According to the Economist’s Safe City Index, London is the 14th safest city in the world.
It is normal to see a woman by herself or with friends and family sipping coffee in cafes, reading a book, jogging, or walking her dogs in the park. Women often have meals by themselves in their local cafe or restaurant.
While London ranks well for safety, it is still important to do some research before you go to a new city.
First-time visitors may want to consider getting the London Pass and the London Explorer Pass. These passes provide discounts on more than 80 attractions, city-wide. Along with the Pass, you would get an Oyster Card. The Oyster Card is the payment method for London public transit.
Whether you’re traveling solo or with a group of friends, here are some travel safety tips for women in London.
Research the Area When Looking for Accommodations
There are many areas in London that are quite rough and have had a high crime rate in the past, but now, many of the areas are unfortunately impoverished. Try to stay in Central London, or Zone 1. Many of the main attractions are located in Zone 1, which makes it one of the safest areas in the city and easily accessible.
If you want to stay outside Central London, some places in the North, East and West are conveniently located near tourist attractions, but these places can be dodgy at the same time. Crime can happen anywhere, and it’s also about being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
If you can, stay in Richmond upon Thames, which takes 30 minutes from Victoria on the District Line. Chiswick, Greenwich Park or anywhere in South London are also great ideas. Central London also contains many transportation links, allowing for easy commutes around the city.
London’s transportation links are easily accessible to many tourist areas. The Underground is by far the safest and quickest way to get home as an alternative to Uber. There are some night tube lines as well, however, it is important to note that some tube lines don’t run as late as others.
The night tubes include the Circle Line, the Northern Line, the Victoria Line, the Piccadilly Line, and the Jubilee Line. Check the TfL website for more information about London’s public transport.
Be sure to avoid unlicensed taxis or cabs, as they are usually scammers. Instead, take an Uber or black cab.
Be careful of going home by bus at night on the weekends. During the day it is fine but at night, there may be many drunk passengers. It is, unfortunately, not uncommon that drunk men like to take advantage of women, especially when they’re alone.
Payment Methods for London’s Public Transportation
As for topping-up for public transport, you can use your Oyster Card, which you can get when you land at the airport. There are many ticket machines where you can buy your Oyster Cards. Otherwise, corner shops and newsagents that have a blue Oyster Card sticker on their shop windows sell and can top up your Oyster Card too.
You can’t top up your Oyster Card on buses, and buses don’t take cash payments anymore. But if you have some money left on your Oyster Card, it will be refunded back to you before you go home.
Londoners only use paper travel cards when they travel out of Central London. It’s only London that accepts Oyster Cards. If you have a Contactless Debit Card, Apple Pay, or Google Pay, you can use that as well. You can just tap it on the train and tube barriers as well as buses. If you are looking to travel farther out of London, you can find the different prices based on the zone you are in and the zone that you wish to travel to.
Bring a Bag for Essentials
Especially when you’re traveling alone, and it’s your first time in London, don’t bring an open handbag or purse. If you have an open purse or handbag, pickpockets can easily target you. Oxford Street and Regent Street are bad areas for pickpockets. London tourists are more vulnerable. Just be vigilant.
Bring around £30-£40 in cash and pay everything else, pay by card. Luckily, in London, most stores will accept Apple Pay, Google Pay, or other forms of contactless pay.
Don’t Hang Around in Pubs and Clubs Alone
Go to a bar or club with a friend or someone who knows the area. If you walk outside alone, you’ll be safer than if you’re sitting alone inside.
If you see that the London pubs, clubs, and restaurants are empty, you’re more than welcome to sit alone because there’ll be no one there to harass you. However, in crowded spaces, there are many men who would be best to avoid. Just follow your instincts and don’t interact with anyone that seems off-kilter or potentially dangerous.
If you sound like you’re from London and you know your way around, people will generally love to help you out. To blend in, wear something in line with the British weather, and yes, it includes thick coats with a hoodie and an umbrella. In summer, we like to wear a vest top and shorts. Often, these are from High street brands such as H&M and Zara.
If you’re ever lost in London, make sure you go to the nearest coffee shop or pub during the day, have a drink, take some rest, charge your phone (many pubs and coffee shops allow you to charge your phone if you buy something), and organize yourself. These are all safe locations to call family and friends back home.
Emergency Phone Numbers
There are several emergency phone numbers. 999 is an equivalent to 911 in the USA.
In the UK, 999 and 112 are the same.
999 will direct you to the police, ambulance, fire brigade services in the UK for emergencies.
112 works the same way and can be used to call emergency lines throughout Europe using your mobile phones.
101 works for non-emergency calls for the police, for example, a crime. If your mobile phone or wallet has been stolen. This number applies in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.
111 works for non-emergency calls to the local GP or hospital. For example, if your illness isn’t life-threatening e.g. headaches, depression symptoms, etc. They will advise you on what to do.