Everyone has to start somewhere and if you are new to the hobby it is very likely you have no where to explore and no idea how to find places. Let me try and give you some of the basics to help you on your way.
Asking For Locations / Or Not...
First of all, let’s cover asking for locations. People spend a lot of time and effort searching for locations so often don’t want to give them out to others. If an explorer doesn’t know you, then they will be weary of your intentions. No explorer wants to leak a location to someone for it to get trashed, become too popular, closed up, looted or burned down so often it is easier and safer just not to share (so don’t take it personally).
Just commenting “location”, “where Is this”, “PM me” looks lazy and will get you nowhere. If you’ve searched everywhere and come up with nothing, thinking your only option is to ask then do it the right way. People respond nicer to nice people, send them a message, let them know what you like about their pictures and maybe a bit about yourself and then ask for any hints or help with finding the location, you will find you get a better response (even if it is just a friendlier “no”). If you do get a “no” just thank them and move on, just because you haven’t made a new friend doesn’t mean you have to make a new enemy.
Using Your Detective Skills
A lot of the following methods may get you started with somewhere you want to go but not where it is. You’re going to need to do some detective work to go from a location you have seen to a location you have been. Let’s say you see a post of an urbex group with a bunch of pictures and some history included (it might even have the name of the site on). Step one is to identify all the useful information, specific dates that would narrow down a google search, clues in the images to the rough location etc. step two is googling what you do know, the history people post has come from somewhere so use it to identify the source.
Go Out & Look
One of the best ways to find locations is simply to go out for a drive and see if you find anything that looks abandoned, or just keep a look out when traveling anywhere. Abandoned locations can be anywhere from city centres to the middle of nowhere so always be on the lookout!
Using Google Maps Satellite View
Google maps is free to everyone and is a great tool when finding abandoned looking locations. Make sure you are on satellite view and then just start looking about. Look for damaged roofs, houses surrounded by unkept nature or items littered around buildings. Once you have found somewhere that looks interesting, see if you can see it on street view for a better look and if it seems worth it, go have a drive out and check it out.
Imagine you wanted to know how far the sun is from earth, I bet you would google “how far is the sun from earth”… If you want to know where abandoned locations are in Lincolnshire (for example) then maybe just google “abandoned Lincolnshire” and see what you can find! The internet has a wealth of information, you just need to search the right things to find it.
Using Forums & Social Media Groups
Urbex is getting bigger and there are countless forums and pages devoted to likeminded people who have already been to a lot of locations. Check out what other people are posting in them and then do some research to find where they might be, use the history and any description to help you search for unnamed locations.