Oh, the lands of endless rain and dark humour. Honey, I’m home – and I’m alone.

As far back as history dates, the UK has attracted all kinds of lonely travellers to its shores. Some get to London and call it a day. But those who venture out into the wilderness are greeted with an unlikely, magnificent adventure.

As a British native, my solo female travels started in the UK, with a train ticket and a place on someone’s couch. And it hasn’t changed much in the last 10 years.

Between England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, you find a vastly varied culture, deeply ingrained history, rolling countryside, and maybe a bit of a drinking problem too. And only a handful of lucky travellers really get to delve into it. 

Though the transport systems only get you so far and solo travel in the UK isn’t always a cheap affair. With no one to split the costs with, and the hostel scene being somewhat non-existent, costs can rack up fast.

But that’s why I’m here, love. I’m going to give YOU some of my very best, heartfelt advice – for a country I know a little too well. I’ll share some of my favourite places to travel on my tod, the best things to do, and some top solo travel tips for the UK.

Grab your umbrella, you’ll probably need it.

Woman stood on a little jetty smiling next to a river and stone bridge
Shorts – even when it’s 14°C.
Photo: @Lauramcblonde

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    Things to Do in the UK When Travelling Solo 

    Let’s start at the very beginning. What should you be doing when you’re travelling the UK solo? Easy peasy…

    1. Go to the Pub

    Obviously, it’s the first thing I do when I get home. Public houses are an ingrained part of British culture. It’s one of our favourite places to gather and enjoy the ramblings of our society with a lukewarm pint of below-par lager. 

    And the best bit is how friendly people generally are here. It’s the finest place to strike up a conversation with the bartender or the 80-something-year-old dude who’s been coming here every day since World War II ended. 

    two women laughing with two pints of beer on the table.
    Pub? Pub.
    Photo: @Lauramcblonde

    Okay, not ideal if you’re not a drinker, but you don’t need to drink…

    If you’re stopping for a spot of lunch, you’re going to find a bunch of classic British dishes: fish and chips, pie and peas, toad in the hole, and the British number one… curry. It’s a UK masterpiece: an action-packed activity day ended at a Red Lion that smells like 20-year-old ale. 

    2. Take the train to nowhere

    Woman stood smiling next to Hogwarts Express train
    Still waiting for my letter.
    Photo: @Lauramcblonde

    If you’re travelling alone in the UK, it’s far from cost-effective to drive. Plus, with one of the most extensive train systems in the world, you can get to most corners of the country this way.

    As well as being pretty smooth and comfortable, it’s one of the cheapest ways to get around (bar the bus, which is dreadfully slow and annoying). 

    If you’re travelling across Scotland, you really can’t beat train travel: the views are beyond spectacular.

    If you love slow travel, engineering history, or even just the idea of taking a route that most backpackers won’t see, the steam train rides through the UK are one of the best things to do as a solo traveller in the UK.

    Yeah, you know, Harry Potter’s magical mystery tours train rides. Wait, I’m getting mixed up with some icons here…

    3. Museum hop

    With all of its many flaws and dark, colonial history, the UK does have one redeeming feature: FREE museums. Yes, you read that correctly – completely free of charge. Just walk straight in, no questions asked.

    And I’m not talking a crappy display of replicas and billboards. I’m talking world-renowned museums and galleries. There’s nothing I love more than jumping into a museum filled with insane artefacts and archives, without paying a penny.

    Here are some of my favourites:

    • Museum of Science – Manchester 
    • World Museum – Liverpool 
    • National Museum of Scotland – Edinburgh
    • Natural History Museum – London 
    • National Gallery – London 
    Blue whale skeleton in the main hall of the Natural History Museum in London
    I’d quite happily live in the Natural History Museum.
    Photo: @Lauramcblonde

    4. Heading out for a hike

    While many people don’t necessarily think about coming to the UK for trekking, it is certainly one of the best things to do. Whether you venture out completely alone or decide to join a group, it’s the only way you can really see the UK. One that I recommend to newbies is the sunset hike up Snowdon in Wales.

    A person on Striding edge on Helvellyn in the Lake District in England.
    Nic being the most beautiful model in Helvellyn.
    Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

    You’ll need a solid pair of hiking boots and a raincoat that you can trust with your life (literally). But you’ll be rewarded with the view that very few of the “yes, I’ve been to the UK – I went to London once” tourists won’t ever imagine in their wildest daydreams. 

    And yes, going to the pub after it is the best feeling ever.

    As a disclaimer: I do recommend that most treks are better done with a buddy on a safety aspect. Especially if the UK decides to display it’s famously brilliant weather, if things go wrong, you do not want to be stuck in the unknown alone. Experienced hikers in the UK know that you must always check walking conditions before any hike: the weather sour can turn very fast here.

    5. Stay for Christmas

    Outside of the USA, the UK has one of the most spectacular Christmas periods. Temperatures drop to snuggly weather, the twinkly lights look lovely, and everyone is happy to ignore the misery of winter for the next 4 weeks. 

