Solo travel is on the rise, with more and more travellers recognising that they can explore a city to reconnect with themselves. The main benefit of solo travel is a greater sense of confidence and curiosity for the world out there. London, a bustling and busy city attracting groups throughout the year, also has a large proportion of solo travellers visiting throughout the seasons. Whether you are looking for a cultural hit, dose of pampering or delicious dining options, then there is something for all types of solo travellers in London
Here's our tailored list of things to do for the best solo trip to London in autumn.
1) Visit London's independent coffee shops
2) Explore the John Soane's Museum
3) Wander around the Tate Modern
4) Stroll in London's many parks (and why not bring your dog?)
5) Go in search of cinnamon buns
6) Browse boutiques & bookshops
7) Dine out in solo traveller friendly restaurants
8) Grab a discounted theatre ticket
9) Pamper yourself, you deserve it
10) Concoct and design a signature perfume
11) Stay at a hotel for solo travellers
Autumn, or ‘fall’ for our American friends, is a stunning time to visit the UK. London has warmer temperatures with a cool breeze, so you can stroll the streets in a light jumper or jacket, without having to worry about any weather extremities. Although, it can rain, so don't forget your umbrella! Autumn in London
welcomes an array of artists and musicians, with many exhibitions and gigs from September – November. The pubs and cafes feel cosier this period too, their inviting lights on darker nights welcome locals and tourists inside for local pints and hearty British dishes.
Visit tourist attractions as a solo traveller, the fewer crowds when the kids have gone back to school in September, lessens the chance of getting stuck in crowds. And when November rolls around and the Black Friday sales hit the shops on Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road, it can help prepare you for Christmas shopping. Still unsure whether to book your autumn solo trip to London? Read on below to discover the hidden gems that await you.
(The activities below can be spread across a 4 or 5 day stay or handpicked for a weekend break).
1) Get your caffeine boost.
Visit one of London’s many independent coffee shops, there are so many to choose from, dotted across the city and neighbourhoods. If you are in Notting Hill, Mayfair or Kensington then Gulliam Coffee House
is a popular choice for coffee connoisseurs – their coffee is single origin and unique in flavour. We hear their matcha is a cup of deliciousness too.
in Fitzrovia is the place to go for a post-shopping pick-me-up and the bonus is that their opening hours are every day, 7:30am – 6pm. So you can enjoy your early morning coffee or afternoon espresso without feeling panicked that they will close.
at Canal Place has an array of ‘Cercle Swirls’, circular croissants filled with different flavoured creams and fruit. Our mouths are watering already. Or grab a freshly baked crusty baguette for a snack whilst walking along the canal.
Is London a coffee capital? We think so.
For the readers out there, you can also browse the latest bestsellers and get lost in a new novel with a slice of cake and cuppa at the London Review Cake Shop
in Bloomsbury, just moments from the British Museum.
Be mesmerised by London's art.
One of the most strange places in London, in the best way possible, is the Sir John Soane’s museum.
The former home of architect John Soane, who built up a lifetime collection of objects that inspired him and caught his attention whilst travelling or out shopping in London. One room is covered in gold framed paintings, another filled with sculptures and another filled with 30,000 architectural drawings. It's a mesmerising sight and you can drop by for a meander around or book a private tour, which can be lead by candlelight and includes a drinks reception.
3) A fan-Tate-tistic Afternoon
Capture unique photos for your Instagram at the Yayoi Kusama Exhibition.
If modern art is more your thing, then no solo trip to London would be complete without an amble through the Tate Modern
. This colossal art gallery is a spectacle on the bank of the Thames. Block out a few hours for this visit and immerse yourself in the work of various artists and great creatives of our modern world. Be sure to view the Tate Modern's website
before you go and see which events and exhibitions interest you, such as the spellbinding Yayoi Kusama event
. (Tickets sell fast, we advise booking in advance).
4) Take a Stroll
London's parks are stunning this season. Don't forget your camera!
As Virginia Woolf once said, to ‘walk alone in London is the greatest rest’. On an autumnal day take a walk through a London Park and admire the beauty of the brown and red falling leaves. Drink in the expansive skyline view from Greenwich Park or be charmed by the Rose Garden in the South-East corner of Hyde Park
Pawsome stays for all with Imperial London Hotels.
5) Indulge in a Cinnamon Treat
Cinnamon buns are an autumn staple.
