We’ve republished this from our parent site, Anglotopia.net.
We normally avoid covering the negative aspect of things in Britain – but this is something we can’t avoid. The recent riots in London have gotten bigger and out of hand and now pose a safety threat to tourists in London.
It saddens us greatly to see a city we love so much in flames and descending into chaos. We’re not going to talk about what’s driving the riots, the government’s inept response – much copy will be spilt on that by people more qualified than us.
What we will do is try to provide some safety information for any of our readers and tourists whom are in London right now or will be soon
The rioting started out in the northern suburbs of London – areas where tourists would not normally tread – but starting last night, violent disorder spread all across London – even to some areas where tourists frequent (like Camden). This is a FAST CHANGING situation – we can’t tell you how it will be in London tonight or tomorrow – only provide some tips on avoiding or getting out of trouble.
If you’re in central London, in the more touristy areas – you should be relatively safe and be able to continue on with your trip as you would normally. Normal safety procedures should apply, watch out for suspicious groups of people, watch your pockets, stay near large crowds, avoid dark alleys, etc. If you witness something you shouldn’t see, turn around and get away from it as quickly as possible.
If you see something worthy of calling the police – and keep in my they were deluged last night with 20,000 calls – remember that in the UK, dial 999 for emergencies (not 911).
Most of the violence is happening in residential areas on the streets in the evenings, the safest place you can be is your hotel if violence breaks out in your area.
If you have questions or concerns, as a tourist your first stop should be the Britain and London Visitor Centre on Regent’s Street. The address is: 1 Regent Street, London, SW1Y 4XT. The phone number there is: 0870 1566366.
For Americans – if you get into trouble or get scared, memorize this adress: 24 Grosvenor Square. This is the address of the US Embassy and you should head there if violence spreads to the tourist areas of London or you get yourself into a dangerous situation. Any black cab driver will know how to get you there. The 24-hour phone number for the embassy is: 020 7499-9000 (24 Hour Switchboard).
There were transport disruptions last night as louts torched busess and disrupted train services. Check the Transport for London website for updates or call their 24 hour information line: 0843 222 1234. If public transport is disrupted and you need to get around, find a black cab.
Keep your cell phone charged in case you get into a dangerous situation. If you witness rioting or looting, do not stick around. Give the police room to work and don’t become a witness. Don’t try to film it on your phone or take pictures or get in the way in in anyway. Get away from any disturbances, do not linger.
Much of this may seem like common sense, but we’re telling you all this for good measure.
If you have a trip planned to London in the next few days or weeks, I wouldn’t worry too much as this will mostly have died down in a few days. By all means, don’t let it affect future plans to come to London – that’s the last thing the London tourist industry needs on the cusp of another economic downturn. We have a trip planned for October and that’s not going to change.
We won’t provide pictures, videos or live updates of the ongoing troubles – we’re not that kind of website. If you would like to follow the changing situation, try these sources:
- BBC is providing live video and text feeds here.
- The Guardian London Riots Live Blog.
- Daily Telegraph London Riots Live Blog.
London can take it. Be safe.