    Christmas markets in the UK are great for flinging you into the Christmas spirit. They’ll be kicking off in any and every city, so it really doesn’t matter where you are.

    Huge wooden state of a man holding a bird overlooking busy christmas markets
    Though weirdly, Christmas is very German-inspired…
    Photo: @Lauramcblonde

    In some places, you might catch some snow if you’re lucky. If you can grab an invite for Christmas dinner, you’ll be treated to more food than you can put away. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried Yorkshire puddings and pig in blankets (yes, pig in blankets – I’m a veggie, but I make an exception for these little suckers for Jesus’s bday). 

    6. Go to a footy match

    Okay, this one’s gonna divide some people. Either you couldn’t give less of a shit about football (in which case, skip my 6th recommendation for things to do in the UK as a solo traveller) or I’ve got your full attention. 

    The Emirates Stadium in London during an Arsenal game
    But not Arsenal.
    Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

    Of course, football culture is hardly a joke in England (sorry Scotland, Ireland, and Wales). We have some of the oldest teams, some of the best stadiums in the world, and a whole heap of hooligan supporters.

    If you’re a football fanatic, this is somewhat of a pilgrimage. It’s one of the best solo UK travel adventures you can add to your list.

    Best Solo Destinations in The UK

    Because there is such a lack of good backpacker hostels in the UK, it kind of limits you as a solo traveller – unless you’re camping. So one of the best solo travel tips I can give you is starting in a place that offers good places to stay, loads of cool things to do, and a shedload of cool people to meet.

    So that’s why we have to commence with…


    Okay, this is obvious, but let’s get it out of the way. London isn’t just a haven for solo travellers in the UK but for anyone from any walk of life. 

    Even the most experienced London backpackers know you can spend a lifetime in this city, and you won’t see it all. But without anyone to hold you back, you get a unique perspective into this infamous city. 

    An underground sign with Big Ben in the background in London
    You have to go really.
    Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

    That’s the wonder about London Town: the biggest parties are always the most intimate. 

    Stay in London’s finest neighbourhoods and discover all those hidden gems that most travellers will never see. I love spending time in Soho and Camden. Albeit expensive, I’ve had some of the most memorable nights watching London life pass me by.


    Arguably the most beautiful places in the UK for solo travellers, no one does hospitality like the Scottish. Travelling to Edinburgh is an honour: anyone who enters this majestic city is heavily rewarded.

    It took me 25 years until I managed to get to Edinburgh. I was nagged and nagged by my friends who had been and spoke so highly of the city.

    It’s not cheap, and finding that budget accommodation was tough. But when I finally got a gap in my calendar that suited an invite off Couchsurfing, I jumped at the chance. I’m now one of those people that nags all my friends that haven’t been to Edinburgh too.

    woman wearing a big winter coat and thick gloves outside Edinburgh Castle on a sunny day
    Could be winter. Could be summer. Who knows?
    Photo: @Lauramcblonde

    I mean, Harry Potter’s world was heavily inspired by this city, so that can start to paint a picture in your mind of what to expect. As you can see, I’m standing in front of Hogwarts. Edinburgh Castle entry and tour is a little expensive to get in but it’s so worth it if you can swing it.


    Manchester has been one of the world’s most influential cities of modern times. As well as being at the forefront of the industrial revolution, they have also influenced music, football, and technology around the world. And these are all things that I have to recommend you see if you’re travelling to the UK alone.

    Tramlines at sunset in Manchester
    Our beloved drug-fueled city.
    Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

    Of course, many football fanatics dream of watching a Manchester United or Manchester City game (or both, but don’t divulge that information while you’re there). Let me warn you, tickets are damn expensive. But if it’s the dream then it’s the dream. 


    Not to be mistaken with Londonderry (yes, it’s the same place, but you’d best not be calling it “Londonderry” while you’re there) is a gem in Northern Ireland. With Irish pub culture being that of a global icon, you’ll bet your arse this is where you’re going to find the best pints and conversations in the UK as a solo traveller.

    Londonderry Peace Bridge


    John, George, Paul, Ringo, yes Liverpool, we know: you made The Beatles. 

    You couldn’t possibly step foot here without having it rammed down your throat. With everything Beatles could possibly cram into one city. If you’re a music fanatic, it’s pretty much an essential visit. The motherland of 4 of the most monumental figures in music history. 

    A person stood in front of a statue of The Beatles in Liverpool
    The boys.
    Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

    But besides excessive amounts of tourists based around a band, Liverpool is a groundbreaking city. And actually, they have one of the most friendly and welcoming communities for solo travellers in the UK. Even though it’s close to home, I still love staying at The Pod Hostel here to meet amazing travellers.

    Even being the cultural capital of Europe, Liverpool is one of those magical cities that accepts people from all walks of life. Scousers (people from Liverpool) are extremely affectionate. 


