Urban Exploration (Urbex) FAQs

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What is the first rule of Urban Exploration (Urbex)?

Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints” is the golden rule followed by Urban Explorers. Visit locations to take in their beauty, discover their history, or experience the thrill of exploring. Don’t damage abandoned locations or the objects within them, or take any “souvenirs.” There are both moral and legal reasons to stick to this simple rule!

What is Urban Exploration (Urbex)?

Urban Exploration, also known as Urbex, is the exploration of abandoned or hidden manmade structures. The term was coined by Jeff Chapman (Ninjalicious), a Canadian explorer, in 1996. Urban exploration involves visiting these forgotten places that are scattered across the world.

Is Urban Exploration illegal?

In the UK Urban Exploration is not illegal in most circumstances. Specific laws apply to certain locations, such as railways and military sites. However in general exploring an abandoned location in the UK is not illegal. Trespass is not a criminal offence, but rather a civil matter. However, criminal damage, breaking and entering and theft are all obviously against the law, so Urban Explorers should only explore accessible locations and never damage or take anything. This is a brief outline of a complex subject.

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How do you find abandoned places?

There are many tools available to find abandoned places. The most simple is by spotting them as you go about your everyday life, as chances are there are many derelict locations local to you.

Forums and Facebook groups give a good start point to finding Urban Exploration sites. They often require some follow up research which can lead to news articles about places closing down, or planning documents that give locations.

Often once you have a vague idea of where a location is and what it looks like, Google Maps Satellite view is the final piece of the puzzle. Directly asking Urban Explorers to give you a location on social media, a forum or a blog does not generally go down well.

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Is Urban Exploration dangerous?

Urban Exploration can be dangerous and there are risks involved. These risks can be managed, and as with many things, the risks are reduced when common sense is applied. The main dangers of Urban Exploration come from the fact that abandoned buildings are, in their nature, not likely to be structurally sound. Taking simple precautions such as looking out for damaged floorboards, and making decisions on whether or not an area of a site is safe to explore make Urban Exploring safer. Other things to watch out for are hazardous materials (asbestos) and sharp objects/surfaces. Take precautions such as never exploring alone, exploring in the day time or with a good torch.

Also, be prepared to drive excitedly to a location only to find a pile of rubble, or an impenetrable fence, or security waiting for you. Not all explores are successful.

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Last Updated on 19 May 2023 by Michael

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