London inspires many to write compelling thoughts and anecdotes just as the grand city on the Thames inspires me to photograph her night after night. Some words are one-off’s while others are part of timeless pieces of literature. I’ve combined famous London quotes with my own night images of London for the ultimate list of London quotes. Feel free to add your suggestions in the comment section below.
When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford. -Samuel Johnson
Go where we may rest where we will, Eternal London haunts us still. – Thomas Moore, “Rhymes on the Road”, The Poetical Works of Thomas Moore
Take a perfect day, add six hours of rain and fog, and you have instant London. – Anonymous
London’s like a black-browed brute that gets an unholy influence over you. – Robert Smythe Hichens, The Woman with the Fan
London is the clearing-house of the world. – Joseph Chamberlain, speech at Guildhall, London, Jan. 19, 1904
Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner that I love London so.
There’s nowhere else like London, nothing at all. Anywhere.
I think London is sexy because it’s so full of eccentrics.
It is the folly of too many to mistake the echo of a London coffee house for the voice of a kingdom.
A broken heart is a very pleasant complaint for a man in London if he has a comfortable income.
If London is a watercolour, New York is an oil painting.
London is a splendid place to live for those who can get out of it.
Nothing is certain in London but expense.
A person who is tired of London isn’t necessarily tired of life. It might be that he just can’t find a parking place.
I’ve been walking about London for the last thirty years, and I find something fresh in it every day.
There are two places in the world where men can most effectively disappear – the City of London and the South Seas.
Oh, I love London society. It is composed now of beautiful idiots and brilliant lunatics, just what a society should be.
And there is London!–England’s heart and soul.
By the proud flowing of her famous Thames, She circulates through countless lands and isles Her greatness; gloriously she rules, At once the awe and sceptre of the world. – Robert Montgomery
I love thee, London! for thy many men, And for thy mighty deeds and scenes of glory. – Philip James Bailey
London is a city that has reinvented itself upon the remains of the past. – Leo Hollis, London Rising: The Men Who Made Modern London
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, England For Dummies
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: The Biography
London is a cluster of communities, great and small, famous and unsung; a city of contrasts, a congregation of diversity. – Roy Porter, London: A Social History
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, Cities and Sea-Coasts and Islands
London is a huge shop, with a hotel on the upper storeys. – George Gissing, New Grub Street
London is a bad habit one hates to lose. – Anonymous
Spare London, for London, is like the city that thou lovedst. – Thomas Nash, Christ’s Tears Over Jerusalem
London is a roost for every bird. – Benjamin Disraeli, Lothair
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, “Christmas”
London is like a smoky pearl set in a circle of emeralds. – William Henry Rideing, In the Land of Lorna Doone
London’s like a forest … we shall be lost in it. – Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Taken at the Flood
London is a splendid place to live in for those who can get out of it. – George John Gordon Bruce, The Observer, Oct. 1, 1944
London is like a woman with too many years to encourage confession. – Louise Closser Hale, We Discover New England
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, Jacob’s Room
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. – Arthur Conan Doyle
Paris is a woman but London is an independent man puffing his pipe in a pub. – Jack Kerouac, Lonesome Traveler
If the parks are “the lungs of London” we wonder what Greenwich Fair is — a periodical breaking out, we suppose — a sort of spring rash. – Charles Dickens, Greenwich Fair
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 Shelley, letter to Maria Gisborne, 1820
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, The Rock
London, that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained. – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet
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, Sweeney Todd
London is a city of clubs and private houses. You have to be a member. – Alec Waugh, The Sugar Islands
The truth is, that in London it is always a sickly season. Nobody is healthy in London, nobody can be. – Jane Austen, Emma
London is an endless skirmish between angles and emptiness. – China Mieville, Kraken
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, door, passage, door. Mayfair to Piccadilly to Soho to the Strand. – Anna Quindlen, Imagined London
London, thou art the flower of cities all! Gemme of all joy, Jasper of jocundity. – William Dunbar
I don’t know what London’s coming to — the higher the buildings the lower the morals. – Noël Coward
When it’s three o’clock in New York, it’s still 1938 in London. – Bette Midler, attributed, The Unofficial Guide to London
London is like a cold dark dream sometimes. – Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea
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, Moon Over Soho
One of the things she 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
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
The man who can dominate a London dinner-table can dominate the world. – Oscar Wilde
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
The truth is, that in London it is always a sickly season. Nobody is healthy in London, nobody can be. – Jane Austen
In London, love and scandal are considered the best sweeteners of tea. – John Osborne
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
The English language is like London: proudly barbaric yet deeply civilised, too, common yet royal, vulgar yet processional, sacred yet profane. – Stephen Fry
Do you realise that people die of boredom in London suburbs? It’s the second biggest cause of death amongst the English in general. Sheer boredom. – Alexander McCall Smith
If London is a watercolour, New York is an oil painting. – Peter Shaffer
Nothing is certain in London but expense. – William Shenstone
You will recognize, my boy, the first sign of old age: it is when you go out into the streets of London and realize for the first time how young the policemen look. – Sir Seymour Hicks
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 forever abandon his faculties to the eating rust of obscurity? – Charlotte Brontë
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 in Sweeney Todd
I’m leaving because the weather is too good. I hate London when it’s not raining. – Groucho Marx
London, London, London town / You can toughen up or get thrown around. – Kano
I believe we shall come to care about people less and less. The more people one knows the easier it becomes to replace them. It’s one of the curses of London. – Ambrose Bierce
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. – George VI
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, “Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner”
A broken heart is a very pleasant complaint for a man in London if he has a comfortable income. – George Bernard Shaw
In London everyone is different and that means anyone can fit in.
The English language is like London: proudly barbaric yet deeply civilised.
By seeing London, I have seen as much of life as the world can show.
I came to London. It had become the centre of my world and I was lost.
One thing about London is that when you step out into the night, it swallows you. – Sebastian Saulks, Engleby
There are two places in the world where men can most effectively disappear — the city of London and the South Seas. – Herman Melville
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
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 Shelley
London is a modern Babylon. – Benjamin Disraeli