    Look, I’m not going to say that it’s easy getting yourself over to Wales a on a travel route alone around the UK. The public transport service is pretty limited, which makes things a bit complicated.

    But I tell you know, it’s by far my favourite solo escape in the UK. Endless peace, kind people, tasty food, and hills lined with history – actually, I’d go as far it’s one of my absolute favourite places to travel alone.

    Man standing at the top of a castle tower smiling under an umbrella in very heavy rain
    Emergency brollies always coming in handy.
    Photo: @Lauramcblonde
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    The Best Travel Apps for Solo Travel in The UK 

    When you’re trotting around England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, it will make a difference if you’ve got access to the internet. Having these essential travel apps to hand changes the experience for solo travellers in the UK so much. It’s like having an external brain in your hand.

    • Booking.com and Hostelworld – Make sure you’re scouting both of these platforms for the best prices. However, I’ve found Booking.com to be considerably better in recent months.
    • Trainline – Best train travel app with updated timetables and to purchase cheap tickets.
    • Railcard – 1/3 off train tickets? Yes mate, I’m in. I’m sorry if you’ve had your 31st birthday, you can’t get a solo railcard again until you’re a senior. But this sucker has saved me an absolute fortune on public transport in the UK.
    • Holafly – Getting around the UK is much easier with a SIM card. An e-SIM like Holafly means you can download a data-only SIM card without installing a physical card.
    • Tinder – It’s not all hook-ups and bad dates. It can also be making friends and even scoring some weed. And hey, my best friend just bagged herself a Tinder husband, soooo…
    • Uber – Look, I’m not particularly happy about adding this one to the list but they’re generally better than taxi drivers – especially in London. If you miss the last bus and you’re up shit creek without a paddle, Uber is generally cheaper and much, much safer than normal taxis.
    • The National Trust – Find the closest place to see the gorgeous countryside, no matter where you are on the map. Just pop in your postcode and head on out.

    Safety Tips for Solo Travellers in The UK 

    While the UK is a safe place for solo travellers, like anywhere, it’s not 100% safe. That doesn’t mean you have anything to worry about, but you do have some things that you should bear in mind. 

    Particularly in big cities (London is especially bad) crime is present. Be aware that the VAST majority of visitors never encounter any issues – because there are plenty of ways to avoid them. 

    Man stood on limestone pavement in the Yorkshire Dales
    Keeping off the cracks.
    Photo: @Lauramcblonde

    Surprisingly, most people I know who have had issues with theft and robbery are men. This is usually because they think they are safe to walk home from the pub or club at night – when in fact they aren’t. 

    From experience, trains and buses can be cancelled last minute. So it’s never a good idea to rely on the last train. There’s always a chance that you’ll be left stranded on a train platform. 

    Do not carry weapons. As well as many being illegal, most injuries caused by weapons are actually people who have their own used back on themselves.

    Tips for Solo Travelling in the UK

    • Couchsurf – this is one of the best tips for solo budget travellers. You’ll meet a local who knows a bunch of cool, hidden spots that tourists don’t usually get to see AND save yourself a full night’s accommodation in a usually expensive place. 
    • Plan your own trip – Hey, recommendations from people are great. But the world is your oyster! Don’t live someone else’s oyster. If it doesn’t sound like your thing, you don’t have to do it.
    • Plan some booked adventures – Look, I wouldn’t always recommend this, but the UK isn’t exactly a backpacker haven. Find some cool UK tours to uncover the beauty and history of this diverse country and also meet like-minded travellers.
    • Keep your itinerary flexible – the last thing you want is to fall in love and then have to leave. 
    • But contradictory to that… Book ahead – if you know the days and destinations in advance, you’ll save a tonne of money by booking in advance.
    • Stay in a hostel – Look, there isn’t much of a hostel scene in the UK outside of the main cities. But it’s worth targeting them, even if it’s just to try to meet some like-minded friends.
    • Get good travel insurance – Slip-ups happen when you’re travelling. And in an expensive destination like the UK, this isn’t what you need.
    A person sat by the beach in the UK with boats in the background. tbbteam, Wales, United Kingdom
    Smiles all around!
    Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

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    Final Thoughts on Solo Travel in the UK

    Look, I can shit-talk the UK all day long. But, unless you’re also from the UK, you definitely can’t. Truth is, I love this damn country, warts an’ all.

    The humour will always tickle me better than anywhere else, I’ll always be starstruck by the history these little islands have gone through, and I even miss the grey days and rain when I’m away.

    Writing this post about solo travel in the UK makes my heart melt. I want everyone in the world to see why we have so much to complain about.

    The summers are insanely good: the days are long, the weather is better, and everyone is in good spirits. Truth be told, I can’t think of many places I’d rather be in summer. But just as the law of polarity dictates: the winters are proper shite. If October is creeping in, I wouldn’t bother until March, mate.

    A person standing in front of a peak after a hike in the UK
    Lace up your shoes and let’s goo!
    Image: Nic Hilditch-Short
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