While the current threat level of terrorism to the UK is considered ‘severe’, however scary, the threat of terror shouldn’t dissuade those who live and work in London from going about their daily activities, nor should it put off visitors from daytripping to the capital.
However, the Metropolitan Police note on their website that “crowded places, economic, government, travel, military, aviation, and iconic sites are all seen as potential targets for terrorists”, and in London especially, these are difficult to avoid.
As such, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and be aware of steps that can be taken as an individual to make sure travelling to, from and in London, goes as smoothly as possible.
Day-to-day it’s always a good idea to be vigilant when travelling on public transport.
- Check where the nearest exits and fire escapes are, as well as emergency alarms
- Always know where you’re going and where you’re getting off, and have a route – and a back-up route – planned in advance
- Make sure you know when the last train/bus is so you don’t get caught short
- Keep valuables out of sight and zipped away
- Sit downstairs on a bus, and near the driver, so you can get off quickly if there’s a problem
- Don’t sit alone in an empty tube carriage – pick one with people in it already
- Move away from people acting aggressively
The Met Police share this advice on their website: “We need the help and support of individuals, businesses and communities across London to remain alert and maintain the safety and security of those places in which we live, work and socialise.
“Crowded places, events, public transport, and iconic locations are some examples of locations that could be potential targets for terrorists. All of these are to be found in London.
“You are familiar with your workplace and surrounding area, so you’re ideally placed to spot when something is amiss. In this period of heightened alert, it is vital to remain vigilant, trust your instincts and report possible terrorist activity to the police.
“Look for anything that seems out of the ordinary, such as:
- People in stationary vehicles watching a building or structure
- Vehicles moving slowly near public buildings, structures or bridges, or parked in suspicious circumstances
- People using recording equipment, including camera phones, or seen making notes or sketches of security details
- Someone suspicious paying close attention to specific entry and exit points, stairwells, hallways or fire escapes
- People loitering at or near premises for long periods and watching staff, visitors and deliveries for no apparent reason
- People asking detailed or unusual questions about buildings and business operations, facilities (such as room layouts), security or parking for no apparent reason
- Challenge those in offices and ‘off limits’ areas, plant rooms and similar – report matters immediately to your security manager or dial 999
One of the best ways to travel safely in the UK is to make use of a chauffeur service. You can hire a chauffeur for airport taxi transfers in Bristol and other cities in the UK, but you can also hire such a service for custom tours throughout England.
If you’ve witnessed any of the above, trust your instincts and report it using our online tool or call the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321. Our specially trained officers will take it from there.
What to do if you’re visiting and suspicious
If something suspicious has caught your attention, or you’ve overheard something that sounds linked to terrorist activity, report it. If urgent, call 999; alternatively, call the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321.
If you’re a woman traveling alone to England, you can rest assured that the country experiences a relatively low crime rate and a culture that welcomes solo and group travelers alike. That said, no matter where you plan to travel alone, it’s always a good idea to take some steps to ensure your trip is a safe and rewarding one.
As mentioned above, consider the comfort, style and safety of using a chauffeur service for city tours, seaside drives, or airport taxi transfers in Nottingham and many other UK cities.
As is the case in much of Europe, public transportation abounds in England, making it easy to get around alone without a lot of expense. While London is a notoriously expensive city, it is one of the cheapest places to fly into if you’re traveling to Europe. Primary ways to get around include England’s National Rail and the European bus network, Eurolines. Whichever form of transportation you choose, take some safety precautions when you book your ticket.
At ricksteves.com he points out that you shouldn’t make plans to arrive in the middle of the night, when you may have to walk to an Underground station or bus station alone in the dark. If you need a cab, use only the licensed black cabs, since according to the U.S. Department of State, the unlicensed cabs could put you at risk of kidnapping or robbery.
Many hotel rooms in England base their rates on double occupancy – greatly increasing the expense for a solo traveler. If you’re not concerned with price, this won’t be an issue, but if you’re looking for budget accommodations, consider staying in a hostel or bed and breakfast-style hotel, where you’ll pay a lower price and have the option of meeting other solo travelers.
Decent choices in London include The Wellington Hotel, a budget hotel located near Buckingham Palace and Victoria train station; or the Piccadilly Backpackers Hostel, in the heart of the action near Piccadilly Circus. Elsewhere in England, check out the Hostelling International website for information about hostels in the area.