Three Days In London:
I’ve made no secret of my dislike for London and the three days I spent there were soul-crushing to the little traveler inside me that had been dreaming of visiting London for years. But now that I’m a few years removed from the situation, I can grudgingly admit there were a few things I didn’t mind about London. There are a lot of great and informative historical attractions, the city is incredibly diverse and you can find amazing food on every street corner. So here is it. I avoided it for as long as I could but I’m finally sharing my London Solo Female Travel mini guide. Enjoy!
When To Go
Summer: June – August (High Season)
Daytime Temps: 71F – 69F (22C-20C)
Nighttime Temps: 56F– 53F (13C-12C)
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What To Wear
There always seems to be a nip in the air no matter what time of year you visit London so I recommend packing a few sweaters and long pants or jeans. You’ll also need to carry a travel umbrella or packable raincoat because the rain will come for you. Trust me, it will come.
Hostels: Prices range from £12 to £29 per night.
**Note: These are the prices for hostels with a rating of 8.0 or higher on Hostelworld.com.**
Hotels: Prices for budget hotels run about £30 to £42 per night.
What To Spend
100 USD/ 130 AUD/ 130 CAD/ 80 EUR/ 70 GBP
*Assuming you’re on a backpacker’s budget. Making use of public transportation, staying in hostels or other budget accommodations and eating out about once a day. For the daily budgets of other destinations check out Round The World Trip Budget next.*
How To Get Around
By The London Underground
The Underground is made up of nine zones with Zone 1 covering Central London. The cost to ride the Tube depends on how far you go, what you use to pay and the time of day. To save some money, you’ll want to ride with an Oyster Card or a contactless payment card. The tube runs from 5 am to midnight.
By Night Tube
Five Tube lines now run 24 hours on Fridays and Saturdays. The lines are Victoria, Central, Jubilee, Northern, and Piccadilly. They pick up about every ten minutes are a great option for solo female travelers who are hitting the London streets on the weekends and don’t want to worry about how they will get back to their hostel or hotel.
The London buses get to every corner of the city and they operate 24 hours a day. To ride the bus you need an Oyster Card or a contactless payment card because the drivers do not take cash. For a single bus fare, you will pay £1.50.
As I mentioned, the London buses do run 24hrs but the night bus service picks up less frequently and they do not make every stop. You’ll have to flag the bus driver down if you want him/her to stop for you.
Visitor Oyster Card
Visitor Oyster cards can be used on all modes of public transport and will grant you a 50% discount on Tube rides in central London as opposed to double the price you would have to pay with cash. Also, a Visitor Oyster Card gets you discounts at over 30 eateries, attractions, and museums around London. I keep specifying Visitor Oyster Card because a regular Oyster card will not come with the extras and special offers.
You can purchase a Visitor Oyster card before arriving in London and have it delivered straight to your home. Or you can pick one up when you arrive at the Gatwick Airport or on board Eurostar trains headed to London.
Contactless Payment just means debit or credit cards that can be tapped on the card readers to pay your fare. If you’re going to do this with a card issued from a bank outside of the UK make sure you check out the transaction fees. The good news is as long as you pay with the same card all day (same applies to Oyster and Visitor Oyster cards) when the total cost of your rides reaches a certain limit, the price is capped and you won’t pay for any more rides you take that day. Read more about this here.
What To Do In London
Did you know that a lot of the national museums and galleries in London are free to the public and that the incredibly popular British Museum is one of them? You can visit that museum and all of these:
The Natural History Museum, the Museum of London, the National Gallery, the Science Museum, the Museum of London Docklands, Tate Modern, the Imperial War Museum, the British Library, the Horniman Museum and Gardens, the Royal Air Force Museum, the National Maritime Museum, the V&A Museum of Childhood, Sir John Soane’s Museum, Whitechapel Gallery, Guildhall Art Gallery and Roman Amphitheater, the Wallace Collection, the National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Wellcome Collection, the National Army Museum and the Serpentine Galleries.
