Don’t miss these essential tips for planning your solo travel to London!

This solo travel to London guide was written by Amber from Amber Everywhere travel blog. Originally from Colorado, she now lives in Europe and writes about her experiences traveling and living abroad.

I moved from the USA to Ireland in 2020 and, despite living in Europe for over two years, had never been to the UK (outside of Northern Ireland).

I’d long been meaning to visit London or Edinburgh, but the timing never felt quite right.

Whenever I started to plan a London trip, I found myself pulled in the direction of another destination. That all changed in early 2023 when I was planning a trip with my partner to the Arctic Circle.

We decided to spend the last five days of our trip and do a solo travel to London. We’d be parting ways in Tromso, Norway.

Lo and behold, a trip through London was the cheapest set of flights I could find – so my plan was set! 

london solo travel

I was drawn to London for its fabulous food, iconic double decker buses, and unique landmarks. I pictured myself holding a cortado and strolling past Buckingham Palace, then trying some of my favorite foods at Whole Foods and Chipotle (two chains we don’t have in Ireland!).

Most of all, I was excited to see for myself one of the most famous cities in the world. 

I was pretty sure that I was going to enjoy London, mostly because lots of people in my life told me that I would.

They said I’d love the bustling markets, the big stores where you can buy anything you might desire, and the quick pace of life in London. 

They also told me that it would be expensive no matter what I did to try to cut costs – challenge accepted! I found plenty of little ways to save while I was in London without sacrificing my experience.

👉🏽 See also: Living in London for 10 years – the good, the bad, and the marvelous

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🙋🏽 Is London good for solo travel?

ABSOLUTELY! I definitely love solo travel to London and here are some of the reasons why I love going there alone:

London is twice the size of New York City

traveling solo in London

The city was so much larger than I imagined it would be! Every time I pulled up a map and guessed how long it would take to walk from A to B, I was off by a staggering amount.

I’d glance at the map and think, “I could probably get there in 35 minutes,” only for Google Maps to declare it a walk that would take me 1 hour and 53 minutes. 

The sheer size of London was at times exhilarating and at other times exhausting. I’m usually not one to be intimidated by a trek across town, but I did have to skip some London experiences because they were simply too far out of the way. 

I was so glad that I’d chosen a relatively central hostel, from which I could easily reach Hyde Park and SoHo.

Being next to a train stop proved to be very helpful to me as someone prone to motion sickness, as I didn’t have to rely too much on buses to get around.  

The Tube was easy to use… but expensive!

solo travel to london

London’s public transit system was relatively easy to navigate, but I am still a little shell shocked by the prices.

I’m used to public transit costing a few euros, but in London you can easily spend more than 15 £ on a day’s worth of short bus and train rides. 

I found the ticket kiosks confusing to use and once accidentally bought a ticket for the National Rail Service instead of the London Underground.

Fed up with the kiosks, I started using my credit card to tap in and out, which was significantly easier. 

There are some areas where the trains can be difficult to navigate. I learned to double – and triple – check the Google instructions, including the platform number and name of the train line.

It took a few blunders, but I did eventually get the hang of it. 

The colorful and coastal city of Brighton is just a train ride away

solo travel to london

When I started telling friends that I was headed to London for the first time, they were quick to share all of their best suggestions and tips.

One of my favorites was the suggestion that I make a day trip to Brighton, a nearby coastal city and the LGBTQ capital of the UK. 

My day in Brighton was one of the highlights of my trip. I loved staring out over the water from the pebbly beach, sipping tasty coffee drinks that were a bit cheaper than the ones in London, and eating some incredible tacos from a stall in a covered market. 

The city felt like a mix of Bray, a seaside city in Wicklow, Ireland, and San Francisco – two places I love to visit.

I got to see a Banksy street art piece, sit in the sunshine, and enjoy the slightly slower pace of life in Brighton. 

Food in London was fabulous!

solo travel to london

I loved nearly every meal I ate while I was in London; the food was fabulous!

From the artisan treats in the Borough Market to a tasty bao bun spot in Tooting to sandwiches in SoHo, there was so much to love. 

One of my first meals in London was a perfect cheese sandwich from Paul Rothe & Son near SoHo. I found the restaurant on Google and it reminded me of a Jewish deli you might find in New York, but with a distinctly London twist. 

It was a little bit challenging to figure out what and how to order, but I was so happy with my sandwich that I didn’t mind.

The bread was perfectly fluffy, the veggies were crisp and fresh, and they even cut it into quarters for me!

