General Question

iphigeneia's avatar

How safe is it to walk alone through London at night?

Asked by iphigeneia (6229points) March 21st, 2010

I am travelling to London later this year and trying to work out where to book my hotel. Are there any major problem areas? Would it be fine if I only stayed out until 11 or 12 o’clock?

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47 Answers

mea05key's avatar

Every place is unsafe. Never take your safety for granted, just be careful, no matter where you are.

Jeremycw1's avatar

It’s perfectly safe….. if you look like a murderer

lillycoyote's avatar

Just be careful crossing the street at intersections. When I visited it took me a while to get used to the cars making right and left turn coming at me from what seemed to me, being a Yank, to be very weird angles, but well, they drive on the right. And then there are the werewolves. You have to watch out for them.

bhec10's avatar

It’s safe enough. I live 1 hour away from London, so I come here every month and so far I haven’t gotten into any trouble. Just be careful where you walk into. No dark alleys, that sort of thing.

Lightlyseared's avatar

I’ve never felt unsafe in London at any time of night. 11 to 12 o’clock is still quite early so I wouldnt let it put you off. Having said that you should be careful. Stick to well lit streets, don’t take short cuts down little alleys etc. I would avoid talking to strangers and be sure you know how you are going to get home. Have enough cash on you at the start of the evening so as you don’t have to use ATM’s.

davidbetterman's avatar

You must be on the lookout for the Werewolves!

See the link link link from @lucillelucillelucille above!

Zaku's avatar

Most parts of London are quite safe. One thing about London is it does close down late at night – I forget at what hour, but practically everyone leaves and there are abandoned streets.

ChaosCross's avatar

No place is really safe, but in most cases the greatest defense a person can put into play is not actually inciting a problem at all.

Look at your statistics:
Male or Female?
Armed or not?
Attractive or not?
Carrying money or not?

Take a look at these things and make resolutions to make anyone crossing your path to think you are better equipped and more dangerous to take on than you actually are.

lilikoi's avatar

The first time I landed in LHR, I got on the Tube and found my hostel in the business district just fine. My phone was not working and I had been traveling for over 12 hours straight, without much sleep, was seriously jetlagged, and hadn’t figured out the time difference yet. I thought it was early in the AM, and I was dying to see the city, so I went for a walk.

As the Tube was making its last run back to the hostel, I realized it was actually around midnight, and I was screwed because I had traveled quite a ways away from the hostel and would now have to walk or somehow find a cab. I didn’t get back to the hostel until around 3 am (after walking in circles a few times – street signs are hidden on the sides of buildings not posted on street corners!), but I didn’t feel unsafe at all. I didn’t see one homeless person the whole night, just a few groups of teenagers and young folk partying it up. I had a nice conversation with a local, and a security guard in a commercial building even called a cab for me.

I felt safer there than in SFO, where there is the Tenderloin district. I didn’t see anything of the sort in downtown London. Even in the business district, which completely shuts down on weekends and is deserted, I did not have any problems. I’d say it is as safe as any major city.

Staying out until midnight I’d say would be fine. It is not like some other cities I’ve been in where it is ill advised to be outside at all after dark. I’d say check out the Tube schedules, though. You will be stranded if you miss the last one home. A lot of “kids” were sprinting for the last trains of the night.

EdMayhew's avatar

As a Londoner I can only say that it depends on the areas you intend on staying out late in. Overall, I’d say have fun, there’s usually nothing to worry about; I’ve never had any problems! However, whilst there are rougher cities, many of which I’ve lived in, London does have its scrappy edges. I’d say 90 percent of London is generally safe, with ample street lighting and a strong police presence, however there are neighbourhoods I would recommend against. It would take a while to list them all so I’ll just say stick to the tourist bits, they’re lovely and there’s no reason you should need to visit the outer ends. Having said that, it is a big city like any other and, whilst it’s unlikely, bad things still can happen – in the daylight, on a busy street, whatever. So be remember to follow all the basic guidelines for travelling in strange places, like keeping a spare credit card hidden in your shoe, not carrying too much cash etc. but I’m sure there’s another thread on travellers common sense somewhere.


mattbrowne's avatar

I did this many times. It’s like in Manhattan. See what @EdMayhew wrote.

JeffVader's avatar

Basically you’re ok so long as there are other people about & some lines of the Underground are best avoided late on.

TheOnlyException's avatar

I’ve lived in London my entire life, I adore this city, i cant imagine wanting to live anywhere else, and i have never experience any more trouble than a little bit of light heckling from randy guys at bus stops 0_o

Now about the ‘safety’. Don’t think walking down any street you will be dodging bullets or any other ridiculous crap, the city is beautiful and lovely, but as with ANY PLACE IN THE WORLD, use your common sense. I.e. try not to be by yourself, and if you are by yourself, try and walk in well lit busier areas. the sort of common sense i am sure you apply to walking around late at night wherever you live at the moment.
i have walked around london into the early hours of the morning and never had any trouble, maybe at most some rowdy drunks but nothing major.

it really depends on the area. places like white chapel and hackney are a big problem area for violence. and people say southwark is bad, but i live in southwark and never experience any problem.

research the crime rate in the area you will be in. either way just dont do stuff like stand around with your phone.
and tell someone where you are going.
there are no special ‘rules’ that apply to walking around london. as i said earlier common sense.

on a final note, i have found walking around central london (nearer the thames) is wonderful at any time of the day even at midnight, as it is always so busy and lit up and there are people and cars everywhere i never feel frightened even on my own, i love it!

have fun with your stay!

