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London. The motherland. The most famous city in the world. Home to the Buckingham Palace, mushy peas and The Tube (the underground trains)… and so much more! The capital of England is one of the must-see destinations of the world and over 16 million people make that effort every year!
But London is an absolute giant. If you’ve ever seen the public transport map (chaos!), you probably ran away screaming! It’s for this exact reason that our travel pros have put together an epic guide of where to stay in London, based on things that matters to you.
Once you arrive, you’ll be too busy falling in love with the city to worry about accommodation so will be pleased you’ve already got the hard stuff sorted!
So let’s crack on (as they say there!), and you’ll be as confident as a Cockney in knowing exactly where to stay in London!
Table of Contents
Where to stay in London your first time – Covent Garden
Where to stay in London on a budget – South Kensington
Best area to stay in London for nightlife – Shoreditch
Coolest place to stay in London – Peckham
Best neighborhood in London for families – Waterloo
Not worried about where you’ll be and just looking for a fit for you? Check out our top picks for London in general!
Located in Westminster, The Zetter Townhouse Marylebone offers affordable accommodation just steps away from the Marble Arch and Oxford Street. Rated 9.3 by guests, the 2-star hotel is situated a short stroll from Selfridges and Edgware Road.
Those staying at Premier Inn London City Tower Hill can enjoy British cuisines at the in-house restaurant, conveniently located for those who want to stay close when looking for a bite to eat. It offers 3-star accommodation with air-conditioned rooms.
Set in the heart of London, this historic Grade II listed hotel is just moments from Russell Square tube station and the British Museum. With its striking exterior, it offers 5-star luxury as well as free Wi-Fi throughout. Recently restored to its former glory, the luxurious interior designs by Tara Bernerd & Partners and Russell Sage Studio bring contemporary glamour and indulgence.
Located in the southeast of the island of Britain, London is the capital of England and the United Kingdom.
A modern, 21st century city with Roman roots (medieval trunk, renaissance branches, enlightenment leaves…), it’s a place where you can have everything flashy your millennial heart could desire, while it still keeps its grandeur and history intact.
Where else could you find a cafe in a re-converted Victorian public toilet?
Literally, whatever you’re into, London can provide: Food? Obviously – it’s home to 69 Michelin starred restaurants. Sports? Look no further; Lords, Twickenham and Wembley are here. History? The whole place is brimming with it!
The neighbourhoods of London are a varied bunch, with ‘boroughs’ and whatnot all over the place. North of the river, south of the river, east of the city, west of the city, some combination of the above: it can be confusing.
There’s Greenwich, to the east, the leafy suburb (home to the Greenwich Meridian and GMT) where you can look over the dazzling skyline of the city while keeping a breathable distance.
And there’s Notting Hill, in the west, with the markets and colourful townhouses making you feel you’ve stepped out of a photograph. You just might find yourself in front of an iconic blue door from a certain film based in this neighbourhood. What was it called again?
Let’s not forget Brixton, down south: multicultural and proud of it, Brixton is the site of some pretty mad history and some pretty incredible music venues.
Or Camden, up north. Here you can find yourself strolling along picturesque canals while Londonderry putts past on their houseboats, bicycle and garden furniture adorning the top decks.
You can’t go past London for sheer opportunity. There’s a lot to do, so you’ll definitely find something perfect for you!
One of the first places visitors to London head to, Covent Garden is found at the edge of the city’s West End theatre district. In use, on and off, since the 7th century, it has long been a destination of choice. It’s square and design date back a long time, and it feels like the world is swirling past you, as you stand in the centre of it all.
The neighbourhood spans a wider area than the old marketplace, of course, and has a lot to offer someone on their first visit to the great city.
There are loads of tube stations in and around Covent Garden, so you’ll be able to make your way in and out of the region easily. Not that you’d need to, with the amount on show here. This is a walkable part of the city, and walk you should, as a means of giving yourself enough time to see all there is to see.
Speaking of shows: Covent Garden is in the theatre district. Here’s where you can catch the long-running spectaculars, as well as the new stage hits! You would never run out of new ones to see, with 38 titled theatre here, and the talent showcased is sensational.
You’ll find Trafalgar Square, with its famous lions, at the edge of Covent Garden, and you can go and check out what’s on the Fourth Plinth, the changing artwork in place of a stuffy military statue on the remaining empty concrete block. Keep walking in that direction and you’ll find yourself at Liz’s place: Buckingham Palace is at the end of that road!
The Thames is just a stone’s throw away as well, and makes for a great riverside walk that’ll have you recognising famous landmarks and buildings all along the way (Tower of London, even, if you go far enough).
Fielding features spacious rooms equipped with a DVD player and tea and coffee making facilities while a gym is available onsite. Fielding Hotel is located in the heart of London’s entertainment district with restaurants, cafés and nightlife on the doorstep. Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus are a brief walk away.
Just minutes from nearby clubs and bars, this 4-star hotel also allows guests to discover the best of the local nightlife. After settling into their room, guests can discover the area with the use of Leicester Square Tube Station, which is within a five-minute walk of the hotel.
