10 Things I Miss About Living in Central London (West End)

One year ago today, J and I decided to take adulting more seriously and decided to buy a property in South London. That meant giving up our rented flat in the West End and our life in Central London. It was not an easy decision as we loved living in the Heart of London- and when I say Heart of London, between the buzzing areas of Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square. It was indeed a privilege for me to have experienced living in this part of London where most people can only dream of residing. In fact, a lot of people we know didn't even realise that people could actually live in those buildings. Essentially, our flat was in the quieter part of Rupert Street, squeezed between the bustling Shaftesbury Avenue and Coventry Street. However, as our flat was on the top floor, we hardly heard any noise, unless someone was screaming loudly in the wee hours of the morning, perhaps coming from a really good night out.

Although I love our new home and our new neighbourhood, I must admit that I still miss our old flat so much that I actually go back in the area quite often. Let me tell you why.

1. The Flat in Rupert St
- The flat is located on the fifth floor. Referred to by the building management as semi-penthouse as it has its own lift that goes directly to the flat. It was a convenience that I could have only dreamed of. It is a two bedroom flat, has a pantry and is split into two-levels. There is a small room downstairs which we used for storage. The spare room was J's office. The flat unfortunately doesn't have a balcony (hence perhaps semi-penthouse), however it has big windows. During lockdown, I would look out through the kitchen window to watch the empty streets. If you ask some of my friends, they would tell you that this flat is also their favourite. J and I had so many good memories in that flat, thus it will always have a special place in my heart.

2. My morning run route
- Where we live now, there is a massive common a few blocks away, however, I still have not gotten my head around to it. I mean, it is a big and beautiful common and a lot of people run there too, but I feel bored running around there. This is the reason why I still often go to Central London and run my old route. And who can really blame me for this? The Green Park, St James's Park and Hyde Park used to be my playground. If I ran a few kilometers farther South, the Southbank is there. I ran past historical landmarks like Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square and Piccadily Circus. This is the reason why I keep going back.

3. Chinatown
- We lived on the street next to Chinatown, and most mornings especially during the weekends, I was awakened by the delicious smell of freshly baked pastries and bread from the bakeries. Living next door to Chinatown also meant that I could conveniently buy my favourite Asian treats, and go to our favourite local Chinese restaurant called Orient anytime I crave for my favourite roast duck. 

4.Caffe Concerto in Shaftesbury Avenue
- To be honest, I miss Caffe Concerto because it was a big part of my whole experience living in the area. I used to buy coffee there every weekend. I became good friends with some of the baristas, and being a loyal neighbour, I used to get free coffee often, if not always. Haha. I really miss chatting with the baristas and laughing with them, but I am glad that I remained friends with some of them. In fact, I still meet up with one of them every now and again.

5. New Year's Eve
- Since I moved to the UK, I have only watched the New Year's Eve fireworks twice. It was by choice because I was put off by the inconvenience of it- cold, crowded and loud. This is why when we lived in the West End, I was very delighted to find out that we could watch the fireworks from our firescape. And we did exactly that every New Year's Eve until the pandemic came. Of course, we didn't see as much as when you are physically in the Southbank, but it was good enough to enjoy the fireworks display.

6.  Christmas
- I know it's not a big deal because I can always go back easily to Central London to see the Christmas lights, but it is different when they are almost at your doorstep. The most famous Christmas Lights of Regent Street, my favourite Advent Calendar in Fortnum and Mason and my favourite Christmas tree in St James's park are all stone's throw away from that flat. I used to just go out on a random evening and walk around with pride, telling myself how lucky I was to live in that area. If you ever come to London at Chirstmas, you will understand why.

7.  Spring
- St James's Park is one of the most beautiful places in London to watch spring blossoms. During my morning runs, I used to take numerous photos and videos of the Cherry Blossoms in the park. 

8. The Restaurants and Cafes
- Living in Central London made me a better foodie. With the endless choices of amazing restaurants and cafes in the area, I never ran out of places to try. Of course, I have my favourites that I still go back to. But, I also loved (and still do) trying new ones. I really had a lot of very good food experiences whilst we lived there.

9. The Theatres
- Unfortunately, although we lived in the West End for 6 years, I still was unable to watch all the plays that were shown there. But the good thing is, I watched all the shows that I wanted to watch. I also enjoyed randomly meeting theatre actors outside the theatres. 

10. The Buskers
- One of the things that I really enjoyed was watching the buskers in Piccadilly Circus, Chinatown and Leicester Sqaure. The buskers really lit up (and they still very much do) these already buzzing areas even more. Some of the buskers I came across with were really, really good. Listening to them was like listening to a real recording artist. Most of them really deserve a record deal.

Ah, I remember how sad I was when we left our flat. I knew that perhaps it will not be easy for us to move back to Central London again. BUT, I still can see us living there in the future. One day, I would like to come back to this blog and say that I have manifested this. :)

The opportunity of living in one of the best locations in Central London is one of the biggest blessings in my life, and thanks to J, because if it were not for him, I would not been able to have this once in a lifetime experience. 

I am very grateful for every experience I had and all the lessons I learned living in that area.

Tin x

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