London is such an exciting city, with endless sights and attractions to keep you entertained. It can be lonely however, especially for newbies starting afresh and looking to make a new circle of friends.
As someone who has been in this exact position not all that long ago, here are 18 ideas for how to make friends in London!
How to Make Friends in London & Meet New People
We all spend a significant amount of time working with our colleagues (even more so than we spend with family sometimes!) so this is usually a sensible starting point. Could you invite anyone in your office out to grab a coffee at lunch? Are there any social groups or lunch time classes at work you could join?
With more of us working remotely now than ever before, it can be even more important to make the effort. Suggest setting up a whatsapp group with colleagues to chat outside of work, or try hosting a monthly team challenge, such as a bake off competition.
Volunteering at a local charity could be a great way to meet people with similar values, and there are so many opportunities to choose from.
The charity Foodcycle provide free three course hot meals for those in the local community, cooked and served by volunteers. This could be perfect for those with a passion for cooking, or who are looking to improve their culinary skills! Local food banks are another option, so check out the Trussel Trust for your local group.
GoodGym looks like a fantastic initiative too, as well as a fab opportunity to meet fellow volunteers!
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3. Apps for making friends
As well as assisting in our love lives, technology can help us in the quest to find new mates now too! Apps such as Bumble BFF and Peanut are the digital solution to help you find local connections. They are free to use too – even better.
If your new year’s resolution is to meet new people, then download one of these apps today. No excuses!
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4. Parenting groups
For parents with young children there are a whole bunch of opportunities open to you when trying to meet new people. This stage of your life is a great chance to expand your social circle, as there are so many people in the same position as you looking for new parenting pals!
Join baby clubs, become a member of your local school’s PTA or find a mum’s coffee morning. Happity is a great place to start your search.
Also, keep your eye on any pin boards at your local Costa or Co-op stores, as they often display leaflets for local groups!
5. Social Media
It used to puzzle me when I heard that people met via social media, as I had never made friends through the internet before.
However, I set up my Instagram page back in 2019 and have now met multiple people IRL through my account! In my experience it definitely helps if you join a community; whether that be cleaning, baking, or money saving, there are lots of friendly people out there to get chatting to.
Try amateur blogging or “micro-blogging” via social media to connect with people that share your interests or hobbies, and over time they might organically become your real life pals. It tends to be an unexpected bonus to blogging, but it definitely does happen!
My boyfriend made a really great IRL friendship through a local Facebook group about flying drones!
6. Free events
There are so many free events taking place every single day in London; whether that be business events, panel talks, workshops or walking tours.
Take a look at Eventbrite to book your ticket to any events that take your fancy – there are new events added daily, and this can be a fantastic tool to find interesting events in your community. Search “coffee mornings”, “meet ups” or “networking” to find some groups ideal for meeting new people.
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7. Book clubs
If you are a fellow book worm, then attending a book club might be the perfect activity!
Waterstones stores host monthly book clubs, and here are a few London based book clubs I’ve come across on my search:
- Brixton Book Club
- West London Book Club
- North & South London Feminist Book Clubs
Alternatively, you could try setting up your own; invite one friend and suggest they bring another pal too. Before you know it, your book club group will be thriving (I actually did this, and my book club has grown from an idea between me and one friend, to a group of eight!)
If you are happy to spend a little more, Rebel Book Club is a London based group focused on non-fiction reads, who meet once per month and discuss a book with a panel of speakers. It looks like a really great way to meet people, and as all attendees will have read the same book, your conversation starter has been provided for you! (Psst… you can buy a 3 month subscription to Rebel Book Club via Virgin Experiences which might save you a few ££)
8. Use the website ‘Meet up’
Want to join a pub crawl? Fancy hiking at the weekend? More into board games? Meetup has every type of club or group you could ever imagine listed here.
Whatever your preference, there will be a meet up group that already exists (and even if there isn’t, you can create your own!)
One of my pals made a new group of friends by joining a vegan club, where they tested out different restaurants across the city. Ideal!
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9. London Lonely Girls Club
The London Lonely Girls club is a social group for women to explore the city and meet new friends. with two events per month across the city. There are now a whopping 20K women in the LLG community!