After a day of exploring the nearby region, guests of the 5-star hotel can relax in the comfort of their air conditioned rooms. They all offer a seating area, a mini bar and movies-on-demand. Covent Garden Hotel Firmdale Hotels features both a restaurant and a bar where guests are able to unwind of an evening with a meal and a drink. Guests are also able to try one of the many bars and cafés in the vicinity.
Check this out – If you are going to stay in London, you should check out our article about the best hotels in all of London.
South Ken, as it’s known, is just off to the west of the city, in the wealthy Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Though the prices for residents are high, it’s great for visitors due to the free attractions in the area, and the great transport links.
The South Kensington station is the intersecting point for three main Tube lines, as well as many different bus lines to whisk you to anywhere in the city you may wish. Just make sure you’ve got an Oyster or contactless card at the ready, as London buses don’t let you pay in cash!
This region is justifiably famous for its museums. The ‘Big Three’ are all situated here and are free to enter!
The Natural History Museum is worth the walk, even for the sight of the grand entrance hall alone… and the suspended scale model of a blue whale! In winter, you can strap on your skates as they open up an ice-rink onsite.
The Science museum is touted as being for kids of all ages, and this big kid definitely loved it! You could visit over and over and still discover something new. The interactive rooms will steal your whole day away if you’re not careful!
And the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum, rounds out the list, with ever-changing world-class exhibits that link the past with the present.
In the north of the neighbourhood, and still free, you’ll find Hyde Park. One of the largest urban green spaces in the world, grab some food and drinks and head down with friends to enjoy the sunshine, along with thousands of others doing the same. Don’t worry, the place is huge so there’s room for everyone! Of course, if it’s winter, you can head on down to Winter Wonderland, a festive spectacular where there is mulled wine and carnival rides in every direction. Be sure to wear your woolliest Christmas jumper!
Set just a short stroll from Imperial College London, this cosy 3-star bed & breakfast features both a bar and a restaurant. Popular amenities, such as a sauna and a swimming pool, ensure a satisfying stay in London.
Crowne Plaza Hotel Kensington London provides modern rooms equipped with a mini bar, cable/satellite channels and an iPod docking station. To make sure the day gets off to a great start, a continental breakfast is offered every morning at this 4-star hotel’s restaurant.
Rooms of this 5-star hotel are air-conditioned and feature top-of-the-range amenities such as movies-on-demand, a flat-screen TV and luxury toiletries.Those staying at The Ampersand Hotel can enjoy a unique dining experience at the on-site restaurant, conveniently located for those who want to stay nearby at mealtime.
Worth a look – If you are visiting London, you HAVE to check out our article about things to do in London, England!
In London’s East End, Shoreditch is the definition of all things happening! An entertainment district since the 16th century, it was a hot contender for the title of ‘Coolest Neighbourhood’ in this guide.
Shoreditch encompasses a bunch of smaller suburbs, all with trendy reputations as well (ahem, Hackney). But though it’s got plenty to do in the daytime, it’s in the evenings that this neighbourhood really makes a name for itself!
Let’s map out a Saturday for you, shall we?
You’ll start your day, after brunch of course, at the Columbia Road Flower Market, picking up a few blooms to decorate your digs with.
Then it’s on to Spitalfields, the old Victorian markets with plenty of history to share.
You’ll be hungry by this stage, so get your haggle on at any one of the hundred ‘Best Curry House in London’ on Brick Lane. The touts are expecting it, so stick to your guns and you could get yourself a great deal! And they really are all delicious so don’t stress over which one!
All around this area is street-art, so on your way to the after-dinner destination, take it slow and you may spot a Banksy peeking around a corner.
The night’s fallen by this time so it’s time to settle in at the Queen of Hoxton for a pint on the rooftop and a few arcade games.
Then you’ll be joining the Shoreditch Pub Crawl, a long-running and famous nightly event that will see you touring through an itinerary you’d be hard-pressed to come up with on your own.
And lastly, if you’re up to it, XOYO, voted in the world’s top 100 nightclubs. You’ll be here until dawn so I hope you made the most of that curry!
Guests can enjoy the outdoors on the terrace or have a drink at the bar. Staff are available 24 hours a day and can book tours and tickets. London’s attractions, such as Brick Lane, Broadgate Tower and Old Street, are easily accessible on foot from the 3-star hotel.
Surrounded by local bars and restaurants, CitizenM is within walking distance from Old Street Station. This 4-star hotel provides a 24-hour reception, an express check-in and check-out feature and luggage storage. In addition, the multilingual staff can provide tips and local knowledge.
This comfortable hotel in London offers free Wi-Fi, as well as a swimming pool and a rooftop terrace. It provides 5-star accommodation with air-conditioned rooms. Rooms at Courthouse Hotel Shoreditch are well-appointed and offer luxury facilities including luxury toiletries. They all have a laptop safe, a bathtub and a mini bar.
Recommended read! Also – if you’ll be in this area, you HAVE to check out our article about some of the best day trips from London.
