UK’s capital and most famous city, London is a megalopolis of over 8m inhabitants (the Greater London), and is one the few Global Cities in the world, being an international capital for music, culture, universities, fashion, business and finance. Through Buckingham Palace, Big Ben or the more recent London Eye, there are about unlimited landmarks and neighborhoods to visit.
Although the city is very safe even for women travelling alone, some areas attracts a lot of pickpockets and crooks who take advantage of the crowds on the city’s streets, and some places outside the city center are best avoided.
SafeAround will allow you to see on a map the city’s safest and most dangerous neighborhoods and areas, details on scams and other risks, as well as some useful travel advice.
Note: there are a lot of neighborhoods in London, here are only a few selected ones
One of London’s central districts, Bloomsbury is famous for being home to the British Museum, the most exhaustive museum in London, as well as the British Library, the University of London, The School of Oriental and African Studies. There are many squares, old Victorian houses as well as the busy Tottenham Court Road. As can be seen on the MET Police Website, Bloomsbury is quite a safe area, although some occasional cases of violence have been reported.
City Of London
The former historical center of London (where it was originally built around Roman walls), is separated from the rest of London. While not a very popular touristic destination, it is the financial center of London and Europe, and there are nontheless many sights in the area such as St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. It is very safe, although the emptiness of the neighborhood at night can feel menacing.
Soho – Mayfair – Hyde Park
Soho and Mayfair are some of London’s most popular and crowded areas, with Soho being full of bars, restaurants and nightclubs – it was a former red light district.
Mayfair, on the border of Hyde park, is one of London’s most expensive neighborhoods, and is known to be the location of many exclusive high-end shops, art galleries and restaurants.
North of Mayfair lies Marylebone and the famous shopping-area Oxford Circus and Oxford street. It gets extremely crowded at rush hour and during weekend, so keep your valuables close to you. There is a high police presence in Soho, particularly during the weekends when crowd go to the pubs and bars of the area. Never take unlicensed cabs, as there have been reports of thefts and rapes. Hyde Park is very safe throughout the day and even at night.
East London is a good way to get off the crowded city center streets. Made up of several neighborhoods such as Brick Lane, Bethnal Green and Shoreditch, the area is known for being young, laid-back and animated during the weekends around the street markets, bars and nightclubs. The area used to be dangerous, but is now very gentrified. Still, some parts of Brick Lane and Shoreditch are better avoided at night since some reports of muggings have been made.
Warnings & Dangers
OVERAL RISK: LOW
London is a very safe city. With a rating of 77% The United Kingdom, is ranked 33th out of 162 on the ranking of the safest and most dangerous countries.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: HIGH
As a top touristic destination, there is a high pickpocket risk in London, especially on crowded Tube (subway) or Buses. A few simple precautions will minimize your chances of being pickpocketed.
MUGGING & KIDNAPPING RISK: MEDIUM
London is an averagely safe city regarding the chances of being mugged. Be aware of dangerous zones by asking local advice. In the tube, never take an empty carriage at night.
SCAMS RISK: HIGH
There are a lot of scammers and con-artists trying to take advantage of tourists, particularly in large cities and around major landmarks in London. 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.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: MEDIUM
There might be some risk while taking public transport in London, and fake taxis can be an issue sometimes (never take one).
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW
There are no natural hazards in London.
TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM
London has not recently been targeted by terrorist attacks, but it is best to stay alert.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
London is generally very safe for women travelers.
Avoid Being A Victim! 10 Tips for Your Personal Safety
It is best to carry a small bag across your shoulder or wear a concealed pouch rather than a back pack
Carry as little cash as you can
Don’t keep your wallet in your back pocket
Beware of individuals who act strangely and who try to divert your attention in order to steal your belongings.
Pay special attention while seating on restaurants and café terraces, when you are withdrawing money from ATMs or near tourist attractions
Never keep your mobile phone or wallet on the table of a café or restaurant.
Don’t wear expensive jewellery in an ostentatious way
If an attacker tries to snatch your bag, don’t try to stop them as you will risk being injured
Thieves commonly work near tourist attractions such as museums, monuments, restaurants, hotels, beaches, trains, train stations, airports, subways and target vehicles with non-local license plates.
Most but not all of pickpockets work in groups, often as teenagers
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).