London: Toilet Spotting

Posted on July 31, 2006

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toilet.jpg

by anglofille

If you’re like me (and I hope you’re not), you have to pee more often than a woman who’s nine months pregnant with triplets.  Not surprisingly, when I’m out in public I often need to find a loo in a hurry and as such, I am a bit of an expert at finding sweet relief (if you know what I mean). While I have often seen men relieving themselves on the streets of London, even in Trafalgar Square, this is not an option for women or civilized people of any gender. So herewith, I have compiled a handy guide to the best places to pee in London:  

…drumroll…

#1: Starbucks
Unlike many coffeehouse chains, Starbucks usually always has a loo and it’s clean enough.  It’s unfortunate that there is a Starbucks on practically every block in London, but it’s handy if you have a weak bladder.  And given that Starbucks is always so crowded, you can sneak in unnoticed.

#2: Big Hotels
Hotels are the best places to pee, but I’ve ranked them second because you might not always be able to find one.  Hotels have the nicest loos (sometimes luxurious!) and you can usually slip in and out without coming under suspicion.  You obviously must stick to big hotels with large reception areas – you simply cannot sneak into some dinky bed and breakfast and do your business.

#3: Pubs
There are a lot of pubs in London, so this is always a safe bet.  Despite their abundance, pubs are only ideal during peak busy hours.  At off times, it’s harder to mosey in undetected.  I’ve gotten dirty looks before when it was clear I was there just to pee, but no one has ever stopped me.  And for whatever reason, many pub loos are in the basement, which isn’t the most convenient location.

#4: Fast-Food Joints
McDonalds, Burger King, etc.  These places always have loos and they appear quite frequently on the London landscape.  However, they are often dirty because they get a lot of traffic from tourists, the homeless and actual customers.  For emergency use only.

Around London, you will also see pay toilets or public conveniences.  I’ve never been brave enough to use these and would only recommend doing so if it looks like your only other option is to…well, you can fill in the blanks.

Photo credit: Avarice Jones