Hello, Friends! As a long-time solo traveler and newly minted London fan, I wanted to share with you some wonderful activities to do solo in London. London truly has something for everyone. Depending on your budget, comfort level, and interests, you can find lots of options to keep you busy during solo trips.
I am attaching a list here of 10 of my favorite solo activities, along with a few that are on my wish list for next time. I suppose now would be the time to confess that I really enjoy time alone. Those who know me find this surprising, because I guess I come off as an extrovert? This list will cater to those who don’t mind spending a solo trip really solo. I promise, there is so much to see and do, in this bustling city, you will definitely be entertained!
If you’re interested in going clubbing, or the best places to meet other solo travelers, and have some advise, please share it in the comments section! I’d love to hear your favorite things to do in London by yourself, and other ideas.
11 Things To Do in London On Your Own
- 1 1. Visit Fortnum and Mason and Have High Tea
- 2 2. Visit an Exquisite Traditional Hindu Temple
- 3 3. Experience Breathtaking Views of London from Duck and Waffle
- 4 4. Explore Notting Hill
- 5 5. Explore London’s Incredible Museums
- 6 6. Escape for a Rainy Afternoon to the Luxurious Electric Cinema
- 7 7. Ride a Traditional Double-Decker Bus
- 8 8. Explore the Magical Bookstores
- 9 9. Take a Free Walking Tour of the City
- 10 10. Take a Sunset Cruise on the River Thames
- 11 11. Visit St. Paul’s Cathedral for Choral Evensong
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1. Visit Fortnum and Mason and Have High Tea
Location: 181 Piccadilly, W1A 1ER
Hours: Monday to Saturday 10am to 9pm, Sunday 11.30am to 6pm,
Tea Room Hours: Monday to Saturday 11.30am-7pm; Sunday midday to 6pm
Cost: Free to wander, or for afternoon tea, £44 – £48 depending on your choice of tea
Fortnum and Mason is a department store like no other: quirky, colorful, and elegant all in one. Of course, you can’t miss the adorable window displays outside.
Once inside, even the walls dance with beautiful scenes. Be sure to take the stairs to see the beautiful murals painted on the walls.
The bottom floor has all sorts of delicious specialty foods, while the middle floors include clothing and house wares – ranging from international designer labels to unique specialty brands. There was such a beautiful collection of colorful and unique items. I recommend wandering and just looking for inspiration, even if you don’t like shopping. After eating with your eyes, head to the top floor for traditional afternoon tea.
Yes, there are many incredible places to have high tea in London, but why not live like the queen? The tea room is beautifully decorated and offers a traditional afternoon tea service. And yes, it is said that Queen Elizabeth frequents the tea room. The waiters will also share interesting facts and bits of history with you throughout the meal. Definitely a fun splurge! As the tea is pricey, if this is out of budget, just enjoy the store, buy a treat on the first floor in the specialty food section, and head onto the next adventure.
2. Visit an Exquisite Traditional Hindu Temple
Location: 105-119 Brentfield Rd, London NW10 8LD
Hours: 9am-6pm (Monday through Sunday)
This was created by BAPS Shri Swaminarayan organization. I have visited Akshardam, their incredible temple complext in Delhi and look forward to experiencing this temple in person. The striking white building complex is less than an hour from central London.
The whole Swami Narayan temple complex is built according to ancient Vedic principals of architecture. The intricate carvings on all the walls were hand-carved by thousands of artists. I came away with an impressive sense of the power of Vedic Culture on our modern culture and world development.
One also can’t help but feel our immense spiritual power and potential. If you want to feel inspired to live your best life, immerse yourself in this sacred space away from the bustle of the city. Visiting a temple is an ideal activity to do alone, because the quiet to absorb the surroundings and reflect serves to enhance the experience.
3. Experience Breathtaking Views of London from Duck and Waffle
Location: Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London
Hours: Open 24 hours!
Cost: FREE (unless, of course, you decide to actually order food)
This is definitely a budget friendly option that offers spectacular views without the cost or crowds of the London eye. From the towering Duck and Waffle you can get an incredible view of London.
Once up top, you can pick up coffee or tea, or opt for a full meal. Be warned, this is pricey. If you are on a budget, as I was, pick up tea, enjoy the view from the floor to ceiling windows while sipping it, and move onto the next adventure. I’d like to try the roasted cauliflower and toffee apple belgiam waffles next time.
4. Explore Notting Hill
Location: Explore the whole area! Take the underground or an uber to the area, and get out and walk! Be sure to visit Portobello Market for its wonderful knick-knacks and vibrant scene.
Hours: It is wonderful to walk through any time of the day, but if you want to experience Portobello Market without large crowds, try for early Saturday or Sunday mornings.
Cost: FREE, assuming you are not tempted by all the delicious bakeries or incredible shopping options in the area
Remember the movie Knotting Hill from the 90s? Did you know that before the movie was produced, this area of London was a little off the beaten path? Not anymore. It is now one of the most affluent areas of the city. Enjoy wandering the streets, taking in the beautiful flowers, interesting and colorful doors, and beautiful architecture.
Then visit Portobello Market and feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Once you are tired from all that walking, step into Gail’s Bakery, or one of the other incredible bakeries in the area, to have a snack and pick up a loaf of freshly baked bread or some pasteries to take back to your hotel.
