The author Brooke Horrobin standing in Chelsea Embankment while holding an umbrella during a rainy morning in London

Is London Safe For Travel in 2023? (Honest Local Advice)

👉 Jump to: Is London Safe? | Advisories | Safe AreasCovid-19 | Crime | Scams | Weather | Solo Female | LGBTQ+ & BIPOCNightlife | Water | Safety Tips | FAQ

Planning a visit and wondering: is London safe for travel?

It’s important to do your research ahead of going on holiday, especially in a major city and with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. As a London local who loves exploring this exciting metropolis, I’m here to provide you with my take on the city’s safety, including hard data and safety tips.

All in all, London is generally a safe place to visit, but there are some things you should know about safety in London. And while you’re here, be sure to bookmark my articles on where to stay in London and what to do in London.

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. See our Advertising Policy for further explanation. Thank you!

Is London Safe?

Amongst popular European cities, London is generally a very safe city for travelers that plan ahead. However, before you travel, it’s important that you do your research on where to stay and what measures to take regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. People visiting London should take the usual precautions to protect their belongings against pickpocketing when out touring the city by being aware of their surroundings, especially when using public transportation.

London has high levels of law enforcement and security across neighborhoods, making it a safe city for visitors. According to the Economist’s 2021 Safe Cities Index, London ranks as the fifteenth safest city in the world.

One element about the United Kingdom that makes it significantly safer than some other countries is the fact that there are very strict gun laws. This makes gun violence a much less common crime in London compared to other major cities. Possession of weapons is the least common type of crime in London.

The most common crimes in London are violence, sexual offenses, and robbery. Of course, there are ways to help prevent these types of criminal activity from happening. 

Still, travel insurance for London may be worth considering, especially if visiting from abroad. You can compare quotes easily at VisitorsCoverage or

Things to Know About Safety in London

Overlooking view of buildings in London

Travel Advisories

On the travel advisory level scale, The US State Department advises people traveling to the UK to exercise increased caution when visiting the UK due to the potential for a terrorist attack. This is level 2 out of 4, which means that you are still safe to go, it is just recommended that you exercise common sense and awareness when traveling.

Big cities are unfortunately the biggest targets for terrorism even though they are not intrinsically dangerous places. Over the years, London has increased security significantly, especially in the busiest areas of the city, making it a safe place to roam.

Safe Neighborhoods and Areas in London

Cars parked alongside the street of Kensington in London
The pretty streets of Kensington and Chelsea are safe neighborhoods to walk around

Many boroughs in London are considered very safe for visitors to wander around. To stay safe in London, it’s best practice to make yourself aware of the various neighborhoods before your trip.

Much of West London is generally a safe area and one that people of all ages flock to. Richmond in West London has the lowest crime rate in London – it’s a beautiful residential area with some of London’s best restaurants, parks, and shops.

Other top areas that are safe in London to visit include Notting Hill (West), Bermondsey (South East), Highbury (North East), and Hampstead (North West). These neighborhoods are scattered across London so you can easily diversify your trip while also ensuring you are in a safe area. 

In general, you will be able to feel safe in the majority of neighborhoods in London. It’s all about taking safety precautions such as staying aware of your surroundings, planning your route, and leaving valuables in a safe place before going out for the day.

Covid-19 Safety in London 

The UK was the first country in the world to begin administering citizens the Covid-19 vaccine. They ran a very successful and efficient vaccination program that has seen over 151 million vaccinations to date, with many people getting vaccinated in London specifically.

Today, Covid-19 restrictions in London have largely been lifted, but it’s still good practice to keep a mask and hand sanitizer with you just in case.

Crime in London 

People walking on the street before night time in London

Crime rates in London have unfortunately increased by 10% in the past year, according to the Metropolitan Police crime dashboard. 

Results from the dashboard also state the most common crimes are violence against a person without injury, theft, and violence against a person that has resulted in injury. The borough of Westminster has significantly higher crime rates than any other area in central London, mainly due to its high population density and tourist attractions.

