Photo Essay: Colorful London

colorful London building facades in Notting Hill, Londong

Last Updated on 01/08/21 by Rose Palmer

If you were to ask me to pick a color that describes London, my instinctive response would have been grey –  grey skies, grey streets, grey buildings. But after a recent trip, I learned that London is anything but grey. I am sharing some of my favorite colorful London photos to inspire your next visit.


Red buses, red phone booths, red post office boxes, red underground station signs, red coats – it seems that the color red is everywhere in London.

The red bus is not just any shade of red -it is specifically Pantone 485-C. The iconic red bus came into being in 1907 when the General Omnibus Company wanted to make its buses stand out from the competition. Then in 1933, the color was expanded to include the rest of the buses in London. The British red telephone boxes  and postal boxes use a different shade of red, but were painted that color for the same reason-to stand out. The red coat came about during the English Civil War when Parliament decided to set up a national army which included standard uniforms for all. The color red was chosen because it was the cheapest (what else).

Red has been the color of the British military since 1645
Red double decker buses and red phone booths-two of London’s icons.
Old and new postal boxes in London
The red Underground station signs can be seen from long distances

In spring, one of the hallmark English plants comes into bloom and decorates the facades of English houses – wisteria. Walk around London neighborhoods in April and May and you’ll see lots of purple clinging to balconies, climbing up gutters and framing doorways.

 …….and every color in between………..

Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue Indigo, Violet – the colors of the rainbow. The streets of Notting Hill are very colorful (even without Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant). Walk up and down the hill, especially around Portobello Road, and you’ll see houses and doorways painted in every color under the rainbow (and even an occasional grey).

Next time I visit London, I hope to explore more of its colorful streets.

Thanks for visiting.



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