Alone in London? How exciting! London is one of the best cities for solo travellers, and there are plenty of things to do in London alone.
I study just outside London and spend lots of time exploring the city solo. From restaurants, museums, pubs, and activities – I’ve compiled a guide to the best things for a solo traveller’s itinerary.
Classic things to do alone in London
Visit the Natural History Museum
A visit to the museum at the forefront of London tourism is probably already on your list. The Natural History Museum is an icon amongst London museums – particularly known for the suspended blue whale skeleton in the main hall.
You can easily spend a couple of hours wandering the museum alone. Plus, there is a café to grab refreshments or treat yourself to a coffee. During winter or on rainy days in general, I’d recommend the Natural History Museum as one of the top things to do in London.
Book your free ticket in advance, as entrance queues can get a little crazy!
Ride the London Eye
Riding the London Eye is a slight cliché but also a classic London activity you should definitely tick off once.
The pods are filled with up to 25 people, so you’ll be able to ask a kind stranger to help take your picture if you want. Otherwise, you can just unwind and enjoy the slow ride and views over London. The ride lasts for approximately 30 minutes.
Tickets are a little expensive, but, as I said, it is a bucket list experience for many. I’ve included a table of 2022 rates below.
|Adult (16+)||Child (3-15)||Child (2 or under)||Fast track||Champagne experience||Family ticket|
Watch the Changing of the Guard
The Changing of the Guard is a twice-daily event from June to July and occurs every other day from August to May. Hundreds flock to see the Buckingham Palace guards’ procession as they swap shifts.
The Changing of the Guard is a great activity for student travellers or those traveling on a budget as it is entirely free to watch. Of course, it does get a little busy, so I’d recommend arriving early to secure a good spot along the Palace railings.
Solo travellers can appreciate the crowd’s excitement. It has a nice, family-friendly atmosphere that is great for feeling safe alone. You can also combine it with a tour of the Royal Stables or Buckingham Palace.
Fun things to do alone in London
Go White Water Rafting in the Olympic Centre
If you are a solo traveller that loves a buzz, there is no need to miss out! The Lee Valley Centre was purpose-built for the London 2012 Olympics and is particularly known for hosting the White Water Rafting events.
The brave amongst you can challenge yourselves to 90 minutes of ‘Rodeo Rafting’!
Priced at £65 per person, Rodeo Rafting is one of the most exciting (yet relatively budget-friendly) fun things to do alone in London. You are sure to bond with your fellow rafters, and there is no single supplement to discriminate against solo guests.
Just make sure to book in advance as sessions book out fast.
Visit the Vagina Museum
Need I elaborate? The Vagina Museum takes a brazen but fun approach to showcasing all things vagina-related.
From the history of periods to in-depth consideration of gynaecological anatomy, the Vagina Museum is one of the most fun things to do in London. As they state – the world is full of penis museums! Why not embrace the world’s first vagina museum?
Plus, the Vagina Museum is completely free. Win-win.
Attend a St Martin in the Fields concert
Okay, classical music is an acquired taste. But St Martin in the Fields concerts is an exception!
St Martin’s church is located in Trafalgar Square and hosts free lunchtime concerts throughout the week. Regardless of your budget or whether you are travelling alone, St Martin’s is a great place to indulge in a little music.
For those who aren’t familiar with classical music, St Martin’s friendly atmosphere makes it the perfect first performance to attend. Plus, you don’t have to worry about breaking your bank account.
Take a Hop on Hop off bus tour
Save your legs and simultaneously succumb to indecisiveness.
A Hop On Hop Off bus tour is the best hack to exploring London on a time limit while conserving energy to enjoy all the capital offers. When travelling alone, all the responsibility falls on you – directions, bookings, itinerary planning, and problem-solving. With that considered, it is easy to see why you can burn out quickly.
That’s partly what makes a Hop On Hop Off bus tour one of the most fun things to do in London alone. You can simply follow the suggested itinerary and forget navigating city streets. In summer, you can even work on your tan while you are driven to your next attraction – brilliant if you ask me.
Best places to go alone in London
Sometimes, slipping into a crowd is the most comforting way to explore London alone. In Camden, you can slip into an eclectic crowd of hippies, goths, hipsters, and tourists.
I’d recommend budgeting for shopping at the pop-up markets running off Camden High Street and Camden and Horse Tunnel markets.
Camden Locks is also great for solo travellers wanting to grab a casual bite to eat. You can purchase food from stalls selling delicious cuisines – including Vietnamese, Mexican, and Indonesian. Eating at Camden Locks is an easy, non-intimidating way to dine alone if you are new to the solo travel scene.
Travelling alone is all about those main character moments – whether we like to admit it or not. And I can guarantee you one in Southbank. The area is one of the best places to go alone in London; full of life and good views.
To capture those good views, head straight to The Queen’s Walk. I’d advise you to start the Thames-side walk by the Southbank Centre and finish at Lambeth Palace. The route only takes 20 minutes, but you’ll pass the London Eye and Westminster. Plus, there are usually street entertainers just past Southbank Skate Space. Grab a coffee at 2 Love outside Lambeth Palace as a caffeinated reward for your efforts.
