See London like a local. Work with a local to plan your trip.

Is London Safe for Travel in 2021?

Updated August 2, 2021

Is London safe for travel? Generally — yes, absolutely! London is a lovely destination with an exciting mix of museums, nightlife, history, and more. 

Some London locals helped us put together this guide to staying safe in their hometown. It covers everything from the coronavirus pandemic to tips for solo travelers. 

Looking for insider info on safety in London? Work with a local for on-the-ground access as you plan your trip. Learn more

"Linelly helped us beyond anything we could've planned ourselves. Everything she suggested for us was spot-on, and I feel we got the best experience by following a local's guidance."
Kate, Recent Traveler
Kate, Recent Traveler

London and the coronavirus pandemic

Like most places around the world, London has battled the coronavirus pandemic since March 2020. The U.K. had mixed success — after managing to keep cases low early on, the country saw a spike in infections in January 2021 due to a variant of the disease. 

However, strict lockdown procedures have managed to lower cases again. In Spring 2021, London opened its bars after a lengthy closure — to the delight of all. 

So, what do American travelers to London need to know? 

Vaccinated travelers from the United States (currently an "amber" country) do not have to quarantine but must be tested on day 2 of their arrival. 

Unvaccinated travelers from the United States must quarantine for 10 days and get tested on day 2 and day 8 of their arrival. 

All travelers must take a covid-19 test three days before departure, book and pay for their covid tests, and fill out the passenger locator form

London is safer than many American cities

London at night | Pedro Carballo/Unsplash

The coronavirus pandemic aside, London is an incredibly safe place to visit. In fact, the overall crime rate in London is much lower than it is in many big American cities, including New York.

The violent crime rate in London is lower than it is in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, San Diego, Philadelphia, and many others. In fact, London is considered to be so safe that most of its police don’t even carry guns.

What kind of traveler are you?
Let’s face it. People want different things when they travel. Rather than spending hours sifting through blogs and top 10 lists written by people who may have totally different interests than you, why not start by sharing a little about what’s important to you when exploring a new destination?
Enter your travel preferences below and we’ll connect you with a likeminded local in London to help you plan your trip based on your specific interests.

What's the travel advisory for London?

The U.S. State Department has raised the travel advisories for most destinations, including the U.K., to Level 4. This recommends that Americans do not travel, due to the pandemic. 

Advice for solo travelers

Solo in London | Clem Onojeghuo/Unsplash

Locals tell us that London is a great city for solo travel. Why? Our trip planners say:

  • The tube makes travel easy: Riding the tube (London’s metro) is a safe and easy way to get around town—of course, it’s also a great city to walk or bike! 
  • London has tons of fantastic solo activities: The surplus of museums, shows, and walking tours mean that solo travelers have plenty of choices when it comes to activities and events. 
  • Pub culture makes eating alone less intimidating: Even if you feel uncomfortable eating alone at a restaurant, it’s super chill to grab a bite and a beer at one of London’s many incredible pubs. If pubs aren’t your scene, London also has plenty of restaurants with counter service—perfect for a solo traveler.

London is also a safe place for women traveling alone. Just keep an eye on your belongings, don’t accept drinks from strangers, and be aware of your surroundings, especially when walking at night.

It's good to get local advice, especially when traveling solo! Many of our London trip planners are women who can explain how they keep safe.

Local Tip:

Most museums in London are free so you can spend as much time as you want at each exhibit.

Work with a local to plan your trip.
See a side most people miss.

Common scams in London

Like in any big city, London has its fair share of scammers. Locals say that these are some of the most common scams visitors may encounter:

Vendors selling fake tickets to shows, music venues, or popular attractions

People asking to borrow your phone

Pickpockets (especially on the Tube)

It’s common sense, but be sure to keep an eye on your belongings at all times—especially when on the Tube, the bus, or anywhere like a busy train or bus station.

Locals say that some of the worst stations in London for pickpockets include King’s Cross, Oxford Circus, and Victoria stations. 

Local Tip:

London police are on the look-out for unattended baggage, so be sure you don’t leave your suitcase somewhere and walk away—you may cause an international incident.

Transportation safety tips

London tube | MicheleMex/Pixabay

When it comes to London transportation, locals tell us there are a couple of things to keep in mind. Benefit from local advice. Our trip planners note that:

  • Uber is not the best option: After much legal wrangling, Uber has officially lost its license to operate in London. The ride-sharing app will still be available as both sides iron out the details, but locals tell us that the public transit in London is so good that you probably won't need it. If you do want to use an app to call a cab, they suggest ones using one like MyTaxi.  
  • You should only use black cabs: If you are hailing a cab from the street, be sure to only use the official black taxi cabs. 
  • The tube does not run all night: Some, but not all tube lines run 24/7. Many trains stop running at midnight. Be sure to plan out your travel home so you aren’t stranded in a place you don’t know. And if you do take the tube at night, try to avoid empty cars. (Psst—our locals will provide detailed transit instructions when they design your trip.)
  • Use apps like Citymapper to navigate like a pro: The London-based Citymapper app makes getting around any city easy. And it’s free to download! 

Be cautious in these areas

Like any big city, international city, London has some areas with high crime rates (here, though, that crime is almost completely petty theft).

This is especially true in places that attract a lot of tourists. They also attract a lot of pickpockets! Generally safer during the day, locals say to be careful in these neighborhoods at night: 

  • Westminster: Although a popular place to visit—the borough contains top London attractions like Big Ben and Parliament—Westminster has a consistently high pickpocketing rate. This is due, in part, to how many tourists visit. 
  • Camden: Camden likewise contains many tourist attractions that make it a popular target for pickpockets, like the Camden Markets.
  • Newham: Gives its location far east of central London, tourists will have few reasons to travel to Newham. That's ok, since the area has one worst crime rates in London. It does include London Stadium, however. If you’re hoping to see some matches, get a local’s advice about staying safe in this area.  
  • Lambeth: Lambeth is a big borough in south London with a high crime rate. It also contains some cool attractions—the London Eye, for example—which makes it a hotspot for thieves and pickpockets. It also includes several more residential areas that are less safe—but most tourists won’t travel that far south, anyway. 
  • Southwark: Southwark contains the Globe Theatre, the Tate Modern, and Borough Market—and has one of the higher crime rates in London. As another tourist hub, most of the crimes here also include pickpocketing and theft. Be on your guard at night. 

Emergency numbers to know

Although you probably won’t need emergency numbers, it’s always good to have them on hand. If you’re in an emergency, call 999 or 112: both will connect you to the ambulance, fire, and police services. You call also call 101 for a non-urgent crime. 

When you have a local plan your trip, they'll be available with phone support in case you run into any issues during your stay.

Still have questions about travel to London?
Why not ask someone who lives there? ViaHero connects you with a local to help plan your trip. They’ll create a guidebook based on your personal travel style.
You’ll see a unique side of a destination and travel independently—all while saving time and money in the planning process. Find a local today.

Looking for more info?