WHERE TO STAY IN LONDON?
A simple overview about the different areas of London.
This blog post “Where to stay in London?” should help you finding the right accommodation in the ideal area when visiting London. It also brushes aside some “urban myths” that London is expensive or dangerous.
London is big, well it looks big. And when you are visiting for the first time it can be quite hard to choose the right location of your hotel. (In this sense we strongly advise not to use Airbnb as it’s not regulated and drives already high rents unnecessarily up even higher).
So, let’s start with Central London. And there’s the first problem. Where’s central London?
The Transport for London tube map gives you a good guideline. London is organised in 6 different travel zones, 1-6. See here: https://tfl.gov.uk/maps
We pinpoint central London from Charing Cross Station to Tottenham Court Road, to Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus over to Green Park Station.
It’s the heart of London with all major sites in walking distance. It hosts the main shopping streets such as Oxford Street, Regent Street and Carnaby Street. Soho, known for its clubs and bars is here as well as China Town.
It’s lively, crowded all year around, touristy but not exclusively. Hotels tend to be more expensive around here but that doesn’t come as a surprise as most of them are on the luxurious side…
Venturing a slightly further past Green Park station are the posh areas of Mayfair and Knightsbridge. It’s where the world’s rich and famous stay, shop, dine and party. Numerous five-star hotels which come at a price can be found here. So, if you want to treat yourself to something special look no further.
Next comes the large borough of Kensington. A lived-in borough which shows the diversity of London. South Kensington is the more affluent part, ever so popular with tourists from around the world especially from the US and the Arab countries due its density of museums, shops, restaurants and architecture.
Hotels again tend to be on the expensive side but if you venture out a little further towards Shepherd’s Bush (a less glamorous part but home to Europe’s biggest shopping mall Westfield), Earl’s Court (a more residential area) or Paddington (a bit rough around the edges but not dangerous) real bargains can be found.
And if your budget is tight move further out towards Ealing. Value for money hotel accommodation, fantastic transport connections towards central London and Heathrow airport do make this western suburb quite a popular tourist destination.
Hotels are fairly priced around here and you get what you pay for basically. And not just in a negative sense that is as there are some fantastic properties especially around the newly built King’s Cross Station. Home of Harry Potter’s platform 3/4 and an architectural masterpiece. You are also within a short bus ride away from the beautiful Islington area. Home of many fabulous restaurants and bars where locals love to go out! It’s great part of London and ideal for a short break.
Jumping over the financial district, the “City”, around Liverpool Street Station with its corporate low- and high-priced business hotels (do check for offer over the weekends and holiday periods) is Shoreditch. The trendiest part of London nowadays. Home to the art, design and start up scene this former unglamorous part of London has seen a huge development over the last decade and is now home to numerous fantastic hotels. But as everyone wants to come here, so it is expensive to bed. It’s lively especially over the weekends when the revellers flock to the many bars and clubs. Closing time is a thing of the past here. But it is also a great and if you a look on a map very central area with a great deal of fine dining restaurants.
Further out East is Stratford, where the 2012 Olympics took place. This area is undergoing a massive development of flats and offices right now. It has a mixed character to it, from rough and ready, hip, to corporate cool. Its transport connections are great and hotel prices excellent though.
Unless you stay right by the Thames anywhere from Tower Bridge, London Bridge to Waterloo Station the transport connections south of river aren’t that great and we don’t recommend for first-time visitors to stay there. Staying near the Thames (Southbank) is however an excellent idea. Good hotels in all categories, walking distance to central London yet less hustle and great pubs and restaurants make this area very attractive.
If you look at a bargain, look no further. Mainly corporate US chain hotels drop their rate pants in the other financial district Canary Wharf and around the Excel fairground / City airport. Transport connections are absolutely fine but there’s just not much to around here. But once you are familiar with the London transport system, which ain’t that hard, the value for money is unbeatable around here.
And there’s beautiful Greenwich. One of the most picturesque parts of London with great views from the famous observatory.
Areas to avoid: None whatsoever. London is safe, day or night, alone or in a group.
So, we hope this blog post is useful for you finding the right area stay and answering your questions where to stay in London.
If you need help finding the right hotel, please drop us an email: email@example.com
We are always happy to help and match or better any price you find online.
Please do also check our blog post on what to do on your first trip to London and join our Facebook London Travel Tips group for the latest infos, reviews and insider tips.
See you in London!