Five expressions to become a London pro

November 10, 2023

Do you like London as much as we do?

If so, check out these unique London expressions and brush up on your Cockney rhyming slang. You’ll be ready to ride a Boris bike, cycle to the Palace and spend a few quid in no time. Yay!

“Let’s jump on a Boris Bike”

Boris bikes are red hire bicycles that you can find all over London. Just look around and you’ll definitely see someone riding one… hopefully with a helmet on! The old Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, introduced the bikes to the city and they’re still colloquially named after him. It will cost you £2 to explore London and all its wonders. So why not jump on a bike and explore Hyde Park, Big Ben and St Paul’s?

“Where is the tube?”

London is famous for its underground railway system called “the tube”. It’s safe and convenient but can be quite expensive. Pro tip: use a contactless payment card or grab an Oyster Card (a reusable ticket) from any station to get cheaper rides. Mind the gap and be prepared: Londoners are always in a rush.


“A quid” is a colloquial way of saying “a pound”. You will often hear people using “quid” instead of “pounds”. It’s never in the plural form. Instead, we’d always say “5 quid”, “10 quid”, etc. Listen out for that classic phrase: “Can you lend us a quid?”

“Get up the apples and pears”

If you hear any rhyming phrases in London, they most likely come from old Cockney-rhyming slang. Coming from East London, this working-class dialect is typical of actors like Michael Caine and Danny Dyer.

The logic behind the slang sometimes makes sense. More often than not, it doesn’t. Here are a few phrases to get you started: “Crowded space” (suitcase), “Day’s a-dawning” (morning), “Give and take” (cake), and “Apples and Pears” (stairs).

“Let’s visit the Palace”

The Palace is the most popular tourist spot in London. When someone says “the Palace”, they’re almost always referring to Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s official residence in London. If the flag’s up – it means she’s home.

Here are a few more expressions that you might hear on the street:

  • See ya! (See you later!)
  • Take care. (Look after yourself.)
  • Catch ya later! (See you later!)
  • Have a good one! (Have a good time! / Enjoy yourself!)

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