Tips for women travelling alone

Jun 20th, 2003, 05:03 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Tips for women travelling alone

I am treating myself for my 50th birthday to a 2 week trip to England - (sans husband and children). I will be visiting a friend in Durham for 4 or 5 days - any tips on women travelling on their own and good quality London accommodation? I have been to London twice but very short trips so am planning to "see it all"
maureens is offline  
Jun 20th, 2003, 05:25 PM
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Maureens, I stayed for 2 weeks by myself in London at the Nell Gwynne apts (they have a website) and was very comfortable there. They're located on Sloane Ave. in Chelsea. The reason I wanted an apt was so I could eat in when I didn't feel like a restaurant by myself. However, there are lots of restaurants on this street plus you're only a couple of blocks from Kings Rd. I also took a day trip with London Walks to Windsor/Eton and that was great. I had been in London for one week previously so picked up the places I missed the first time. Please e-mail me if you have any questions. [email protected]
nancy is offline  
Jun 20th, 2003, 08:01 PM
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As a woman alone, I believe it's a safer bet to stay at the best hotel you can afford. They always have looked after me as compared to with the dumps I stayed in.
cigalechanta is offline  
Jun 21st, 2003, 03:25 AM
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what a great treat !!

I did that last yr. spending a week with a friend in northern italy, then went off by myself to Procida and Rome.
the apt. idea sounds good, esp. as you are not a "first timer" to the city.

No tips on London,
but a big Happy B-day
nanb is offline  
Jun 21st, 2003, 06:06 AM
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Maureens, Happy birthday. What a wonderful trip you will have. I posted my trip report back on the 17th- I included some tips for women travelers among other things.

If you do a search I think my message has been pushed back to the 70's or 80's....It is titled London Trip report-do's and don'ts or something like that.

2 weeks will be wonderful!! You will be able to do a lot! Enjoy! Boy am I jealous!!

policywonk is offline  
Jun 21st, 2003, 07:15 AM
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Some great tips - thanks to everyone - and I found that back message on your trip tips for London - tea at the Ritz is now on the itinerary. Maybe I can watch the crowd and start that book I always wanted to write now that I am semi-retired.
maureens is offline  
Jun 21st, 2003, 08:21 AM
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I just got back from a week in London on my own (I'm a woman about your age), and had a great time. I stayed at the Basil Street Hotel in Knightsbridge, and highly recommend it. It's on the pricey side, but well worth it if your budget permits. The normal rate for a single room is 145 pounds per night, plus tax, but if you're staying five nights or more they'll reduce the rate to 120 pounds, which works out to 141 pounds with the tax added on.

Here's an example of why I say the Basil Street is worth the price: when I arrived at the hotel at 8:30 a.m., my room was ready for me to check into, which was a very pleasant surprise. When I mentioned this, the reservation clerk said that they had held the room over for me from the previous day because they knew I'd be arriving early. Also, the hotel is in a great location, just down the street from Harrod's and around the corner from the Knightsbridge tube station, which makes it a breeze to take the subway to and from Heathrow.

There's an excellent Thai restaurant called Patara on Beauchamp Place, about a 5-minute walk from the hotel. The food is delicious (I've eaten there twice now, and loved everything I've had), and the service is superb: I got just as good service, as a woman eating alone, as the tables of couples around me, which isn't always the case in every restaurant.

You don't mention when you'll be in London, but if it's before July 20, don't miss the Art Deco show at the V&A. Based on some comments on another thread (and on my own tendency to be an obsessive planner-ahead), I bought an advance ticket for the show on the V&A's website. However, when I got to the museum, at 10:30 on a Monday morning, the line for tickets wasn't very long, so I'm not sure it's necessary to buy your ticket in advance. I got the audioguide, which costs 3.50 pounds, and thought it was a worthwhile investment.

I also enjoyed the Queen's Gallery, where the current exhibits include a show of Leonardo da Vinci's drawings. The show was delightfully uncrowded when I was there, compared to the mob scene that turned out for the da Vinci show at the Met in New York a couple of months ago.
Bree is offline  
Jun 21st, 2003, 08:50 AM
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My tip is to keep your luggage light an manageable. One carry-on-size bag which you can check, plus one totebag/purse. The carryon size is to be checked just to give you less to fuss with at the airport. It is small so that you can lift it up and down train station or Tube stairs, or onto or down from overhead luggage racks.

