27 Epic Things To Do Alone In London: A Local Expert’s Guide

Are you visiting the UK with a solo travel trip to London planned and are wondering what you should do? Here are the very best things to do alone in London, from its cultural attractions to drinking in a British pub.

I know that I’m biased, but my home city of London is a fantastic place to visit on any occasion and in any company.

It is also a great destination for a solo traveller. London is not only one of the best places for a solo trip in Europe, but is one of the most popular solo travel destinations in the world

And this is not just me being biased; studies of solo travel consistently report London as a favourite destination.

To help you make the best of my hometown, here is my pick of the very best things to do alone in London.

Whether you are an art aficionado, a fervent foodie or a seasoned shutterbug, I have you covered!

london view 16

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>>> Get inspiration to book your first solo visit to London with these dreamy quotes about singles travel.

The Best Cultural Activities When You Are Alone in London

Enrich your mind at one of London’s major museums

Visiting a museum is an ideal solo travel activity and London has these in spades. Better still, entry to the permanent exhibitions in most of London’s museums is free.

Lovers of fashion and design will adore the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A), and history buffs will flock to The British Museum. Budding geologists should point their compass towards South Kensington’s Science Museum, whilst those itching to learn more about our natural world may want to check out its next-door neighbour, The Natural History Museum.

Don’t feel that you have to ‘do’ a museum by visiting every exhibition room. That’s a sure-fire way of developing museum fatigue.

In my many years of living in London and visiting its major museums, I haven’t done this and don’t intend to either.

Instead, create your bucket list of not only which museums to see, but also what to see when you are there. Take it at your own pace and focus on what interests you.

Even if you are not a museum person, the buildings that these collections are housed in are works of art and London landmarks in their own right.

But don’t forget its smaller museums

Walrus at Horniman Museum, London

By ticking off the major museums on our travel bucket lists, there’s the risk that the smaller museums are omitted. If you are in a city for a limited time, this is inevitable as priority is given to the big-hitters.

London is home to some wonderful, smaller museums which are perfect for mooching around alone if time permits.

Insider Tip! The Pick of London’s Best Small Museums

London Cinema Museum – for a journey into cinema’s past

Horniman Museum – a quirky natural history museum in a beautiful setting, famous for its giant stuffed walrus

Museum of Brands – for a surprisingly fascinating insight into marketing and brands.

Pollock’s Toy Museum – bring out your inner child – or your actual child! – to this tiny museum displaying childhood toys

Join a talk at The British Museum

Great Hall, British Museum, London

The British Museum is one of my favourite hangouts and it has a stimulating programme of events year-round. These range from excellent free gallery tours, that are led by volunteers, to more in-depth explorations of cultural and historic subjects.

You can just turn up on the day for most of the free gallery tours. However, book online for the paid-for talks as these are very popular.

But if you miss out on the talks, don’t miss out on the museum. It truly has a world-beating collection, from imposing African statues to the glorious Lindisfarne Gospel from Northumbria’s Holy Island.

Visit one of London’s art galleries

Is art more of your thing? If so, you’ll be spoilt for choice in London. Again, the permanent exhibitions are usually free.

For artistic immersion, head to The National Gallery on Trafalgar Square. For modern art enthusiasts, there’s Tate Modern housed in the husk of a disused power station on London’s South Bank.

looking at the exterior of tate modern london from millennium bridge
Tate Modern, London

More intimate galleries that I can recommend are The Wallace Collection, The Queen’s Gallery and Dulwich Picture Gallery.

Gawp at the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London

the tower of london exterior

The Tower of London is a very popular attraction for very good reasons. Don’t expect this to be a visit to a dry historical site.

Over its colourful 1,000 year history it has been a fortress and a palace. It was used to store records of government and was the site of a royal menagerie, the Royal Mint and armouries.

Today’s visitors arrive in their droves to gaze in wonder at the Crown Jewels, the gold and gem-encrusted ceremonial items worn by British kings and queens, and to revel in its sometimes gory history. It was from here that Anne Boleyn and Guy Fawkes were incarcerated and were led to their grisly fate.

Their stories and more are brought to life during the free 45-minute walking tour led by the famous Yeoman Warders, also known as ‘Beefeaters.’ Delivered with style and humour, this is one of the highlights of the Tower of London that can’t be missed.


Go to the cinema alone

Solo cinema-going should be the norm, not the exception.

Let’s face it; why do you need to go with someone else to watch a movie? Whilst a shared post-movie critique can be fun, it’s not as if you’re going to chat with one another during the film. Or I sincerely hope not.

I’m a total cinephile and go to the cinema on a weekly basis at the very least, often on my own. To my mind, hunkering down in a cosy cinema on a winter afternoon takes a lot of beating.

In central London, my go-to place for a dose of movie magic is Picturehouse Central. Big screens, comfortable seats, good café and thoughtful programming.  Plus its Members’ Bar is one of the best spots in London to grab a drink!

For a boutique cinema experience, try the theatres in the Everyman Cinema chain.

As their screens tend to be smaller, this is not the best option for those big blockbuster movies. However, what the Everyman lacks in screen size, it gains in comfy sofas and armchairs, some with footstools, and waiter service to your seat.