The queues are worth it for a cinnamon bun. Sweet, sticky and the perfect autumn snack, London has some of the best places for these Nordic baked treats. Hej coffee in Bermondsey or Elephant and Castle
serve up cinnamon buns daily and if you have more time spare, Hej coffee offer fun barista experiences
so you can learn a new skill. Or if you’re venturing into Covent Garden, then atmospheric Chestnut Bakery
serve delectable cinnamon buns with a sticky glaze.
6) Hit the Shops
Shoreditch is famous for its vintage shops.
You could head to the high street shops on Tottenham Court Road, and that’s not a bad idea when the autumn sales arrive in town. But to find real treasures and unique souvenirs, then the boutique and vintage shops in London are a must. Shoreditch is a trendy district with many boutique stores to browse through. Visit Luna & Curious
for authentic gifts or Ally Capellino
for a new bag. Labour and Wait
also sells quirky homeware, so we recommend leaving some space in your suitcase. Don’t forget to go to the Brick Lane Vintage Market in the Shoreditch neighbourhood –
the UK’s largest collection of independent vintage boutiques.
Chiswick is a great neighbourhood too for finding antique treasures in The Old Cinema. Or
purchase new clothes at Iris Fashion
and peruse the many charity shops. Our staff recommend Portobello Road for vintage and charity shopping in London too.
Bookworms can further explore independent booksellers across the city. Daunt Books
is a firm favourite for solo-travellers and their stylish tote bags
are worth buying to carry all your new novels.
Find second-hand books on the Southbank.
On the Southbank, just under Waterloo bridge, you’ll find an open air book market
open daily. Selling second-hand reads, this is where you can grab a bookish bargain and enjoy some time reading on a bench or nearby bar overlooking the river Thames, just like a local.
Don't forget to visit the literary quarter of the city, the Bloomsbury neighbourhood attracts bookish folk to the area all year. Discover more Bloomsbury bookshops
and tick them off during your autumn trip.
7) Dining Options
All your favourite foods in one city.
There are many places in London which cater for solo travellers or locals dining solo. Padella
, a fantastic pasta bar, which you’ll smell before you see it - is a sumptuous option for freshly prepared pasta and smiley service. You can find them in the atmospheric Borough Market
. There’s also Story Cellar in Seven Dials
, serving French food with a London flair, their cosy booths are ideal for dining solo on rainy autumn nights.
8) Affordable Theatre
London has some of the best theatres in the world and it would be a shame to miss out on seeing a show. Don’t be put off by the stigma that London theatre is expensive because there are ways to see performances at a reasonable price. Some theatres have weekly lotteries and rush days so you can bag yourself a discounted ticket to see a show within a few hours or days. The National Theatre
do a Friday rush and the Old Vic
do a lucky dip.
Experience world class theatre in London's West End.
9) Enjoy a Pamper
For the ultimate UK solo break, especially for busy folk who don’t get much time for themselves, we suggest making time to visit a beauty salon in central London. At Iris Avenue in Bloomsbury,
visitors can have a manicure or massage with a cocktail, what's not to love? Similarly Rachel's Nails & Coffee
will paint your nails in your favourite colour whilst you enjoy a drink in their glamourous setting.
Take some time for you and visit one of London's boutique beauty salons.
10) A Scent-sational City
Solo travel is about treating yourself and recognising that you deserve something special. You could head to a drugstore and buy perfume there but where is the magic in that? London is filled with bespoke and niche perfumeries which are perfect for a little self-indulgence.
Create a scent as unique as you are.
Concoct up your own perfume in an old-world English perfumery, Floris’ flagship store on Jermyn Street
is where royals such as Princess Diana have crafted their signature scents. Alternatively, peruse Bloom Perfume
in the heart of Covent Garden or participate in an in-lab workshop and create a perfume to suit your taste and lifestyle at Experimental Perfume Club
. This is also a fun activity for Halloween in London, making your own potions in style!
11) Stay in a hotel for solo travellers.
Choose to stay in a hotel that’s crafted with solo travel in mind. At Bedford Hotel
we have been welcoming solo travellers since the Victorian era. In our first year of opening in 1863, we even lit candles in our windows to invite people inside.
Our single rooms
are the ideal accommodation for an affordable place to stay in London and our restaurant on the ground floor looks out onto a private garden. In the autumn this garden is a place to take a breather from the hustle and bustle. Take a seat by the relaxing water feature and enjoy a glass of wine.