You've been to London, but if you'd still like to see my London file, email me at [email protected]
elaine is offline  
Jun 21st, 2003, 11:40 AM
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A cell phone. And memorize the English emergency number.
jor is offline  
Jun 21st, 2003, 12:50 PM
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The apt idea is tempting for more space, less cost & a kitchen, but you're more likely to meet other people (if you want to) staying at a hotel with a bar and/or breakfast room. Take a few London Walks where you're also likely to meet other solo travelers for perhaps a dinner companion.
mclaurie is offline  
Jun 21st, 2003, 01:55 PM
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I don't know when you're travelling, but many London hotels are running summer specials. I got a room for August at the Cranley (which looks like a LOVELY hotel) for 99 GBP a night through I would recommend staying in South Kensington, Kensington, Notting Hill, Chelsea, Mayfair, St. James, or Piccadilly, over Russell Square, Bloomsbury or Euston area, simply because I find the first areas more friendly at night. London is probably one of my favorite cities for a woman travelling alone, and there is lots to do -- museums, etc. One of my favorite things that isn't always on the typical tourist's beaten path is the permanent exhibition of important historical documents at the British library. They have a copy of the Magna Carta, the Duke of Norfolk's death warrant signed by Elizabeth I, and the original lyrics to Yesterday as jotted down by Paul McCartney. A very cool exhibit, especially if you're interested in history.

Also try to see a good play or two while you're there. Theater is a bargain compared to the States, and there are so many excellent plays in London. Enjoy!
kcw214 is offline  
Jun 21st, 2003, 05:11 PM
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More great ideas for my September trip. I am a Canadian royalist and history buff so the London sites will be great - and that historical document exhibit sounds really interesting. I will be challenged to pack light as that is always an issue for me - but I will definitely try. Thanks again everyone. One or 2 plays are definitely on the list - Arsenic and Old Lace caught my attention. I am thinking going more upscale on hotels - you don't often turn 50 - a friend stayed at the Dorchester last year and found it terrific - and she arranged for a personal guide for several day trips. I am sensing that women find London quite safe as well.
maureens is offline  
Jun 21st, 2003, 05:47 PM
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Male curiosity: In what countries of Europe does a woman feel most comfortable traveling alone and in what countries most uncomfortable? How would you compare this to various cities in the US?
lweber is offline  
Jun 21st, 2003, 07:52 PM
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I have taken 4 solo trips to London, each time staying about 10 days. There is so much to do, and very easy for a woman traveling alone. Be sure to get a tourist-type pass for the tube (I can't remember what it's called)-but it's great not to have to stand in line for tickets, and you can use on the bus, too.

My favorite hotel is Bloom's Townhouse Hotel in Bloomsbury near the British Museum - lovely small hotel (wonderful breakfast in beautiful dining room). Great ambiance there, and I met nice people staying there. A little on the pricey side, but was worth it. I thought Bloomsbury was a very convenient area to be, close enough to walk to many theaters, but not crowded and touristy - and several tube options.
I always take the tube from Heathrow to Russell Square, and walk to my hotel.
The Airport Bus (I also can't remember what that's called!) also has a stop at Russell Square. I took it going back to Heathrow each time.

Also, the "London Walks", as mentioned by a previous poster, are great. Their nighttime walks are good for a solo woman - something safe to do at night.

I took daytrips to Windsor, Hampton Court, Greenwich, Cambridge and several other places. And I loved Hampstead and the Heath! You'll have a wonderful trip!
Sue4 is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2003, 10:33 AM
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No London advice but solo female hints: As mentioned already *do* pack as light as possible. This is important both for convenience and safety (appearing self-sufficient and not in need of assistance). Take an entertaining paperback or pick one up there. Great for restaurants dining alone or an early evening in your room when you're pooped from a long day of touring. Happy Birthday & have a wonderful trip.
suze is offline  
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