Apart from Southbank’s Queen Walk, Southbank also has a food market open from Friday to Sunday. Solo travellers can enjoy a sociable buzz of other visitors, with street food, beer, and cocktails to sample from pop-up stalls.
Like Southbank, Leicester Square is full of life. But instead of a market, riverside vibe, you can expect flashing billboards, Broadway shows, and shiny skyscrapers.
The area is centred around Leicester Square Park. I suggest heading here first, as spotting the statues around the small park is great to build excitement for Leicester Square’s many artistic offerings.
Leicester Square has been an entertainment hub for London since 1670! And many of its cinemas and theatres date back to at least the 19th century. While tickets aren’t cheap, they are definitely solo traveller friendly – so for a luxurious evening out, look no further.
I’d actually recommend Leicester Square the most as an after-dark place to visit in London and feel quite safe walking the area alone.
Best solo day trips from London
For many, Stonehenge is an iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site to visit in England. The prehistoric monument is made of a circle of 13ft high standing stones – some with horizontal stones balanced atop.
If you want to escape London for some rural mysteries, Stonehenge is one of the best day trips from London. You can make the 1 hour and 50-minute drive or catch public transport (a train then special tour bus) in 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Of course, if you want to explore as part of an organised tour, you can always book a tour like this from London. I’d particularly recommend this option for solo travellers as it can be a great way to meet new people while travelling. It also alleviates the hassle of directions and lets you pass over the driving responsibilities.
Oxford is a celebrity amongst English cities. Associated with the elite and well-educated, Oxford is a fantastic, atmospheric place to walk around. The Oxford University student culture makes it extremely welcoming for solo travellers.
Oxford University grounds are a must to visit. The architecture is stereotypically English, and a picture of grandeur – parts of the campus were film sets in Harry Potter films. So, if you are looking to picture yourself in Hogwarts (or just film-worthy buildings), Oxford is a good place to start. The Bodleian Library is particularly beautiful, so stop off there for a visit.
Oxford is a train ride away and easily one of the most convenient solo day trips from London.
I love London, but I’m the first to admit it doesn’t fare well in the heat. The tube is stuffy, overheated, and busy, while the aircon in most buildings seems prehistoric – leaving a lot to be desired in summer.
Luckily, Brighton is only an hour away by train. So, hop on the Thameslink and head straight to the seaside!
As a northerner, Brighton reminds me of a southern Blackpool. It has all that delicious cheesiness of a British seaside destination, including the Brighton Palace Pier and attractions like Sea Life.
However, Brighton also has a scenic side. The Lanes is a famous shopping district made of a narrow maze of alleys and independent shops. After tanning on the beach, you can treat yourself to some retail therapy and explore the antiques and jewellery shops.
The Royal Pavilion is another of my favourite scenic spots in Brighton. The architecture is Eastern-inspired and was constructed for King George IV. Nowadays, you can tour the interior or just enjoy the gardens and view.
If you are a solo traveller wanting to make the most of the sunshine, Brighton is one of the best solo day trips from London. It is also the UK’s unofficial LGTBQ+ capital, which you can read more about here.
Best restaurants to eat alone in London
Okay, the Sky Garden is a slight cop-out because it has multiple restaurants and bars. But the venue is a recommendation in itself!
A massive tropical garden in an all-glass space with complete views over London – yes please. The Sky Garden is free to enter, but you must reserve a slot beforehand. If you don’t, you can be 90% sure that the door staff will laugh you away as they point to a fully booked list.
Like the venue, I’d advise booking in advance for the restaurants. The City Garden Bar is likely your best option, as it is an ‘all-day drinking and dining space’. I often find that dining solo in the daytime is less intimidating! And, after, you’ll be able to enjoy the views and plant life in the Sky Garden.
Yalla Yalla might be my strongest recommendation for solo travellers in London.
The Lebanese restaurant sits on a narrow side street off Brewer Street in Soho. With soft yellow lighting and al fresco dining, the restaurant conjures a warming welcome slightly off the beaten track of shoppers, partiers, and tourists. On a warm evening, the al fresco dining is ideal for solo diners who can people watch from their alley perch.
The menu is delicious. I’d order a bowl of hummus and Lebanese bread to start, then a moussaka or shawarma as a main. For dessert, baklava or a teapot of mint tea is the perfect finish.
Caphe House is a Vietnamese café only a short walk from London Bridge. The main draw? Egg coffee.
Egg coffee is a traditional drink created during the Vietnamese War due to milk shortages. Instead of standard milk, egg coffee uses super sweet condensed milk, egg yolks, and sugar. The result is a smooth dessert layer over rocket fuel-worthy robusta coffee. Think of an Irish Coffee with more creative gusto.
Apart from egg coffee, there is plenty to try at Caphe House. Pho, spring rolls, and banh mi – you name it. If you’ve travelled to Vietnam before you’ll enter nostalgic culinary heaven. But all solo travellers will appreciate the casual, friendly atmosphere.
There are so many things to do in London alone, so congratulations if you are planning a solo trip! Stay safe and explore your heart’s (and belly’s) content.
Travelled London solo before and got some extra tips for future visitors? Drop your suggestions in the comments below.