relaxing along the thames river in london

Solo Female Travel in London: Everything You Need to Know

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Undoubtedly, London is one of the greatest international cities in the world. Which, also means that London is the perfect option for your next solo trip.

On a personal note, I’m smitten with London, especially since I have a Master’s degree in Literature. I mean, the British Library? The Globe? What’s not to love?

Solo female travel in London might’ve been an expensive treat, but for me, this adventure was well worth the cost. Wandering this city on my own terms, with very few obligations to other people, was divine. Divine.

solo travel in london has a lot of flowers

You don’t need to be a literature lover to enjoy London either. As a destination, London has something for everyone. Truly.

Furthermore, London is a very accessible destination for solo travelers, especially North American travelers, who want to travel internationally for the first time. Despite its size, London thrives on tourism and knows how to accommodate everyone, even in the peak summer season. It’s the perfect place for planning a solo trip to Europe.

Since London has a special place in my heart, I wanted to share all the tips that I learned on my own solo adventures here. For many independent travelers, London is a major bucket list destination that deserves a lot of time and attention, as well as planning. I want to help you. 

solo female travel london: go book shopping all over for fun

Should You Travel Alone to London?

Argh, as much as I want to say “yes, absolutely, book your airline ticket as soon as you close this post,” I need reel myself in and be realistic. Instead my answer about whether you should travel alone in London is a polite yes, but with caveats. Every solo traveler is different. 

Obviously, if you prefer nature vacations rather than large cities, you might be better off planning a different trip to the United Kingdom.

For example, solo travel in Scotland would absolutely fulfill your needs. England’s northern regions, such as The Lake District, are also delightful. You may even want to spend more time in Liverpool, if you want a mixture of city and nature, due to Liverpool’s easy accessibility to North Wales. 

the perfect place to eat alone in london is Mercato Mayfair
Mercato Mayfair is a Food Market inside a Church.

Furthermore, solo travelers on a budget will want to carefully crunch the numbers for a London vacation. I’m not kidding. As a US citizen, the exchange rate never works in my favor, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the same for you. London is expensive. There’s no getting around it. Seriously, my credit card will take awhile to recover from this city, haha. 

However, if you’re a person who loves cities and isn’t turned off the London’s prices or the exchange rates, then this city is the perfect solo trip for you.

You’ll fall in love with all the museum, food, and tour options, and can splash out on more expensive affairs, such as afternoon tea and a late night show. London is a gift that keeps on giving (and if you need more inspiration, I have a great 4 Days in London Itinerary that you should check out). 

exploring hyde park is very safe even alone

New Solo Travelers

But what if this is your very first solo trip overseas? Is London a good option for you? Absolutely!

New solo travelers will greatly appreciate London’s many attractions. Like I said, this city knows how to take care of its tourists. Hotels and hostels will provide an endless amount of map and tour options, which will help fill your days with fantastic activities.

New solo travelers will also love the iconic London experience, such as exploring the Tower of London, sipping Earl Grey at afternoon tea, and cruising on the Thames. 

Honestly, I’ll never forget my first views of Big Ben. London was the trip that “started it all” for me. Not to mention, it’s amazing to see in-person famous architecture that you’ve only ever seen on television or the internet. 

exploring notting hill alone in london

Experienced Solo Travelers

On the flip side, experienced solo travelers will also love London.

As a person who’s traveled extensively in Europe, London was refreshing, because I didn’t have to worry about language barriers. Now, obviously, I don’t hold language barriers against anyone (that would be a bad mindset for a traveler), but everyone speaking English took a bit of pressure off me, which was nice. Even experienced solo travelers need a “break.”

While experienced solo travelers might not be impressed with tourist areas, such as around the London Eye or Leicester Square, London’s abundant neighborhoods have plenty of options away from the hordes of visitors. I spent a lot of my time popping in and out of bookshops, and taking pictures in the prettiest mews around London. 

So, if you have a few solo trips under your belt, don’t be turned off just because London is popular. 

london solo trip means eating a lot of food

9 Reasons to Travel Alone to London

Still not sure if you wanna go to London alone? Here are some of the best reasons why solo travel to London is amazing. Sure, there are way more than nine, but these ideas will set the wheels in motion.