For a journey into cinematic past, pick Prince Charles Cinema (off Leicester Square) or The Electric Cinema on Portobello Road.

The retro-styled Prince Charles has a wonderfully eclectic programme at bargain prices for its central location, especially if you take up their cheap membership.

The Edwardian Electric Cinema is the very definition of a picture palace, with its extravagant Baroque interior housing plush armchairs and sofas. Check out its discounted rates for Sunday matinée screenings.

Browse the BFI’s Archives in the Mediatheque

Another favourite place to watch a movie is the British Film Institute (BFI) on the South Bank, which is also home to the uber-cool Mediatheque.

The Mediatheque comprises booths with comfortable seats where you can settle down with a film or TV programme from the BFI’s extensive and diverse archive collection.

And best of all, it’s absolutely free.

Catch a play or musical

exterior of grand theatre in london with sign for harry potter and the cursed child
London theatre

Another great thing to do in London by yourself is to go to the theatre.

London has so much going on theatrically, suiting all tastes and budgets. And as a single, it is easier to score a single ticket.

Insider tip! Buying London Theatre Tickets

Try for a matinée performance, typically held two or three times a week in the afternoon. As these performances are less popular, tickets are usually easier to get hold of and can be cheaper.

Download the app TodayTix for bargain seats and flash sales

Although the well-loved booth in Leicester Square has shut, you can visit TKTS London online for theatrical bargains.

Embrace your inner classic music aficionado at St Martin in the Fields

St Martin In The Fields, London

If classical music is more to your taste, St Martin in the Fields holds free 45-minute lunchtime concerts multiple times a week.

The church also has an inexpensive café in its crypt plus a terrace cafe, both of which are good lunch options if you are in the Trafalgar Square area.

Lose yourself in literature in an old-fashioned bookshop

To me, a bookshop is a perfect refuge for the solo traveller. Sadly, in these days of Amazon – other online retailers are available –  bookshops are becoming ever rarer, and those with character are rarer still.

Luckily for us locals, London has managed to cling onto many of its bookshops.

King amongst these is Daunt Books in Marylebone. Solo travellers will be bowled over by its extensive collection of travel publications, perfect for an hour’s browsing.

The Best Things to Do Alone in London: Sightseeing

See London’s highlights on a self-guided tour

Forget about those hop-on-hop-off tourist buses clogging London’s streets. The very best way to see the capital is on foot.

One of my favourite things to do in London is to seek out its familiar, and less familiar, sights by doing a walking tour. And the beauty of doing a self-guided tour is that you can go at your own pace (and skip the less interesting bits).

Or join a guided walking tour

If you don’t fancy going it alone, there is a good choice of guided London walking tours available to accommodate all interests. This can also be a good way to meet people as a solo traveller.

From a food walking tour of Borough Market to immersion in Harry Potter’s Muggle land, there’s something for everyone.

The street art tours in East London have been highly recommended by friends. However, armed with a little information, you can do this by yourself.

brick-lane-street-art-of young girl with heart shaped glasses
Work by Carleen De Sozer

READ THIS NEXT: Street Art in Brick Lane, London: A Self-guided Walking Tour

Take in the view from the Sky Garden

For the best free view in town, head to 20 Fenchchurch Street, otherwise known as the Walkie Talkie building, which is home to London’s garden in the clouds.

people sitting in vast bar enclosed by glass and featuring ferns
The Sky Pod Bar

The Sky Garden offers a 360-degree panorama of London’s iconic skyline. On a clear day, the views are sensational, from the Tower of London and Canary Wharf to the east, and St. Paul’s Cathedral and the London Eye to the west.

Advance booking is essential.

READ THIS NEXT: Visiting The Sky Garden, London

Go on a London photographic safari  

Another great solo travel activity in London is to capture some of the city’s iconic images to make your friends back home green with envy. London almost begs to be photographed, from the skyline of The City to the panorama from the top of The Shard.

READ THIS NEXT: Visiting The Shard, London: Tips from a Local

wooden footbridge in london across thames with skyscrapers in background

But that said, even as a Londoner, I am tempted to book a photography walking tour. £49 for four hours.

An alternative is to check for photography meetups In London, another good way for solo travellers to make friends on the road.

Take a stroll along the Victoria Embankment

There are so many walks to do in London, but I’m picking this one as it takes in so many of London’s top sights.

The 2 km Victoria Embankment river walk from the Palace of Westminster to Blackfriars Bridge is a perfect way to spend an afternoon.

red bus crossing bridge over the thames in london with houses of parliament and big ben
Westminster Bridge and the Palace of Westminster

If the weather is kind to you, take a break in the Victoria Embankment Gardens near Charing Cross Station. A café is open in the warmer months, and there are summer concerts in the garden’s bandstand.

Alternatively, if you are seeking open spaces, take the Pymmes Brook Trail in North London.

Smell the flowers in Columbia Road Market

flowers for sale at columbia-rd-market
Columbia Road Flower Market, London

Visiting at least one market is a good use of time during your solo trip to London. There are so many to choose from, Portobello Market, Brick Lane MarketOld Spitalfields and Borough Market to name but a few.

