Our time in London thus far has been one of exploration, finding the little parts of the city that speak to us and being catered to by vendors and businesses who thrive off the presence of tourists and visitors to the country. With that being said, it was important for us to step off the beaten path and into the neighborhood inhabited by the people living here, in order to assess what London lives, breathes, and feels like.
Finding our way to Vauxhall went off without too much difficulty, although it was further from King’s Cross than many of our group had dared to venture before. A few minutes of planning and reading the underground map saw us on our way, on a tube bound for Vauxhall. A handful of minutes later, we stepped off the tube into the constant rushing air that flows from the surface of London into the expansive underground system, and we made our ascent up the steps into our new environment.
The skies looked the same as we ventured into Vauxhall from the crowded city center of London. The difference was immediately noticeable. We bottle necked from compact city streets next to rushing water to this open space with fresh air next to a slow flowing river.
It has a different vibe than the rest of London. It is less about the fast paced uptown but more casual and laid-back simple lifestyle. Vauxhall is definitely a neighborhood on its way up. Every corner we turned, we saw construction work. So much so that is almost felt as if every thing that was not already a site was being turned into one. I think this is just creating more room for people in Vauxhall and more opportunities for people already living there. There is certainly a simple but happening nightlife in the area, especially given the number of gay bar, pubs and restaurants. This is not what you see typically more of around mainstream streets of London. It had a small-town residential vibe with a welcoming, encouraging and growing space for people from all walks of life. It was interesting to see a side of London most visitors probably don’t get to see being surrounded about the luscious London lifestyle.
Vauxhall is a place of gentrification. Every street corner has a different environment. It is a community, an office, and a riverside flat combined into one neighborhood. One cannot say that Vauxhall has one common theme. There is a little something for everyone here. A place where things are constantly growing and changing. A place to get away from the hustle of central London. A place where one can call home and another can call work. It is a unique place that can remind one of us of home in Hong Kong and another of home in Chicago. Vauxhall has something for everyone.
Written by Andrew Moody, Christie Fordon and Unnati Upadhyay