Here's our deep dive into the different areas you can stay at in London and how you can tackle staying in the large bustling city no matter how many times you've been there. Read to find out how.
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London is the exciting and lively capital city of England. It’s filled with incredible sights and experiences, with plenty to enjoy both by day and by night. A year-round destination, London’s charms draw visitors from far and wide. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or you travel to London often, there’s always a wealth of things to discover.
A huge and sprawling city, London is the largest city in the United Kingdom. Greater London is split into 32 boroughs, each with plenty of character, and the City of London—an enclave within Greater London and home to the city’s historic heart and financial center. Each borough is further divided into diverse neighborhoods.
While many wonder just what exactly are the things to do in London, an equally important question of where you should stay also remain. When visiting such a large and diverse city, it’s natural to wonder where is the best place to stay in London. Should you stay right in the center or further out in the London suburbs? What places in London have the cheapest accommodations? What areas are closest to prime tourist attractions? Where should you stay in London for nightlife?
We’ll answer some common questions related to where to stay in London England (not to be confused with where to stay in London Ontario!), including where not to stay in London, to help make planning your trip so much easier. Plus, we’ll let you into some of our top choices for London hotels, hostels, and other accommodations.
And now, let’s dive right into where to stay in London UK!
Where Should I Avoid Staying in London?
Generally, London is a fairly safe city. Of course, however, some places are seen as less safe than others. These are typically areas that have little interest to tourists, so there are really few good reasons to stay there. They include Brent, Haringey, and Croydon.
Unfortunately, crimes that target tourists (largely theft and pickpocketing) occur in several popular central areas, including the City of Westminster, Camden, Whitechapel, and Hackney. Does this mean you will definitely encounter trouble? Absolutely not! And, does it mean you shouldn’t stay in these areas? No. But, as in any large city, you should use common sense at all times—don’t flash the cash, be aware of your surroundings, don’t walk alone at night, etc.
Most travelers try to stay in Central London for convenience. Unless you have specific reasons for opting to stay further out, Outer London perhaps isn’t the best place to stay for most visitors.
Where is the Best Area to Stay in London?
Choosing just one top place from the many London neighborhoods is impossible—there are so many amazing places to stay in London!
There are several questions to ask yourself to help you find the best area(s) for your stay:
- What places to visit in London are high on your bucket list?
- Are you looking for the most pocket-friendly hotels in London, or are you willing to splurge?
- Do you mind using public transport each day?
- Would you prefer a base for your London trip, or would you like to experiences a couple of different areas and hotels in London England?
- What vibe are you looking for?
Getting around London is easy, thanks to the efficient and reliable public transportation network. In Central London, almost anywhere you could want to visit is connected by the London Underground. Often referred to as the Tube, 11 subway lines run underneath the bustling city streets. Boats regularly ferry passengers along the River Thames and, in the city’s western areas, the Docklands Light Railway can come in very handy. There are many bus services around the city too. Trains, buses, and trams connect areas in Outer London, though it naturally takes longer to commute in and out of the heart of the city.
This means that wherever you stay in London, it’s pretty easy to reach everywhere! And, you’ll find great places to eat, drink, and sleep all around the city.
Where Should I Stay Near Tourist Attractions in London?
You’ll find myriad places of interest all around the city. Though you’ll find pockets of major tourist attractions, most visitors want to visit highlights in several parts of London.
We’ve listed ten of London’s most popular areas, along with their highlight attractions.
City of London
- St. Paul’s Cathedral
- Old Bailey
- Museum of London
- London Stock Exchange
- Buckingham Palace
- Houses of Parliament
- Westminster Abbey
- Downing Street
- Piccadilly Circus
- National Gallery
- Trafalgar Square
Mayfair and Marylebone
- Marble Arch
- Madame Tussauds
- Sherlock Holmes Museum
- London Zoo
- London Eye
- Tate Modern
- London Dungeon
- National Theatre
- The Royal Observatory
- The Cutty Sark
- National Maritime Museum
- Eltham Palace
- Hyde Park
- Victoria and Albert Museum
- Royal Albert Hall
- British Museum
- Russell Square
- Chares Dickens Museum
- Cartoon Museum
- The Shard
- Crystal Palace Park
- Brunel Museum
- Imperial War Museum
- Canary Wharf
- Whitechapel Art Gallery
- Museum of London Docklands
- Brick Lane
In general, staying in any of London’s central neighborhoods provides easy access to the city’s many tourist attractions.
Where Should I Stay in London for the First Time?
Okay. You’re planning your first trip to London and maybe feeling a bit overwhelmed with the huge array of choices. First of all—don’t panic!
You can’t really go wrong wherever you base yourself in Central London. But where to stay in Central London?! Our recommendation is Covent Garden. It’s centrally located, has a Tube station, and is within walking distance of several headline attractions. Further, there’s a terrific range of accommodations to suit different budgets, a fabulous dining scene, and top-notch markets right on your doorstep. AND … there’s great shopping and nightlife to be found too!