5. Explore London’s Incredible Museums
Location: So Many All Over the City
Hours: Check each Museum’s website for hours. Most open at 10 and close at about 5:45
Cost: FREE (except for special exhibits)
London has such a plethora of museums, you could get lost for days in them. And even better, most are free. I loved all that I experienced. Here is a list of possible options:
- Natural History Museum – This one is fun to explore with kids, but also alone. Has exhibits on science, history, nature
- British Museum – One of the most famous, houses items of history, world art and artifacts
- Museum of London –This is a museum about the history of London, if you really want to learn about the city, this is a good stop.
- Victoria and Albert Museum – decorative arts and design – I saw a fascinating exhibit on fashion throughout history
- Science Museum, London – All things science! Many great exhibits
- Design Museum, London – This museum includes products, industrial, fashion, electronics, and all types of design.
- National Gallery, London – This houses famous collections of artwork and paintings – definitely a must, even for a quick walk through. I also like to spend an afternoon really taking in the art.
- National Portrait Gallery – This is an art gallery, as the name implies, of historically important people from the UK.
- Tate Gallery, Britain and Tate Modern, London – These are very famous art museums, with British Art, and International modern and contemporary art.
There are so many more museums, but rather than describe each one, here are a few more ideas:
- Churchill War Rooms, London
- London Transport Museum
- National Maritime Museum
- Turner’s House
- Imperial War Museum
- V&A Children’s Museum
- And many more…
6. Escape for a Rainy Afternoon to the Luxurious Electric Cinema
Location: 191 Portobello Road in Notting Hill or 64-66 Redchurch St in Shoreditch Hours: 9am-8:30pm (Monday through Saturday), 10am-8:30pm (Sunday)
Cost: £8 to £45, depending on your age and seating choice. Cheapest day to visit is Monday.
This is, hands down, the most luxurious movie theater I have ever seen. Arrive early to if you want to be sure to get a bed in the front of the theater. Imagine yourself as a queen, Cleopatra, or certainly a person who deserves to be loved and pampered while watching a great movie.
As London is known for its rain, keep this one in your pocket for a day when you want to escape the weather, or after an active day exploring Notting Hill.
7. Ride a Traditional Double-Decker Bus
Location: All Over the City
Hours: All day and night, but note that many buses do not run at night. Night buses are marked with an N.
Cost: £1.50 for a single ride, but you will need an Oyster Card to pay
You can take the hop on, hop off tour bus, as is offered in so many world cities, but I prefer the simple double-deckers used for transportation. The 11 bus takes you past many of tourist sites, such as Westminster Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. Board on the top floor and wait until the front seats free up. It is a view not to miss. Just be sure you have an Oyster Card, which costs a minimum of £5, as buses don’t accept cash.
8. Explore the Magical Bookstores
Location: Daunt Books (84 Marylebone High St) or others
Hours: Variety of hours – from early morning into the night
Cost: Pay as you feel on a tip basis – no pressure, and a lot of fun
The UK gave the world Harry Potter, and as a native English speaker London is the perfect place to explore the adorable bookstores of all shapes and sizes. Browsing books is a perfect solo activity – cuddle up in a corner and get lost in your own world of possibilities.
I like Daunt books for their skylights, window displays, and incredible old-world library feel. I also love that there is a second floor, giving you an idea of just how many books there are to explore. Imagine you are right out of the pages of Harry Potter – or a Dickins novel.
9. Take a Free Walking Tour of the City
Location: Starting in Many Locations Around the City
Hours: Variety of hours – from early morning into the night
Cost: Pay as you feel on a tip basis – no pressure, and a lot of fun
There are so many amazing walking tours available – including ones that highlight the main sights of London, a London food tour, a London Pub tour, Harry Potter tour, British Museum Tour, graffiti tour, rock n’ roll tour, a night tour, culture tour, and even a ghost tour!
I always love taking a walking tour on one of my first days in a new city. It is a great way to get accustomed with the sights and meet a local guide. In cities like London, I sometime even take two – one general tour of the main sites, and one specialty tour, like the Harry Potter tour or the food tour.
10. Take a Sunset Cruise on the River Thames
Location: Varies – many departure ports along the River Thames, with ticket counters nearby
Hours: All day and night – I recommend one that leaves about an hour before sunset Cost: Varies by company and length of time, usually about £25 for a 2 hour cruise with snacks and drinks
Take in the magic of the Thames in a peaceful setting, and watch the sights of London go by. Enjoy snacks and drinks. Relax inside or on the deck. I love the silence and peace of being on the river. This is one of those classic London experiences that is totally enjoyable alone.
11. Visit St. Paul’s Cathedral for Choral Evensong
Location: St. Paul’s Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD, UK
Hours: Monday thru Saturday, 5 – 5:45pm, Sunday, 3:15- 4pm
This is a wonderful way to experience the majesty of St. Paul’s Cathedral without paying for tour tickets. This service is led almost entirely in music. The songs stir the heart. The history and majesty of the Cathedral are awe-inspiring. Look up at the majestic done and beautiful architecture, and soak in the peace and calm of the moment.
I hope you are inspired to embrace the opportunity and freedom that being alone in London provides. It is a city of incredible magic with many great opportunities. And I hope that you are inspired to consider solo travel, where ever the road may take you. There are so many incredible opportunities to be experienced and explored.
Please let me know where you have traveled alone and what your favorite activities were. What did you love most in London? I am of course happy to answer any questions by email and help in any way I can in planning your trip.
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