Keep your family safe even when enjoying a London night sightseeing tour is on the agenda. You can enjoy the city at night and keep safety in mind.
The fun in London doesn’t stop when the sun sets. In fact, you could say it’s just starting in some areas of the city. Even if you aren’t out pub crawling, there’s so much to do that you can easily spend hours outdoors in the dark. That’s great for making memories, but there are some general safety tips that you should follow when exploring London at night.
For starters, all of the general street safety guidelines that you use back home apply in London, including:
What else can you do to stay safe in London at night? We have a few London-specific tips that all families should know.
London’s tube stations are generally safe, but there are criminal elements in every society around the world. If you go underground, pay close attention to your surroundings, and get into train cars with other people. Generally, that means riding toward the middle of the train.
Maybe it’s more fun to get into a carriage alone, but that leaves you vulnerable to strangers who may board with you at later stops. Safety in numbers is a great rule to follow after hours wherever your travels may lead.
In London, only black taxis are authorized to pick passengers up straight off the street. You should see their licensing information displayed inside the vehicle. If you don’t see it and feel uncomfortable, you can ask the driver for proof of license. If they don’t have it, you may want to find another taxi or call a company directly to have a registered minicab sent your way.
If any car other than a black cab pulls over and offers you a ride, simply say no and walk away. You can call for a minicab to make sure your ride is registered and secure.
In general with any London night sightseeing tour, beware that most lines on the underground will stop running at midnight. That’s not always the case, so check the last connection times to make sure you don’t miss your ride. If you plan on going to London’s bars or pubs, it’s also important to keep track of time while there because those establishments often close much later than the last tube connection runs.
You may also want to tuck the phone number to a taxi company in your wallet just in case you can’t take the tube home. Another alternative is to have access to taxi and ride-hailing apps such as Uber. Eitherway, it’s good to always have a backup form of transportation.
Criminals know that tourists carry cash, credit cards, cameras, phones, tablets, and other valuables with them while touring a new city. That attracts criminals to areas known for heavy tourism, but you don’t have to make yourself an easy target.
Keep your electronics and other valuables out of sight as much as possible. Hold purses and bags close to your body. Try to carry belt pouches or bags that cross over your body. Don’t place wallets or other valuables in outside pockets of a backpack.
What you should keep in easy reach is your cash, identification, and other forms of payment. You don’t want to dig around in bags or flip through a wallet in search of anything at night. Keep it ready yet tucked away securely.
You’re more vulnerable to criminals when you’re alone after dark. Keep your family together, and make sure the little ones are kept close to you at all times. Stay on well-lit streets in areas that are still active with other people. If you notice the crowds are starting to thin, perhaps it’s time for your family to head indoors for the evening or find a more active area to continue exploring.
Nighttime isn’t the best time to explore unknown areas. If you see something interesting that is off the main, well-lit street, take a picture or write down the cross streets so that you can return in daylight to explore.
If you do find yourself in a dangerous situation in London, dial 999 or 112 to reach help. Those numbers are similar to 911 in the U.S. and will put you in contact with local police and other first responders. Dialing 101 is the best option if you have something to report that isn’t urgent or an emergency.
You will hopefully never need those numbers, but every member of your family should know them just in case.