London, England Things to Do and Safety Tips for Solo Female Travelers
As one of the safest, most popular cities in the world, it’s easy to see why it attracts so many female travelers going solo. There is so much to do in London, with world-class food, hotels, attractions, and nightlife. London is iconic and cultural, but the city isn’t the only reason to visit, England also has picturesque landscapes.
To help you plan out your dream vacation, we’ve put together this article which explains the most popular attractions, places to stay, areas to avoid, safety tips for female travelers, covid restrictions, and everything else you’ll need for international travel.
Things to Know About London, England
London, commonly nicknamed “The Big Smoke,” is the third most visited city in the world, with 30 million visitors each year. Most of England’s vibrant culture comes from days of colonialism when they dominated and forcibly adopted most of the world. This blending of culture, while destructive in many ways, did allow for the preservation of much global culture and history.
The city of London is almost 2000 years old and was first founded by the Romans. London is currently home to the most billionaires in the world, but also, a strong middle class, making it a perfect destination for travelers of any budget. London is busiest from May-September but sees a spike of visitors in December.
Weather in London
The coldest month in London is January with lows around 40°F and highs around 48°F. During the winter, it rains for an average of 10 days a month. The hottest month of the year is July, with highs around 74°F, and lows around 69°F. This mild, slightly rainy climate is what makes London so popular for tourists.
Must See Attractions and Things to Do in London
London is an old city, with a rich history and a vibrant culture. London is full of landmarks like Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament and has something for everyone. Female travelers can enjoy attractions taken as part of a tour or by themselves, depending on taste.
Not only is the Tower of London a historic must see for any tourist or traveler, but it is also more than a building to see; the Tower of London boasts beautiful gardens, unforgettable history, and guided tours.
Another stunning historic landmark, the Tower of London is a beautiful piece of history that can be toured in many ways: on high-level walkways, through a glass floor, and inside the tower are all great ways to tour this landmark.
The Churchill War Rooms are the heart of where the British government planned, directed, and worked during WWII. This mini museum is informational as well as historically accurate as they remain the same as they were decades ago.
This is one of the most prominent art museums in the world, with pieces from Van Gogh, Rembrandt, and more. From modern works to timeless masterpieces, this collection of collections has it all.
The British Museum is officially the UK’s most popular attraction and boasts galleries and exhibits from all over the world spanning over 2 million years of human history. The British Museum is also older than the USA, having opened its doors in 1759.
One of the oldest churches in the world still standing today, this historic building reflects the Gothic and Medieval architecture. While it still functions as a church today and is open for worship, the church also allows visitors.
- Victoria and Albert Museum
Advertised as the world’s “leading museum of art, design, and performance”, Victoria and Albert Museum display a wide variety of art from dance to photography. It sets itself apart from other museums with its unique focus on modern topics.
Like Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral is an active Christian church. While tours and entry are available to the public, the focus of this establishment is religious.
The National History Museum is made up of two locations: the main building at South Kensington and another building located at Tring. The Museum focuses on science and nature rather than art and sculptures.
This market is all about making connections through food. The historic market is not only a place to grab a great bite to eat and a yummy drink to pair with your meal but also a place to immerse yourself in the social culture of Britain.
Known as a royal park, Hyde Park is set in the center of London and offers a peaceful break from the busy city. Events and concerts are often held here also so there is more to do than finding tranquil places to relax.
Located by the Regent’s Canal, Camden Market is known for its unique curiosity stores and fashion outlets. The town is also known for its lively nightlife and classic pubs.
Live music, delectable food and drinks, and wide-scale city views, the sky garden is a stop that should be on any London tourist’s list.
Also known as one of the royal parks, Regent’s Park has large open spaces that are great for sports as well as being home to the Open-Air Theatre and the London Zoo.
Also known as Shakespeare’s Globe, this theatre is exactly what it sounds like—an establishment embodying and celebrating all things Shakespeare. From original re-enactments of plays to modern re-imaginings, this place is worth the stop for any literature-lover.
This beautiful square is the inspiration of many paintings and even has its own Lego replica set! It is a public town square in central London and is a significant landmark for the city. Don’t expect Mary Poppins’ style bird feeding though, the famous feral pigeons have been removed–making the space cleaner and safer.
Areas of Caution
Overall, London is the 14th safest city in the world, but there are certain boroughs you should avoid. Areas with high crime rates include Croydon, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Sutton, Merton, Bexley, Southwark, Hackney, Ealing, Lambeth, Westminster, Brent, and Haringey. Sexual offenses and theft are high in these areas, making them dangerous for females and travelers going alone.
Where to Stay While Visiting London?
Safe places to stay in London include Bloomsbury, the City, Waterloo/Southbank, Earl’s Court, Kensington. Locals and travelers alike report Central London as the safest place to stay and get hotels.
Safety Tips for Visiting London
London, England is one of the safest cities in the world for females traveling solo no city is perfectly safe, and females are usually the obvious target. The fault doesn’t fall on women, but until we make the world a safer place, you’ll want to exercise precaution.
As always, some of the best ways to stay safe are to travel in numbers and know where you are and where you are going. Planning might take a little extra time, but, but it’s an essential for solo travelers.
- Familiarize yourself with the public transportation stops before you get on. Know your destination in advance, how you’ll get there, and what to do in case of changes.
- Avoid walking around alone at night. Stay close to well-lit, familiar areas.
- Pickpockets are an issue in crowded spaces. Some popular places to be aware of: Camden Market, Leicester Square, and Oxford Street—especially on weekends.
- Solo female travelers should take extra caution when choosing their hotel and destinations. The East End of London as well as Soho are still known to be less safe than other well-known areas of the city.
- There is a high threat of terrorism as London is extremely popular. The most common locations for terrorist attacks are government buildings, religious establishments or places of worship, airports and other public transportation, public areas (like tourist attractions), food establishments, shopping centers, markets, and hotels. Always check the news and official notices before traveling.
- Currently, cell phone theft is rampant in London.
- It is highly recommended to ONLY use licensed taxi drivers.
Things You Need for International Travel to London
International travel is a bit different than visiting places in your own country, as it’s different for London, England. There are a few extra steps you’ll have to take, keeping everything legal and official, but with some preparation, things are easy. You can check out England’s Official Travel Site here.
To visit England as a non-resident you will need:
- A valid passport that will remain valid the duration of your stay.
- A valid visa (not required for residents from the European Union, United States, New Zealand, Canada, or Australia). Stay is limited to 90 days for tourism without a visa.
- Proof of intent (including hotel booking, itinerary, return flights). It is best to get round-trip tickets when booking flights.
- Proof of “support.” Which basically means: how are you going to pay for stuff while in England? (credit/debit cards qualify)
Make sure you keep documentation safe! If you lose your passport or visa, getting home becomes quite the hassle.
Covid Restrictions and Guidelines
All legal covid restrictions in England are now lifted. Vaccination and masks are still a good idea but are not required in public spaces. Individual businesses may have their own procedures for social distancing.
The United Kingdom saw some of the highest death rates from Covid-19 and has been on lock-down for quite some time. The CDC issued a Level 4 “high risk” warning for travelers in July of 2021, which they haven’t yet retracted. You will still need a mask in U.S. airports and flights if that is your origin or return destination.