London is generally a very safe city to visit, but, as when spending time in any large city, it pays to be sensible and to take precautions. It is a great city to visit as a family and offers a huge variety of attractions for children and adults alike that are all within easy striking distance of our King’s Cross hotel.
Although most visitors to the city enjoy their trip without incident, you can minimise the risk of encountering trouble by planning ahead, keeping your wits about you and sticking to the following London safety tips. If you’re not sure how to explore the city with children in tow; you’re a solo female traveller; or you’re asking yourself do you need travel insurance for your trip, read on.
Travel safety by public transport
London’s public transport system is generally efficient and safe, and offers a great way of getting around the city to the various sights and different districts. To ensure that you get to your destination as smoothly as possible, always plan your route before you set off and familiarise yourself with any changes you need to make.
The Transport for London website is a mine of information for those unfamiliar with the city and will enable you to plan your journey meticulously. Travel safety in London is mainly about knowing where you’re going, not getting lost and sticking to your planned route – and not falling asleep on the last train back to us in King’s Cross!
We’ve also compiled a bunch of handy travel articles to help you navigate your way around the capital during your stay in King’s Cross, including:
Staying safe at night
Although most of the attractions and areas popular with tourists are busy, well-lit and safe, even after dark, take precautions as you would in any unfamiliar city. Try to avoid walking around on your own at night, and stick to well-lit, busy roads as much as possible. Don’t be tempted to take short cuts using routes you’re not familiar with, such as down back streets, however tempting it may seem.
Like all parts of the world, pickpockets can be a problem in crowded areas. Places such as Camden Market, Leicester Square and Oxford Street get extremely busy at weekends, so ensure that all your valuables are securely packed away somewhere safe. This not only reduces the risk of you dropping anything, but also means that opportunistic thieves won’t be able to get their hand on your cash or expensive electronics.
Keeping your belongings safe
Reputable London hotels are generally very secure and safe, but thefts from rooms can of course occur, as with anywhere. All of our rooms at Hotel Megaro are equipped with in-room safes, so use this to store your passport and valuables to minimise your risk.
You might be asking yourself ‘do I need travel insurance?’, especially if you’re only visiting from another part of the UK. As with any form of travel, it’s always a good idea to have travel insurance. Not only will this protect you in the event of theft, loss or damage to your belongings, but it might also offer you compensation if you experience travel delays or cancellations.
Travelling as a solo female
As previously mentioned, London is generally safe and most visitors won’t experience any problems. While there aren’t specific parts of London solo female travellers should avoid altogether, stick to the main tourist destinations if you’re not familiar with the city.
The areas around some of the city’s major stations can be quite seedy after dark, and although you’re unlikely to experience any trouble, you might attract unwanted attention. Much of London has been somewhat gentrified in recent years, and areas such as Soho or certain parts of the East End of London are now far more tourist-friendly and generally safe for solo travellers.
Choosing the right hotel is also important. Hotel Megaro is a recommended hotel on Maiden Voyage a leading women’s travel network which provides valuable information for female business travellers staying in hotels across the world.
London has thousands of taxis and minicabs and. although they’re expensive, they can be convenient for some trips, especially if you’re out late at night. If you decide to travel by taxi, make sure that you only ever travel by a licensed taxi (black cab, or Hackney cab) or by licensed minicab.
The driver’s licensing information should be clearly displayed in the vehicle. Bear in mind that only black cabs are allowed to pick fares up straight off the street, so if a minicab offers you a lift, always refuse. If you need to contact a minicab, do so by phone and arrange for one to pick you up. Just let our reception team know when and where you would like to travel and we’ll be happy to arrange one for you.
Hiring a bike
There are many providers in London who will hire you a bike by the day or for a portion of your stay. It’s also possible to hire bikes for children, so this can be a great way to explore the city as a family. If you’re visiting from overseas, you should acquaint yourself with the rules of the road, and avoid any very busy areas if you’re not experienced at cycling in major cities.
To find out more about hiring Santander Cycles (the citywide cycle scheme with docking stations all over London), head to our guide to the best London cycle routes from King’s Cross
Driving a rental car in London
Driving in central London is not for the faint hearted and if you’re from overseas, it’s a good idea to take some time to familiarise yourself with both your rental car and British roads before tackling the busiest parts of the city.
Most cars will be manual (stick shift), so if you’re not used to driving one of these, be sure to specifically request an automatic car when making your 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.
For advice and route planning for travel by car during your stay in our King’s Cross hotel, head to the Travel Information section of our King’s Cross Blog.
Staying safe in different areas
If you’re sticking to the popular tourist destinations, you shouldn’t experience any problems, but again, do practice normal precautions with regards to keeping cash and valuables safely out of sight and reach in busy areas. Some parts of central London used to have reputations for being unsafe for visitors after dark. The large-scale gentrification of many areas in recent years, however, means there really aren’t any no-go areas in the city and there are hotels full of tourists and business travellers all over London.
As with any large city, plan your route and stick to well-lit roads after dark and you should always feel safe. If you’re going to an area you’re not familiar with, a combination of online research and speaking to our team here at Megaro should put your mind at rest and help you to feel confident about your excursion. We’ve also compiled a range of customised maps covering a selection of popular London areas, which you can browse in the King’s Cross Maps and area guides section of our blog.