London, on the whole, is a very safe place, as is the rest of the United Kingdom. This is particularly true of the central areas and biggest tourist areas, which tend to be very well organised and highly policed, not to mention always busy. However, as one of the largest and most diverse cities in the world, a certain level of crime and danger remains a fact of life in London. Here are a few tips to follow to make sure you stay safe during your time in the city.
The first thing to be aware of as a visitor to London is the emergency telephone numbers. If you find yourself in a situation where you require the emergency assistance of the police, ambulance or fire brigade, dial 999 or 112. To contact the police in a non-emergency situation, call 101. Obviously, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll find yourself in an emergency situation of this kind during your trip to London, but it’s important to be aware of the numbers regardless.
More likely to be useful is the Transport for London website, which will help you to plan your days and journeys extensively in advance. This is as important for full time Londoners as it is for tourists, and the TfL website contains up to date information on the latest disruptions to travel – whether one of the London Underground lines or bus routes is experiencing delays, for example – and helps you to figure out the quickest way to get from A to B. There are also various smartphone apps which will help you to do this, most notably Google Maps and Citymapper. These are both loved and used extensively by Londoners on a daily basis; always a good indicator of usefulness. London City Suites by Montcalm is in a central location near several Tube stations, bus stops and other means of transport, and is easy to travel to and from other areas of London. Other travel safety tips to be mindfulness of include only getting in licensed taxis or minicabs. As the TfL adverts point out, to do otherwise is just to get into a stranger’s car, and don’t be swayed by promises of cheaper fares – you’re more likely to be ripped off than if you get in a metered, registered taxi. Be wary that cars drive on the left in the United Kingdom, and don’t use headphones while walking near roads; they an be dangerous and reduce your awareness of your surroundings.
In bars and restaurants, the biggest danger to be wary of is people stealing your belongings when you’re not looking. Make sure you stash bags and coats out of sight and safely under the table, or in a cloakroom if there is one. Many establishments have hooks underneath the tables where you can hang your belongings. On a related note, it’s best not to leave your belongings unattended anywhere in London, particularly at train stations or other transport hubs. While this is obviously in part because they could get stolen, it’s also because they might be considered a ‘suspicious package’ which could then cause a security alert, and ultimately result in your belongings being taken away or destroyed.