The London government and the Mayor of London have put an immediate crime plan in place for 2022-2025 to tackle crime over the coming years. The plan has four main priorities: to focus on reducing violent crime in London and address its underlying causes, to increase trust and confidence in the policing system, to improve services provided to crime victims, and to protect people from criminal exploitation and harm.

Common Scams in London

The Albert Bridge with lights in London

Another way to stay safe in London is to know the common scams. Unfortunately, the reality of London being a top tourist destination means that scammers see it as a prime opportunity to target visitors and even locals. Some of the most common scams are:

💸 Thieves and Pickpockets – Make sure you keep your hand on your bags at all times, especially in crowded places. Pickpockets target tourists in busy places, so protecting your belongings will help prevent getting them stolen.

🎟️ Fake Tickets Scam – It is recommended to always purchase tickets for concerts, broadway shows, and sporting events from online platforms and not from sellers outside of venues. Although on some occasions the sellers are real, there have been a lot of fake tickets sold this way.

👜 Fake Luxury Goods Scam – London is full of luxury goods, but if you’re in the market, then beware of fakes. It is recommended to buy from the stores directly, or a luxury secondhand store for vintage designer goods. A lot of London markets will try and pass off fakes as real designer items, so best to buy from a recognized seller.

📹 Cameras on ATM Machines Scam – When using an ATM in London, make sure you check to ensure there isn’t a hidden camera. There have been reports of ATMs with cameras attached so scammers can record credit cards and PINs.

📷 Someone Offering to Take Your Picture – This is a timeless trick that has happened in many cities, including London. If you’re traveling solo and would like someone to get the perfect shot of you in front of your favorite landmark, be mindful about who you ask so you don’t get your phone stolen. Families are likely your best bet.

👐 Fake Charity Collectors Scam – This guilt trip scam has trapped many tourists and is easily avoidable. Unfortunately, there are fake charities around London masquerading as real charities asking for money. Real charity collectors in the UK must legally carry a collector’s permit and registration number, so you can ask to see these if you’re planning to donate.

Hazardous Weather and Natural Disasters 

The author standing in Chelsea Embankment while holding an umbrella during a rainy morning in London
Rainy days are a likely occurrence in London, with the potential for stronger storms

London has a reputation for being one of the rainiest cities in Europe, which can sometimes result in thunderstorms or flooding. See my guide to the best time to visit London for when to come for better weather.

Although rain is a part of life in London, London is not known to have particularly hazardous weather such as hurricanes, which require much higher temperatures than you’ll see in the UK.

The weather can be spotty in London, and rain doesn’t always mean a thunderstorm or torrential downpour. You’ll likely experience a quick rainfall that blows over within a short period. The best way to be prepared for London’s sometimes wacky weather is to always carry a travel umbrella on you and go indoors if the rain picks up.

The London government has implemented a severe and natural disaster framework to be prepared in the case that hazardous weather may arise.

Solo Female Traveler Safety

The author wandering in Richmond Park during fall season
Wandering around Richmond Park during fall

Solo travel for women carries its own set of precautions, however, London is generally a safe place for solo female travel. The best practice as a solo female traveler in London is to take steps like planning your route or avoiding walking alone at night where possible. 

There is a great free personal safety app that you can download in London called Hollie Guard that allows you to notify your emergency contacts when you’re in trouble. I would recommend downloading this when you arrive in London. Another great trick is to carry a personal alarm should you be in an unsafe situation.

When going out for the evening, it never hurts to let someone know where you will be as an extra safety measure.

LGBTQ+ and BIPOC Safety

London is one of the most friendly cities in the world for the LGBTQ+ community. There are several queer-friendly bars and events within the city, which has one of the largest LGBTQ+ communities in the world. Soho is a hotspot for the queer community, where you’ll find a great selection of gay bars and clubs. London Pride and Brighton Pride are two of the largest annual LGBTQ+ celebrations, welcoming queers from all over the world.