Pottery classes, brunch, or cocktails with your future new best pals – what’s not to love?
If you find yourself at a loose end at weekends, this is the club to join. Make sure to register with their Facebook group and book onto events in advance though, as they are super popular and often quickly fill up.
10. University Alumni events
If you still receive any ‘keep in touch’ emails from your University, it’s likely you might be invited to one of their alumni events.
A few years ago I attended an alumni event on a boat on the Thames. There were free drinks and guest speakers, and the chance to network with loads of people who went to the same University as me. I had a fab time!
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11. Learn a new skill
Whether you’d like to improve your make up skills, practice your pottery or discover how to crochet, there will probably be a course you can attend to learn how.
This ukulele class looks like great fun! You can buy a basic ukulele at a reasonable price, and as this class is aimed at absolute beginners, you can start from scratch together.
Also learning a language is a fantastic skill to take up. You’re going to need people to practice your vocab with… so why not ask your new classmates?
12. LGBTQ groups
There are lots of events and social groups open specifically to those who identify with the LGBTQ community – football teams, crafternoons and more. London Friend is a great source for LGBTQ social and support groups.
Another option is to volunteer with planning your local pride celebrations! This could be a really rewarding way to put your planning skills into action to benefit your community.
13. Park Run
Park Run is a community running event which takes place every Saturday morning. It’s free to participate, and often local runners attend on a regular basis, so you are likely to bump into the same people each week. Expect runners of all abilities; no need to worry if you aren’t the most experienced!
There are currently 1,162 events taking place across the country every weekend, and you can use their website to find a Park Run closest to you.
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14. Professional Networking or Social Events
If you are a member of a professional institution or association (e.g. the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, or similar) you probably receive invites to local networking evenings, conferences or social events. You could ask a few colleagues if they would like to join you, or attend alone to chat with new people.
As well as the chance to network in your field, you might come across a new job opportunity or find a mentor, so these events can be beneficial for your career too.
15. Try a new sport
Most of the suggestions so far on this list have been focused on finding people with similar interests to you, or finding common ground… but perhaps you could try doing something completely out of your comfort zone.
If you’re not a sporty person, maybe you just haven’t found your ideal activity yet!
Have you ever wanted to try a cool sport, like archery, fencing or maybe paddle boarding? Try a complete beginners class. You might bond with your new classmates over how terrible you both are; you’ve found your common ground!
16. Friends of friends
It can sometimes feel tricky knowing where to start when making a new friend. If you are lucky enough to already know people in your city, then perhaps try getting to know friends of friends; it’s likely that if you get on well with your friend, you will with their mates too!
Set up a monthly after works drinks group, or host a viewing party to watch a show you enjoy. Ask everyone to invite one new person, and watch your group grow.
If you enjoy spending time working on your fitness, then you have a ready-made group of people who share your interests to begin chatting with!
You might find it easier to get to know people during classes, or maybe your gym hosts challenges or socials you could get involved in.
18. Dance classes
Dancing is super social activity, and as you tend to switch partners regularly you get to meet so many people during each session. Dance groups host regular lessons and freestyle sessions, as well as socials too, so it can be a really good way to integrate into a community if you are in a new city.
A few examples of classes in London that look great include jive, salsa and swing!
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Tips on making friends and meeting new people
- Don’t give up on your first try – if you go to a club and you don’t manage to find any connections, don’t be put off. It might take a few attempts before you find a like-minded person!
- Put yourself out there. Someone has to be that person to reach out, so challenge yourself to be brave and ask one new person to hang out this week.
- A final tip for making friends is that you can’t have the “ideal” or “perfect” person in mind. You never know who you might connect and form a friendship with. I met one of my friends whilst in my 20’s and she was in her 60’s, and we’ve been friends for years now! We have a lot in common too, so don’t let any pre-conceived ideas stop you from making some great mates!
Final Thoughts: How to Make Friends in London & Meet New People
If your goal is to make a new friend this year, then these ideas should help you in taking the first steps! It definitely gets easier the more you put yourself out there, so give one of these suggestions a try and see what happens. Let me know if any of these tips help you out!
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