Keeping Safe in London

London’s brightly lit central areas are pretty safe, even the subways; but be wary of the lovely open parks after dark.  The Underground is fine, but seek carriages with people; and the usual rules about avoiding eye contact apply.

The last Saturday train along the Northern Line is always worth catching for the incredible array of species on board, especially at Camden, but safe enough for all its noise and obvious abundance of refreshment.  To try to avoid getting caught away fro the central areas after the Tube has stopped operating.  The times of last trains are displayed at each station.  There is a good system of all-night buses, but you are likely to have to change to get to your destination.  If clubbing or attending gigs, it’s worth considering staying in smaller hotels near to the venues, in entertainment areas like Camden and Shoreditch.

Less predictable are the empty City streets – in the central business area east of the cultural centres, and East London areas, with its narrow and sometimes dark streets.  Best to take a cab after ten o’clock or so, but absolutely don’t use one of the Gypsy or unlicensed minicabs that swarm the tourist areas, and operate throughout the city.

The legendary four-square  ‘black cabs’ can be hailed safely from the street, are totally trust-worthy and know London very much better than you know your home town.

Only use minicabs you’ve ordered through a Licensed Private Hire Operator (see a searchable list of licensed operators at the Public Carriage Office website http://www.tfl.gov.uk/pco/ph_ops_list.shtml). A licensed cab booking office will give you a codeword by which to identify the cab when it arrives. This is serious, so don’t  compromise on this. Many robberies, rapes and assaults take place thanks to unlicensed cab operation.

Women travelling alone can opt to call Lady Mini Cabs (020 7272 3300), a minicab service run exclusively by women for women.

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