JeffVader's avatar

Oh yeh, & make sure to ‘MIND THE GAP’..... it’s critically important :)

TheOnlyException's avatar

@JeffVader ahahah yes very important!

JeffVader's avatar

@TheOnlyException I so want to get one of those t-shirts :)

TheOnlyException's avatar

@JeffVader LOL they make t-shirts?! i remember one halloween my friend wore a sandwich board saying ‘THE GAP’ and another friend was her ‘minder’.
God we were so lame.
I mean cool shifts eyes

JeffVader's avatar

@TheOnlyException Hahahah, excellent stuff. They certainly do, they may not be very exciting, but they get the job done :)

TheOnlyException's avatar

@JeffVader ah i’ve seen those! a lot better than having friends graffiti it on the front of your skirt in sharpie…that was a long summer :-/ thanks for the link :)

JeffVader's avatar

@TheOnlyException Hahahaha, happy days eh! U crazy kids ;)

TheOnlyException's avatar

@JeffVader Hahah precisely now its all cheese and wine and bashing margaret thatcher. still have that skirt though! ha

JeffVader's avatar

@TheOnlyException Hah, that all sounds very civilised for students…. where’s all the tripping ur arse off on mushrooms & falling out of ur friends bathroom window…. things have changed since the 90’s I’ll tell u :)

TheOnlyException's avatar

@JeffVader No we only smoke dope at weekends haha!

JeffVader's avatar

@TheOnlyException Bunch of lightweights….. Ive a good 15yrs on you & I bet I’d be the last man standing Hehehehe!

TheOnlyException's avatar

@JeffVader No, I think you’d probably be too! My generation has been the subject of much mollycoddling and ‘look both ways before you cross the street’!

If it helps, I crossed while it was still a red man yesterday resounding gasp

JeffVader's avatar

@TheOnlyException Haha, you little devil you :) Does that explain why so many boys / men of ur generation look a little…. well….. feminine?

TheOnlyException's avatar

@JeffVader HAHAHA no, I think THAT is down to a phenomenon called ‘Abercrombie and Fitch’ shudder
It’s worse than any alien invasion I tell you
bring back the stubble and bloodshot eyes!

JeffVader's avatar

@TheOnlyException Thats what you say now…. but you women always moan about how scratchy it is… the numbers of times Ive had to carry out an unscheduled shave…..

TheOnlyException's avatar

@JeffVader HAHAHAHA there is nothing like barber’s rash in the morning, oh well to each her own, it is something i have always related to virility personally, damn you,
you men have it lucky, the rougher you look the better you look shoots daggers

JeffVader's avatar

@TheOnlyException Hahaha, well, thank you :) Altho, I think we prefer rugged to rough looking :)

TheOnlyException's avatar

@JeffVader hahaha I think a couple of cans of stella blurs the line between the two :)

JeffVader's avatar

@TheOnlyException Doesnt it just….. my bother, god love him, was the master at bluring those lines….. & we’ve never let him forget one of his druken ‘mistakes’ :)

TheOnlyException's avatar

@JeffVader ah what kind of sibling would you be if you didn’t! precious memories… :)

JeffVader's avatar

@TheOnlyException Indeed… nothing like it :)

TheOnlyException's avatar

@JeffVader The best ones are the ones that end in you blacking out! haha

JeffVader's avatar

@TheOnlyException Hahahahaha…... quite the party chick aint cha! At my age things are slightly more sedate…. that makes me sound really old >:(

TheOnlyException's avatar

@JeffVader Nah sedate is good. Learning to have a good time without the booze and ‘legging it’ is quite an accomplishment haha, all grown up! :)

JeffVader's avatar

@timtheonlyexceptiondrewen Hahaha, it’s nice to see things dont change…. although you forgot to mention stealing traffic cones or road signs, I had quite a good collection of signs by the end of my first year :)

TheOnlyException's avatar

@JeffVader LOL traffic cones and road signs are so 10 years ago! we got mobile phones and ipods now…


shifts eyes

JeffVader's avatar

@timtheonlyexceptiondrewen God-damn it…. again! I’m gonna stop talkin to you if you keep making me look like a relic :) New fangled gadgets with tiny buttons…. mutter….

TheOnlyException's avatar

@JeffVader ahahaha its a little more embarrassing when you’re MY age and cant figure out how to work the damned things… so bloody small you dont realise they were in the back pocket of your jeans until AFTER you’ve washed them lord help us 0_o

JeffVader's avatar

@bentheonlyexceptiondrew Hahahaha, thank you for that gem :) Thats one thing I can say Ive never done…... yet! That being said I am, like most men, a sucker for gadgets…. over Xmas I somehow managed to get a Nano, iphone, & netbook….. still keeps me off the streets :)

TheOnlyException's avatar

@JeffVader Oh god, so you succumbed to the mercy of apple! This Banksy sketch may interest you hahahahaha
Doubt you’ll be able to walk any street safely laden with all that, the streets are full of young ruffians these days whistles nonchalantly

JeffVader's avatar

@TheOnlyException Hahahaha, he’s got a wonderful eye for social commentry… hehe, your so lucky you dont live round here girly, you’d be in so much trouble after that :)

TheOnlyException's avatar

@JeffVader I eat trouble for breakfast.
Well.. no.. I eat cheerios.. but I carried it home in a plastic bag which wreaks havoc with the environment so ha! tough as nails

MellisaTurner's avatar

Of course. I can’t give you a 100% guarantee but with normal urban precautions and common sense you’ll be fine. i.e if you have your hearing blocked with an ipod, your bag unzipped and you are in a deserted alley, you deserve what you get – but otherwise it’s fine.

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