Topics include Dining Scene, United Kingdom: For Foreign Visitors & more!
Crime here is more likely to be of the quaint and thieving kind – pick pockets and bag-snatching (a la Oliver Twist)– than of the more violent kind, so you shouldn't ruin your vacation by obsessing over your safety. Do beware of card trap devices attached to ATMs and where possible use machines inside Bank lobbies. Also beware of being distracted whilst using ATMs. Do not be tempted to change money to a guy in the street offering a good deal. You WILL lose out, and it is illegal.
Also, as is the case in any large city, there will be people claiming to represent all sorts of different events and charities and they will look very authentic. Some of them probably are but many of them are scammers and its always best to just avoid them as you have really no idea where your money is actually going. If you are ever asked for any more money than you may be willing to give, just say the usual thing... "That's all the change I have" and walk away.
While on the Tube, you will frequently see signs and hear announcements asking you to please report any unattended bag that you see on a train. The staff at the stations take this vey seriously due to the terrorist threat and will thank you heartily for reporting anything abnormal. They will NEVER not take you seriously and you will NOT get into trouble at all if it turns out to be nothing which, it likely will be.
If the tube does not travel to your destination, or it is too late, a comprehensive night bus network operates throughout the city. Transport for London does issue some advice about the use of minicabs; Never use an unlicensed minicab and never accept a ride in the street from someone claiming to be a minicab driver, they must be pre-booked. However, this should not entirely deter you from using one of London's famous black cabs if need be. The drivers are generally very honest and pleasant to talk to. Also, if they think you are within easy walking distance of where you asked them to take you or if they think there is a cheaper alternative means of transport there, they will tell you right up front before you even climb into the cab.
Solo women travellers should not experience any distinct difference in treatment from any other tourist, just like in any other European capital. Always dress appropriately for the circumstances. Although it would be advisable for any single tourist not to take an illegal minicab for their own peace of mind, you should not worry untowardly about travelling alone.
If you do find that you need the police, fire brigade or an ambulance in an emergency, dial 999 or 112 from any land-line or mobile. Police Stations are located throughout the city and have alternative non-emergency phone numbers.
Of course, you should be aware that, although not as dangerous as some large cities in the USA and elsewhere, there has been an alarming increase in reports of knifings, assaults, rapes and theft. Never underestimate the potential for crime or violence, especially after dark. According to many reports there also seems to be a growing tendency among some youth to travel in gangs and even though they may normally be harmless, it can be quite intimidating, especially if you are alone. Alcohol consumption, especially among under-aged youths, seems to be a cause of much of what is referred to as "anti-social behavior", so be wary in clubs and other places where alcohol is served.