United Kingdom

With four separate countries (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) and a capital in the heart of Europe’s economic and cultural life (London), the UK is a very popular touristic destination. While most travelers only visit London, for its unique personality, iconic landmarks or strong art and food scene; there is much more to see in the UK. While a very safe country, some parts of the UK’s cities are best to be avoided, and pickpockets can be a problem near some touristic landmarks in London. SafeAround has compiled information from numerous sources make sure you have a safe trip in the UK and be aware of all potential dangers. The UK is the 33rd safest country in the world, based on the safest and most dangerous countries ranking.

SAFETY INDEX

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Is the UK a Safe or Dangerous Country?

As all European countries, the UK is a safe country. Violent crime is low, and most tourists will never be bothered by safety concerns other that petty crime. It is ranked 33th on the ranking of world’s safest countries. In some cities, some neighborhoods are pretty nasty and risky for tourists – refer to local advice or our city guides to know which parts are better avoided. In London and other cities, some areas with a lot of bars and nightclub can get dangerous at night, where intoxicated people are sometimes easy targets for muggers. Sport events – such as soccer games – can end with some violence between teams. Traffic and crossing lanes can be an issue since people drive on the left side of the road, and every year tourists get run over because they forgot to look before crossing the road. Pickpockets are an issue in urban areas cities or at crowded events.  Travelers should also know that pickpockets often work in teams, and sometimes even in conjunction with street vendors. Begging is not uncommon in some larger cities, but not to a greater extent than in most other major cities, and you will rarely experience aggressive beggars. Some beggars are organized in groups. Be aware that flashing any cardboard sign very near to your body could be a pickpocket trick. Recent terrorist attacks have happened in neighboring countries (France and  Belgium);and while tourists should raise their level of caution, the police presence has been greatly increased in large cities to deter further attacks. While very few tourists have been victims of these attacks, the terrorist threat is reflected in the safety ranking. Be especially vigilant for bag and phone thieves at transport hubs like train stations, airports, restaurants, outdoor cafes, beaches and on public transport. Protect your personal belongings at all times, especially your ID and passport. Petty crime, like bag snatching and pick pocketing, is a serious problem around touristic areas and on public transport. For any emergency, call the free european-wide number 112 (or 999). For more details, see city specific advice or take a look at our travel articles.

Warnings & Dangers

Mid Priority-96 OVERALL RISK : LOW

The United Kingdom is  a very safe country. It is ranked 33th out of 162 on the ranking of the safest and most dangerous countries.

Mid Priority-96 PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH

There is some pickpocket-related risk in the United Kingdom. A few simple precautions will minimize your chances of being pickpocketed. Take a look at the city maps to see the most frequent pickpockets locations.

Mid Priority-96 MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM

The United Kingdom is an averagely safe country regarding the chances of being mugged or kidnapped. Be aware of dangerous zones by asking local advice.

Mid Priority-96 SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM

As in any touristic place, there may be people trying to scam you in The United Kingdom. Be aware of “gold ring” tricks, fake petitions, groups of teenagers acting strangely or trying to distract you; and people offering help with your luggage.

Mid Priority-96 TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW

Transports and taxis are generally very safe in the UK.

Mid Priority-96 NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW

There are no natural hazards in the United Kingdom, other than incessant rain!

Mid Priority-96 TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM

The United Kingdom has not recently been targeted by terrorist attacks, but it is best to stay alert.

Mid Priority-96 WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW

The UK is generally very safe for women travelers.

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Useful Information

Visas are not required for EU nationals and for some other nationalities, while some countries need visas. Make sure your passport has at least six months’ validity from your planned date of return to the country you’re visiting. www.doyouneedvisa.com is a useful website that can help you know if you need a visa or not based on your nationality and the country you’re visiting.
The currency in the UK is the British Pound. It is one of the most expensive country to visit as a tourist, with the accommodation prices in London skyrocketing. Allow a budget of at least 100£ per day including accommodation (150£ in London).
The weather in the UK is mild, with winters milder than in continental Europe but cooler summers. The best time to visit is around summer (June-August) although major cities can be visited year-long.
The main international airports are in London (4 different airports), Manchester, Edinburg and Birmingham If you’re looking fore cheap flight deals, you can find some on JetRadar
As in any country, we advise travelers to get a travel insurance that covers not only medical problems but also theft and loss of personal items. Learn more on our travel insurance page.