This is an unplanned post but one that would perfectly explain why I like the United Kingdom and London so much. There are many reasons why but this is one very specific experience that I’d like to share.
Yesterday, I went to Hampstead Heath, which is one of my favourite places in London. It’s a huge wildlife park north of the centre and once you’re there, you feel miles away from the city. I usually just walk around but this time I wandered further north than ever before and found the beautiful mansion of Kenwood House. Imagine Downton Abbey or anything from Jane Austen, this kind of house, only in London (double envy, I know).
How come I didn’t know about this place before is a mystery, but I was very excited about my discovery and decided to look around. Usually the gardens are open to the public for free in these places (I thought expertly) but as it turned out, so was the house. And this is very important part of the story to realise – it was all for free.
Which you would never guess by the behaviour of the staff. I was treated so nicely that for a moment I wondered if I’m not a long-lost heiress of the manor or at least the favourite visiting cousin or something. The main door was opened for me by the nicest smiling lady who welcomed me to the house. Behind her, a gentleman welcomed me again, thanked me for my visit and explained all about the house and how to enjoy the tour the best.
By this point, I was already enchanted. I was walking through the rooms (imagining I’m a young lady from Jane Austen novels of course) and in all rooms, there were several chairs and couches you could rest on and little books explaining all about the specific room and its gorgeous paintings. And in every single room, there was a lady or gentleman encouraging you to do so. They would tell you to take a seat, relax, spend as much time in the room as you wish and ask them if you wanted to know anything. And they would remind you that it is like this in the whole house and to enjoy your stay.
When I was leaving, I was thanked again for my visit by another lady and when I turned around to take one last look, I saw the gentleman welcoming me to the house earlier nodding goodbye as well.
And all this happened in a house with free entry to every single person that visited the place (judging at least by all the people I saw coming/going during the time I spent there).
So, unless I’m a sister of William and Harry in some sort of Princess Protection Programme, the only explanation for this wonderful behaviour is that British people took niceness several steps further once again.
It’s maybe a small silly thing and maybe you’re from a country where this is common, but I’m not and I was truly charmed and it made my visit and the day so much better. Now I’m even more convinced I should live in Britain and that I belong here and damn you Brexit, you dream ruiner, couldn’t you wait for few decades longer or so? Can’t you see we’re meant for each other?
(Also, if my future British husband is reading this, I love you, honey, and I didn’t marry you for your UK passport only!)
So please, if you have a spare day in London, go to Hampstead Heath (they have killer pancakes as well, just look for La Creperie de Hampstead), spend some time in Kenwood House and let the Britishness charm you as well. There’s never enough of niceness in the world if you ask me.