But my favourite has to be the Columbia Road Flower Market, which is one of the best things to do in London by yourself on a Sunday.

Every Sunday, this East End road is transformed into a blooming wonderland, the air perfumed with the scent of flowers. Arrive early to get your pick of the blooms (the market opens at 8 am).

Or if you are after a bargain, arrive around 2 pm when the stallholders start to reduce their prices. The market closes at 3 pm.

This area between Shoreditch and Brick Lane is also packed with vintage shops, and fantastic cafes and delis. Perfect for Sunday brunch.

Borrow a four-legged friend for the day

If you are missing companionship, why not borrow a dog for the day? The innovative Borrow My Doggy pairs dog owners with dog sitters.

What could be better than having a canine companion to explore London with? And you get to help out dog owners.

Take a riverboat along the Thames

Take a riverboat along the Thames for a leisurely day out and a chance to see many of London’s most famous bridges from a different perspective.

A one-day River Roamer ticket gives you unlimited travel on the Thames Clippers’ service.

This will allow you to hop on and hop off between 23 piers along the river and explore some of the city’s attractions. These include Battersea Power Station to the west, the Houses of Parliament, London Eye, Tate Modern, Tower of London, Tower Bridge and historic Greenwich to the east.

Take a day trip from London

Dunes at Camber Sands
Dunes at Camber Sands

Thanks to its extensive rail connections, it’s super easy to take a day trip from London.

Insider tip!

As most Londoners will take a trip out of town at the weekend rather than on a weekday, try to take a day trip Monday – Friday. You’ll find that trains and the destinations themselves will be quieter.

With its broad shingle beach and cool bohemian air, Brighton is a very popular day trip from London. The university cities of Oxford and Cambridge are also great choices for a day out.

Even Liverpool, home of The Fab Four, is reachable as a day trip from London.

For something a little different, but no less historic, try Rochester in Kent, which was once the home of Charles Dickens. Visit one of the seaside towns in Kent or walk along the dunes of Camber Sands and explore the neighbouring town of Rye, West Sussex.

Finally, if you’re in the mood for a walk through ancient woodlands, I highly recommend heading to Epping Forest in the northeast corner of London, which is spectacular in autumn.

READ THIS NEXT: 31 Easy Day Trips from London by Train

Self-enrichment as a Solo Traveller in London

Learn a new skill

Learning a new skill works on so many levels as a solo traveller. Apart from the potential enrichment resulting from the activity, it is a fun way to spend time in a strange city and a fantastic way to meet new people.

Check out obby to find classes that are available around London. There really is something for everyone, from calligraphy and cocktails (assume that the writing comes first!) to eco pouch making with sustainable designers.

Take a class at the School of Life.

London’s School of Life has an extensive programme of classes and workshops, focussing on helping attendees find fulfilment in key areas of their lives.

Speakers discuss a range of subjects from how to find love, to developing your emotional intelligence.

The Best Things to Do Alone in London: Physical Activities

Start your weekend with a Park Run

If you are in London by yourself on a Saturday and have your running gear with you, why not take part in a Park Run?

These organised 5K runs are great fun as well as good places to meet new people as a solo traveller. Sign up for free on their website.

Unleash your inner Ginger Rogers at a dance class

the feet of a group of people in tap dance class

If running isn’t for you, consider dropping into the famous Pineapple Studios in Covent Garden for a dance class.

From tap to hip hop, there are classes for all levels, throughout the day and well into the evening. Prices are from £10 for an hour’s session; advance booking is required.

Rent a bike to enjoy London’s parks

For something a little more leisurely, rent a bike to explore one or more of London’s wonderful parks. The Hyde Park loop is particularly good.

You can rent one of the distinctive Santander Cycles for as little as £2 for 30-minutes. Download the Santander Cycles app or go to any docking station with your bank card and touch the screen to get started.

Eating & Drinking As a Solo Traveller in London

Read a book over a flat white

Let’s be honest. Rain is not an impossibility in London.

Cosying up in a café is a good wet weather standby if you are alone in London. Order your coffee – and something decadent to go with it – open up your book or laptop or just people watch.

Dine at a supper club

The prospect of eating out alone is enough to bring even the most experienced solo traveller out in a cold sweat.

If you are visiting London alone and don’t fancy a table for one, why not try one of the city’s supper clubs?

These imitate spaces are where aspiring chefs test their offerings before committing to the rent of a permanent home. As such, you can eat very well for a fraction of the usual price.

Plump for one that offers long sharing tables, which are good places to strike up conversations with new people.

Treat yourself to a G&T in a  London pub

fitzroy tavern london

Saving one of the best things to do alone in London ‘til last.

Few things are as quintessentially British as a pub, and just because you are travelling alone doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on this experience.

One of my favourite central London pubs is the Fitzroy Tavern on Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia. This Victorian boozer oozes history and has been the haunt of many a London luminary over the years, including Dylan Thomas.

Head upstairs to bag one of the pub’s comfy armchairs. Write your journal, read a good book and order a glass or two of your favourite nectar. And you never know, you may soon make new friends.


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