Aside from the Borough Market, I found that the great food spots weren’t clustered in any one area.

Because I love a great meal, I planned parts of my days around the restaurants I wanted to visit for dinner. 

I saw King Charles!

solo travel to london

I have never been a big royal watcher or had much interest in the royal family, but I got to see King Charles anyway!

It happened very quickly – I was walking along the southern edge of Hyde Park when I saw a policeman on a motorcycle stop and yell something to the 10 or so onlookers (myself included).

I took out my earbuds too late to catch what he said, but just a moment later a car drove by with King Charles and another man in the back seat. 

The few people around me were visibly buzzing with excitement. I had assumed the man in the car was the king, but I wanted to double check so I asked one of the other women nearby.

She confirmed that it was, in fact, King Charles, but no one knew who the second man might be. Honestly, it was a pretty exciting moment even for a casual visitor to London.

The best part was undoubtedly the excitement of the crowd, who had definitely not been expecting to see a member of the royal family that day!

💃🏻 Solo travel to London as a woman

As a female traveler, here are my experiences when it comes to safety in solo female travel to London:

People were generally helpful and kind

I usually think of large cities as being full of people who are cold and unfriendly, but London didn’t quite fit the mold.

Sure, no one is going to approach you and ask about your day, but it really didn’t seem difficult to strike up a conversation with a Londoner. 

One day while I was walking in a central part of London, I spotted a big, gray police horse. I tried to take a photo, and the policeman noticed me and offered to let me pet his mount.

Our interaction was brief but warm, and it helped me feel like strangers were generally approachable in London. 

On a later trip to London, I had been camping and needed to recycle a propane cylinder.

I asked at an outdoors store and, although they didn’t know the answer to my question, they sat with me for several minutes and brainstormed places I could take it.

I was constantly on the move 

solo travel to london

I felt like I was on the move for the entirety of my time in London. From the moment I stepped onto the sidewalk in the morning to the time I unlocked the door to return to my hostel, I felt like I’d barely taken a moment to sit down.

Part of this was the aforementioned scale of London, and part of it was the fact that there was just so much to see and do. 

It wasn’t possible to return to my hostel during the day, so I made a point of carefully packing my backpack each morning.

I ensured that I had warm layers, snacks, water, and comfy shoes so that I would be able to tackle each of my ~12 hour days.

Whenever I truly needed a break, I popped into a cafe for a coffee or wandered into a free museum and sat on a bench to catch my breath.

I knew almost immediately that I’d return to London

solo travel to london

I had probably only been in London for a few hours when I decided that I was almost certain to return. As I walked through Hyde Park, I was struck by how many people had walked before me through this enormous urban green space.

The other tourists I met while in the park were friendly and kind, offering to take my photo a few times to document my solo adventure. 

My official soundtrack for my time in London was “London Boy” by Taylor Swift. I listened to the song on repeat as I rode the tube through the city or stared at the enormous blocks of houses near my hostel.

I had the sense that I could never run out of things to do in London, even if I tried my best to do them all. 

I have, in fact, returned to London twice since I first visited. Once for a long weekend when I needed a city break, and again in transit from Scotland to Finland on a subsequent trip. 

It was very easy to make friends

I went into my solo travel to London figuring I’d mostly keep to myself and get some time to enjoy my own company.

That was true for my first day, but I quickly befriended the two women in my hostel dorm room. We explored the city together, swapping stories about life and bonding over our shared love of travel. 

Honestly, I really enjoyed the days that I spent in London alone and the days I spent with others from my hostel. My solo travel to London were full of lots of walking and listening to music and enjoying my own company. 

No one in London seemed to notice that I was alone, and that anonymity helped me to feel safe and comfortable exploring by myself.

Even when I did disclose that I was traveling alone, the locals seemed unphased. I’ve never felt more comfortable dining alone than I did when I was in London. 

I spent a lot of time in museums

I don’t always visit museums when I travel, but I couldn’t get enough of the museums in London.

They were the perfect activity for my budget-conscious trip because they were free to visit, warm, and had lots of benches in case I needed to stop for a few minutes to rest my feet. 

On more than one occasion, I visited a free museum simply because it was there and I was feeling a little cold.

I would have otherwise never visited several of the museums in London, like the Science Museum and the National Gallery. I’m glad to have been able to see both, and more!

Of course, there were museums that I intentionally included in my itinerary, too. Those were the British Museum, the Tate Modern, and my personal favorite the Natural History Museum.