Over a third of residents in London were born outside the UK, and it is known for being a very multicultural city. BIPOC travelers will very often feel welcome and safe in London. 

That being said, although London is diverse, there is still a ways to go in terms of alleviating racism and hate crime. It is recommended to stay informed of local and global news and always be aware of your surroundings as a traveler, regardless of your ethnicity.

Nightlife Safety

Double-decker buses in London on the streets at night
(photo: ansharphoto / Shutterstock)

London is known for its bustling nightlife scene that attracts visitors from all over the world. There are so many fun places to drink in London.

However, the busyness of London’s nightlife has made it easier for people to spike drinks, which can be very dangerous. When going out at night, it is best to travel in groups and ensure you always hold onto your drink.

If you have to leave your drink unattended for whatever reason, have your friend or partner watch it. If someone offers to buy you a drink, ensure that you do not take your eyes off of it from the moment it’s made to when it’s handed to you.

Is Tap Water Safe to Drink in London?

The tap water in London is clean and safe for drinking. Tap water in the UK is also considered some of the best in the world. London’s tap water goes through a process before it hits your taps, and the majority comes from River Thames and River Lee reservoirs. The water is then taken through a freshwater treatment before becoming accessible to you.

If you needed any further reassurance, London’s tap water is often tested by private water companies such as Thames Water to ensure it’s safe.

7 Safety Tips for London

Tip #1 – Keep Your Phone In A Place Where You Can See It

Street theft is unfortunately quite common in London, and phones, in particular, are easy to grab out of someone’s hand or pocket. Put your phone in your bag when not in use, and keep your hand over your bag while walking or on the tube.

Also, when walking on busy streets, grip your phone tightly in your hand so cyclists riding by don’t have the chance to take it (this has happened!)

Tip #2 – Leave Your Passport At Your Accommodations In A Safe

When traveling, your passport is one of your most prized possessions and not something you want to risk losing. It is recommended to leave it at your hotel, AirBnB, or other accommodations in a safe. You can set a reminder on your phone to take it out of the safe before your return flight for peace of mind.

🧳 Read Next: What to Pack for London

Tip #3 – Avoid Walking Alone At Night

Colorful fireworks up in the night sky of Sloane Square
Fireworks at nightfall in Sloane Square

As with any big city, some neighborhoods in London are not as safe as others. It is recommended to avoid walking alone at night in less well-lit or busy areas and travel in numbers if possible. 

This will not only make you feel safer when wandering around a city you’re less familiar with but will also reduce the risk of being approached by strangers. If you see any suspicious behavior, you should report it to the local police station.

Tip #4 – Always Be Aware of Your Surroundings, Especially When Wearing Headphones

View of people and stores on a street market in London

Many people that are looking to visit the UK think about whether London is a safe city to explore. It certainly can be as long as you’re using common sense and being street-wise to avoid dangerous areas including dark alleys. 

The best way to do this is by always being aware of your surroundings at all times. Wearing headphones when walking alone at night is not recommended, as it is harder to see others, so hearing your surroundings becomes more important.

Tip #5 – Plan Your Travel Route Before You Leave

View from the Kensington Palace Gardens
Kensington Palace Gardens on an overcast day

London is a big city and maneuvering through it can be tricky without a plan in place. Planning your travel route before you leave your accommodations will not only help guide you along the most efficient route to where you want to go, but also make you feel safer when navigating. 

Public transport can get you almost anywhere in London, as well as to some of the best day trips from London, and is the most cost-effective. City Mapper is a great app you can download that provides real-time updates on transit and the best routes to take.

Tip #6 – Don’t Carry A Lot of Cash 

When paying for things in London, the majority of places take credit and debit cards, which means you will not need to carry much cash when you’re in the city. This is great news as it reduces the risk of non-urgent crimes like robbery. 

Cards can be used for everything from the tube to coffee shops, and the only places you’re likely to need cash are for some markets and smaller businesses.

