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London Travel Safety Guide for 2024

Susan Laurent
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by Susan Laurent

You want to visit London, the greenest city in the world, home to Big Ben, the Tate Modern, and the London Eye, but first, you need to know — how safe is this cosmopolitan capital?

The good news is that the capital is generally safe. What do you mean ‘generally’? You ask, clutching your purse.

Stick with us for the most useful safety tips, recommendations of what areas to visit and what areas to avoid, what you can expect in terms of police presence, and more. Learn just how street-smart you need to be in London to navigate potential dangers and enjoy your vacation free of worries.

ESSENTIAL LONDON TRAVEL RESOURCES

Are you planning a last minute trip to London? We’ve put together all the resources you’ll need for a fun & safe travel:

🛌  Best & Safest Places to Stay in London:

👉 Rubens At The Palace – Room service, Family rooms, Lift
👉 Sea Containers London – Spa and wellness centre, Family rooms, Restaurant
👉 Royal Lancaster – Fitness centre, Private parking, Room service
👉 Vintry & Mercer – Tea/coffee maker in all rooms, Bar, Parking

⛱️ Fun Activities & Tours in London:

👉 Changing of the Guard Guided Walking Tour in London
👉 High-Speed Boat Trip: Iconic Sights of London
👉 London’s Palaces & Parliament Tour

🚗 Best & Safest London Transportation Services:

👉 Airport Pickup Service – Welcome Pickups
👉 Rent a Car – DiscoverCars

🙏 Stay Safe While Travelling:

👉 Safetywing (for medical insurance)
👉 VisitorsCoverage (for trip insurance)

Is London Safe?

London

London is relatively safe, especially for a big city. According to The Economist, London is the fifteenth safest city globally – much safer than other tourist hotspots like Paris, Milan, and Rome.

Here’s a quick rundown of London’s safety status:

  • London had a lower homicide rate than 120 of the biggest US cities
  • Westminster is the most dangerous neighborhood, whereas the City of London (the administrative district) is the safest
  • The most common crime in London is anti-social behavior
  • Getting a hold of guns in the UK is pretty tough, so shooting incidents are almost non-existent
  • Knives are a bit more common, so avoid strangers in dark alleys, obviously
  • During the day, the main concern in London is pickpocketing
  • At night, avoid traveling alone late as there are cases of sexual assault and violence
  • You’ll see plenty of helpful police officers around London – about 34,868 of them were spread across the capital in 2022
  • Public transport is safe, as long as you keep an eye on your belongings
  • The UK medical system is one of the largest and best both in quality and providing universal health care
  • The main natural and environmental concerns are storms, floods, heat waves, and bad air quality

All in all, London is safe, especially when it comes to violent crime, but it does struggle with less serious crimes like theft, which could be a nuisance for tourists.

Travel Advisory for London

According to travel advisories issued by the United States and Canada, London falls into the level 2 safety category‘Exercise Increased Caution’.

The US State Department warns tourists about the possibility of terrorist attacks, mentioning potential targets like tourist spots, transportation hubs, markets, hotels, and more. They emphasize that terrorists might strike with little or no warning.

Similarly, the Canadian travel advisory raises concerns regarding terrorism, but mostly focuses on common, petty crimes such as pickpocketing, purse snatching, and cellphone theft in certain tourist areas of London. They also cite crimes like vehicle theft, muggings, knife stabbings, sexual assault, and credit card/ATM fraud.

Keep in mind that these advisories apply to the entire United Kingdom, but as London is the capital, it’s more susceptible to some of these crimes. So yes, the higher-ups say it’s safe to visit London, but they also want you to proceed with caution and be ready for anything.

A Comprehensive Look at London Crime Rates

London Police

In 2019, London had a lower homicide rate than 120 of the biggest U.S. cities, at just 1.9 per 100,000 residents. The most common crime in London is antisocial behavior (consumption of drugs, illegal raves, drinking, urinating, defecating), followed by violence, sexual offenses, and smaller crimes like theft.

Surprisingly, possession of weapons is the least common crime, which is good news and probably why violent crimes like homicides and shootings are very rare.

In terms of neighborhoods, Westminster is considered the most dangerous place area in London, followed by Camden, Newham, Southwark, and Lambeth. Conversely, the safest neighborhood is the City of London, also known as just “the City” or “Square Mile,” followed by Kingston upon Thames, Richmond upon Thames, Sutton, and Merton. So, when you’re exploring London, gravitate towards the safer districts to decrease the chances of getting into trouble.

Here are some hard numbers to help you get a better understanding of crime stats in London.

