It must have been early or mid 1990’s, when I was in my pre-teens. I was growing up reading Enid Blyton, Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes, Sidney Sheldon and Rudyard Kipling (sorry google and kindle, you weren’t there then). Unbeknownst to me, the idea of visiting London once in my lifetime, got rooted in my mind. Of course, it was a result of reading extremely vivid and beautiful descriptions of the endearing British countryside, the famous afternoon tea, replete with cakes and scones and more. Cut to 2016, I was aboard an Emirates flight, on my way to London, on my first ever solo trip. I was experiencing everything – goosebumps, butterflies in my tummy, the works. But I was sure that it would be a hell of an experience. After I roamed around in London, I realised that perhaps, it is one of the most ideal destinations for a solo trip. Here’s my take on it.
Great Public Transport
Just get an Oyster travel card – available at any tobacco store or a grocery store and you are set. It works for tube, local buses and even for trains connecting two cities within UK. If you run out of balance, it is very easy to top up the card. I bought that card and it was nothing less than a blessing. I used to board and get off the bus as per my itinerary and it was so convenient!
Tourist Centres All Around
I had wandered off to a part of the city close to Saint Paul’s Cathedral and wanted to go back to my hostel. I had no clue which bus to take. I was looking around thinking what to do and there it was – a huge tourist help centre. I went in and told them where I wanted to go. They gave me a couple of maps, including one for the Tube. The women at the counter were very nice to explain me the routes in detail. Plus, there were guides in almost all the major languages across the world. Thanks to those Mademoiselles, I was well on my way!
Walking is a Pleasure
You can walk all you want in London and won’t feel tired! Gallivanting around in London is an absolute pleasure. Such is the lovely atmosphere and weather of the city (when it is not raining). If you are traveling solo, walking around the city is the best thing you could do to get those vibes and understand the culture a little bit more. So London is perhaps one of the most walking-friendly cities. You can see so many people walking swiftly – from teenagers to crisply dressed, suited corporate professionals.
Sightseeing Was Never So Easy
So apart from Lords and Globe Theatre, which are isolated and stand-alone places of interests, a number of places to see are close to each other. For instance, Madame Tussauds’ is not too far off from Baker Street, the residence of one of the most-loved detectives ever, Sherlock Holmes. Tower of London, Dungeons and London Eye – all these again are easily accessible and close to each other. Then again, we can’t forget the umpteen war and heritage museums which can be found all over the city.
The Blokes and Folks are Friendly
Yes, people are friendly in London. I was walking to Lords cricket ground from the hostel I was staying in and this elderly woman simply struck a conversation with me and told me how crazy it is whenever there are matches scheduled at Lords’. So yes, they are approachable. If you ask them something, they will be very cordial and nice and will bail you out. But, to your huge relief, they won’t poke nose into your affairs.
No Judgements Whatsoever
London definitely is one of the best destinations for a solo trip for one more reason. People are absolutely non-judgemental. If you are traveling on your own, you tend to sometimes break lose, might do something you may not at your home or wear something extravagant – something you always wanted to wear but didn’t probably. Here even you have committed a fashion faux pas, no one will judge you or try to correct you. You can just be and do whatever. Short skirt? No problem. Odd-looking cap? no worries mate! It is all good and nobody will come and tell you to change! I feel while traveling solo, this is the best feeling that no one is going to judge you and no one recognizes you.
Endless Things to See and Do Around
Whether you want to catch a Harry Potter latest or check out Shakespeare’s Globe or have a drink at one of the hep bars in Soho or check out a museum or go for a Thames cruise, there’s no dearth of things you can do and see in this vibrant city. It is a pleasure even to just aimlessly wander around looking at that occasional pretty pink Ivy hugging a wall or a small, charming book café with tables laid out on the sidewalk on a sunny afternoon with people happily chatting over a cuppa’ tea.
I can probably go on and on, but then, you have to go there and experience the charm and magic of this city. I am sure there are umpteen other reasons why London is one of the perfect destinations for a solo trip. What’s yours? Until next time,