London is generally a very safe city to visit, but when it comes to spending time in any large city, it pays to be sensible and to take precautions. Although most visitors to London enjoy their trips without any incident, you can curtail the risk of coming across any trouble by planning ahead, using your intelligence and following the London safety tips. Perhaps, if you are not sure how to explore the city with children in tow or you are a solo female traveller or a tourist, our London safety tips will certainly help you stay safe.
Safe Travel in London
- Before you leave, always plan your route. The Transport for London website can be the best guide.
- Use taxis or minicabs that are registered.
- If possible, evade from walking alone at night. Better keep to well-lit main roads.
- Do not wear headphones as they lessen awareness of your surroundings.
- In London, vehicles drive on the left. So to ensure crossing roads safely, use designated crossings only. Follow the traffic signs indicating “look right” or “look left” to spot any traffic.
Staying safe in Bars and Restaurants
- Keep your property safely under the table.
- Several venues have clips under the tables; use them to clip and secure your handbag or briefcase.
- Never ever take any drink from a stranger.
- Call or text your friends to make sure they reached home safely and vice-versa.
- Never leave your carryon or bag unattended anywhere in the city as this may lead to a security alert.
- Keep your wallet or purse close to your body. Do not carry too much cash.
- While using a Cashpoint, make sure that no one is looking over your shoulder. While operating, cover the keypad so that no one else can see your PIN number. Check whether the ATM has been tampered or not.
- Keep all your electronic gadgets like mobile phone, camera and MP3 player in your handbag or pocket when not in use.
- Do not forget to record details of your electronic serial numbers (ESNs).
- Inform your service provider and police if your phone or other valuables are stolen or lost. For Police help dial 101.
You can find thousands of taxis and minicabs in London. Though these are expensive, they can be convenient for some trips, especially when you are out late at night. So if you decide to travel by taxi or minicab, check that it is a licensed one. In other words, use black cab or Hackney cab.
Ensure that information related to driver’s license is clearly displayed in the vehicle. Keep in mind that only black cabs are authorized to pick fares straight off the street, hence if a minicab offers you a lift, do not accept. If you require a minicab, call and arrange for one to pick you up.
Hiring a Bike
Several providers are available in London who can hire you a bike for a day or for a certain time period of your stay. You can also hire bikes for children, making it a wonderful way to explore the city as a family. If you are visiting from overseas, you should be acquainted with the road and avoid any very busy area if you are inexperienced at cycling in major cities.
Driving a Rental Car
Driving in central London is not for the faint hearted and if you’re from overseas, it is a better idea to be familiar with your rental car and the British roads before tackling the busiest areas of London. Most of the cars are manual (stick shift), hence if you are not used to driving one of these, request for an automatic car while booking. There are helpful online tutorials and videos you can study before you drive in the UK and these can help you to drive safely for the duration of your trip.
Emergency Contacts and Information
- In an emergency, contact the police, ambulance, or fire department on 999 or 112. Both numbers are free to call and must be used in real emergency.
- To report non-urgent crime, contact your local police station by calling 101 from within the UK.
- Information about major incidents in the capital can be found on the Met Police website.
All transport updates and latest transport information are available in the Transport for London website.
7 Quick ideas to stay safe in London