By Amy Chiplin, on February 26, 2020

How to Travel Solo in London

The Essential Guide for Traveling Solo in Your Favorite UK City

London, England, is a fabulous city, offering so much to see, do, and eat. Perhaps the best part is that it’s so easy to get around, making it an ideal place to visit if you’re a solo traveler. After all, there is no need to rent a car or worry about language barriers.

Whether you’re looking to fill your days with museum visits or shopping excursions, you get to call the shots when you’re traveling to London alone. You can explore the city how you like and when you want.

When you book a flight to London, no matter what kind of experience you’re looking for, you can find it in this city. Follow our tips and tricks to make the most of your solo adventures in London Town.

A red and white train filled with people is about to take off from the Sloane Square Station of London Tube
Attribution: Tomas Anton Escobar/Unsplash

Things to Know When Traveling to London

London is just across the pond from the U.S., but there’s an endless amount of cultural differences you’ll start to notice on your first visit. Whether you’re traveling to London for the first time or merely learning how to travel alone, keep the following things in mind for smooth sailing around the city.

  • Currency: England and the surrounding UK countries use the Great British Pound sterling, which is historically stronger than the US dollar. Even when the UK were still members of the European Union, they retained their native currency instead of the widely accepted Euro. This is something that might be easy to forget for those taking a trip to London on their way throughout Europe.
  • Transportation: The best way to get around London is to ride the London Underground or “The Tube”. It’s a network of trains that service nine zones throughout the city. If you’re traveling for several days, purchase an Oyster card to save on fares, and use it towards bus rides, tube routes, and overground trains. For more information on the impressive network of public transportation available in London, visit: Transport for London
  • Universal adapters: Without a universal adapter, you won’t be able to charge your phone or plug in your curling iron in the UK 3-pin outlets.
  • Language: Though people in the UK speak English, you will notice a few charming differences in both their accents and phrasing. For example, “rubbish” means trash, “lift” means elevator, and “cheers” means thank you.
Motion blur of a red bus passing by the front of the Ye Old London Pub in London
Attribution: Montse Monmo/Unsplash

London Solo Travel Tips

As in any city, you’ll want to take precautions to ensure you’re being safe. When making a solo trip to London, follow the following tips:

  • Check in with your friends and family. Provide them with details around where you’re staying and what your plans are for the day.
  • Ask your hotel concierge if the neighborhood is safe to walk alone at night. When in doubt, order a ride. London black taxis are some of the best in the world and are only marginally pricier than ride-sharing apps. We recommend using the Gett app so you can ride in those classic black taxis, but with the easy convenience of an app.
  • Be mindful of your valuables. Use the safe at your hotel or hostel and keep copies of important documents, such as bank cards and your passport, with you at all times.
  • Just because you’re traveling solo doesn’t have to mean you have to go it alone. You can meet people quickly when you’re by yourself, especially if you get involved with guided group activities like bike routes, art exhibits, bus tours, or even small talk at the pub. 
people stroll Regents Street at night in London as angels made from strings of lights stretch across the street
Attribution: Jamie Davies/Unsplash

Best Places to Go in London on Your Own

What can you do alone in London? Everything! There are so many attractions and activities to enjoy when you’re traveling on your own. And the best part of all is you don’t have to compromise—you can do whatever you want when you want.

  • See the sites: The beauty of traveling alone is that you get to set the agenda for everything on your list. Check out some of the most famous sites, such as London Tower, Big Ben, the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Westminster, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and more.
  • Do a little shopping: Whether you’re souvenir shopping for friends back home or looking for cutting-edge European fashion, London has it all. Spend a morning browsing the stalls at Covent Garden Market or trying the fresh produce at Borough Market. For the big-name shops, you’ll want to explore down Oxford Street, and for designer couture, you can’t miss Sloane Street. All these areas offer incredible shopping amid world-class architecture, with beautiful, historic buildings housing all the shops and restaurants.
  • Take a tour: When it comes to solo travel in London, a tour is a great way to get to know the city. You’ll find all sorts of tours that are great for solo travelers, from Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus Tours to river cruises.
  • Get tickets to a show: If you’re a drama lover, you’ll want to see a performance at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre or any of the shows available in London’s West End. There are many incredible venues to choose from, including The Royal Opera House, Sadler’s Wells, Victoria Palace Theatre, and The Apollo.
  • Explore all the neighborhoods: London has so many different areas and each with its own unique charm. When it comes to finding hotels in London, consider staying somewhere near to your most anticipated activities. Here are a few of our activity-based neighborhood recommendations:
    • For riverside shopping, you’ll love staying at a hotel along The Strand.
    • For high-end boutiques and restaurants, stay in South Kensington.
    • For activities and theatre, stay in Soho.
    • For shopping, art, and nightlife, stay in Covent Garden.
    • To be next to Chelsea Football Stadium, stay in Fulham.
    • For art galleries, stay near St. James’ Park and Piccadilly Circus.
A London Guard in his traditional red uniform and saber resting on his shoulder is photographed mid-march
Attribution: Roberto Catarinicchia/Unsplash

London on a Budget

Though London is often considered an expensive city, you might be surprised at how many free attractions are available. Keep more money in your pocket when you check out the following activities.

  • Visit the free museums and galleries: The British Museum, National Gallery, Museum of London, and the Natural History Museum are just a few of the many fantastic (and free!) exhibits throughout the city.
  • Eat a big breakfast: Save money on food by starting your day with a traditional English breakfast. The massive meal includes eggs, baked beans, sausage, bacon, grilled tomatoes, and toast, ensuring your belly will be full for hours. Check with your hotel to see if they serve complimentary breakfast.
  • Catch the Changing of the Guard: Watch the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, completely free of charge. It’s one of the most iconic events in the city when the New Guard takes over for the Old Guard at 10:45 a.m. on certain days of the week.
  • Picnic in the park: London is home to many world-famous parks, including Hyde Park and Regent’s Park. Pack a picnic or grab an affordable sandwich from Marks & Spencer and spend an afternoon relaxing on the lawn.
  • Map out your day: To avoid overspending on taxis, map out your day and tube routes according to the attractions you want to see. Divide up your itinerary, clumping together sites that are closest to one another. After all, walking around London is one of the best ways to experience the city.

Of course, this travel advice only scratches the surface when it comes to things to do alone in London. Check out our London travel tips for more inspiration on the place that brought us The Beatles and The Royal Family. Now, pack your bags and get ready to explore the city on your own terms.


Header Image Via Maridav/Shutterstock