As always, you’ll want to continue to do your own research about London. These tips are mostly to inspire you to move beyond the anxiety of traveling to London alone and just booking the trip. You know I’m ALL about just booking the trip.

Let’s go! 

baker street tube sign in london england

Accessible and Easy Public Transportation 

First and foremost, London has a fantastic public transportation system. I’m jealous of their public transportation system even with the strikes and delays. You don’t need a car in London.

Actually, I would avoid having a car in London full stop. Parking is a nightmare, and traffic is jaw-droppingly insane. Furthermore, if you are a visitor from North America or mainland Europe, London is not where you want to learn to drive on the left side of the road. 

For example, if you’re renting a car as part of a larger England roadtrip, then drop your rental at the appropriate airport, and use public transportation for the rest of your time in London. 

The most well known public transit in London is The Tube. This metro system goes all over London and into the suburbs. Trains frequently run. I never had to wait more than ten minutes for a ride. Each station has huge maps, so you’ll always be able to find directions without too much trouble. 

liverpool is another great city for solo travel
Liverpool is Reachable by Train.

Easy Connections Around the United Kingdom

London is wonderful, but what if you’re doing a solo trip around England? Is London a good place to start your itinerary? Yes, for sure! 

If you want to visit other cities in the UK, London is a great place to start your adventure, because there are so many connections that are frequent, fast, and direct. For instance, I was able to do a couple days in Liverpool since the train ride was direct and only took two and a half hours. 

And if you want to go to Scotland? The Caledonian Sleeper runs services to Scotland’s major cities, including Glasgow and Edinburgh. You can also fly to Scotland,  of course, but there is something … I don’t know, romantic about taking a night train. 

Just make sure to book your train tickets in advance for the best prices. You’ll pay a premium rate waiting until the night before, or the train might even sell out entirely. 

solo travel london in westminster abbey

English is (Obviously) Spoken Here

Obviously, this tip applies to native English speakers. I completely understand that English being spoken doesn’t make London an “easier” destination for every single solo traveler in the world. That would be really arrogant of me.

However, if you speak English at home and want a solo trip where you don’t need to worry about language barriers (especially if you’re new to traveling alone), then London is a wonderful option for you. 

I always suggest London as a great first solo trip to Europe to other English speakers. London is a great city to “get your feet wet” before heading to other European cities, such as Madrid or Paris, where English is still spoken, but not at the same level.

solo travel london: don't skip chinatown
A Safe and Gorgeous Saturday in London’s Chinatown

Few (If Any) Safety Concerns

I’ll talk about safety later on in this guide (it’s important for solo female travel in London), but one of the things that I loved about London was that safety wasn’t as much of an issue as other cities I’ve visited in the past.

I understand that everyone has different perceptions of safety, so I’m only speaking from my personal experience as a solo female traveler in London.

First of all, I didn’t notice as many petty scams as I did in Paris, Barcelona, and Rome. No one came up to me with a ridiculous friendship bracelet or fake petition. Still, it’s always good practice to keep a close eye on your belongings, especially in packed areas like a crowded Tube station. You don’t want to make it easier for pickpockets if they are present in the crowd.

Ultimately, I felt comfortable wandering around London at night. I think because London is a massive city, people are always out and about, and I personally feel more relaxed in a crowd than on an empty street. London has a lot of things to do alone at night and it would be a shame to miss them.

enjoying an afternoon seeing buckingham palace

Londoners “Mind Their Business”

I like that Londoners mind their own business. While isolating to some people, I personally like not standing out in a crowd as a solo traveler. London’s an introvert’s dream come true. You can hang out in book stores, unwind in a pub, explore a museum, and go to a jazz show without a single person pestering you to have a conversation. 

Of course, if you’re a solo traveler looking to make new friends, you might want to join group tours, stay in hostels, or research local meetups to make those meaningful connections. 

Still, London is a great city for solo travelers who don’t want to justify their choices. Londoners are very used to people doing things on their own, and won’t judge you for exploring by your own damn self.

solo female travel in london trip: pubs are wonderful and safe

Perfect for a Longer Trip

In London, you don’t need to constantly switch locations if you don’t want to. Sure, seeing several different cities is fun for some people, but it’s also nice to stay in one place to fully enjoy the vibe. Slow travel is popular for a reason.

