Whether you’re a solo traveller who’s exploring London for the first time or are just wanting to take some time out for yourself, there’s plenty to do when you’re on your own in our beloved capital. Here’s our rundown of 14 of the greatest things to do alone in London:
1. Go for a wander around the British Museum
Culture vultures – this one’s for you. Despite the name, this sprawling building in London’s academic Bloomsbury district is only fleetingly concerned with British history. Instead, it aims to represent the entire sweep of human endeavour, from prehistoric man through Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Absolutely marble-ous! Given its size, it’s the perfect spot to while away an afternoon. Better yet, it’s free to enter!
You’ll find the British Museum at Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG. Nearest stations are Holborn and Russell Square. The museum is open daily from 10am-5pm.
2. Gorge your way through some of London’s food markets
What better thing to do alone in London then eat right? If you’re anything like us, then you won’t find it hard getting peckish at, well, almost any time of the day or night. But instead of going for a sit down meal – which could have the potential to get a tad awkward on your own – why not head to one of the many street food markets for which London is so well known?
The obvious choice here is Borough Market, which has been a place of food and commerce for over 1000 years, but you’ve also got Maltby Street and Broadway Markets on the weekends, Mercato Metrapolitano and Seven Dials too.
3. Get your history fix at the Tower of London
Founded all the way back in 1066, this infamous UNESCO-listed building has been used as a historic palace, a fortress and a prison over the years, so if you’re looking to get an extensive insight into London’s intriguing history, then this is the place to be.
Get up close to the Crown Jewels, meet the legendary Yeoman Warders – AKA ‘beefeaters – and be regaled with tales from the Tudors, the Stuarts and beyonds. Who knows, you may even spot one of the resident spooks – after all this is where Anne Boleyn and co. got their heads chopped off! Alternatively, you could just join a ghost tour, which starts at Tower Hill – you can grab your tickets for that here.
You’ll find the Tower of London at London, EC3N 4AB. Nearest station is Tower Hill. The tower is open from 10am-5.30pm on Sundays and Mondays and 9am-5.30pm on every other day.
4. Take a scenic stroll along Southbank
A pretty fantastic addition to this roundup of the best things to do alone in London if we say so ourselves, there’s sometimes nothing better than taking a leisurely stroll along the Southbank. One of the best places for people-watching in London, there’s plenty of things to see and do along the way, including rifling through a cute little book market, watching the skaters do their thing at the Undercroft or grabbing some grub at the pop-up food stalls dotted along the riverfront.
Of course, this being Southbank, you’re just a stone’s throw away from some of the capital’s signature sites, including the Globe Theatre, the London Eye – grab your tickets for that here – and accompanying Jubilee Gardens and the Tate Modern. Speaking of the Tate…
5. Discover some eclectic modern art at the Tate Modern
Exploring the Tate Modern is a must for anyone who’s spending their time solo travelling in London Town. London’s most-visited attraction, it sits on a prime spot in Bankside – opposite St. Paul’s Cathedral – holds a repository of important and influential modern art, and won’t cost you a penny to enter. Win, win!
Everything you’ll find within the gallery is modern art, dating only as far back as 1900. Collections are split between the Boiler House, the central Turbine Hall, and the Blavatnik Building (formerly known as the Switch House). As well as all the free stuff, they also hold regular paid art exhibitions, and you can also enjoy private guided tours – you can sign up here.
You can find the Tate Modern at Bankside, London, SE1 9TG. Nearest station is Blackfriars. The Tate Modern is open daily from 10am–6pm.
6. Enjoy some chill out time in some of London’s many green spaces
If you’re looking for things to do in London alone, then this one’s a pretty good bet. From scenic views and flower-filled gardens to Instagrammable-wonders, we’re pretty lucky with our green spaces in London it has to be said. And when you’ve got over 100 dotted about the city, then you’re pretty much spoiled for choice!
