Is London safe? Here’s my personalized tips to navigate your time in London — especially as a solo female traveler!
One of the top questions I get in my DM’s (almost always from women) is “Is London safe?”
As home to nearly 9 million, navigating the city alone can seem daunting. But don’t fret. In general I’d say London is pretty safe and currently sits as the 20th safest city in the world, but it’s always important to keep your wits about you.
Whether you’re in London for a solo trip or moving to London alone, here’s 10 safety tips for your time in London.
1. Beware of Pickpocketers
A year ago I was on a night out in Soho when a group of young men walked by and tried to take my friend’s phone out of her pocket.
This all happened within a split second as my friend said she felt someone reaching into her coat and quickly turned around. They were gone by the time we could realize what happened.
This story isn’t too uncommon in London as pickpocketers are always on the lookout for unassuming Londoners and tourists.
Keep your belongings out of easily reachable places (like your pocket) and always be on alert of anyone getting too close, especially if they’re in a group.
2. Don’t Drink Too Much Alone
I can only speak from my own experience. But ending up alone after a night of drinking in London is not ideal.
It doesn’t take long in the London nightlife scene to notice that lurkers are real. Usually hidden in the corners of a bar or club, you’ll see men with no other agenda than to prey on the most intoxicated woman of the night.
Always be mindful of your drinking limits, and if you do end up going home alone from a night out, opt for an Uber over the night tube, especially if you’re a far walk from your closest station.
3. Don’t Leave Your Belongings in Coffee Shops
It can be uber tempting to leave your laptop sitting out at your favorite London coffee shop while you order or leaving your bag down while you pop to the lou. But the risk of losing your stuff is never worth it.
I’ve definitely been guilty of this, and thankfully nothing has happened yet. But if I ever came back to my chair and my laptop was missing, I would easily lose it. Plus businesses are responsible for any theft.
I would also steer clear of asking someone to watch your stuff, but you can see if they’ll save your seat for you while you’re gone.
4. Choose the Right Area
Although London is generally safe, theres is still a lot of crime that goes on, particularly in certain areas.
With that said, it’s best to do your own independent research and make sure you’re comfortable with the area. For example, Camden is on the list of the top most dangerous boroughs in London. But I’ve been to Camden more times than I can count (day and night) and never had an issue. So always do what’s best for you and your comfort level!
5. Know Your Numbers
If you’re coming to London from outside the UK you should definitely familarize yourself with the emergency numbers.
For the police, ambulance or fire department in London, call 999 or 112. These numbers are free and should be called immediately in case of an emergency.
If it’s not an emergency but you’d still like to speak to someone, you can call 101 and they’ll connect you to your nearest police station.
6. Don’t Wear Headphones at Night
I love walking to music. But since moving to London, I’ve realized it’s never a good idea to seem too preoccupied.
This includes wearing headphones when you’re walking, specifically at night. City living is all about being alert and not looking like a target.
The risk of not hearing your surroundings simply isn’t worth it. Save the music for home or public transit.
7. Mind the Gap (and roads)
One of the first things you’ll notice about the UK is cars drive on the left side of the road. Luckily there’s tons of signage, but always be sure to do a double take when crossing.
I can’t count the amount of times I’ve accidentally looked the wrong way and instantly feared for my life.
It’s the biggest faux pas of any new Londoner, so always stay on the safe side…and look left.
8. Check Before you use the ATM
Unfortunately ATM scams are all too common in the capital. Avoid any independent ATM’s and always check over your shoulder before entering your pin.
I also wouldn’t keep too much cash on me. It’s all too easy to lose a tenner on the tube (guilty as charged) and misplace your pound coins. So stick to your card/contactless or Apple Pay when possible.
Read More: 27 Effortless Ways to Save Money in London
9. Stay Neutral
As a solo female traveler or just a woman living in London, you’re bound to be approached in some capacity. This could range from harmless hello’s to slightly aggressive approaches. But in my opinion, it’s always best to not engage and stay neutral.
And if someone asks where you’re staying for your time in London, say you don’t know the name of the area.
10. Know Your Route
One of the biggest things that separates a naive tourist from a local is the way you walk.
Always look confident with where you’re going, and if you’re in London, walk fast. To do this, it always helps to know at least some your route before you travel. I always look up directions on Citymapper and try to avoid looking at my phone for directions.
I hope these tips were helpful! If you have anymore questions about safety in London be sure to ping me at @candaceabroad.