Where to stay in London?
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Where To Stay In London With Kids
There is no universal “best” neighborhood to stay in London. Since London’s best things to do are spread out, there’s no “downtown” as such, and much depends on your interests and budget. Some neighborhoods are more central and convenient than others, given that most visitors to London walk or use public transport to reach the attractions.
Similarly, the best hotels in London are not focused in one neighborhood and it’s easy to find great luxury accommodations in most areas of London.
The West End (Covent Garden, Soho, Leicester Square, Oxford Street, Mayfair) is a very central district with most of London’s theatres, top art galleries, excellent, varied dining for all budgets and much of London’s nightlife. 4-star and 5-star hotels dominate, with some midrange bargains. It’s easy to walk around and handy public transport connections to other parts of London. This area is excellent for families staying in London.
Just north of the West End, Bloomsbury and Fitzrovia are also centrally located, walkable to West End, with lots of bookshops, quiet streets, and the British Museum as the star attraction. A wide range of accommodation, cheaper than the neighboring West End. King’s Cross, with its train stations, is north of Fitzrovia. It’s low on sights, but has excellent transport links to other parts of London, to Heathrow and Gatwick airports and to France and Belgium via the Eurostar. Mostly inexpensive guesthouses and chain hotels.
Victoria, just south of Westminster and St James’s and on the fringes of the West End, has excellent transport links to Gatwick airport, and accommodations ranging from cheapies to pricey hotels.
Kensington is southwest of the West End. It’s on the Piccadilly line, useful for reaching both central London and Heathrow airport. Plus, it has several star attractions and while the area has numerous 5-star hotels, there is something for all budgets.
South Bank and Bank Side are across the Thames from the West End. Numerous attractions here, and London Bridge is handy for Gatwick airport. Some boutique hotels here as well as chains. City of London is good for sights, with some budget chain hotels and weekend bargains at pricier ones. Camden and the East End – bargain accommodations but less convenient for sightseeing.
Where To Stay In London First Time
Where to stay in London, England, for a first visit (or even second/third)? This is a question we receive many times. Therefore, we created this guide.
We wanted to make it very easy to understand. This London city guide includes the best areas for first-time visitors, families and couples.
We even included a big map with all neighborhoods and handpicked hotels for couples, families, and friends.
(This guide is always up to date, the last updated March 2020.)
This is technically the center of London (sometimes called “The Square Mile”), and it’s where the Romans set up a small military outpost named Londinium in 43 CE. You can still see evidence of the Romans here, including the crumbling wall on Tower Hill. Now, the area a financial district. There are several good markets here like Whitecross Street, with its large number of international food vendors; the Sunday Upmarket in the Old Truman Brewery for handmade crafts and clothing; and Leather Lane for a more traditional mix of everything from leather to tropical flowers. I like the history, quiet, and central location of this neighborhood.
Best Places to Stay in The City
- BUDGET: YHA London St Paul’s – Opposite St. Paul’s Cathedral, this was once the school for the cathedral’s choirboys (you can actually still see some of their graffiti on the walls). There’s no kitchen on-site, but there is a small restaurant and bar. It’s not a party hostel, as families often stay here. So it’s ideal for a good night’s sleep.
- MID-RANGE: Citadines Barbican London – Renovated in 2017, this hotel is comfortable, affordable, and close to the Barbican tube stop.. There are some really great restaurants nearby, like Tinseltown and Workshop Coffee, but there is also a small Sourced Market in the hotel for when you need to grab something to eat on the run.
- LUXURY: Counting House – The Counting House is actually an iconic English pub with 15 large luxury rooms above it with the most comfortable beds you’ll ever sleep in (Egyptian cotton sheets!). Some rooms come with living rooms. A free hearty breakfast is included. This is a very traditional, posh British hotel!
Where To Stay In London On A Budget
Planning a trip to London can be challenging, especially when it comes to finding a place to stay. With many neighborhoods to choose from, each offering something different, looking for accommodation in London can be terrifying. When I lived in London for many years, so I got to live in almost every corner of the city. Now I can tell you what each area offers.
I stayed in most of the recommended hotels and can vouch for them. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to write me a comment!
There is no universal ‘best’ neighborhood to stay in London since all sights are spread out. There’s also no downtown as such, and much depends on your interests and budget. London is generally a safe place, no matter where you stay. There’s no such thing as a ‘no-go’ zone in London.
Similarly, the best hotels in London are not located in one neighborhood. It’s easy to find great luxury accommodations in most areas of London.
For Those in a Rush Here’s a Quick Summary. For Detailed Descriptions Keep Reading
- Best Neighborhood for Sightseeing in London: South Bank
- Best Neighborhood in London for Nightlife: Soho & Camden
- Best Neighbourhood in London for Families: Victoria & Marylebone
- Best Neighborhood in London to Stay for First Timer: Covent Garden
- Most Romantic Neighborhood in London: Mayfair, Notting Hill & South Kensington
- Best Neighborhood in London for a Local Vibe: Camden & Shoreditch
- Best Neighbourhood for Ethnic Food: Anywhere in East London.
Where To Stay In London England
As mentioned, the city center of London is the perfect place for the first-time visitor.
I also understand that different travel styles match different needs.
You will notice some areas are excluded or added to the previous recommendation depending on what kind of traveler you are. It is not the same going with the family than partying with friends, right?
Also, I would like to include an amazing Airbnb discount to your first stay.
Let’s see which are the best areas to stay in London depending on which way you are traveling and my handpicked hotels.
The first issue with London is that districts aren’t always named the same everywhere. While it’s easy to get oriented in other big European cities like Paris, where districts (arrondissement) are numbered, but London is divided in a different way.
Officially, the city of London is a small part of London you expect (marked white on the map below). Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, London Eye or any other iconic landmarks aren’t even part of it.
The City is now only a tiny part of the metropolis of London, though it remains a notable part of central London. Administratively, it forms one of the 33 local authority districts of Greater London; however, the City of London is not a London borough, a status reserved for the other 32 districts (including London’s only other city, the City of Westminster).
Where should I stay in London for the first time?
Proximity to Hyde Park, Green Park, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey are all reasons why Mayfair is the best area to stay in London for first-time visitors to the city. The architecture and tiny side streets also make Mayfair one of the most instagrammable spots in London.
Is London safe at night?
London is generally a very safe to place to navigate, even at night, though it never hurts to keep your common sense and your wits about you. Here are some top tips for helping you to stay safe after an evening at the theatre, a night on the tiles or a session of burning the midnight oil.