London Crime Statistics

Safety concernsNumber of crimes committedCrime rate (per 1,000 residents)
Anti-Social Behavior255,60228.55
Violence & Sexual Offences252,37928.19
Theft123,56113.80
Vehicle Crime106,25311.87
Theft From the Person61,7626.90
Public Order Crime60,0896.71
Criminal Damage and Arson53,8396.01
Burglary51,9345.80
Drugs41,0784.59
Shoplifting38,1464.26
Robbery27,2173.04
Bicycle Theft18,6552.08
Other Crime10,9631.22
Possession of Weapons5,0660.57

London Crime Map

Neighborhood (Most to least dangerous)Number of crimes committed
Westminster77,765
Camden35,658
Newham34,870
Southwark34,552
Lambeth33,545
Croydon33,306
Tower Hamlets32,586
Hackney30,341
Enfield29,634
Brent29,628
Ealing28,926
Haringey28,298
Islington28,230
Lewisham27,592
Barnet27,569
Hillington26,744
Greenwich26,156
Redbridge24,169
Hounslow23,783
Wandsworth23,693
Bromley22,645
Waltham Forest22,523
Kensington and Chelsea20,626
Barking and Dagenham19,864
Hammersmith and Fulham19,714
Havering19,087
Bexley15,765
Harrow15,017
Merton13,864
Sutton13,425
Richmond upon Thames11,816
Kingston upon Thames11,632
City of London7,961

Source: CrimeRate, a project dedicated to uncovering crime rates in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, 2023 data.

London News Reports Regarding Crime

As per crime statistics, anti-social behavior is the most reported crime in London. The most common settings for ‘anti-social behaviors’ are London’s many parks. For instance, 1,121 cases of anti-social behavior were reported in London Fields Park in 2022. These reported crimes included (not-so-scary) things like unauthorized barbecues, consumption of drugs, illegal raves, drinking, and inappropriate actions like urinating and defecating. That’s something you probably don’t want to see.

A significant portion of robberies in London involve mobile phones, often through pickpocketing and grabbing them from bags or tables. In 2022, nearly 70% of London’s thefts were related to mobile devices. Roughly, we could say that a mobile phone is stolen every six minutes in London. In a tragic incident in January 2023, an 18-year-old fatally stabbed a 16-year-old, stole his phone, and fled from a park in North London.

Alongside incidents of violence, the London mayor and Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis reported that an attack involving violence or threats happens about every 55 minutes in London. These attacks have resulted in tragic outcomes, like the death of a victim stabbed in the leg and a robbery where a pregnant woman was struck in the stomach, and later suffered a miscarriage. So while shootings are rare, it’s important to stay cautious as knife crime and violent robberies are common enough occurrences affecting both locals and tourists.

Police Presence in London

You’ll find a substantial number of helpful police officers around London. In fact, the number of police officers in London has reached an all-time high.

In 2022, there were 34,868 police officers in London, an increase of 1,065 officers since 2011. The majority, around 33,984, work for the Metropolitan Police Service, responsible for policing most parts of the UK capital. Additionally, the City of London Police, with a total of 884 police officers, maintains peace and order in the historical center of the city.

During the summer of 2023, in response to anti-social behavior reports, more police officers moved in on parks and green spaces in London. The Metropolitan Police also has an official website where tourists and residents can report crimes and check out safety tips for their visit to London. So, you can count on a visible police presence and resources to help ensure your safety in the city.

Public Transportation Safety in London

London Train

London’s public transport is generally safe, with millions of passengers traveling daily, and very few witnessing or falling victim to crime. There’s a team of over 2,000 officers watching over the transport network, making sure things are safe for everyone.

However, while the authorities do their part, passengers should also take care of their safety. Never leave your belongings unattended during your journey. Keep bags closed, hide your phone, and sit on the first floor at night, so you’re closer to an exit in case of any concerns.

Medical Care Quality in London

The NHS (National Health Service) is the United Kingdom’s universal healthcare system. It is in charge of everything health-related in the country and is one of the largest health networks in the world, assisting approximately a million people every 36 hours. Overall, the NHS offers an excellent standard of healthcare, coming in 10th in the 2021 World Index of Health Innovation. It’s also well-respected — in the UK, people rank it as the number one thing they’re most proud of.

One thing to note: There might be a bit of a wait in the emergency room or for scheduled appointments. If you want to save some time on your limited days there, you can also consider going to private medical centers in London.

Here are some of the most well-known healthcare establishments in London:

Is It Safe to Travel Solo in London?

