London. Not only the capital city of England but one of the most visited cities in the world. And for good reason.
With its beautiful architecture, interesting history, great food, and vibrant nightlife, London has something to offer every type of traveler.
The city of London is huge and there are a lot of different neighborhoods that offer a lot of different things to do.
That is why, when choosing where to stay in London, you have to know what you want to see and how much you want to spend.
London is a massive city. It can take over three hours to get from one side to the other by the Underground – or Tube, never mind how long it would take by bus or car.
Therefore, the most important thing to consider when deciding where to stay is how you get from there to the main things you want to see.
Whether you are only spending 3 days in London or a whole week, you are going to want some help on deciding which neighborhood to base yourself in.
We asked local London expert Karen Worrall to create a guide on the best areas to stay in London and share her opinions on what she thinks a first time visitor to London should see.
The Best Areas to Stay in London
South Bank is where you want to base yourself if you want to be close to attractions like Big Ben, The London Eye and the Tate Museum to name a few.
Covent Garden: If this is your first time in London, Covent Garden is great because it is central and close to most of the attractions. It also has great transportation options.
Kensington and South Kensington are the best family-friendly neighborhoods in London. They are quiet, close to places like Hyde Park and appeal to kids of all ages.
If you love to shop then Chelsea is where you will want to base yourself. It is close to all the high-end stores in London.
- The Best Areas to Stay in London
- Best Area to Stay in London For First Time Visitors
- Best Area to Stay in London for Families
- Best Area to Stay in London for Nightlife
- Best Area to Stay in London for Sightseeing
- Best Area to Stay in London for Fashion and Shopping
- Best Area to Stay in London for Budget Travellers
- Best Place to Stay in London for Luxury
- Best Area to Stay in London for Top Attractions
Best Area to Stay in London For First Time Visitors
Covent Garden is my personal favorite and definitely the best place to stay in London if you are a first-timer.
To me, it is the very heart of authentic London where you can see the living history of the place, wandering around the market seeing many local characters that wouldn’t be out of place in an Alan Jay Lerner production.
So many of the main attractions like the National Gallery, Houses of Parliament and the London Eye are walking distance from each other.
If you are into theatre then don’t miss visiting The Strand as it has many of the West End’s best theatres including the Savoy, the Adelphi, and Vaudeville.
Best Places to Stay Near Covent Garden and The Strand
- Best Airbnb in Covent Garden: This luxury studio apartment, with separate kitchen, is beautifully decorated, spotless, and really close to the Covent Garden Tube station. You have the whole apartment to yourself.
Luxury: Covent Garden Hotel – One of the best hotels in London, with a central location right in Covent Garden, exquisite French-style decorated Luxury boutique.
Mid-Range: Strand Palace – Great location, minutes walk from Covent Garden. The clean chic rooms, excellent service every time, stylish common areas, and a high-quality restaurant.
Budget: Seven Dials Hotel – Friendly small hotel in the perfect location. Helpful staff, one of the top-rated budget places. Single, double * triple rooms, breakfast included.
Attractions Near Covent Garden:
- Covent Garden Market
- Jubilee Market
- The Crusting Pipe
- Transport Museum
- British Museum
- The Theatre – West End Shows currently playing: The Lion King, Mama Mia, Phantom of the Opera, Thriller Live
Best Area to Stay in London for Families
KENSINGTON AND SOUTH KENSINGTON
This part of London houses the famous museum quarter and is full of British history.
If you are a history and museum buff this is the perfect place to base yourself.
Not only are you close to museums like the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Natural History Museum, but you are also close to Hyde Park for some quiet strolls.
I really love this area because it is so typically British. Everyone is incredibly friendly and it is a quiet neighborhood away from most of the hustle and bustle of central London.
Where to Stay in Kensington/South Kensington
- Airbnb in Kensington Located on the ground floor of a Victorian House this studio comes with a double bed and is located right across from Kensington Palace.
- Best Mid-Range Hotel: The Resident Kensington – Perfectly located in the heart of Kensington this hotel gets rave reviews for its great staff and beautiful rooms.
- Best Budget Hotel: Park Grand London Kensington – Perfect family-friendly hotel with great rooms and amenities. Close to the Earl’s Court Tube station.
Attractions near Kensington/South Kensington
- Kensington Palace
- Natural History Museum
- Science Museum
- Victoria & Albert Museum
- High Street Shopping
- Kensington Gardens
Best Area to Stay in London for Nightlife
If you are wondering where the best place to stay in London is and want fashion and history, Soho is it.
One of the most fashionable areas of London meets history with Nelson’s column, and art at the National Gallery.
Trafalgar Square is for many, the most iconic spot in London, with the towering statue of the diminutive Lord Nelson watching over the city, with his trusty lion guards.
Just behind it is Leicester Square, and right behind that, the cool cat that is Soho.