From Victoria Park in the East to Kew Gardens in, well Kew (you can grab your tickets for that here), there’s more than enough to keep you busy, especially given that it’s the Summer. So what are you waiting for? Slap on the suncream, grab an ice cream and hot foot to it!
7. Shop ‘til you drop and get the goods on a solo adventure
There’s no one to judge you on how much you’re spending when you’re solo, so what better time to go shopping? We may be biassed, but London is one of the best places to shop on the planet, and we’ve got everything here from high-end boutiques to hipster havens.
Oxford Street is the obvious choice, though there are plenty of other spots in town to get the goods it has to be said. Westfield in both Stratford and Shepherd’s Bush are both worth a visit if you’re looking for high street stores – and you can head to these fabulous vintage shops if you’re looking for retro garms. For Carhartt WIP, COS, Fred Perry et al, make your way to Coal Drops Yard.
8. Settle in a cute café or deli and while away the hours
After all that shopping, you’ll most likely need to recharge your batteries – and what better place to do that than with a hit of caffeine and a sweet treat? London Town is full-to-the-brim with cute coffee shops and delightfully delicious delis, selling everything from gourmet coffee to gluten-free chocolate cake. Settle in with a good book and some headphones and you’ve got yourself more than sorted for a few hours.
9. Treat yourself to a pint or two at a riverside pub
When the sun is shining – or actually, even when it’s not – Londoners flock to a vast array of Thameside pubs for some outdoor drinking and dining. And although east and north London offer their own pretty canalside pubs, our city has always been built around the riverside, and some of these charming spots are *ahem* awash with history and can be considered among the oldest pubs in London.
Top picks along the length of the Thames include the Trafalgar Tavern in Greenwich, The Mayflower in Rotherhithe, The Anchor on Bankside and The Dove in Hammersmith – we’ll cheers to that!
10. Catch the latest blockbuster or indie movie at the cinema
Next up on this roundup of the greatest things to do alone in London is catching a flick at the cinema – and what better place to be when the weather ain’t playing ball, hey? Whether you’re looking to watch that next multi-million pound blockbuster in the ODEON IMAX, or you’d rather catch an independent gem at a tiny little spot in Hackney, there’s something for everyone in our beloved capital. Plus, you can now grab cheaper tickets with both Odeon and VUE, so heading to Hollywood needn’t break the old bank.
11. Amble through town on an alternative walking tour
If you’re wanting to unearth some of London’s hidden gems and secrets, then don’t miss joining an alternative walking tour. We’ve got everything here from the ‘Secret Old London Walking Tour’ – where you’ll be able to see the memorial to Braveheart himself, Mel Gibson (ok actually William Wallace), and will also discover where the Great Fire of London, well, burnt itself out.
Other walking tours include the ‘Gangster London Walking Tour’, a magical Harry Potter-based walking tour and ‘The London Cheese Crawl’, which ends up with an artisanal cheese board in Covent Garden. Try and say no to that! Get your tickets here.
12. Get your live music fix at a gig or two
We know we may be biassed here, but London may just well be the live music capital of the world. Our beloved city has hundreds of amazing gigs and concerts planned for the rest of the year, from scream-your-head-off rock gigs to proud pop extravaganzas and everything in between. A live gig is also the perfect way to meet some new mates, so grab a pint, get your lighters up and we’ll see you in the front row!
13. Cook up a storm with a group cooking class
We’re at the penultimate entry of this roundup of the best things to do alone in London, and what better thing to do than from going zero to hero in the kitchen?! Cook up a storm and meet some new mates, and get involved in whipping up some bottomless Mexican street food (with added wine) and pasta too. Get your tickets for the Mexican foodie course here and the pasta cooking course here.
14. Mosey your way through Chinatown
Rounding off this list of the best things to do alone in London is a visit to Chinatown, the largest Chinatown in the entire UK. Offering lots of yummy food options, all the saucy dumplings and dim sum you could want and some Chinese supermarkets to inspire you at home, it’s brimming with foodie delights and is a fantastic thing to do solo in London.