While at the Natural History Museum, I watched a young child interrogate her father for several minutes about the fate of the taxidermied birds on display. She was never satisfied with his answers. 

📍 Best areas for solo travel in London

London is a city of remarkable diversity, with neighborhoods catering to all sorts of travelers, whether you’re interested in history, shopping, nightlife, or observing local culture.

Here are five neighborhoods that offer something unique for solo travel to London:

1. Covent Garden

Best for: Theater-goers, food lovers, and shoppers

Covent Garden is known for its vibrant atmosphere, street performers, and an extensive variety of shops, restaurants, and theaters.

The area is home to the Royal Opera House and several West End theaters, making it a hub for the arts.

2. Notting Hill

Best for: Antique shoppers, art lovers, and those looking for a romantic atmosphere

Famous for its annual Carnival and the Portobello Road Market, Notting Hill is an incredibly charming area known for its colorful townhouses and boutique shops.

The neighborhood has a bohemian vibe and is a blend of the trendy and the traditional.

3. South Kensington

Best For: Park lovers and museum enthusiasts

South Kensington is the cultural heart of London, hosting a trifecta of major museums: The Natural History Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Science Museum.

This neighborhood is also in close proximity to Hyde Park and offers a more laid-back atmosphere compared to the bustling city center.

4. Soho

Best for: nightlife, foodies, LGBTQ+

Soho is the go-to neighborhood for nightlife and entertainment. It’s packed with bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, and it’s a hub for LGBTQ+ culture in London.

Soho is also home to Chinatown and offers a cosmopolitan experience to its visitors.

5. The City (Financial District)

Best for: History buffs and those interested in architecture

The City of London, often referred to simply as “The City,” is the historic and financial core of London.

During the weekdays, it’s bustling with professionals but quiets down during the weekend, offering a more peaceful exploration of its historical sites like the Tower of London and St. Paul’s Cathedral.

🧳 How can I enjoy London on my own?

First, exploring London alone should not be a lonely activity. If you stay in hostels, you will meet many fellow solo travelers whom you can do activities with. That said, STAY IN HOSTELS!

However, I understand if you just really want to spend time alone and is not in the mood for socializing. When those days hit, here are the best things to do in London alone:

1. Day trip to Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, and Bath

These iconic UK landmarks are perfect for solo travelers seeking a rich historical and cultural experience.

The guided tours (around $120 USD) often include bus rides, allowing you to meet other travelers while enjoying the British countryside.

Each location offers a unique glimpse into the UK’s heritage, making the trip a fascinating and educational journey.

2. Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio

For Potterheads, this magical studio offers an extraordinary behind-the-scenes look into the making of the Harry Potter films.

Solo travelers can indulge in fandom without anyone rushing them through the exhibits, making it a personal and immersive experience.

The Harry Potter studio tour costs $123 USD and it’s super worth it – you must do this!

3. London Tower and London Eye

Both attractions offer spectacular views, but each has its unique flavor—historical gravitas at the Tower and modern elegance on the Eye.

The London Tower and London eye tour combo starts at $120 USD and includes a tour of the Buckingham Palace changing of the Guards.

solo travel to london

4. Buckingham Palace changing of the Guard

This quintessentially British experience is straightforward yet engaging. It’s ideal for solo travelers because it’s free, doesn’t require booking, and provides fantastic opportunities for photography and people-watching.

You can also combine this with a visit to Buckingham Palace (from $86 USD).

5. FREE: British Museum and Tate Modern

These institutions offer world-class art and artifacts, perfect for travelers who prefer to wander alone, free to ponder at their own pace.

Audio guides enhance the solitary experience, making it both educational and introspective.

6. FREE: Foyles and Daunt Books

For book lovers, these iconic stores offer a haven for solitary exploration.

The vast collections mean you can easily spend hours browsing without feeling rushed, turning the visit into a mini-adventure of literary discovery.

solo travel to london
Daunts Books | Within London

7. Borough Market, Camden Market, and Portobello Road Market

Each market has a distinct atmosphere, making them perfect for solo travelers interested in food, shopping, and local culture.

These markets allow for casual, unpressured exploration and provide a sensory feast that can be enjoyed alone.

8. London’s West End

The West End is a treat for anyone who appreciates performing arts. Solo travelers can often snag last-minute tickets and may find it easier to get a single, excellent seat.

It’s a wonderful way to enjoy an evening immersed in world-class theatre.

