Travelling solo can be daunting, I’ll admit it (see my solo trip to Whitby here), but it can also be pretty freaking exhilarating. And I promise you, London is a great city to try out solo travel – though I may be biased, because having had the pleasure of being in London a number of times, I do feel quite safe in the city (knowing your way around a little definitely helps, though recent events have made even the biggest London fans a little wary, I’m sure).
So, if you want to give solo travel a try (highly recommend!) here are my tips and tricks to have the most inspiring time in London, alone!
- Grab yourself some data, and some apps – in particular, Citymapper for all your tube and bus needs. Uber could also be good in case you end up stranded somewhere and just don’t know where to go. Make sure your Google Maps are working too, because there are plenty of little lanes and you could end up from Piccadilly to Soho in a matter of minutes without realising how!
- Definitely, whatever you do, don’t stand in the centre of a crowded Oxford St looking at a paper map – even though I love to draw up where I visited in the day on a physical map, travelling solo means being much more aware of yourself and those around you. Paper maps = tourist, there’s no other way around it, and you definitely don’t want to be looking like a tourist when you’re out and about on your own.
- People watch – if there ever were a city so diverse and quirky as any other, it would be London. From tourists to expats, students to born-and-bred Cockneys, there’s not end to the curiosity you could accumulate here. Personal fav spots to people watch include Covent Garden, Hyde Park and Notting Hill
- Museums are beautiful, and free! – There are some activities that just feel odd to do alone and some, like museum-hopping, that are MADE to be done alone. The British Museum is my personal favourite (get off at Holborn tube station), as is the Imperial War Museum. Plus, the museums and galleries are situated usually in such beautiful areas of London. While South London, where the Imperial War Museum is found, is an underrated part of the capital, there are so many parks and pubs all the way along it
- Hop on a bus, get pole position, and just keep riding – I am the self-professed master of getting that pole-position seat on London’s infamous double-decker buses. Think: front row, top level. Just getting on a bus and seeing where it goes (and getting the bonus of having London’s landmarks at your disposal without the blisters from having walked around all day) is amazing, plus, no one will ever ask why you’re catching a bus alone! Win-win!
- Plethora of Palaces – one of my favourite memories while wandering London alone is my entire morning from shopping in South Kensington and playing dream house hunting, to discovering the magic of Kensington Palace and the surrounding lakes and park. And there are so many palaces to enjoy, you don’t need to go so central if you’d feel a little odd solo adventuring – why not try Royal Holloway?
London really is a city made for discovering, wandering and people watching, and doing it alone means you really do get the best of both worlds – there’s ALWAYS people around (trust me, even at 2am the streets are buzzing) but you get to choose exactly how you spend you day. Plus, London is so incredibly safe, just try not to stick out as a tourist!
What other things have you done alone in London? Anything we could add to this list? xx