Where To Stay In London – Guide to The Best Neighborhoods

Written By: Karen Worrall

With its beautiful architecture, interesting history, 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 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. Not only the capital city of England but one of the most visited cities in the world. And for good reason. 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. Check out Amazing Places to Visit in the UK

The Best Areas to Stay in London

What is the best neighborhood in London for Sightseeing?

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.

What is the best neighborhood in London for the first time?

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.

What is the Best neighborhood in London for families?

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.

Where is the best neighborhood in London for shopping?

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.

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.

We asked local London expert Karen Worrall to create a guide on the best hotels in London and share her opinions on what she thinks first time visitors to London should see. Read more: 22 of the Top Things to do in London, England

Where to stay in London neighbourhood map

In a Hurry? If you want to skip directly to the best hotels in London, here are the top choices.

  • Best Luxury Hotel in LondonShangri-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 LondonStrand Palace – Great location, minutes walk from Covent Garden. The clean chic rooms, excellent service every time, stylish common areas, and a high-quality restaurant.
  • Best Budget Hotel in London – Park Grand London Kensington – Perfect family-friendly hotel with great rooms and amenities. Close to the Earl’s Court Tube station.

Covent Garden – Where to Stay in London For First Time Visitors

Where to stay in London | Covent Garden

Covent Garden is my personal favorite and definitely the best place to stay in London for first time visitors. 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 in Covent Garden. 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

  • 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

Kensington and South Kensington – Best Places to Stay for Families

Kensington is one of the best places to stay in London for families

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

Attractions near Kensington/South Kensington

  • Kensington Palace
  • Natural History Museum
  • Science Museum
  • Victoria & Albert Museum
  • High Street Shopping
  • Kensington Gardens

SOHO – Best Area to Stay in London for Nightlife

Where to stay in London for Nightlife | Soho

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.

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.

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.

Where to Stay in Soho

  • 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
  • Chinatown
  • Leicester Square
  • National Gallery

South Bank – Best Neighborhood to Stay in London for Sightseeing

South Bank is the best place 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 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 LondonA beautiful boutique hotel on the banks of the Thames. Gorgeous rooms and an award-winning restaurant.

Attractions Nearby

Chelsea – Best Area to Stay in London for Fashion and Shopping

Kensington is a great area to stay in London with families

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

  • 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.

Attractions Nearby

  • Shopping at Harrods
  • Natural History Museum
  • Kensington Palace
  • Hyde Park
  • London Zoo

Camden and King’s Cross – Best Places to Stay on a Budget

camden lock london england
Camden Lock

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.

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.

Where to Stay in Camden

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.

Regents Park in Camden is a good neighbourhood to stay in if you are on a budget
  • 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.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Camden Markets
  • Regents Canal
  • Live Music
  • Platform 9 3/4 for Harry Potter fans
  • Camley Street Natural Park
Camden Market is close to hotels in the area
Quirky Food Stall at Camden Market

Mayfair – Best Place to Stay in London for Luxury

Where to Stay in London Luxury | Mayfair Neighborhood

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.

City of London – Best Area to Stay in London for Top Attractions

Best Neighbourhood to stay in London for Top Attractions | The city

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 architecture. Most of the accommodation 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.

Hotels in London Central 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 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.

Attractions Nearby

  • Museum of London
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral
  • Tower of London
  • London Bridge
  • Leadenhall Market

So there you have it. My choices for the hotels and places to stay. 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.

If you are planning a trip to England, make sure to check out our UK Travel Guide

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Where to stay in London the best areas

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Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • World Nomads - Digital Nomads or Frequent Travelers.
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Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

About Karen Worrall

Karen Worrall is a travel blogger and freelance writer. Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, she has lived in six countries, including London in England, and sailed the seven seas entertaining on cruise ships for 13 years. You can find her on FacebookInstagram, and on her website Cruise Ship Karen.

