
    Also… English people are the most polite ones I have come across so far.

    Oh! How did you not write anything about postcodes 😉


  2. Wonderful. Nice observation. If you live in London for a longer period, I am sure you will come up with a novel.

  3. Right ! well i would say a fourth of the above is true . & this coming for someone who has lived in london ( southwark , bermondsey ) for over 5 years. But thats fine as the author has just been there for around 90 odd days so a lot to learn,
    If i can pick a few pointers, most of the working people of london generally catch up everyday post work for a drink ( be it ale of lager 🙂 ) specially in summer as we have light till around 10 pm. And thats when plans are made PRONTO. And even otherwise most people are a shout away ( another distinction between london & mumbai …distances are closer in london ) so the argument that you need to plan to meet weeks in advance, holds no water, even on weekends unless they have a FAMILY union. This totally reverses in winter months ( except christmas week ) as london can get really biting cold, no snow mind you but wet , windy & biting cold. Thats when londoners socialize in their homes & thats far and few. The author would experience this when winters come in.
    Another pointer – so britishers use certain words as second skin …not that they really mean it ……SORRY is one of them. By no means does it mean ” bending over apologetic “. you would see that in southeast asia , mainly singapore & Japan. But here in England SORRY is just a word ” NOT REALLLY MEANT ” so i bump someone on the bus & just blurt out a very lackadaisical sorry.
    Another one is the scenery……yes london is pretty but not the way the authore prescribes it ” its not godsmack pretty ” that would be the Alps or Prague in Europe. London is CLEAN. As far as the green lung is referred to its the 3 parks we have CENTERED in the city & Mumbai has a few of them as well BUT please understand that LONDON has far many less people per sqft as MUMBAI has. Which makes Mumbai just dirtier & more claustrophobic & not London GOBSMACKED pretty. Try the highlands in the Scots world and then Gobsmacked would be apt.
    Yes london is quirky …..move out of the square mile & the dialects would change every 10 kms. cockney would be really heard only in the main central london or the east end , the working class people …most of the others would speak standard BBC english called as ” recieved pronunciation “.
    Someone in this forum what about street food ….so patent is ” fish and chips ” thats the original street food & mind you its tasty …but now one has crepes et al and also roadside ” chicken tikka ” 🙂 u ll find this a lot in the business districts of canary wharf and roads like portobello in notting hill ( a road like chor bazar in mumbai ) again just much cleaner.
    So yes hope this gives a bit of an insight to people & i am sure the author in a years time will have a lot to write in this forum. Have a great stay here. Londoners & london is fun

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