London Solo Travel Guide: Tips for Visiting

Are you thinking about traveling to London alone? You might be wondering how to navigate this bustling city on your own and if it’s safe for solo travel. Well, I moved to the UK alone 6 years ago from America and I’ve explored London deeply. As a person who has traveled solo to 25+ countries, I have to say London is a great city to travel solo. It is also good for first-time solo travelers because the public transport is great and you don’t have to worry about language barriers (if you’re visiting from an English-speaking country of course). Read on for the best-ever London solo travel guide. I’ve got some amazing tips for your visit as a local and solo female traveler myself.

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Quick Facts before visiting London:
💱Currency: British Pounds £
💶 Budget for a trip to London: The average daily cost for a trip to London is £190 a night for both food and accommodation but if you really want to travel on a budget staying in hostels and eating cheaply it can cost you  £70 a night.
💜 Is tipping required in London? Tipping in London is not required. Sometimes you will find it included in your bill as a service charge.. Most people do not tip in London.
☀️Best time to Visit: Summer is a great time to visit as the summers can be mild. London has many beautiful seasons! If you visit in Spring, you can catch the beautiful Wisteria and if you visit during Christmas, you can see the city alive with lights everywhere!
🏥 Travel Insurance in London: I recommend SafetyWing which will cover you in case of trip cancellations or any accidents during your travels.

Is London Safe for Solo Travel?

Yes, London is safe for solo travel! I moved here alone and felt safe ever since. Like any big city, keep an eye on your belongings for pickpockets and petty crime which can happen anywhere. I have heard the occasional story of a friend’s iPhone being stolen. Like any city, be aware of your surroundings and travel smart.

My favorite book that helped me find many hidden gems in London is called  Pretty City London. I highly recommend buying it as it’s also a pretty book to have at home. It tells you all the beautiful cafes and neighborhoods to visit and was founded by the Instagram page @prettycitylondon.

Is London Walkable?

You might be daunted by the fact that London is a huge city to navigate all on your own. Some people might not initially think London is walkable but I beg to differ! If you’re exploring all the iconic landmarks in London, you’d be surprised how you can just walk from one to another in no time. They are all clustered together.

For example, you can start your walk from Trafalgar Square and see Nelson’s Column, surrounded by the National Gallery and St. Martin-in-the-Fields. From there, a short stroll down Whitehall will lead you to the historic Houses of Parliament and the iconic Big Ben. Just across Westminster Bridge, you’ll find yourself at the doorstep of the magnificent Westminster Abbey, steeped in centuries of royal history. And if you’re up for it, continue your journey along the Thames to reach the Tower of London.

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London Solo Travel: Top Tips

  1. Plan Your Accommodation Carefully: Look for accommodations in safe and well-connected areas. You can find cheaper accommodation just by staying a bit further out of central. As long as you’re next to a tube station (London’s metro system), you’ll arrive at your destination in minutes. Staying in a hostel will be a good idea if you want to meet other travelers.
  2. Stay Connected: Purchase an eSIM with Airalo to stay connected. I am always lost if I don’t stay connected. A data plan will be essential to navigate London!
  3. Utilize London’s Amazing Public Transportation: London has an extensive public transportation system including buses, tubes, and trains. You don’t need to buy an Oyster card at all. Instead, you can pay with a contactless payment method or Apple/Google Pay and tap into the barriers seamlessly.
  4. Safety First: London is generally a safe city, but like any big city, it’s important to stay vigilant. Avoid poorly lit or deserted areas, especially at night, and keep your belongings secure.
  5. Join Walking Tours: Walking tours are a great way to explore the city, learn about its history, and meet other travelers. Many walking tours in London are free or operate on a tip basis.
  6. Take Advantage of Free Attractions: London is full of free attractions such as museums, parks, and iconic landmarks like the British Museum, Tate Modern, and Hyde Park.
  7. Try Amazing Food: There’s a stereotype that British food isn’t good. However, the great thing about London is it offers a diverse culinary scene. Don’t miss the chance to try traditional British dishes like fish and chips, as well as cuisines from around the world in its multicultural neighborhoods.
  8. Explore Markets: London’s markets are great! You can find everything from vintage clothing to street food. Borough Market, Camden Market, and Portobello Road Market are just a few worth checking out.
  9. Be Flexible: Solo travel allows you the freedom to change your plans on a whim. Embrace spontaneity and be open to new experiences and opportunities that come your way.
  10. Connect with Locals: Engage with locals whenever possible, whether it’s striking up a conversation in a pub or asking for recommendations from shop owners. They can provide invaluable insights and enrich your travel experience. Learn how you can meet friends traveling solo.
  11. Share Your Itinerary: While you’re free to wander, it’s a good idea to share your itinerary with someone you trust back home. Check in regularly so they know you’re safe.
  12. Bring back up cash or a backup debit card: London does take credit card mostly everywhere, however, to be safe bring a back up card or cash. I have been stuck in cities before where I’ve forgotten my card in the ATM and was stuck without money solo.