South, like quite a way south, of the river is the funky grime-music central suburb of Peckham. It’s been around since at least the 11th century, though in recent years, it’s undergone a cultural change and got itself noticed by the rest of us. Labelled the 11th collect neighbourhood in the world, Peckham has a host of activities that make it worthy of the title. And the atmosphere is just great, too.
Though no tube lines service the area, the national rail and Overground do, with Peckham Rye the hub.
There the village vibe of Bellenden Road (no rude jokes, please) where you can shop like the old days, picking up cuts from the butchers, fruit and veg from the grocers, bread from the bakery, and so on. It’s actually a great way to support local business while shopping a lot more sustainably.
Peckham is also where they got the bright idea of taking a multi-storey car park, that dazzling of destinations, and turning into the coolest rooftop bar in the city. Frank’s Cafe draws crowds year round, but particularly in summer, to sip away at the cocktails against a backdrop of the city. You can take one of those perspective pics here with your finger ‘touching’ the tip of The Shard. Classic!
Let’s not forget the Bussey Building either, the multipurpose facility that used to be a cricket-bat factory! Yoga, gigs, vinyl, books, art, a nightclub – if you want it, chances are Bussey Building can provide!
All rooms are air conditioned and equipped with blackout curtains, tea and coffee making facilities and a flat-screen TV. Guests staying at Best Western Peckham Hotel can sit down to a unique dining experience at the on-site restaurant, conveniently based for those who want to stay close by when looking to sit down to a meal.
Planning a trip to London? Stay close to the action with our list of the most amazing hotels near Big Ben!
The on-site garden at this 3-star hotel is a peaceful spot to sit and relax.
Peckham Rooms Hotel provides easy access to the Tower Bridge and Tower of London. River Thames, Oxford Street and Piccadilly Circus are just an easy car ride from the hotel.
The various facilities this stylish hotel has to offer include a terrace and free Wi-Fi.
The Victoria Inn has 11 charming rooms. On-site dining options include a restaurant, which is a convenient place to enjoy a meal. The in-house pub serves local food and a range of drinks.
Waterloo is a great destination for families as it’s central, close to all the main child-friendly attractions of London, and in walking distance of green areas for relaxation time.
Sitting on the south-side of the Thames, just opposite Covent Garden, Waterloo is nestled in the bend of the river that curves through the City of London, proper.
A lot of London life comes through Waterloo on a daily basis, and you can find people of all walks of life here.
Most importantly, you have Southbank. This is the riverside region that alone could take you a week to explore. Heading west from Waterloo Bridge, a main thoroughfare into the CBD, you’ll come across the Southbank Centre, a cultural masterpiece that hosts events and festivals throughout the year. Check out what it’s got one when you visit for a one-of-a-kind experience.
Before you get to the big-name items at the further end, just enjoy what Southbank has to offer. Skateboarders making use of disused industrial space, vintage book markets on trestle tables, artists in the sand on a Thames ‘beach’.
Then there’s the stuff the kids will love – the Aquarium for a showcase of underwater life, the Eye for a dazzling view of the city and surrounds (just try to see the edge of London, bet you can’t!), the Dungeons, for the brave!
Waterloo has one of the biggest and busiest stations as well, so you’ll have no trouble finding your way around. That’s if the walking distance of the north bank of the river isn’t enough to keep you all entertained.
Guests of the 3 and a half-star hotel can unwind at the on-site bar, conveniently based for socialising in the evening. The hotel is close to Waterloo Tube Station and London Waterloo Railway Station, making it easy for guests to explore London and its surrounding areas.
Guests of the 4-star hotel can enjoy a range of relaxing treatments and beauty therapy at the on-site spa, Mandara Spa. Amenities include facial and body treatments, plus an express check-in and check-out feature and a ballroom. It also has a gym with a sauna.
Boasting views of Big Ben, London Marriott Hotel County Hall is steps from London’s popular tourist spots. A rooftop terrace, an indoor pool and a swimming pool are just some of the luxurious amenities available to guests during their stay.
London is a behemoth, spreading across a mind-boggling area. And its neighbourhoods are self-identifying districts, the first thing that gives an idea of a residents personality when you ask where they’re living.
So now, thanks to our guide, you’ll be able to choose a neighbourhood with ease, one that suits you and your interests or priorities.
Once you’ve got the Tube sorted, London is your oyster!
And it’s at the Kimpton Fitzroy London Hotel that you’ll make the most of your time here. The Grade II heritage building is unmatched for glamour and historical relevance.
There you have it: our expert team’s travel tips for the best neighbourhoods and where to stay in London. Be sure to say hello to Lizzie for me!
“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” – Samuel Johnson
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Born in Los Angeles, Aaron Hovanesian is one of the original staff writers for Hotel Jules. Having backpacked the world as a young man, Aaron now prefers to travel the world in luxury, proudly staying in the world's most amazing hotels and properties. When Aaron is not traveling he lives in Western Colorado he can be found brewing his own beer (probably an IPA) or spending time with his two amazing golden retrievers.