Soho is one of the best spots for culinary fans of haute cuisine, with Michelin star restaurants, such as Social Eating House and Lima London, starting many food trends here.
Where to Stay in Soho
- Best Air BnB in SOHO: Beautifully decorated and centrally located right next to Trafalgar Square. 2 Bedroom Flat that has everything at your doorstep.
- Best Hotel in Soho/Trafalgar Square: The Savoy – This is pure 5 star living. Located right on the Thames it has impeccable rooms, over the top service, free wifi and a pool.
- Best Mid-Rage Hotel Trafalgar Square: The Grand at Trafalgar Square – Just off Trafalgar Square, you can find four-star luxury in this Victorian building, which is just meters from all of the area’s main attractions.
- Best Budget Hotel in Soho: The Z Hotel in Soho – Economically friendly option, but still with clean crisp décor and all the amenities you could need in a central area. This is such a great location for theatre goers.
Attractions Near Soho and Trafalgar Square:
- Take in some Jazz at Ronnie Scott’s
- Leicester Square
- National Gallery
Best Area to Stay in London for Sightseeing
One of the things I love the most about the the South Bank neighborhood is its easy access to a lot of the main attractions and it is a great place to people watch.
I loved being so close to the Tate Museum, London Eye and treating myself to afternoon tea at the Shard.
This is what makes central London such a great place to stay if you are into sightseeing and like to be in the heart of things.
There are also some great restaurants in this area and if you are into street food then you have come to the right place.
Although most of the area is populated with luxury hotels there are a few midrange and budget options.
Where to Stay on the South Bank
- Best Air BnB in the South Bank: This lovely 1 bedroom flat is perfectly located in the centre of it all yet is quiet. Super clean, Wifi, kitchen and a washer and dryer.
- Best Hotel in South Bank: Shangri-La at The Shard – Unparalleled service, beautiful rooms and a true luxury experience. Make sure to check out afternoon tea at their restaurant.
- Best Mid-range Hotel in South Bank: Sea Containers London – A beautiful boutique hotel on the banks of the Thames. Gorgeous rooms and an award winning restaurant.
- Best Budget Hotel in South Bank: Ibis London Blackfriars Hotel – Clean basic rooms that are close to some of London’s best markets, independent stores and live music venues.
- London Eye
- Tate Museum
- The Shard
- Big Ben and The Houses of Parliament
- Globe Theatre
- National Theatre
Best Area to Stay in London for Fashion and Shopping
The Chelsea area is a perfect place to stay in London especially if you love to shop and take in some fine dining.
Known as the fashion capital of London, Chelsea has a charm all to its own.
With colorful buildings, incredible shopping, great galleries and some of the coolest restaurants in the city, it is no wonder people flock to this area.
Make sure to take a break from the stores and wander the streets.
There are some great scenes that are crying out to be photographed, and if you are there with a loved one make sure to take in the view from the Albert Bridge at sunset. It is magical
Where to Stay in Chelsea
- Best Air BnB in Chelsea: Bordering both Kensington and Chelsea this comfortable and stylish flat has a great location. It is walking distance to the Tube, museums, markets and several excellent pubs.
- Best Hotel: Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park: Located right on Hyde Park in Knightsbridge, The Mandarin offers luxury accommodations at a luxury price. If you want o be pampered stay here!
- Mid Range: Sloane Place: Located in the heart of Chelsea this boutique hotel has beautifully decorated rooms, a bar and a spa.
- Budget: My Chelsea: With a great location this boutique hotel has smallish rooms but they are comfortable and the price is right.
- Shopping at Harrods
- Natural History Museum
- Kensington Palace
- Hyde Park
- London Zoo
Best Area to Stay in London for Budget Travellers
CAMDEN AND KING’S CROSS
Weird and wonderful Camden, was once a scruffy area only for hippies and artists. Camden is now a thriving popular place full of hipsters and fashionistas.
Camden is London’s Harajuku. It has its own distinct style and flavour and people there dress to stand out and show their personality.
It is my favourite spot for clothes shopping with such a variety of personality-filled finds in shops and markets and is a foodie haven too.
Kings Cross is another area that used to be seedy but is undergoing a re-generation. Now home to great eateries and nice hotels, it has transformed itself into an excellent neighbourhood to base yourself especially if you are a return visitor.
The prices for staying here are still lower in general than the other neighborhoods in London featured.
It has more hostels and B&Bs than expensive hotels, but with its gentrification and rising popularity, that won’t last long. So come and enjoy that aspect while you can.
Where to Stay in Camden
- Best Air BnB in Camden: Located on a quiet street next to Regent’s Park this beautifully decorated flat is close to Camden Markets and the Tube station.
- Best Hotel in Camden: York & Albany -Ideally located between Camden and Regent’s Park, this is a refined hotel to base yourself in the Camden area. Relaxing with a book in the hotel’s library and creating your own cocktail at the bar are some of the highlights.