Best things to do in London as a solo traveler

1. Admire the views of the city

There are so many great spots to see views of the city and they don’t have to be expensive like the Shard or London Eye!

The view pictured here is from an off-the-radar spot called the Post Building. It’s free to visit and other free spots for a view include Sky Garden (reservation ahead required), Primrose Hill, and the Parliament Hill in Hamstead.

3. Visit the Free Museums

Most of the museums in London are FREE! Making this a great solo travel activity. My favorite museums include the Wallace Collection, a hidden gem with gorgeous stunning artwork and ornate rooms.

Another favorite is the Natural History Museum, where there are over 80 million objects spanning billions of years in this museum.

Don’t miss the colossal T-Rex skeleton, fascinating dinosaur fossils, stunning gem exhibits, and interactive exhibits on evolution and biodiversity.

Other free museums include the V&A Museum, the Tate Modern, the British Museum, and many many more!

3. Take a free walking tour or cycle through the city!

The best way to ease into the city is to take a walking tour! There are many free walking tours where only tipping is expected in return. Just search online “free walking tour London” as per any major city you visit! Or, you can just book a tour like this and not have the hassle of tipping on the free tours. It takes you to 30 iconic sites in London in 5 hours!

Another fun way to explore the city is by riding bikes. You can take this secret London bike tour or this parks and palaces bike tour. I thought it would be daunting to ride a bike in London but there are plenty of bike lanes and I found it really not bad. I actually loved it and was able to bike from Buckingham Palace to Big Ben and through beautiful Hyde Park. Loved covering so much ground quickly!

4. Discover hidden gems

In every city I visit, I make it a mission to find the best hidden gems. I love exploring the less visited side where you can find quaint streets and local spots. Some of my favorites include St. Dunstan’s in the East and St. Luke’s Mews. If you want more than be sure to read my full guide on the best non-touristy things to do in London.

5. Visit a street food market

London has so many street food markets. Perfect for solo travelers in London. If you’re a foodie, head over to Borough Market where you can enjoy everything from cheese toasties to fish and chips and sausage rolls. This foodie-lover paradise will surely satisfy your crave.

You can even take this food tour at Borough Market – this will not only allow you to taste multiple things but give you the chance to meet other travelers!

Not too far away is my favorite street market, the Maltby Street Market. It’s more of a hidden gem as most tourists don’t know it. If you want to know all the best London food markets, read my full guide!

6. Take a cruise along the Thames River to Greenwich

A great way to see the city at night is by sailing along the River Thames. You can You can take this cruise to Greenwich. Greenwich itself is a great neighborhood to explore with a market and lots of green space!

7. Take a walk in Little Venice

London has a Little Venice! It’s a wonderful place for a Sunday stroll. Just walk along the canal and you’ll see boats docked and many cafes lined around. You can make even enjoy lunch on a boat! May Green not only has amazing brunch but a unique setting to enjoy lunch.

Pro-tip: If you want to get amazing photos during your Solo London trip, you can hire a photographer here.

8. Check out the cafe scene

London has so many cute cafes and independent coffee shops! You don’t have to worry about being alone at these places because they have a chill environment and you’ll also find others on their own too.

Pro-tip: bring something to keep you busy like a book or project to work on.

My favorite cafes in London include Peggy Porschen Cupcakes (pictured), Grind, Farm Girl, and Wolfox.

8. Explore a less touristy neighborhood

London has the most stunning residential neighborhoods. So during your visit be sure to explore one of them. My top picks include Hampstead, Belsize Park, Primrose Hill, and Notting Hill. You’ll find the most picturesque streets and colorful buildings! I absolutely adore these places all situated in the West of London.

9. Relax at one of the many parks

On a sunny day, you should take advantage of relaxing in one of the many London parks around the city. Surprisingly, the large city is home to tons of green space. My favorites include Hampstead Heath, Primrose Hill, Hyde Park, Regents Park, and Holland Park.

10. Take a day trip!

If you’re spending at least 4 days in London, I’d recommend taking a day trip. Some options include a tour that will take you to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Bath. Or, you could opt to go to some of my ultimate favorites which includes the charming Cotswolds or Canterbury. All of which are within easy reach from London. The Cotswolds will require a car so if you don’t have one, you should definitely opt for a tour like this one.

London Solo Travel: Best places to eat

London has endless amazing restaurants and cafes.

Here are my top picks for London solo travel!

Some restaurants are particularly welcoming to solo diners, offering counter seating or communal tables. Places like that include Dishoom (multiple locations), Barrafina in Covent Garden, and Padella in Borough Market.

Cafés and Bakeries: London has no shortage of charming cafés and bakeries where you can enjoy a leisurely meal or snack alone. Visit Grind in Covent Garden or London Bridge for my favorite coffee, Ottolenghi in various locations for Mediterranean-inspired dishes, or Gail’s Bakery for freshly baked goods.

