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Wednesday, 22 February 2017

10 REASONS WHY LONDON IS A GREAT CITY FOR A FIRST TIME SOLO FEMALE TRAVELLER

Travelling alone, especially to a foreign country, can be pretty scary. But London, with world-class facilities, years of history and variety of options for all types of girls is a great starting point to get you comfortable with solo travel or even help you decide if it’s your cup of tea. 


London for Solo Women Travellers!

Here’s why:

1. Everyone speaks English
Yes, travelling abroad can be scary, but wouldn’t it be worse to be somewhere you can’t read the signs or ask anyone for help? London is very well organised and navigation is pretty easy. Even if you’re lost, most people are kind enough to help on the streets.

Credit: Eric Wester

2. De-cluttered public transport system - This is one map you will understand!
London is divided into zones, and you can get an Underground Map at any airport or train station to help you decipher this. An Oyster Card to use tube, train or bus transport will get you around the city. There are lots of 24-hour buses, and now plenty of night tubes over the weekend so whatever time of night or day, you can safely get home.
Coming from India where you need to haggle for autos, depend on their sense of direction to take you somewhere, worry about travelling at night or always struggle for ‘chhutta’, this standardised cashless system is well organised and highly convenient.

London Underground Map

Tip: Citymapper will be your best friend, helping you decide the best route based on journey time and cost.

3. Museums about fashion! Free!
There is a museum for any and every interest in London, including fashion. And most are free! As a solo traveller, you can choose the destination and duration without any guilt. The Victoria & Albert Museum’s fashion collection spans five centuries, and the recently re-opened Design Museum focuses on the ever-evolving subject of contemporary fashion, art and design. Most museums ask for a small donation to help keep them free so you can always leave at least a pound or two.

V&A Museum Fashion Hall

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4. Shopping! Shopping! Shopping!
One of the best places to window shop, without a companion complaining of weary legs.
Oxford Street and its surrounding areas have all the brands you can think of. Walk around, walk in, hang out – it’s up to you. If you happen to be in London post-November, the high street is definitely worth a visit for all the Christmas lights that will be up.


5. Treat yourself to afternoon tea
What can be more British than tea and scones? Chill like the Queen and splurge on some great afternoon tea. Looking for something traditional? Try Fortnum and Mason – an institution! Looking for something quirky? Try the Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea.

Fortnum and Mason Tea | Credit: Norio Nakayama

6. Spend a sunny day at a park
London has one of the most green spaces in a world capital – if you’re lucky enough to find a sunny day, run to your nearest park with some sunglasses and a good book and relax. Carry some sandwiches and drinks and spend some quality time with yourself amidst nature. As an added bonus, enjoy all the dogs that will also be out to play.

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Picnic in Greenwich Park

7. Experience some theatre
One of the world centres for theatre, it would be a shame to not watch a show while in the city. Tickets go on sale months in advance but the TKTS stall in Leicester Square is a great place for half-price tickets for same day shows. Head there in the morning and pick a show that sounds interesting, or ask the staff for advice and you will not be disappointed. Travelling alone means you can pick a show of your liking, including guilty pleasures like musicals.

Queen’s Theatre, West End

Alternatively, also catch something off-beat at a pub theatre or a fringe venue for an experience different from the West End – Old Red Lion, Theatre 503, Camden People’s Theatre.

8. EVERY night is Ladies Night!
There is a pub around every corner, more frequent than a tube station. Treat yourself to a pint, don’t be afraid to walk into an old looking pub or a cocktail bar at any time of day. There are many places with ladies nights and happy hours. It’s also a great way to meet people. Any Wetherspoons is a great starting point pub – with standardised menus and cheap prices; or try a pub-crawl if you’re feeling more adventurous – you are certain to make some friends, and memories!



9. Explore a market near you
Portobello for its antiques, Borough for its great food, Columbia Road for the flowers, Brick Lane, Brixton, Camden – browse, grab a bite, pickup some artisan coffee, shop at your own pace.

Columbia Road Flower Market

Tip: Avoid any place that ends with “Market” on a Saturday, unless you want to brave the crowds.


10. So much food to try – something for every budget
Food in London can be a challenge. With so many tourists always in the city, there are many average taste-high price restaurants that leave you wanting more. But with a bit of research, you will discover the depth of flavour waiting to be explored in the city. Chinatown for a pre-theatre treat, Brick Lane for something close to home, Soho for something more upscale. Follow Jay Rayner from the Guardian for the best food recommendations and you will not be disappointed. London has a lot of solo female travellers, so don’t worry about eating out alone, there are many of us! Carry a book or magazine if you would like, order what you like without needing to share.

Harrods Food Hall

BONUS:
11. Inviting baths, just a stop away from the city
Take a National Express bus or book a return train ticket on TrainLine to neighbouring cities and towns – easy peasy! Explore the remains of one of the greatest spas of the ancient world, bathe in the rooftop pool at Thermae Bath Spa, follow in the footsteps of Jane Austen or visit the fashion museum. Bath is the perfect city for a girl’s day out. And there are other options aplenty.

Roman Baths

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