Tower of London
I’m sure the Tower of London was already on your list of must-sees and it’s no wonder why. The Tower houses the crown jewels and quite a few tales of mystery, murder, spying, lies, and torture. You will be able to join the famous Yeoman Warder tour and be entertained with stories of England and English royalty I’ll bet wasn’t in your history books. You’ll see the instruments of torture that political prisoners and heretics were subjected to and you’ll learn of the famous people who met their end in that very place.
Online Ticket Price: £22.70
On-site Ticket Price: £26.80
While you wander through the Abbey, you’ll be struck by how much history is in one place. The Abbey is the final resting spot of kings and queens as well as the place where many other people of note have been memorialized. There is even a statue honoring Martin Luther King Jr. The cost of admission includes a free audio-guide so you are able to go at your own pace and soak in thousands of years of history.
Online Price: £20
On-site Price – £22
I firmly believe in taking part in cheesy touristy things when you visit a new destination because who knows when you’ll be back. Be a tourist while you are a tourist! Because you don’t want to look back and wish you had done XYZ. So with that said when you go to London you should get your pic with Big Ben. If only because it’s a beautiful clock tower and makes for a pretty nice backdrop.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
St. Paul’s Cathedral is simply breath-taking. It’s an architectural masterpiece and a historical treasure. It was also the site of the Royal Wedding of Lady Diana and Prince Charles, and Winston Churchill’s funeral. But what really sets this stunning cathedral apart from all the other stunning cathedrals is The Whispering Gallery.
I cannot for the life of me tell you why or how but because of the way the Whispering Gallery is constructed a whispered word spoken against its walls can be heard on the opposite side of the room. It truly is amazing and I want to give a shout-out right now to the kid who decided to whisper words in Parseltongue and managed to make us all laugh and thoroughly creeped us out at the same time.
Now, you should know that if you want to visit the Whispering Gallery, you’re going to have to work for it. You have to climb 257 steps to reach the dome and much like the steps to the top of the Effiel Tower, these steps are designed to kill you before you get there, but if you do survive you’re in for a treat.
So like all other travelers before me have suggested, you should head over to Buckingham Palace, take a ridiculous amount of selfies, see the changing of the guard and explore the Queen’s official residence. Sadly, I didn’t get to do any of those things because the day I went to visit the Palace the Queen was opening Parliment. There were guards, parades, cannon blasts, the whole place was roped off and the Queen emerged in her fancy carriage while all us peasants watched a safe distance away.
So I guess I shouldn’t say ‘sadly’ because it was pretty cool to witness the whole ceremony and it’s not something many travelers get to take part in. So if you can, visit the Palace when the Queen is on her way to open Parliment. If not, then you certainly won’t be disappointed getting to enjoy the standard tourist experience.
If you’re looking for some peace and quiet and a place to walk around and experience the beauty of nature then Kensington Gardens checks off all the boxes. There usually aren’t as many people about so you can find a quiet spot to sit and write in your journal. You can take a few pictures of the magnificent gardens and just slow down for a bit after days of rushing from museum to museum and attraction to attraction.
- Consider A London Pass: The London Pass grants you free entry to over 80 museums, attractions, and tours around London. The price of the pass adds up to less than what you would have paid if you went to all these attractions without it. So if you plan on doing a lot of sight-seeing and attraction-hopping it would be worth it to buy the pass and save yourself a bit of money.
- Book Online: Even if you don’t opt for the London Pass, you can find other ways to keep costs down. Booking online can grant you a discount at some attractions, like the London Eye for example.
- Planning a Day Trip to Oxford? Then read Day-Tripping in Oxford next!
- Keep your things on you and never leave them unattended. If you want to go a step further, keep your things in an anti-theft bag that will lock your zippers and prevent the more determined thieves from cutting through your straps and taking off.
- Make sure no one is hanging about when you’re withdrawing money from an ATM and that the machine hasn’t been tampered with.
- If you’re out alone at night, stay in well-lit areas preferably with a lot of people around and be aware of your surroundings.
- For more solo travel tips and items, read Solo Female Travel Safety Tips and Solo Travel Safety Items next.
I hope you enjoyed my London Solo Female Travel Mini Guide and that you have a better time there than I did. Good luck and Happy Travels!