- Best Mid-Range Hotel in Camden: Holiday Inn – Camden Lock – Camden doesn’t really do luxury, but this extremely well located, comfortable hotel right on Camden Lock is a good choice if you want to be in this area. It is a little nicer than the hipster digs which are the norm.
- Best Budget hotel in Camden: Christopher’s Inn – Camden – This low priced hostel offers double & twin rooms as well as bunk dorm beds for the budget traveller. Right on Camden High Street, a 2 min walk from a tube stop, with friendly staff & discounts at the restaurant for guests, it’s a popular choice.
- Camden Markets
- Regents Canal
- Live Music
- Platform 9 3/4 for Harry Potter fans
- Camley Street Natural Park
Best Place to Stay in London for Luxury
If you are coming to London for a bit of pampering and luxury then you have to stay in the Mayfair area.
Located between Hyde Park and Soho, Mayfair is London’s most wealthy neighborhood. Everything here is 4 and 5 star.
With Michelin star restaurants, high-end designer stores, and chic cocktail bars, it is the perfect place to indulge yourself for a night or two.
It is also a beautiful neighborhood to stroll around at night as it is often quiet and not too busy.
Where to stay in Mayfair
- Air BnB in Mayfair Newly refurbished two double bedroom apartment in a listed period Mayfair block, moments from Piccadilly. The property is situated on the second floor with a lift and benefits from large windows which offer excellent light throughout.
- Best Luxury Hotel in Mayfair: The Connaught: This famous hotel offers on-site Michelin-starred dining, a holistic spa and 2 chic bars. The rooms are quite comfortable and luxurious.
- Best Mid Range Hotel in Mayfair: Z Hotel at Gloucester Place: Located in the north part of Mayfair this hotel had modern rooms, comfortable beds, and friendly staff. Note, the rooms are a little “cozy”.
- Best Budget Hotel in Mayfair: The Mayfair Guesthouse: In an area know for luxury hotels this is the best value in the area. Great location, close to the tube but basic accommodation.
Best Area to Stay in London for Top Attractions
City of London
The City of London area is great neighbourhood to stay in if you want to be close to the top attractions..
Centrally located and relatively moderate when it comes to prices, this area of London has a lot of history and is central to most attractions.
It is the financial district of London and is filled with hip cafes, great shopping and a mix of both traditional and modern acrchitecture.
Most of the accomadation here is a mix of mid-range and luxury but Air Bnb has some great properties as well.
Make sure to jump on a boat along the Thames and visit one of the many markets in this area.
Where to Stay in the City of London Area
- Air BnB in City of London These one-bedroom apartments with comfort cooling are perfect for a stay in The City. The living and dining area features a luxurious sofa, designer soft furnishings and a large flat-screen Smart TV packed with plenty of TV channels as well as an Apple TV box, so you can easily stream your own content.
- Best Luxury Hotel in The City: Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square: Situated near the Tower of London and the Thames this is pure luxury. Everything you expect from a Four Seasons property. Amazing location, elegant rooms, and Afternoon Tea.
- Best Mid-Range Hotel in The City: Apex Temple Court Hotel: Contemporary design, beautiful rooms, and friendly staff make this a perfect choice for The City. Free Wifi, cozy restaurant and bar with a gym as well.
- Best Budget Hotel in The City: Wombat’s The City Hostel London: Perfect for those wanting to save some money. Centrally located with rooms with private or shared bath. Free Wifi and a bar on the property.
- Museum of London
- St. Paul’s Cathedral
- Tower of London
- London Bridge
- Leadenhall Market
So there you have it. My choices on where to stay in London.
The ever-popular London is world-famous and filled with such a variety of things to do that whatever your interests are, you’ll find things to fulfill them here with many world-class attractions, museums, galleries, theatres, restaurants and so many pubs.
It offers variety, and freedom to be yourself in it, and have a royally good time.
So book your flights and pack your bags, as London’s calling.
For more London travel information to help your London itinerary, check out these links below.
- London Landmarks – 18 Famous Places in Photos
- 3 Days in London – The Ultimate London Itinerary
- How to Get from London Airports to the City
- 22 of the Top Things to do in London, England
- London’s Top 5 Alternative Attractions
- The Top 5 Museums in London you Have to See
If you are planning a trip to England, make sure to check out our UK Travel Guide
Many people plan their London travels with a trip to Paris, visit these Paris articles to help plan more of your itinerary
- How to Visit Paris on a Budget
- Three Days in Paris Itinerary
- Free Things to do in Paris
- What to do in Paris at Night
- Visiting the Catacombs of Paris – An Underground Labyrinth of Death
- Famous People Buried in the Pere Lachaise Cemetery of Paris
- Paris Closures, When to Avoid Museum and Attractions
Check out more London Resources below
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