Food Markets: There are so many great Food Markets in London. Check out Mercato Mayfair (it’s inside an old church!), Boxpark Shoreditch, or Old Spitalfields Market, all of which are indoor markets. Or as mentioned earlier, try Borough Market (try a food tour!) or Maltby Market which are outdoor street markets.

Gastropubs: London is famous for its gastropubs, which offer a cozy atmosphere and excellent food. Places like The Harwood Arms in Fulham, The Holly Bush in Hampstead (home to many great pubs), and The Anchor & Hope in Waterloo are known for their amazing British fare. Don’t be fooled thinking it’s just pub food!

Where to stay in London as a solo traveler

Here’s some affordable hotels in London for solo travelers.

Z Hotel Soho: Located in the heart of Soho, Z Hotel offers compact and stylish rooms. Within easy reach is the West End Theatre, many restaurants, and nightlife. Check Prices & Book

Citizen M London Bankside:: With its innovative design and tech-savvy features, citizenM London Bankside offers a unique hotel experience for solo travelers. Located near the Tate Modern and Borough Market, it’s an excellent base for exploring South Bank attractions. Check Pices & Book

Generator Hostel London: Located in King’s Cross, Generator Hostel offers modern and affordable accommodation with stylish communal areas and a lively atmosphere. Check Prices & Book

The Hoxton, Shoreditch: Known for its chic design and lively atmosphere, The Hoxton in Shoreditch is a popular choice among solo travelers. It offers stylish rooms, a social lobby area, and easy access to East London’s hip bars and restaurants. Check Prices & Book

How to meet friends in London

  1. You can join a FB group like mine, Girls Who Wander Solo or Girls Love Travel. These offer opportunities to meet like-minded travelers.
  2. There’s a WhatsApp group, run by @Thirtywaves you can join for those over 30 and you can connect with friends that way. The WhatsApp invite link is here.
  3. Join a tour like a street food tour or a sightseeing tour. I’ve befriended so many people after taking a tour. You can use sites like GetYourGuide or Viator to find tours in London!
  4. Staying in a hostel is another great idea. Some offer private rooms so you don’t have to share one but still take advantage of the social areas!

What to pack for your solo trip to London

Here are some essentials for traveling solo in London.

  • This super cool scarf has a hidden zipper that allows you to hide important things like your passport or money. A useful thing to have for a solo traveler.
  • keychain flashlight is handy to have in case you’re ever walking alone at night and it’s too dark to see your surroundings.
  • I always carry a mini first aid kit in case of any accidents and I can be a clumsy person!
  • One thing I never leave home when traveling is a portable compact mobile phone charger like this one. I have run into a few situations where I was stuck in a tiny village in Italy and no one knew English. Sadly my phone died and I felt crippled without my phone. I was unable to use Google Translate to conversate or navigate anywhere. This one is great because it’s fast charging, and can charge wirelessly using a lightning connector or USB-C. The trick to finding long-lasting portable chargers is looking for a 10,000mAh or above power bank. It means the charger will charge the phone at least 3x.
  • My favorite tripod is this compact tripod for mobile phones – people constantly ask me how I take solo photos and this is how!

Travel Insurance for solo travelers in London

It’s definitely worth getting travel insurance whether you’re traveling alone or with others and I recommend SafetyWing which will cover you in case of any accidents or hospital visits. While it’s unlikely to happen, better safe than sorry!

How much does a solo trip to London cost?

While London is not the cheapest destination to visit as a solo traveler, you can still travel there on a budget.

If you travel on the cheap and stay in hostels, you can expect to pay around £70 a day on accommodation and food.

However, on average for a mid-range style of travel, you can expect to pay around £190.

Luxury travelers can expect a trip to London to cost £543 a night!

When is the best time for Traveling Solo in London?

My favorite time in London is honestly Christmas time when the city lights up with so much Christmas cheer! It is really an amazing sight to see.

I also love London during Cherry Blossom or Wisteria Season which happens between April to May. In May, you’ll find in the Chelsea and Belgravia area many store fronts go all out with flowers decorating their facades. Autumn is also another amazing time because all the beautiful leaves turn orangey-red and cover houses!

If you’re looking for the best weather, summer might be the time for you because London can keep pretty chilly for a while! Even in summer, the weather is unpredictable and you’ll find yourself needing a coat at times.

However, if you come during a heat wave in the summer which sporadically happens, beware because most of the flats and Airbnb-style accommodations won’t have air conditioning. The tube also doesn’t have aircon unless you ride the new Elizabeth line or the Overground. This can be quite miserable as it gets HOT. Hotels and businesses however will have air conditioning.

As you can see there are so many amazing times to visit. I can, however, tell you when to AVOID visiting London. That would be between January and early March when it’s cold and especially the first 2 months of the year. The Christmas decor is gone and the city feels more depressing!

Hopefully, you enjoyed this post on London solo travel and you have more confidence to travel this world solo and fearlessly!

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