Leave a Comment

32 thoughts on “Where To Stay In London – Guide to The Best Neighborhoods”

  1. I have a flight with my wife to London next year. Knowing this will help us a lot to decide where to go. Thank you so much!

    Reply
  2. Thanks for this awesome guide! I have visited London more than 10 times and I am waiting to have better situation in terms of covid security to make a new visit. I hope before Christmas I will be there again.

    Reply
  3. Thank you for sharing this post. Definitely both Natural History Museum and the London Zoo are one of the best places to visit.

    Reply
  4. Thank you very much. This is the most comprehensive post I’ve read about London in the entire internet. That’s nice, thank you very much.

    This summer I am travelling to the city and you have given me a lot of advice and recommendations 🙂 🙂

    Reply
  5. Remember to always try find out if the hotel have decent hairdryers too. So many times everything is perfect with the stay apart from the provided hotel dryer that could not even dry the hair on your legs !

    Reply
  6. London is great but a bit loud for me. I’ve stayed in Shoreditch and loved it. Thanks for details. I will choose from here next time!

    Reply
  7. We will be visiting London in June ( hubby, I and son : 3 adults) . We plan to book into an Airbnb accommodation. So obviously we are on a budget! Which locality would be a good place to stay that will be easy to access transport for sightseeing and also to experience the local culture and cuisine? We plan to get the London Pass for the sightseeing.

    Reply
  8. I chose to stay at the Sydney House Chelsea. It’s only a few blocks from the South Kensington tube station. The neighborhood is quiet which was nice after sightseeing in the city. But Kings Row with shops and restaurants is just a few blocks away

    Reply
  9. WOW, this is the kind of work guys in Lonely Planet are paid for.

    I love the city and the thing are made there 🙂

    Kudos!

    Reply
  10. This blog post is a ready reckoner to anybody traveling to London for the first time. You have covered them in very detail.

    Reply
  11. Your piece of write-ups inspire me to travel more and more. I love your blogs posts how they emanate powerful energy to just let your soul wandering and follow our dreams.

    Reply
  12. serviced apartments are a great concept and can work out cost effective in the long run. It is ideal or families, relocation, business and international assignments. why are they cost effective you may ask? well unlike hotels serviced apartments should charge per apartment and not per person, there are no hefty bill charges like Laundry, telephone charges etc.

    The location of these serviced apartments should be in prime locations, where there is easy access to trains, restaurants and super markets. if your booking via an agent then they should advise all details of the property to you, what the amenities are etc.

    Reply
  13. We just got back from Paris where we rented an apartment in Mont Matre just below (what a fabulous view) Sacre Coeur. We saved a ton of money by using the local grocery stores and bakeries. The washing machine was great because we pack light. Internet was included and even the TV came in handy for the local weather and news.

    Reply
  14. We have a large family and we have rented apartments in Rome and Paris. It did save us a lot of money but one thing to be aware of is that the amenities may not be what you expect in a hotel. Ask before you book.

    Reply
    • Good advice Michele. An apartment is not a hotel and it is important to check out all the amenities to make sure that it has what you want. They are two very different ways of staying in a city. A hotel caters to you and gives you the full vacation experience, while an apartment gives you the sense that you are living in the city for the time you are there. Both are beneficial for sure.

      Reply
    • Hi Kenny, Prices vary from time of year to number of people and the length of stay. You are right that it would be useful information, but we cannot quote prices for you when circumstances are different for everyone. We instead have provided a link for our readers to follow to get their own quotes for the area and times that they are looking for. Oh London’s website is very easy to navigate and you can easily find a quote for a say in Downtown London. Good luck and cheers.

      Reply
  15. We are thinking about this for next summer in Europe! I love the picture in front of the washing machine….we have had very similar situations!

    Reply
    • Good to hear we aren’t the only ones. I just felt like an idiot. It happened again in Kiev too. We were looking up the model and make on the Internet trying to figure out how to get the damn thing open. I am so glad we made it to the meeting eventually, but it was a bummer to miss out on pre event drinks with 501 Places.

      Reply