9. Walking around London

London’s neighborhoods each have their unique charm, making them perfect for solitary exploration. Walking allows you to experience the city up close, take pictures freely, and discover hidden gems at your own pace.

solo travel to london

10. Hyde Park, Regents Park, and Greenwich Park

These green spaces offer solo travelers a respite from the bustling city. Whether you fancy a picnic, a boat ride, or a quiet moment with a book, these parks provide a versatile backdrop for a range of solo activities.

💲 How much does a solo trip to London cost?

The cost of a solo trip to London depends on your style and preferences. While there is no one price fits all (it’s really up to you!!).

Here’s a general breakdown of the kinds of expenses you might encounter as a solo traveler to London (in US dollars):

Budget Hotels$70-$150
Mid-Range Hotels$150-$300
Luxury Hotels$300-$600+
Fast food, cafes, some pubs$10-$20
Casual dining$20-$40
Fine dining $40-$100+
Oyster Card (pay as you go)$8-$20 per day
Taxi or Rideshare$10-$30 for short distances
Bicycle Hire$3 per day (est)
Tower of London / London Eye$15-$30
British Museum, Tate ModernFREE
Pubs and Bars$5-$15 per drink
SIM Card for Mobile $15-$40

🗺️ How can I spend a week alone in London?

Spending a week alone in London offers a unique opportunity for exploration and self-discovery. The city is rich in history, culture, and entertainment, making it ideal for a solo journey.

Here’s a sample 7-day itinerary to help you make the most out of your solo travel to London:

Day 1: Get Acquainted

  • Morning: Arrive and check into your accommodation.
  • Afternoon: Take a leisurely walk to get to know the neighborhood where you’re staying.
  • Evening: Enjoy a quiet dinner at a nearby restaurant or pub.

Day 2: The Historic Core

  • Morning: Visit the Tower of London.
  • Afternoon: Walk along the River Thames and maybe catch a glimpse of the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.
  • Evening: Ride the London Eye for stunning city views.

Day 3: Culture Day

  • Morning: Visit the British Museum.
  • Afternoon: Head to the Tate Modern.
  • Evening: Explore Soho and have dinner at a quirky café or international restaurant.
solo travel to london

Day 4: Literary and Artsy Explorations

  • Morning: Spend time at Daunt Books or Foyles.
  • Afternoon: Explore the art galleries around Mayfair.
  • Evening: Take in a show in the West End.

Day 5: Market Hopping

  • Morning: Start at Borough Market for some breakfast treats.
  • Afternoon: Make your way to Camden Market for eclectic shopping.
  • Evening: Head to Portobello Road Market in Notting Hill and dine at a local eatery.

Day 6: Day Trip

  • Whole Day: Take a day trip to Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, and Bath.

Day 7: Green London

  • Morning: Relax in Hyde Park, taking a boat out on the Serpentine or simply enjoying nature.
  • Afternoon: Visit Greenwich Park and explore the Royal Observatory.
  • Evening: Enjoy a final dinner at a nice restaurant to celebrate your trip.

⛔ Is it safe to travel solo to London?

London is generally considered a safe city for solo travelers, both male and female.

However, like any major metropolitan area, it has its share of crime and areas where caution is advisable. Here are some general safety tips for solo travel to London:

solo travel to london
  • Public Transport: Public transportation in London is generally safe, but always be aware of your surroundings, especially during late-night travel.
  • Well-Lit Areas: Stick to well-lit areas when walking around at night.
  • Crowded Places: Be cautious in crowded places, as pickpocketing can be a concern.
  • Some areas are best avoided late at night or when you’re alone. Research neighborhoods in advance and stay in well-reviewed accommodations.
  • Be Aware: Always be aware of your surroundings. If something or someone makes you uncomfortable, leave the area and seek help if necessary.
  • Local Emergency Number: Know the local emergency number (999 in the UK) and have a plan for how to reach it.
  • Gender-Specific Concerns: Female travelers generally find London to be a safe destination but should exercise the usual precautions such as avoiding poorly-lit areas at night and being aware of their surroundings.
  • Alcohol and Nightlife: London has a vibrant nightlife, but if you’re out late, always keep an eye on your drink to avoid any tampering.
  • Scams and Frauds: Be aware of common scams like street games or overly friendly strangers who might be trying to distract you for pickpocketing.
  • Cultural Norms: London is a diverse and multicultural city. Understanding basic British etiquette can go a long way in helping you feel comfortable and navigate social situations.
  • Staying Connected: Having a working cell phone can be a safety net. SIM cards are easily available if your phone is unlocked.

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