OK, I was just there, and it’s clear: London is safe. London entertains. And London is full of travelers having the time of their lives. Of course, for safety reasons, many will choose to stay home in American cities that are, statistically, far more dangerous.
Let’s say you’re an American who’s decided London is “too dangerous,” and decide to vacation in Las Vegas or Memphis instead. But let’s look at the numbers. London has nearly 15 times as many people as either Memphis or Las Vegas, but far fewer murders — around 100 a year in London, compared to more than 150 a year in the much smaller American cities. Do the math: You’ve just made it about 20 times more likely that you’ll be murdered on vacation. There’s no question: Statistically, compared to the USA, Europe is far safer.
London has had terrorist attacks by murderous cars on bridges. In March of 2017, London was hit by a terrorist attack on this bridge (using a vehicle as a weapon to kill pedestrians). A few months later, after another similar attack on London Bridge, the government responded. And now bridges come with barriers (as you see in this photo) to keep people safe. Londoners know that when politicians and the media overreact to a terrorist killing, it only rewards and encourages the evil.
London is full of life, and much of that life comes from tourists. And I am happy to report that many of the happiest tourists I’ve seen are taking full advantage of my London and Britain guidebooks. This traveler is an A+ student — she even tabbed her “Rick Steves London” guidebook for quick reference. And she’s learned an important lesson: Equip yourself with good information, and expect yourself to travel smart…and you will.
The British pound is on sale when it comes to the buying power of our dollar (which buys about 15 percent more pounds than it did just before Brexit, just over a year ago). But London is still an expensive city. I spent a great day with one of my favorite London guides, Sean Kelleher, checking all the latest budget tips. When visiting Westminster Abbey and looking for a quick, healthy, and inexpensive lunch, Sean and I both love Wesley’s Café at the Central Hall Westminster just across the street. A tip like this in my London book will save you both time and money — and leave you with some good memories, to boot.