Tip #7 – Let A Loved One Know Of Your Whereabouts 

The author with her dad in Portobello Road Market
My dad and I at the Portobello Road Market

It is good common sense to let your loved ones know your plans, especially when traveling. Most cities can have dangerous areas, so it is a great safety measure to have emergency contacts in case of any unlucky encounters. Your loved ones will appreciate knowing you’re safe and it will allow you to be able to enjoy London for the great city that it is.

London Safety FAQs

What should I avoid in London?

In London, visitors should avoid wandering around the city alone at night, particularly in less safe areas like east London where street crime is more prevalent than in other neighborhoods. Travelers should also avoid carrying valuables with them when going through touristy areas as there is high foot traffic and an increased risk of getting pickpocketed. 

Is London safe at night?

London is safe at night, as many areas across central London are well-lit. That being said, it’s important to ensure that if you are planning to be out and about at night, you travel with someone and have your mobile phone on you in case of an emergency.

Which parts of London are dangerous?

Although London is one of the safest cities based on its score in the Economists safe cities index, every big city is bound to have less safe neighborhoods than others. When you visit London, I would recommend steering clear of Croydon, Tower Hamlets, and Newham, as they have reputations for being less safe areas.

Is London safe?

London is generally considered safe, especially in comparison to other popular European cities. Due to the number of people and the fact that it is one of the most famous cities in the world to visit, the security is very high, so you will feel comfortable going through busy areas because they are well guarded.


Thank you for reading my London safety guide. I hope my tips helped stay safe during your trip to London. Up next, check out my picks for the best things to do in London!

Safe travels!

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  1. Hi Brooke, thanks for this great travel guide! If I may ask, do you have any informations, experience with Camberwell? I am planning a trip to London right now (I‘m from Germany) and found a very nice Airbnb in Camberwell. I‘m just unsure about the location… I found very contradictory informations online about it.
    Thank you in advance!
    I will explore your blog further.:)

  2. Hi Alexandra,
    Camberwell is not an area I would particularly recommend as a place to stay. That area and nearby Elephant & Castle have some unsafe parts, and the selection of things to do near there isn’t nearly as strong as other areas I would recommend. If you’d like recommendations of other places to stay in Southeast London, I would recommend Southwark/London Bridge, or Bermondsey instead. I used to work in Southwark and have a friend who lives in Bermondsey, and both of these areas are very vibrant, have an excellent selection of restaurants and attractions nearby, and are quite safe. I hope this helps!


    1. Hi Brook. My family is visiting Li don in June and we are staying at the Renessaince London Heathrow hotel. Is this safe area that is close to transportation?


  3. Hi Greg,
    The area around Heathrow is safe, however, it’s a bit far from the main sightseeing attractions. That hotel is conveniently located close to the airport but will take between 45 – 70 minutes on average to get into central London, depending on which transit route you take. There is a bus stop a two-minute walk away from the hotel where you can then walk and take the Heathrow Express train to London Paddington station in the city. There are other options that involve buses and tubes, however, they take a bit longer but are more cost-effective than the Heathrow Express. I would highly recommend downloading the City Mapper app, which provides the best transit options in real-time.

  4. Hi! Lovely post. I’m looking to visit form the US and go to the Phoenix Theater. Can you provide some info on that area? It looks like there’s a lot to do and quite a few hotels nearby. Also looks to be near SOHO. Any tips? Thanks!

    1. Hi Kae,

      The Phoenix Theatre is in the central area of Charing Cross in the West End, part of Westminster. There is tons to do in this area, many attractions within walking distance, and it is very close to Soho. Rather than staying directly in Soho or Charing Cross but remaining within walking distance, I would highly recommend either of the nearby areas of Fitzrovia or Marylebone. They’re both lovely, have lots to offer in terms of shops and restaurants, and are still nearby the Phoenix and Soho, but a little quieter and less busy. Once you get into Soho the streets are flooded with tourists. I hope this helps!