London is big. Actually, that’s an understatement. One day I clocked close to 40,000 steps, because I had so much that I wanted to see and do. 

Each area of London is very different. You could see the Street Art on Brick Lane and take a Jack the Ripper Tour one day in East London, and then go vintage shopping in Notting Hill in West London the next day, and feel as if you’re visiting two completely different cities.

I suggest staying in London for at least four days before attempting any day trips. 

changing of the guard at the tower of london

Plenty of Walking Tours

As a solo traveler, I love going on walking tours. Sure, wandering around a new city and snapping photos is wonderful, but at the same time, I want some richer context and education on the buildings, streets, and people surrounding me. Walking tours open my mind and heart. 

In London, walking tours are everywhere and cover a variety of subjects. If you have a special interest, London probably has a walking tour about that interest, haha. 

solo travel london: take your time to see the homes
Exploring Kynance Mews in West London.

Walking Tour Recommendations

  • Historical Pub Walking Tour: Not a fan of going to pubs alone? Want some drinking buddies and cool historic locations at the same time? Then try out this small group historic pub walking tour in London and enjoy your pints. 
  • Jack the Ripper Tour: Honestly, some of these tours are super problematic and exploitative of the women who were brutally killed. I’m also not a fan of “glorifying” serial killers, even from the Victorian Era. However, a few tours “do it right,” including the Jack the Ripper – What About the Women? tour. 
  • London Free Tour: Free walking tours are very popular with backpackers (and other travelers, of course). These tours are a fantastic way to acclimate yourself with a new city, while making new friends and learning some cool history. Sandemans has a great free walking tour that takes you by the most famous landmarks. Just make sure to tip.
  • London Walking Food Tour: London has a thriving culinary scene, but eating alone is daunting for some travelers. This acclaimed food tour will have you sampling the best of British cuisine in the comfort of a group.
  • Original Harry Potter Locations Tour: Harry Potter fans will love this tour, especially fans of the movies. The highly rated Harry Potter locations tour will take you to Covent Garden and Trafalgar Square to see the filming sites. Very fun for everyone, including solo travelers.  
going to a pub alone is very safe in london
Enjoying a Beer in London.

Pub Culture

London’s pub culture is great for solo travelers. I loved showing up to a pub for a casual lunch and not standing out as an awkward single traveler, haha. 

For travelers who want to feel more at home, explore your neighborhood and pick a local pub to visit once you’re finished sightseeing for the day. It’s not too hard to strike up a conversation with a bartender or other people in the pub. I find that Londoners are quite friendly once they’ve had a pint or two in them! 

As a side note, exercise caution with the amount of alcohol you drink. England’s “round culture” makes it easy to drink waaaay more than your bargained for! 

enjoying the victoria and albert museum on a solo london trip

Tons of Free Museums 

Last but not least, London has a lot of high quality free museums for solo travelers who want to save a bit of money. You could create a legitimate itinerary strictly around the free museums. There are a lot of them.

For instance, on my solo trip to London, I visited both The Victoria and Albert Museum, and The Tate Modern, which was both free to the public (unless you want to go to a special exhibit). It’s easy to spend hours in each museum. Hours. 

Free museums exist for almost every interest. So pick and choose wisely, and remember it’s okay not to see every single museum in London! You’ll just have a wonderful excuse to visit again.

Check out Visit London’s comprehensive Free Museum Guide for more information on the best free museums for you. 

solo travel in london is delightful

Practical Advice for Solo Female Travel in London

Last but not least, I wanted to share some practical tips for traveling alone to London. These tips are meant to help with safety concerns, packing, hotels, etc. As always, you’ll wanna to do your own research in addition to the information that I provide in this guide. 

solo travel london tip: still exercise precautions in some areas
Stay Alert in London (or Anywhere in the World).

Safety Tips for London

Solo female travel in London is linked with safety. No worries, though. Over all, London is a pretty safe city for its size. I’ve already shared a ton of London solo travel safety tips on this blog, and ultimately, if you use a bit of common sense, you shouldn’t have any issues traveling alone in London. 

