The truth about London: I was wrong

So there's this guy, right. A travel writer. He's always full of opinions, always mouthing off about things he doesn't really understand.

You can usually ignore him, but a few weeks ago he wrote about London, about the parlous state of a riot-torn city, and he went too far. So it's about time someone dropped some knowledge on this guy, set him straight.

Because I'm in London now, and it's nothing like that travel writer was saying. There were riots here a few weeks ago, it's true, but that sense of ill will you might expect in the air, that violent undercurrent to a once-peaceful city – or any remnant at all from a week that rocked the nation – doesn't exist.

Notting Hill Carnival was held over the weekend, a massive event that had all the ingredients necessary for things to kick off again: large crowds, alcohol, a fancy part of London to tear up. It didn't happen. There were more coppers there than you'd see at 10 Downing Street, but the crowd was largely peaceful, just out to have a good time.

That's the thing about London that that travel writer forgot about a few weeks ago. It doesn't matter that there's a small group of violent youth in the city – those people are still far outnumbered by the friendly, funny, normal multi-cultural residents of one of the world's great tourist destinations.

London has character, and characters, and they're fighting back. Time Out magazine did a great list of the 10 best things Londoners have done since the riots, including the numerous Twitter-co-ordinated clean-up efforts, the lady who served cups of tea on an up-turned police shield, and the guy who set up a Tumblr page of Photoshopped looters.

I've been here a week now, and haven't seen any evidence of the riots. You wouldn't even know they'd happened, save for the boarded up shops around Notting Hill over the weekend. There are no burnt-out cars by the side of the road, no broken glass on the streets.

It's the same city it ever was, only with a new determination to start putting on a better show.

London still feels like the centre of the universe. You stroll the streets and there are Indians, Pakistanis, Turks, Iranians, Poles, Spaniards, French, Americans and, of course, Australians. It's as if the whole world has come to visit.

There are still the huge array of events that make London such a great place to be during summer. There's the carnival, there's Secret Cinema, the pop-up restaurants, free shows and exhibitions.

The city's pavements still overflow every evening with drinkers enjoying the late sunshine. There's great food to be had at the restaurants and cafes, too – try eating huevos rancheros at the Breakfast Club in Spitalfields, or bone marrow on toast at St John, and tell me you can't get a good meal in London.

The city still has its down sides, of course. The weather's crap. Well, actually, the weather's great, and then it's crap, and then it's great, and then it's crap again – and that's before you've even had lunch. People talk about the weather constantly in London, but that's probablybecause it changes so much.

Then there are the regular Tube delays, the fact everyone seems to be in such a freaken hurry most of the time, and the almost complete lack of decent coffee (Nero, Costa et al, I'm looking at you).

But none of that has been affected by the riots. Most Londoners seem to be doing their best to put that episode behind them, which is probably what tourists should do as well.

The place isn't perfect, but if the things that make London great remain – hopefully that travel writer's got that figured out now.

Have you been in London since the riots? What did you think of the city's reaction to the crisis?

Follow Ben Groundwater on Twitter, visit his website, or email