  5. Hi Brooke we are going to be in London mid May and staying in Kensington area any tips would be appreciated . Thank you Ian

    1. Hi Ian,

      Kensington is a great area, so excellent choice! It’s safe, there is lots to do within walking distance, and solid transit links from South Kensington station and multiple bus stops. I would recommend checking out the Museum of Natural History in South Ken, it’s great for families and has a lot to see. The Victoria and Albert Museum is also across the street, one of my favorites, and both are free. For something outdoors, I would walk to Kensington Palace Gardens in Hyde Park for gorgeous spring blooms. For more suggestions on things to do in that area, I’ve provided some recommendations in my Where to Stay in London piece: I hope this helps!

  6. Hello Brooke !
    My daughter has just been accepted to a music school on Orsman Road. It would be practical if she could be close to the school, but I don’t know if I should look for accommodations in the neighboring Islington, Hackney, Bethnal Green, Angel or Clerkenwell areas? We have potentially found something directly across from the King’s Cross St Pancreas underground, but I don’t know if it is a safe area in the evening? She is only 18 and would like to work part time in a restaurant in the evenings. Thanks so much for your advice on the safest/most practical area you would recommend !

    1. Hi Kris,
      First off, congratulations to your daughter, that’s very exciting! Those neighboring areas are all nice, however, Hackney and Bethnal Green definitely have some unsafe parts. I would recommend both Islington and Angel, they’re lovely areas with a lot of shops and restaurants around and both are safe. My top recommendation for safety would be Islington as it is a bit more residential and a good family area in the heart of the city, and also well connected to transit links. King’s Cross is generally safe and a busy area, so there should be lots of people around in the evenings. My top recommendations would be Islington, then Angel, and then King’s Cross. I hope this is helpful!

  7. Hi Brooke, I have read your post which was beyond informative so thank you!
    I recently moved to London and now I live in Haringey (hornsey) so I was wondering, is it safe enough for me and my family?

    Thanks in advance 🙏

    1. Hi Kani,
      So glad to hear that my post was helpful! Hornsey is a safe area, and a good part of London for families as it has a very low crime level (ranked 2/10 for crime), there are local schools nearby, along with access to green spaces.

  8. Hi Brooke,
    I would like to visit London this June, plan to book a hotel in ealing, near Hanger Lane underground station. I found some contradictory information online about the safety in this area. I have booked two musicals in west end at nights, I have no idea if it is safe when I come back to hotel at night, I am not sure if this hotel is the good choice.
    Looking forward to your response!
    Thanks a lot!

    1. Hi Wenbin,
      Ealing is a safe area with low crime rates and is still well located while keeping away from the hustle and bustle of central London. You can easily get to the West End on the underground in 35-40 minutes from Hanger Lane station on the Central line for the musicals. You should feel safe travelling back to this area at night. For extra safety, make sure you’re always aware of your surroundings. I try to practice that regardless of where I am in London at night! Hope this is helpful.

  9. Hi Brooke
    I wanted to ask if canning town somehow safe if I avoid going out at night? And if you can provide with some tips and things to avoid there!

    1. Hi H,
      I will be completely candid in saying that Canning Town is one of the less safe areas in London due to high crime rates. I wouldn’t particularly recommend staying in this area based on that and instead would recommend North Greenwich, which is one stop before Canning Town on the Jubilee line and a much safer area. There’s a university there, so many people will be out and about at night, and there are also lots of great things to do in that area, including London’s famous Greenwich Park. If you must stay in Canning Town, I would recommend going with other people if you are to walk around at night, keeping your phone and keys in an accessible place, and making sure you stay aware of your surroundings. I hope this is helpful!

  10. Hi Brooke,

    Thanks for your recommendations.

    I have a plan to visit London and other cities. Could you please recommend the safest area/hotels in London to stay?

    For other cites to visit, any recommendation?


