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As a massive international city, London has absolutely anything that a visitor could dream of. It’s actually difficult for me to summarize London’s atmosphere. So, shocker, London is also a very, very popular destination for solo travelers. As an avid solo traveler myself, London is perfect in many ways ranging from cool neighborhoods to world-class museums to cozy local pubs that welcome you with open arms.
To tell you the truth, I could gush about London for hours. This city is a literature lover’s dream, a history buff’s fantasy, and a museum lover’s ideal vacation (sooo many museums are free). I’ll have a soft spot for London forever.
So, obviously solo travelers love London. I mean, who doesn’t love London, with the maybe exception of my credit card, haha.
London isn’t a “one and done” destination either. Far from it.
Instead London is also a city that you can visit multiple times and experience a different trip each time, especially if you plan on immersing yourself in a few neighborhoods rather than traversing all over the city.
In summary, I’m not exaggerating when I say that London is somewhere I could live, and still not see and do everything.
London’s rich history goes back centuries, so its attractions are also limitless (or at least feel that way).
Let’s pause on the gushing for a second, though.
You searched this post to learn about London and safety, which is understandable.
After all, for solo female travelers, one of the biggest concerns is safety. And, despite being an incredible place, London is still a gigantic city. The metro area consists of over 14 million people, with the city’s population hovering around 9 million people.
That’s, uh, big.
So is London safe for solo female travellers? Is it even easy to make new travel buddies in a big city like London? Is it better to go with friends and family instead of alone?
If you have a lot of questions, then you’ve arrived at the right post. Hopefully I’ll be able to reassure you about safety in London and encourage you to visit on your own in the near future.
Is London Safe for Solo Female Travellers?
Yes, in general, London is very safe even for a huge international city.
Let me talk about my experience first. Just keep in mind that I’m speaking from the perspective of a white, able-bodied woman, and as a result, do have some privilege as a solo traveler.
Ultimately, though, I had zero safety issues in London. For example, I walked around plenty of neighborhoods, Tube stations, and parks alone, including early in the morning and later at night. I don’t think a single person bothered me the entire five days that I stayed in London.
I wasn’t even asked for money, which, in comparison to cities like New York and San Francisco, felt like a dream come true.
However, I don’t want to just say “oh yeah, London is safe, it’s fine,” and end the post there. Sure, I love London and felt very safe there, but at the same time, as solo female travelers, we still need to exercise appropriate precautions.
I will say, though, that if you’re planning a solo trip to Europe, London is a great option, especially if it’s your first time traveling alone abroad.
Reasons to Love London as a Solo Traveler
Where to give begin. Obviously, as English speakers, we don’t need to worry about the language barrier. Of course, it might be helpful to learn some local slang, but as a solo traveler who also understands English, London is perfect, because the additional stress of knowing another language is diminished.
Furthermore, London sees so many tourists that no one bats an eye about someone dining alone or going to a show alone. I went to afternoon tea alone. A jazz show alone. A Shakespeare performance alone.
NO ONE CARED.
It was amazing. I loved not having to explain my solo status and could just enjoy myself instead.
Londoners are similar to New Yorkers in the sense that they mind their own business, which I personally love as a solo traveler. You can do and see what you want, and no one asks intrusive questions or judges you for it.
Of course, if you’re hoping to make friends in London, the hustle and bustle of the city might feel isolating. Like I said, I don’t mind keeping to myself, especially in a place like London with a ton of attractions.
My suggestion is to go on group walks, stay in a hostel, or even read about local meet-ups to forge connections with locals and Londoners alike.
In short, London is safe for solo travelers both from a physical safety perspective as well as a comfort perspective.
London Travel and Safety Tips
With all that said and done, I’ve compiled some travel and safety tips for London that I hope will reassure you!
To reiterate, London is pretty safe for a city of its size, and more likely than not, you won’t stand out as a solo traveler. Melting in the crowd could feel isolating, but at the same time, be beneficial as far as safety goes.
Now for specific tips. Let’s do it!
Caution Late at Night
London has a lot of great things to do alone at night. I don’t want you to write off nights entirely.
Regardless, you’ll still want to stay more aware of your surroundings at night. London is a big city, so lots of people are out and about most hours, but at night, you’ll still want to avoid quiet alleys and back lanes.
My rule of thumb is that if other people aren’t around, then I shouldn’t be around either and should head for a busier street. This tip has never served me wrong in all my years of solo travel.
Regarding hotels, I’d personally rather stay on a busy and bustling road, especially if I have a few shows booked at night. I don’t like returning to silence.
As for public transportation, I personally found the Tube safe on a Saturday night. Plenty of people were enjoying the summer weather, especially near Covent Garden and other Central London neighborhoods.
However, at the same time, don’t skimp on paying for a cab or rideshare in London if it’s very late and you don’t know where you’re going. Using cabs or rideshares is even more important if you’ve been drinking. Paying extra money is worth the trouble.
Careful Crossing the Streets
Crossing the street is a matter of physical safety that shouldn’t be ignored. Especially not in London.