Normal safety precautions apply. Use a taxi or rideshare late at night if you feel uncomfortable. Don’t feel like you’re obligated to talk to any strangers (seriously, if someone won’t leave you alone, you don’t need to be polite). Book accommodation in neighborhoods where you feel relaxed and welcome. 

I will say that I didn’t experience too much harassment in London. Regardless, it always pays to be mindful, especially as a solo traveler.

enjoying some gorgeous homes in london

How to Get Around London

You will use public transportation to get around London. Renting a car is a disaster waiting to happen, and cabs are prohibitively expensive if you use them all the time. Get used to metros and buses. Don’t fret, though. 

The Tube is easy to navigate, and like I mentioned in this post, there are plenty of maps and signs in the major Tube stations. Public transit police are also very visible and helpful if you truly are baffled about what to do. 

If you want to learn your way around London and learn about the major sites, then another idea is to book a Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus for your solo trip here. These buses stop at London’s major sites, such as Covent Garden and The British Museum, where you can hop off the bus to explore and return at your leisure. 

respect the guards at the tower of london

What to Pack as a Solo Female Traveler in London

London’s packing list is very similar to packing for other large cities, with a few exceptions. Sure, you can buy what you need in London, but it’s gonna cost way more money (more likely than not).

I personally think these items are the essentials that you’ll need for a solo trip to London. 

lots of flowers in london in summer

Solo Travel London Essentials

  • Day Pack or Backpack: Because of all the walking, I loved having a small and stylish backpack in London. London’s a very safe city, but if you’re nervous, check out this cute and compact Pacsafe bag that has anti-theft protection.
  • High Quality Sneakers: 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. 
  • Lightweight Jacket: London’s weather is unpredictable. Wind and rain can happen without warning. So it’s always a good idea to bring an all-weather jacket with you on your trip.
  • London Guidebook: I always enjoy having a physical guidebook to refer to on my trip. Plus, they’re great mementos. Check out Lonely Planet’s London Guide, which you can buy physically or digitally. 
  • Spare Phone Charger: You’ll take loads of pictures and videos in London, and want to keep your phone fully charged. So have a portable charger as you explore this amazing city,
  • Travel Insurance: A London trip costs a lot. I know I sound like a broken record but you need to protect yourself. Don’t skimp on purchasing travel insurance. Sure, the United Kingdom has universal healthcare (aka the NHS), but these services are only for residents. 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. 
  • Travel Umbrella: When it rains in London, it rains, so you need to check the weather forecast and stay prepared. Use a travel umbrella when the wet weather strikes. 
  • UK Power Adapter: In the UK, the power outlets are different from North America and mainland Europe. You will need a special UK Power Adapter to charge your devices. While some hotels have USB outlets, this is far from universal. 
exploring london's neighborhoods alone
London Has Many Adorable Homes.

Where to Stay in London

When planning solo female travel in London, choosing the right place to stay is essential, and you are spoiled for choice. Like, gosh, London has so many amazing options for accommodation.

I will speak to a few great choices, but keep in mind that you might want to research neighborhoods in advance and see what areas best fit “your vibe.”

the charles dickens house is a great literature stop in london

Accommodation Ideas

  • Andaz London Liverpool Street: Andaz is a trendy and fun hotel chain that appeals to younger travelers. This Andaz is in the perfect spot for seeing East London’s street and is well connected to Liverpool Street Station. See prices on Expedia.com and Booking.com.
  • The Rockwell: This adorable hotel isn’t far from Earls Court Station, which makes it very easy to go to Heathrow Airport, as well as everywhere else in London. They also have a fantastic breakfast available, and the single rooms are super comfortable. Loved my stay here. See prices on Expedia.com and Booking.com.
  • Wombats City Hostel London: This trendy hostel has a lot of shared spaces, including a cool bar and lounge area, that makes it easy to meet fellow travelers. Save money in a dorm or even book your own private room. Perfect for solo travelers who want to socialize. See prices on Expedia.com and Booking.com.

enjoying all the london views on a solo trip

I hope you liked this post all about solo female travel in London. As always, feel free to explore my blog for more information about solo travel in England and beyond! Enjoy London. It’s an incredible place.