The UK’s capital is one of Europe’s most solo-traveller-friendly cities – the kind of hassling that single women sometimes get in southern Europe is virtually unknown in London – but like any big and bustling city it pays to prep yourself with a few handy hints before you travel, to help you feel secure and concentrate on enjoying your trip.
- Keep money and travel documents safe in a rucksack or bag with a secure zip, and in view at all times if you are travelling on crowded public transport. If there are thieves about they will often target popular tourist spots, so be particularly aware when you are visiting a key attraction like the Tower of London or one of the city’s lively street markets.
- If you travel by taxi always make sure that you use one of London’s famous black cabs – especially at night. The drivers have had to undergo a rigorous test to obtain their license, and by law black cabs have to display fare listings. Unlicensed ‘minicabs’ can at first seem like an economical way of getting around, but you may be at risk of getting over-charged and there are fewer safeguards in place if you have a bad experience.
- London has an excellent public transport system and many buses which run throughout the night, so getting back to your hotel after seeing a show in the West End should be easy and straightforward. It’s worth familiarising yourself with the routes ahead of an evening out.
- Don’t forget that motorists in the UK drive on the left, so take care when you are crossing the street – it’s only too easy for a moment’s inattention to give you a nasty scare, if not worse.
- Because there have been some terrorist incidents in the city in the past there are still warnings about leaving bags and luggage unattended in train stations and in public areas – do observe these, as it has been known for the police to remove a ‘suspicious’ suitcase and blow it up!
- Central London is teeming with great clubs and bars where a woman can enjoy an evening out on her own without getting hassled, but just take sensible precautions – don’t agree to share a taxi with someone you only met 5 minutes ago, and don’t leave your drink unattended.
Taking these sensible precautions will ensure you can relax and enjoy the chance to explore London and try out some of the many great tours on offer. Harry Potter fans will love the description of the London tour on this blog and for a taste of the city’s diverse architecture this guide is really helpful.