Top Tips for Staying Safe in London

Taxi in London

In general, London is a pretty safe city to visit – but, like any big city, it has its problems too. These issues usually don’t stop people from visiting this beautiful and historic city, and it’s a great place to visit with family, or for a romantic getaway. But if you want to reduce your chances of having any problems during your journey to the capital, here are some tips to help you keep safe.

Public Transport

Public Transport

Getting around London is easy, thanks to its vast public transport network. But, whether you’re travelling by train, tube, bus or a hired bicycle, there are a number of ways to improve the safety of yourself and the people around you.

    • Plan your route before you leave – It always helps to be prepared, and if you know where you’re going, you can move swiftly and efficiently through the public transport system. Having a plan also makes you look more like a local rather than a confused tourist – and blending in can help reduce the chances of opportunistic crime.
    • Stay informed – Be sure to check the boards at the entrance of Tube stations – these are there to let you know if there are any delays or closures on the network, and also provide other useful information. Keep an ear out for announcements and consider using tools like the TFL website and mobile apps to keep up to date about any transport issues.
    • Avoid wearing headphones – It doesn’t take long to realise that on London transport, everyone wears headphones. But it’s actually not a good idea. Headphones reduce your awareness of your surroundings and can also prevent you from hearing important emergency announcements.
    • Stay behind the yellow line – There’s a yellow line on every train and tube platforms. Staying behind this mark can help you maintain a safe distance from the platform edge and approaching trains.
    • Mind the gap – This isn’t so much a problem on the more modern lines like the Jubilee and DLR – but at many train and tube stations, the gap between the platform edge and the inside of the train can seem like a canyon. Always pay attention when getting on and off trains to avoid tripping over, or falling into, the gap.
    • Taxis – For your safety, always use licensed taxis or minicabs. Driver licensing information should be clearly displayed in the vehicle and remember that black cabs are the only ones allowed to pick fares up straight off the street – so if a minicab offers you a lift, always refuse.

Keeping Valuables Safe

Crowded places – especially areas that attract tourists – can have a problem with pickpockets. So what can you do to keep your valuables safe?

    • Only take what you need – Don’t carry more money than you need, and leave valuables like electronics, extra cash and passports in your hotel safe if you won’t be needing them while you’re out.
    • Don’t wear a backpack – Backpacks make you look like a tourist, and they’re also easy to target.
    • Be mindful – Keep your things with you at all times – Never leave a bag unattended. It puts your items at risk of theft and can also lead to a security alert.
    • Cashpoints – When using an ATM, keep your PIN shielded and be aware of the people around you. If anything about the machine seems off, don’t use it – and if your card gets stuck in a machine, don’t leave until you’ve called your bank. Occasionally, criminals put false fronts on cash machines to steal cards.
    • Report theft – Inform your service provider, and the police, if your phone or other valuables are stolen or lost. You can dial 101 to contact the nearest police service in a non-emergency situation.
    • Keep photocopies of your important documents somewhere safe – Having a copy of your passport and driving licence can be useful in case these documents get lost or stolen. Keep the copies somewhere safe and also consider storing scanned versions on the cloud, so they’re always accessible.

Out at Night

London in Night

    • Take a buddy – Whenever possible, avoid being out at night by yourself. People on their own are easier targets than people in groups.
    • Stay in well-lit areas – Stick to the busier areas at night and avoid slipping off main roads for shortcuts.
    • Watch your drink – Don’t accept drinks from strangers and never drink a beverage that has been left unattended.
    • Maintain awareness – Visiting the big city is a great opportunity to let your hair down and have a good time, but always be aware of what’s going on around you.