    1. Hi N Al,

      A few of the safest areas I would recommend staying in London would be Notting Hill, Bermondsey, Highbury & Islington, Victoria, Hampstead, and Fitzrovia. In terms of hotels, here are a few of my top picks catering to different priorities:

      – The Clermont, Victoria (location)
      – The Savoy (luxury)
      – The Ampersand Hotel (family)
      – The Standard Hotel (views)
      – The Z Hotel Holborn (budget / location)

      For more tips on the best areas to stay and my top hotel recommendations broken down by area and priority, you can check out my guide on where to stay in London here:

      I would recommend Paris, Amsterdam or Edinburgh for other cities to visit as they are all close by and can be traveled to by train or airplane.

      Hope this helps!

  11. Hi Brooke,

    We are looking at renting a place for a week near the metro poplar area. Is this a safe area?

    Thank you,

    1. Hi Sarah,

      Poplar is quite an unsafe area in London due to high crime rates, so I would not particularly recommend staying there. However, if you’re looking to stay nearby and still be very well connected, I would recommend looking for accommodations in the nearby Canary Wharf, which is a much safer spot. Canary Wharf is a great urban area in London that has fantastic offerings in terms of things to do and restaurants. It is very safe to walk through both during the day and at night. There are also several transit links, including the Jubilee Line, Docklands Light Railway, the Elizabeth Line, and buses. Hope this helps in making your decision easier!

  12. Hello, what would you suggest for Whitehall with 2 young woman visiting? Is that area sage? Thinking of Skyline Rise? thanks

    1. Hi Jacquie,

      Skyline Rise is a great spot to be in if you want to be located right in the middle of London’s main tourist area. You will be on the heels of attractions like Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery, and the Prince of Wales Theatre. That being said, I wouldn’t say it’s the safest place, as there are tons of people and it can get quite crowded. I would recommend Marylebone or Fitzrovia instead, which are both areas within walking distance to central and have easy access to attractions. I hope this is insightful.

  13. It’s reassuring to see both the precautions and the positives highlighted, allowing readers to make informed decisions about their travel plans. Kudos to the author for addressing this important topic in such a thoughtful manner.

    1. Hi Prashuk,

      Thank you very much for the thoughtful words, and I’m glad that you found the article helpful!

  14. Will be traveling to London with family (2 adult children) in mid September 23. Would like to know your input on the Baker Street area for accommodation.

    1. Hi Pam,

      Baker Street is a great area to stay in London. It’s very safe and has some of the lowest crime rates in London, and is very centrally located near great shops and restaurants. In terms of accommodations, I would recommend The Z Hotel Gloucester Place for a nice hotel that is also budget-friendly, or The Landmark London for something higher end. There’s an amazing pizza place across the street from the tube station called L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele which is the sister restaurant to a famous pizzeria in Italy that I would highly recommend as well. I hope this is helpful!

  15. Hi, I’m staying in London for a week in a hotel in Bedford Way, near the British museum, I just wanted to ask you if you think the area is safe?, thank you!.

    1. Hi Alan,

      The neighbourhood of Bloomsbury where your hotel is located is a great area for visitors as it’s centrally located and also very safe. You should be fine to walk around this area both day and night. Hope this helps!

  16. Hi Brook,
    Love your article and very helpful!!:) My daughter is interested in applying for university of the arts London Camberwell, but from online research, it doesn’t seem to be the safest place, which makes me nervous. We’re going to pay a visit in October. I wonder is it safe to use the public transportation ( buses?) to go round and about, especially go into central London? And is Camberwell a safe place for students? And my daughter loves big city vibe like New York, would you say Camberwell is a city setting? Thank you so much!!

    1. Hi Eliza,
      I’m glad you found my guide helpful! Camberwell is not one of the safer areas in London, so if your daughter is interested in attending that university, I would recommend that she resides in another neighbourhood. There are other areas nearby that are a lot safer including Bermondsey, Borough, and London Bridge. These are all in central London and give off a great city vibe. They are all also near great restaurants and attractions. London public transport is generally very safe across the board in terms of tubes, buses, the overground, and trains to get around. Hope this information is useful.

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