Now for our picks of where to stay in Covent Garden London:
Strand Continental is among the most budget-friendly hostels in Covent Garden. It has private rooms for two, three, and four, all with shared bathrooms, along with dormitory rooms. Guests can enjoy a free basic breakfast each morning, and the property has a relaxed 1940s-style bar-cum-restaurant where you can mingle with other travelers. Covent Garden’s Premier Inn and Travelodge also offer good value for money for private en suite rooms.
Great mid-range accommodations in Covent Garden include the small but comfy basement rooms at Seven Dials Hotel, the windowless rooms at The Z Hotel Covent Garden, and Covent Garden Suites, which have private rooms with shared bathrooms.
If you want to splash the cash, Flower Market Suites, Strand Palace Hotel, The Resident Covent Garden are well worth checking out.
Where to Stay in London on a Budget?
Generally, a London hotel in the suburbs (in Outer London) will be cheaper than more centrally located accommodations. However, you will need to spend money and time traveling in and out of the city each day. The trade-offs may not be worth it, particularly on a short break.
If you’re trying to find where to stay in London for cheap, without sacrificing too much on distance from the center, Southwark could be ideal. It has some of the lowest-priced hostels in London and offers easy access to The Shard (London’s highest building) and several top-class museums. Plus, you’re just a hop away from other cool places on the Tube.
Several Southwark pubs offer budget beds in dorm rooms with good old-fashioned British pubs at their heart. Check out PubLove @ The Steam Engine and PubLove @ The Rose and Crown. Other awesome Southwark hostels include St. Christopher’s Inn and The Walrus Hostel.
For a bit more privacy, Hour Glass Hotel, The Bridge Hotel, and The Grange Pub have private rooms with shared bathrooms.
If you want to take it up a notch, Victoria Inn has private rooms with private bathrooms above a Peckham pub. Ibis London Blackfriars has private en suite rooms with a TV, Wi-Fi, and kettle. Breakfast is available for a surcharge, and the hotel has a restaurant.
Where to Stay in London for Nightlife?
You’ll find vibrant pubs and clubs in many parts of London. Camden is awesome if you’re seeking an edgier vibe and tons of cool music, and Soho is the city’s LGBTQ heart. Overall, however, Shoreditch is our all-around winner when it comes to nightlife to suit diverse tastes.
Why Shoreditch? You’ll find everything from traditional pubs to swanky bars, there are pulsating clubs where you can dance your socks off till the wee small hours, and there are tons of places to eat before heading for a night out on the tiles. And, you’ll find tons of cool street art to admire when walking off any hangovers!
The Dictionary Hostel is a fab place to meet new mates for fun nights out. It’s hip and trendy with a youthful vibe. StayEasy B&B offers cozy rooms with shared bathrooms. Breakfast is included in the rates. Bellow Lane and Amhurst Hotel also have private rooms with shared facilities.
If you like home comforts, the mid-range Savoy Apartments could be ideal. The lovely studio apartments have a kitchenette, perfect for prepping late-night munchies and offer city views. Inside the apartment building, you’ll find a convenient restaurant and bar. If you book the Shoreditch Inn you can sink your teeth into a hearty breakfast each morning.
Batty Langley’s is an elegant and classy boutique London hotel if you want to treat yourself. Rooms are individually decorated and furnished with antique pieces. The entire hotel exudes a sense of timeless charm. CitizenM London Shoreditch, The Hoxton, and Boundary London also offer little luxuries.
Where to Stay in London with Family
The affluent and attractive Kensington is a top place if you’re looking for where to stay in London with kids. You’ve got the expansive Hyde Park right on your doorstep, where little ones can run and play and let off steam, as well as several excellent museums that are sure to pique the curiosity of people of all ages. The regal Kensington Palace is also well worth a visit. You’re just a short Tube ride from many more places of interest and also close to Notting Hill, famous for its yearly carnival.
And so, where to stay in Kensington London?
Cromwell International Hotel has rooms for one, two, three, and four. All rooms are en suite and come with a TV, Wi-Fi, and ample storage space. The hotel has a lift, so no need to worry about trying to lug heavy suitcases or strollers up the stairs. Hotel Olympia and Westbury Hotel Kensington are other great affordable Kensington hotels with rooms to accommodate families.
Manor Hotel boasts minimalistic rooms in a fine Victorian mansion, while rooms at Chelsea House Hotel (breakfast included) feature bold colors and interesting décor.
DoubleTree by Hilton London Kensington is brimming with amenities, including a beautiful garden, a restaurant, a bar, a fitness center, laundry services, ticketing services, and a 24-hour reception. Oliver Plaza Hotel is sleek and modern, with a bar and private on-site parking (extra charges apply). If you stay at the Holiday Inn London Kensington you can enjoy the swimming pool and wellness center for a surcharge.
Planning Your London Adventure
You should now have an idea of the top areas to stay along with some of the best hotels in London. Where will you choose for your trip to London, United Kingdom?
No matter where you decide to stay in London, you and your crew can keep on top with your travel planning with Pilot’s handy-to-use (and free!) social trip planning tool. Organize your break according to your tastes, and get ready for an amazing trip. Sign up now!
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