We've spent enough time wading through the flytipped rubbish on our street or struggling to blast the grime off our bodies following a grubby commute home to realise that London's not exactly the cleanest of places. But is it really the dirtiest city in Europe? In a shameless promotion, travel experts Trip Advisor commissioned a survey asking tourists to rank their likes and dislikes across a number of continental destinations, and London cleaned up in the dirty category.
Unsurprisingly, we were also voted the continent's most expensive city. Grubby and dear, that's certainly how the Daily Mail reported it in typically cheerful terms. However, beyond the dreary headline, our less than salubrious, wallet-troubling metropolis also ranked highly in a few other categories. Londoners were voted the third most friendly locals; unfortunately, we also ranked second in the "most unfriendly locals" stakes, proving perhaps that folk who dwell here are either gregarious optimists or miserly bastards, and nothing inbetween. Or, indeed, that surveys of this kind are quite useless.
In other areas we drubbed the competition squarely. London's many parks and green spaces were voted the continent's best, and our nightlife was similarly praised, while for shopping only Paris offers a grander selection of garms and fineries.
Now, about that grit and grime: things are getting better. Earlier this week a yearly spring clean was announced to buff the city up before the 2012 Olympics. The avowed goal is to make London the "cleanest city on Earth": a wildly optimistic goal, but really, we'll settle for being the best in Europe four years from now.
Dirty Southwark shutters from mondoagogo's Flickrstream