London is generally a safe destination for solo travelers, thanks to its efficient public transportation system and significant police presence. However, according to Numbeo statistics, London isn’t the safest place for nighttime solo strolls, particularly in high-crime areas. This is particularly important advice for female solo travelers, as reports of sexual assaults have also been on the rise. So, while enjoying a solo trip in London is possible, staying vigilant is key, especially after nightfall.

Is It Safe to Travel to London as a Family?

As long as you stick to family-friendly spaces and attractions, London is among the safest cities for families. A must-visit attraction is the Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio tour — your kids will be left in awe! Even if you (rightfully) think that the movies got nowhere near the quality, heart, and charm of the books, the sets are still pretty cool.

However, just like in any destination, it’s important to be cautious. Keep an eye on your children, especially in crowded places or when using public transport. It’s also a good idea to stick together during your adventures and plan only daytime excursions — not only should your kids get a good night’s rest, but also the city is less safe at night.

Perils of Nature: The Risk of Natural Disasters in London

London doesn’t experience major natural disasters like earthquakes or hurricanes, but the capital has its own quirky weather and environmental hiccups — storms, floods, heatwaves, and low air quality.

Storms

London experiences fairly consistent rainfall throughout the year, with an average of 11 to 15 rainy days each month. The months of November and August typically see the highest rainfall, while March and April are the sunniest.

Frequent rain sometimes brings an occasional storm. Although not as severe as hurricanes, the storms’ heavy winds and rainfall can still disrupt your plans, forcing you to reorganize activities and transportation, while causing delays. Follow the latest weather reports regarding the London area and try to plan ahead. If there’s a storm brewing, what better way to spend the day than inside one of London’s many museums?

Floods

Intense storms can lead to localized flooding, especially following heavy and prolonged rainfall. In 2021, for instance, a month’s worth of rain fell in only one day.

This amount of rainfall can lead to evacuations, temporary closure of the London Underground stations, and even the shutdown of businesses near the River Thames. In times of floods, you can’t do much about it except be patient and avoid traveling to the flooded areas. Book rooms at a hotel that’s further from the river so you won’t run the risk of getting evacuated.

Heatwaves

London has been experiencing more intense heat waves, similar to Barcelona, New York , and other urban areas affected by climate change. In 2023, the highest heat wave reached 91ºF (33ºC) in London. However, in July 2022, temperatures soared above 104ºF (40°C), marking it the hottest day ever recorded in the country.

The extreme heat can make London quite uncomfortable. If you’re out during the hottest hours, it’s easy to feel dizzy or, in severe cases, get a heatstroke. Drink plenty of water, use sunscreen, and take breaks in the shade to stay safe.

Air Quality Issues

The city’s large size, dense roads, and tall buildings make central London one of the most polluted places in the country. The capital tends to be the most polluted when there’s light wind, clear skies, and a lower chance of rain.

On those bad air quality days, you might experience a sore throat and a headache. Plus, you won’t have the best visibility to witness what the city has to offer. Still, you can have a great time in London when the air quality is low — just limit your adventures to indoors venues like malls, museums, restaurants, and cinemas. Track London’s air quality in real-time and avoid the most affected neighborhoods.

Beware the Silent Threat: Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in London

Carbon monoxide (CO), often called the “silent killer,” forms when fuels don’t burn properly. In homes, it could leak from faulty water heaters, furnaces, boilers, fireplaces, stoves, and ovens If CO enters your bloodstream, it stops your blood from carrying oxygen, which could lead to loss of consciousness, nausea, headache, etc., or, in severe cases, death.

The UK records around 50 deaths and hundreds of injuries every year due to carbon monoxide. In 2023, London had a carbon monoxide leak at a hotel in Kensington. It affected many people, and some had to go to the hospital.

When you’re in London, it’s a good idea to ask the hotel staff if they have carbon monoxide detectors in their rooms. These gadgets check the air quality and let you know if there’s a dangerous gas leak. For added safety, you can carry a portable carbon monoxide detector.

London Weather Patterns: What to Expect

London Weather

London’s weather can be quite varied. In general, summers are short, warm, and cloud-free though still somewhat rainy. Winters are long, chilly, and often overcast.

The warm season, from June to September, sees July as the hottest month, with highs averaging 73°F (22°C) and lows averaging 59°F (15°C). The cooler period spans from November to March, with February as the coldest month, averaging 39°F (3.8°C) lows and 48°F (8.8°C) highs.

In London, the skies clear up between April and October, peaking in July, while December tends to be quite a bit cloudier. Rain showers are a year-round affair in London, with October seeing the most rain, around 2.2 inches (55.88mm), and March seeing the least, about 1.2 inches (30.48mm).

