Bringing Spain to London

London is a cultural hub and, over the course of hundreds of years, it has brought in people from all over the world which, in turn, has made it the wonderfully diverse city we know and love today. One of the more notable groups in the city is the Spaniards; with over 50,000 declared to be living in London in the census, they have made themselves at home and have brought aspects of their Spanish culture to Britain.

Spaniards have been coming to live in Britain since the Middle Ages and they have also had an influential role in Britain’s royal lineage. King Edward I married Eleanor of Castile who gave birth to King Edward II while Catherine of Aragon, who was the daughter of Isabella I of Castile, came to England from Spain in 1501 to marry Prince Arthur, the eldest son of Henry VII. Due to his early death from illness in 1502, Catherine married his younger brother, Henry VIII and became famous for being one of his six wives and for being the mother of Mary I. Mary I went on to become Queen after her father and brother died and created a reputation for herself as ‘Bloody Mary’ for burning protestants and making Britain Catholic again. She tried to strengthen her Catholic foundation by marrying Philip II of Spain and created a link between Britain and Spain for the remainder of her life.

Even though the history between Spain and Britain has been turbulent, today the city welcomes Spaniards with open arms and an open heart. If you’re a Spaniard looking to travel to London, either to live or to stay at one of the Piccadilly London West End hotels, here is a guide of things to do to make your visit a lot more comfortable.

 

Throw Yourself into the English Language

It is understandable if you feel daunted about coming to London and speaking English to native speakers, however, it is incredibly important that you do just that. It is natural to feel nervous and think that they may laugh at you, you may get words wrong or that they won’t understand you but these things won’t happen. It is much more likely that those that you will be conversing with will help you with your learning of the English language rather than laugh. It is essential that you throw yourself into the language because this is the best way to learn and the fastest way to pick it up

Learn How to Get from A to B

London’s transport system is quite technical, simply because there are so many different ways to get around. You can, of course, travel by black hackney cab, by the iconic double decker bus or you can travel by the London Underground, or the Tube as it is more affectionately known as. The tube comprises of 11 lines and stretch across central and the outskirts of the city, allowing you to get from one end of the city to the other in under an hour. it is by far the most popular form of transport, however, this does mean that is get incredibly busy in the early mornings and in the evening during rush hour. There are other ways to travel which are a bit more unique, for example, you can travel by a rickshaw through the London traffic, you can catch the River Bus or you can take a Santander bike across the city; this mode of transport is favoured on a summer’s day because you’re able to ride through the London parks.

If you are going to use London’s transport, it is advisable to purchase an Oyster Card. This is a pre-payment card that allows you to travel on many different forms of transport in London without having to buy individual tickets for each journey. It is an easy and cheap way of getting around the city, for example, if you’re staying in the hotels near Piccadilly Circus and you need to get to Wembley Stadium, an Oyster Card can track your journey and charge you the cheapest price.

Find a Taste of Home

Sometimes being away from home can make you feel a little lonely and some home comforts are needed. In London, there are an array of Spanish restaurants scattered over the city and all of them cook delicious, quintessential Spanish food. You have Barrafina which is based in Covent Garden and whose menu offers a wide range of tapas or you have El Pirata of Mayfair that is proud to serve authentic Spanish food. Wherever you are in the city, you will be able to find a restaurant that makes you feel like you are home once again.

Use Social Media

Social media is one of the best things about this day and age because it allows you to connect with people anywhere in the world. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are extremely useful for keeping in contact with loved ones back home and to meet new people. Most people in today’s society are on social media and so finding other Spaniards in the city will be incredibly easy; groups such as Espanoles en Londres and Espanoles en Londres-El Original are solely created for the purpose of Spanish expats meeting in London. It is a great way to make new friends and it will also make you feel very comfortable in the new city.

Just Enjoy the Experience!

Life is too short to worry about the small things so just remember that this entire trip is an experience. Whether you’re moving to London or whether you’re there for a trip, it is an exciting, buzzing city that offers a lot to those who visit such as a chance to learn the language or an opportunity to immerse yourself in different cultures. It is important to go at London’s speed; city life can be fast flowing and it is essential that you match its speed otherwise you can get swept away by the tide of people. London ignites all of your senses so relax, let yourself go and enjoy every second of London life.

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