London Travel Advice
Security travel advice for London
How Safe is London?
Threat level: Low - Medium
It is fair to say that London has suffered a lot over the past decade or so from terrorism, but, if you are concerned about travelling to London due to security or terror concerns, don't be! London has its security issues, just like any European Capital.
For more information on how security and terrorism have affected tourism in London, see our blog article: How safe is London?
On the morning of the 15th September 2017, a number of people had suffered significant injuries due to a confirmed terrorist incident at Parsons Green Train Station.
On the evening of the 25th of August 2017, Police arrested a male suspect in the Mall outside Buckingham Palace. The male suspect who was in his twenties had crashed his car into barriers and had made towards the Officers with a machete. Two Officers received minor injuries in making the arrest.
In the early hours of Monday 19th June 2017, a van drove into worshipers outside the Finsbury Park Mosque. It is known that one person has died and up to ten people have been injured. It was a deliberate attack against British Muslims in retribution for the recent London ISIS attacks.
On the 3rd of June 2017, there was a terrorist attack on London Bridge and nearby Borough Market. There were three suspects that drove a transit van at people on London Bridge and then went on foot through Borough Market stabbing people as they ran through.
It is reported 8 were killed and over 50 people injured and taken to hospitals throughout London. The three suspects were shot dead by police just after 10:16pm, eight minutes from the start of the incident, they were found to be wearing hoax suicide vests.
On the 22nd March 2017, there was a terrorist attack in the center of London at Westminster bridge and in the grounds of Parliament. The lone attacker, now named as Khalid Massoud, was shot by diplomatic protection officers at the scene. Khalid Massoud drove a car over Westminster bridge hitting many members of the public. The attacker then ran through the Palace of Westminster gates, gained entry to the grounds where he stabbed and killed a Police Officer, before he was shot and killed. At least 50 people were injured, 5 of them fatally.
Prior to the incident in March 2017, the last incident in London was in July 2005. London commuters were attacked by suicide bombers in three public transport areas, including underground trains at King‘s Cross station, a bus and other areas. These attacks resulted in 52 deaths. Four men, three British nationals of Pakistani background and a Jamaican were behind the attacks and were all killed during the bombings.
More recently in May 2013, a British Soldier was beheaded in Woolwich, southeast London. Lee Rigby, the young soldier killed, was walking to his local army barracks in civilian clothing, when he was attacked by two Islamic extremists. It was later revealed that this was a revenge attack to avenge the killing of Muslims by the British Armed Forces in Afghanistan. Incidents such as these are rare, but it is important to remain vigilant at all times during travel in London. If you see somebody acting suspiciously, a suspicious package or unattended luggage, inform the Police immediately on the Counter Terror hotline: 0800 789 321.
London and the United Kingdom is well known for hosting large scale, international sporting events and music concerts. While these are on the whole well managed and well policed, care should be taken and it is advised that you are aware of your surroundings and where the emergency exits/fire exits are located at all times. These should in all cases be clearly marked.
London has some of the very best policing and CCTV in the world, but like any major city, it also has issues with crime; violent crime does happen but gun crime is not a regular occurrence. Avoid walking alone at night in quieter areas, muggings occur every day in London and generally happen at night in the poorer, less developed parts of the city. Avoid alleyways or unlit streets.
Demonstrations sometimes occur in London, these are often restricted to the area around Parliament Square, but can and do happen outside foreign embassies; for the most part these are peaceful and do not represent too much of a security risk. On occasions, these demonstrations have turned to violence such as the 2011 London riots that escalated out of the death of a police suspect and quickly spread into chaos, looting and arson in which a further four individuals were killed. This resulted in mass deployment of police from all over the country and took 5 days to get the situation under control.
In the event of civil unrest, the best advice is to avoid any large gatherings and monitor both local media and social media, such as Twitter regularly.
Travelling around London?
Despite the 2005 attacks, the London underground is one of the safest, most efficient methods of travelling around the city. It can be uncomfortable to use during peak hours and throughout the summer months, it is also at these times when the likely risk of pickpocketing is most troublesome. Remain alert to this when using the underground.
Taxis in London can be expensive but they are reliable and safe. Official London black cabs are very safe and easy to use. It takes years to train to become an official black cab driver and they are highly regulated; unlike private hire and Uber. In black cabs, fares are metered and very transparent. If you are staying at a hotel in London, transportation can be booked via your concierge service or hotel reception. It is recommended that you use this form of transport whenever possible.
Popular shopping areas, such as Oxford Street, can get very crowded, which can result in an increased risk of multiple security threats. You should take extra care when in built up areas to avoid theft and assault. Individuals should consider the use of Close Protection, if they feel they are at a particular risk.
Emergency services in London:
Emergency services: 999
Note: Emergency services in the UK include Police, Medical, Fire and Coastguard service.
Anti-Terrorism Hotline: 0800 789 321
Currency: Pound Sterling
Time now in London:
London is a popular tourist destination and with over 16 million tourists travelling the city each year, most visits are pleasant and risk-free. It is no secret that there is a high threat from terrorism at present. The police and intelligence services are under a lot of pressure working to prevent any attacks.
There are high levels of crime in some areas of London, but this does not tend to affect the popular tourist areas, where most visitors will spend the duration of their trip. There are cases of pick pocketing on the underground and in popular tourist destinations within London, but the risk of this can be reduced by not carrying large sums of cash or having expensive jewellery on display.
London is well-known for its night life. Generally, night clubbing does not represent too much of a serious risk, however you should avoid travel between clubs on foot during night time hours and be cautious of accepting free drinks from strangers, as there have been some isolated cases of spiking in the past.
healthcare in London
The overall health care in the United Kingdom is of a very high standard, the London Ambulance Service prides itself on its ability to respond to any medical emergency with an average response time of eight minutes. Hospitals in London and the rest of the United Kingdom are run by the National Health Service (NHS), and various other private health care services. Emergency out of hours care is readily available, including for dental emergencies.
The main hospitals in London include The University College London Hospital, the Royal London Hospital, Guy's and St Thomas'; the latter two being internationally renowned teaching hospitals.
If you are an EU citizen, all medical treatment in NHS hospitals are free on presentation of an EU health card.
24 Grosvenor Square,
Telephone: +44 207 4999 000
Emergency Telephone: +44 207 4999 000
14 Three Kings' Yard,
Telephone: +44 20 7312 2200
Telephone: +44 20 7073 1000
39 Chesham Pl,
Telephone: +44 20 7235 5555
30 Princes Gate,
Telephone: +44 20 7581 1281
For further embassy information and locations please see our live travel map below.
Our offices in the United Kingdom
Intelligent Protection International Limited has an office in London and its international headquaters is located in the Cotswolds, near Cheltenham.
For further information on our services in the UK, see: Close Protection Services in the UKIntelligent Protection International Limited - London
Tel: +44 207 4566740
Intelligent Protection International Limited - Headquaters
Tel: +44 1453 791444