Finding Peace in a Busy City

15 Mar 2020

Covent Garden streets, soho area pink and blue bright buildings in London

Since living in London, I've spoken about my struggles with adapting to a new life in a new, much busier city than I've ever been used to. I've never been a big fan of crowds, or noise or general busy-ness. Since I moved here 7 months ago, I've definitely begun to adapt to the chaotic life of London weaving in and out of people, bunching up on the tube. But, I've also managed to find some peace in the hidden gems of the big city - the side streets, the quiet hours to escape the hustle and bustle of a busy city, but also still enjoying everything that London has to offer. 

Avoiding rush hour

I have really become a morning person (something I never thought I'd say) but getting out the house that little bit earlier for work puts my mind at ease that the commute will be a lot less hectic. Even on weekends, I'm so used to waking up early that if I have plans with myself or friends, I leave earlier than the usual weekend goer. It gives me a few hours in the morning where London is waking up that I can enjoy the quieter streets. 

Mid-week breaks

Some of the best days I've had have been when I've taken a random morning or day in the middle of the week. I have a lie-in (missing those morning rush hours) and head out to somewhere that usually might be full of families or tourists on the weekend. This is my favourite time to go to the busier galleries and exhibitions - I really feel like I can take my time, be independent and not feel panicked by having so many people surrounding me. 

Find 'your spot'

When I lived at home as well as uni, I always had those cafés I'd got to when I wanted some time to myself - that I know won't be too busy and I won't be worried about the usual unnecessary worries I have in busy places. It's harder in London but there are definitely a few places I know to go when I want a bit more familiarity. They may get busy but once I'm there and settled, I feel so much better for being out of the house and surrounding by people but in a place, I feel I know. 

Spend time with a friend

Even on the weekends, the louder London days, I've had some of the best days with my friends because I have someone with me to navigate through the crowds and instead of focussing on the people, I'm having such a great time, I don't even note the busy-ness. It's always great to explore with a friend - it's taken me to new places that I wouldn't have gone to otherwise and it's really helped me to even start going to these places on my own (but one step at a time).  

Explore the 'hidden city'

When I say hidden, nothing really is in London but the places that are at least that little bit quieter or feel at least a little more peaceful especially not in hours. Instead of going to the places everyone goes to go shopping, I head to somewhere a little different and quieter; it's one of the joys of there being 3 of the shame shop within a mile radius in London. 


There are so many parks in London! Even around my office in central London, there are so many parks to explore and take a seat for just a bit of space. Even Hyde Park, one of the busiest places in London at the weekend especially in summer. But, early on a Sunday morning, it feels so peaceful and open and so lovely to walk around and enjoy. 


Like I say, there can be so much better on weekdays but, still, for ticketed exhibitions, I know I'm going to be able to enjoy my time in the gallery, not feel rushed and feel content. I've always found the Tate Britain to be a great quieter option even with it being one of the most well-known in London. 

Coffee Shops

If I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed at the weekend but still want to get out, I head to a café - either a fail-safe old favourite or even a quiet, new one (if I'm feeling confident enough). I take my laptop and sit, enjoy the coffee and type away - exactly what I'm doing right now! And, sometimes I even forget I'm sta in the middle of such a busy, fast-paced city! 

Are you like me? Do you enjoy the quieter times or are you someone who revels in the busy atmosphere? 

Hope you're doing great, 
Sarah x

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