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The Destination FaceOff: Dubai vs London

Dubai versus London

Here at whistle.stops we’ve decided it’s time for a bit of a showdown. We’re throwing two of our favourite cities into the ring for a head-to-head battle to see who comes out on top, and you can be the judge (or referee, as the case my be!) Team Ross represents London, while Dubai is represented by Team Leandi. Let the games begin!


Leandi: With an average of 350 days of sunshine a year, the desert city of Dubai virtually guarantees good weather, beach days and tan-time. Nothing beats being able to plan a BBQ three weeks in advance, knowing that the weather won’t dampen the occasion. Even winter is perfect for picnics on the beach and lazy days in the local parks.

Ross: Okay, okay, I guess I’m not going to win this one but I’m not going down without a fight. What would London be without a spot (or heavy downpour) of rain? Rain that gives you the excuse to visit some of the over 200 museums the city has to offer, like the world-famous British Museum or the quirky V&A Museum of Childhood.

Just think too, this is the city where a change in the wind brings the arrival of magical nannies and has the rain and snow that set the scene for the works of Charles Dickens. Plus, I promise, the sun does make an appearance some times and it’s not too hot that you don’t feel like doing anything.


Ross: When it comes to iconic sights, surely nowhere can compare with London. Big Ben, the London Eye, St, Paul’s Cathedral, Nelson’s Column, Oxford Street, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, shall I continue?

Leandi: That’s all very well and good but let me ask you this: how many world records were broken and beaten in Dubai? For starters, there is the Burj Khalifa; the world’s tallest building, reaching almost 1km into the sky. The observation deck on the 123rd floor, or the bar and restaurant At.Mosphere on the 122nd floor are on my must-see list.

How about a shopping spree in the world’s biggest mall? Dubai Mall has high street fashion, cool cafes, designer boutiques and more. And by more, we’re talking about (another) record-breaker: the indoor aquarium where you can dive with sharks.

If that’s not your thing, how about feeding the penguins at the base of the indoor ski slope. Yes, really. You can ski on snow in -4 degree temperatures while the heatwave rages outside, just pop into Mall of the Emirates.

Still not impressed? The manmade island of Palm Jumeirah is home to Atlantis for a fun day out swimming with dolphins, or for a more peaceful interaction with nature, head out to dive The World islands.


Leandi: Dubai is one of my favourite Foodie capitals, and you can trust me on that because I’ve been just about everywhere. The cultural mix of the city has led to a food scene which is second to none, regardless of your tastes and preferences. Traditional cuisine is firmly routed throughout the city, while the new international foodie trends have also very much become front and centre.

Today I might indulge in a steaming Indian curry, bursting with authentic flavours, which come from the delicate mix of spices they sources from the souk like in days of old. Tomorrow I might devour a grass-fed, perfectly aged Wagyu steak, paired with a brilliantly balanced glass of Malbec. My friends and I might head to a café for an organic, homemade almond milk cappuccino, where salads are served green and fresh and delicious. Not to mention that all our favourite fast-food chains are also on our doorstep. Cheesecake Factory, PF Changs, Pizza Hut, IHOP, Tim Hortons, it’s all here. And many are open 24 hours a day. Beat that!

Ross: While British cuisine might not have the best reputation, the capital city is up there with the best for its gastronomic offerings. It’s got everything from Michelin-starred restaurants (64 and counting) to some of the best street food in the world. On top of this, how can I not talk about Borough Market, a foodie’s dream destination, filled with artisan food and drink of all kinds, housed in the beautiful old market at London Bridge. Plus, London has been a melting pot of cultures for hundreds of years, which means you can get pretty much any kind of cuisine you like.

Ross and Leandi LondonHistory

Ross: If you want history, London is the place to come. Every street and alleyway in the city has a story to tell. Add to this, arguably the best museums in the world such as the British Museum, V&A and the Natural History museum, and London is the place for history buffs or interested amateurs. My top tip… look up! Wander around the streets of the city and look up at the buildings, bridges, towers, houses and monuments to see the whole story of a civilisation in architecture. What about Dubai…?

Leandi: Anyone looking at the shiny skyscrapers might only see the future of the city, but don’t be fooled. Although the UAE as a country goes back less than 50 years, Dubai has a history dating back thousands of years, when it was a small fishing village with a thriving pearl-diving trade. It grew in popularity as it became a stop on the trade route from India to Europe and Africa. You can find out more about the development of the separate Emirates, as well as the UAE as a unified nation at the small museum in old-town Deira. Entrance is only 2dhs per person so it’s well worth popping in.


Ross: Well, I think it’s obvious that I’m the winner on this one Leandi, London rules!

Leandi: Not so fast, I think Dubai still holds its own and it is developing at an extraordinary rate so is packed with potential. However, while I won’t concede the fight (as you well know), I will let you extoll the virtues of the British capital in a few other posts. After all, I do love London!

Ross: Deal. (Oh and I kind of fancy a trip to Dubai soon.)


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