Days vary a lot in length over the year. The shortest day in 2023 is December 22, with just 7 hours and 50 minutes of daylight, while June 21 brings the longest day, with 16 hours and 39 minutes of daylight.

Monthly Average Temperatures in London

MonthFahrenheit (°F)Celsius (°C)
January436.1
February436.1
March478.3
April5110.5
May5713.8
June6216.6
July6618.8
August6518.3
September6116.1
October5512.7
November499.4
December457.2

When Is the Best Time to Visit London?

The best time to visit London is typically from June to September, as the weather is fantastic, and there are lots of outdoor activities to enjoy. However, London has something to offer year-round, so you’ll have a great time no matter when you visit.

Here’s what each period has to offer:

Best Weather (June to September): Summer brings the warmest temperatures in London. July is the hottest month with the clearest skies. This is one of the busiest tourist seasons in London, so be ready for bigger crowds and higher prices.

Best Prices (January, February, March): London prices drop in the period between the winter holidays and Easter break. This is when you’ll find the best deals on hotels, flights, and city tours.

Low Crowds (January, February, March, April, and November):  Around the winter holidays and Easter, the city is quieter. Perfect for checking out the hotspots without dealing with the usual crowds.

Stay Street-Smart: Essential Tips for Staying Safe

We promised to tell you just how street-smart you need to be in London:

  • Use navigation apps like Citymapper to get around
  • Pick hotels with good reputations and positive reviews, and consider using Booking or Airbnb
  • Only hail black cabs on the street or consider taxi apps like MyTaxi
  • Check tube schedules as not all lines run 24/7
  • Watch out for fake charities asking for money — legitimate charity collectors in the UK carry a permit and registration number
  • Purchase tickets for London concerts and events from online platforms, not sellers at outside venues
  • Be careful how use use your phone when you walk along the pavement, as moped thieves may snatch it from you
  • Hit ATMs in banks or malls where there’s security around
  • If you catch the bus at night, choose a seat downstairs
  • Explore the city with a tour group rather than alone, especially at night and especially if traveling to the dodgier parts of town
  • It’s a good idea to carry pepper spray
  • Watch your drink being made
  • “Arm” your kids with bracelets bearing their name and your contact number
  • Invest in a GPS locator, like Apple AirTags, and attach them to your kids’ clothes or backpacks

Emergency Numbers

  • Police, fire, and ambulance: 112 or 999
  • Non-urgent matters: 101

FAQ

Is London Safe at Night?

London is generally safe at night. Most of central London is well-lit, and public transport runs day and night. The only places to be cautious about at night are the parks, and of course, neighborhoods with higher crime rates.
Numbeo statistics suggest that it’s not entirely safe to walk alone in London at night, so keep that in mind. If you’re planning to enjoy the city’s bustling nightlife, opt for going out with a trustworthy companion or group. If that’s not possible, limit your adventures to the daytime.

What Are the Latest COVID-19 Restrictions in London?

London has removed all COVID-19 restrictions, so wearing a mask, submitting a negative test, or submitting proof of vaccine is no longer required. Still, it’s advisable to maintain practices like social distancing and regular handwashing. If you do get sick before your trip – from COVID or the regular flu – it’s best to postpone. Walking around with a viral infection could exacerbate your condition as well as make others sick.

Is London Tap Water Safe to Drink?

London tap water is safe for drinking. British tap water is ranked among the best globally, with a staggering 99.96% quality rating by Discover Water. Plus, the Drinking Water Inspectorate frequently checks its cleanliness and drinking safety.

Double-Decker Buses, Sherlock Holmes, Black Cabs, Big Ben, Royal Guard… Here We Come!

Enjoy all that London has to offer now that it’s relatively safe – so long as you keep your wits about you.

This bustling capital is the fifteenth safest city in the world. Shootings are a rarity, and the city’s stringent gun control measures keep it that way. Yet, travelers should keep an eye on petty crimes like pickpocketing and antisocial behavior.

Our concluding advice? Stay street-smart, whether you’re exploring the lively streets or the lush parks. Avoid dangerous neighborhoods and dodgy alleyways, carry pepper spray if necessary, and if going out at night – stick to your group. The well-prepared police force and top-notch medical system — that you’ll hopefully never need — should keep your mind at ease!


About Susan Laurent
Susan Laurent
I'm passionate about world cultures, travel, and discovering amazing new places. I've spent years traveling the globe, very often alone, so I focus on providing important information about travel safety to travelers that I've gathered from first-hand experience.
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