Why? Remember: cars drive on the left in England. So, North American and other European travelers need to be careful crossing the street. Because if you look the wrong way, one of those bright red double decker buses might mow you down.
In all seriousness, though, check both ways (multiple times if you have to) before you cross the street, and look in the appropriate direction. I saw a couple of “close calls” on my recent trip here!
Luckily, a lot of major streets are labeled to remind tourists the proper way to look before crossing.
Ugh, I’d feel disingenuous if I didn’t mention alcohol in this post.
Now I don’t judge at all. Travel is fun. Drinking (can be) fun too. Part of the experience is trying to local beer in London.
So I don’t expect you to be completely sober as a solo traveler in London. Nor do I believe that any level of intoxication is an invitation for harm. No one “deserves” to fall victim to a crime. Ever.
Still, you will want to pace yourself when it comes to alcohol in London. To tell you the truth, London (and England) has a rather big drinking culture. It’s normal to hang out with a pint at the pub and chat with friends. However, solo travelers need to watch their alcohol intake for safety reasons, just like anywhere else.
Furthermore, in England, it’s customary to “buy a round” for the entire group until everyone has bought drinks for everyone else. Buying a round saves time waiting at the bar. However, you’ll end up drinking way, way, way more if you’re not careful.
If you don’t want to drink much, gently insist on buying your own drinks.
Plan in Advance
London is massive. You could ride the tube for forty minutes or more in between neighborhoods. Therefore, it’s important to plan your sightseeing activities in advance.
Don’t try to see several sites spread across different areas in one day. Instead try to “lump” your attractions together in manageable bits.
True story: I got quite ill on my flight home to Newark, and I honestly think part of the reason was because I pushed myself way too hard.
Assume that you will return to London and pace yourself. Remember to hydrate too. London’s weather may be mild, but you’ll still exert your body and will want to take care of yourself, especially as a solo traveler.
Don’t shy away from public transportation in London.
After all, London is massive, so (at the very least), you want to feel comfortable and confident taking the Tube system all over the city. Using cabs all the time would be prohibitively expensive unless you’re Shiv Roy.
As a solo woman, I felt very comfortable on the Tube. I even rode the Piccadilly Line to my hotel in West London from Heathrow on a Thursday night and experienced zero issues, despite being bogged down with luggage.
Furthermore, I’m happy to say that I didn’t feel the need to constantly check my valuables on the Tube either. Of course, you don’t want to wave around hundreds of pound notes in your hand either. Nervous solo travelers might want wear a Pacsafe crossbody bag with anti-theft protection, which will ward off pickpockets.
Last but not least, I didn’t have problems with anyone asking me for money on public transportation. Of course, like any big city, you will see a few homeless people, but they weren’t aggressive toward tourists. It’s your personal decision whether to give or not.
All in all, use public transportation in London. It will make your life easier.
Read Hotel Reviews
Take reviews seriously. Read a lot of them before settling on a place to stay. Don’t just brush off negative reviews as Karens who have no tolerance for adventure either.
I had to change hotel reservations a couple times before I settled on a place to stay in London.
For example, I briefly debated staying in another hotel in a more affordable location and would have saved nearly $400, but multiple reviews mentioned not feeling safe at night or on the tube station. Needless to say, I didn’t book with that hotel.
This isn’t about you being a snob or close-minded. Your comfort has to take priority here. Don’t stay in an “up and coming” neighborhood if multiple reviews mention safety issues. And don’t feel guilty about it either.
I also completely understand that London is expensive. However, you’re much better off budgeting money for a nicer hotel than staying in an area where you don’t feel comfortable.
As always, check reviews for cleanliness, too! I’ve stayed in a wide variety of accommodation, including shared rooms in hostels, but I have no tolerance for messy or dirty rooms. You shouldn’t either. Your time and money are important.
Sneakers, Sneakers, Sneakers
Confession: I brought adorable open-toed shoes to London and only wore them once. Just once.
No one wears fancy heels or sandals in London. While people dress up, they all invest in high quality sneakers, because walking 20,000 steps or more in London is the norm. Seeing women in designer dresses and rocking a pair of sneakers is super common, so don’t worry about “standing out” with comfortable footwear.
You can wear dressier sneakers, like this highly rated pair of Clarks sneakers, but ultimately, you ought to aim for comfort. It’s not practical to wear strappy and “cute” footwear in London.
Finally, don’t skimp on purchasing travel insurance on a solo trip to London. Sure, the United Kingdom has universal healthcare (aka the NHS), but these services are only for residents. You will have to pay for medical care as a visitor, which will be quite expensive, with payment upfront.
I personally suggest using World Nomads for your travels to London. I’ve used World Nomads several times in the past, and think that their policies are both affordable and comprehensive. Plus, if you’re planning on exploring the countryside beyond London, you can upgrade to adventure insurance to cover outdoor sports.
Just don’t leave home without protecting yourself.
I hope this guide fully answered your question “is London safe for solo female travellers?”
As always, you know yourself best. If you prefer to go on guided tours around London, go for it, but at the end of the day, London is pretty safe for a large city, and you’re bound to have fun with an open mind.