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Best Areas to Stay in London

Best Areas to Stay in London

Planning a trip to London can be challenging, especially when it comes to finding a place to stay. With many neighborhoods to choose from, each offering something different, looking for accommodation in London can be terrifying. When I lived in London for many years, so I got to live in almost every corner of the city. Now I can tell you what each area offers.

I stayed in most of the recommended hotels and can vouch for them. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to write me a comment!

Best Areas to Stay in London – Guide for 2023

There is no universal ‘best’ neighborhood to stay in London since all sights are spread out. There’s also no downtown as such, and much depends on your interests and budget. London is generally a safe place, no matter where you stay. There’s no such thing as a ‘no-go’ zone in London.

Similarly, the best hotels in London are not located in one neighborhood. It’s easy to find great luxury accommodations in most areas of London.

For Those in a Rush Here’s a Quick Summary. For Detailed Descriptions Keep Reading 😉

  • Best Neighborhood for Sightseeing in London: South Bank
  • Best Neighborhood in London for Nightlife: Soho & Camden
  • Best Neighbourhood in London for Families: Victoria & Marylebone
  • Best Neighborhood in London to Stay for First Timer: Covent Garden
  • Most Romantic Neighborhood in London: Mayfair, Notting Hill & South Kensington
  • Best Neighborhood in London for a Local Vibe: Camden & Shoreditch
  • Best Neighbourhood for Ethnic Food: Anywhere in East London.

Best Hotels to Stay in London:

Best Luxury Hotels in London
St Pancras Renaissance Hotel • Ace Hotel Shoreditch • Sofitel St JamesHotel Cafe Royal 

Best Mid-Range Hotels in London
41 • Sea ContainersSan Domenico HouseBloomsbury Hotel

Best Boutique Hotels in London
Dawson PlaceGower House Hotel

Best Cheap Accommodation in London
Corus Hyde Park  • Generator London 

Getting to Know Different Districts of London

The first issue with London is that districts aren’t always named the same everywhere. While it’s easy to get oriented in other big European cities like Paris, where districts (arrondissement) are numbered, but London is divided in a different way.

Officially, the city of London is a small part of London you expect (marked white on the map below). Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, London Eye or any other iconic landmarks aren’t even part of it.

The City is now only a tiny part of the metropolis of London, though it remains a notable part of central London. Administratively, it forms one of the 33 local authority districts of Greater London; however, the City of London is not a London borough, a status reserved for the other 32 districts (including London’s only other city, the City of Westminster).Where to Stay in London

Colloquial Districts of London

You might want to ask where is the West End area, as you’ve probably heard about it. West End is actually not an official geographical or municipal definition, but a term used colloquially by Londoners. Therefore the exact constituent parts are up for debate.

Depending on the person, the ‘zones’ of London can be divided differently and hold different names. Further on, I’ll be referring to the most used names of the districts and the closest major tube stations nearby.

How to Get Around London

Before we delve too deeply into descriptions of different areas, let’s introduce you to the transport system. Don’t get intimidated by London tube map – it’s easier to navigate than it looks like and it’s perfectly safe. Here are a few things you should know:

  • Hotel shuttles from airports are rare. Taxi or Uber from the airport is insanely expensive. I don’t recommend taking private transportation unless you arrive exhausted in the middle of the night.
  • London has a great public transport system. It’s safe and usually works great (and it if doesn’t there’s always a replacement bus right away). But, not all tube stations have elevators and you might have to drag your suitcase up the stairs.
  • You have to buy an oyster card (a refillable transport card) in order to use the buses and tube now. Unless you have a touch card. You can buy these for £5 in multiple tube stations or the airport.
  • Alternatively, if you’re planning on visiting many attractions, consider getting a London Pass. It gives you access to many London’s top attractions and hop-on hop-off bus ticket. London tube map

Where to Stay in London

To directly skip to selected neighborhoods, click on links below.

Also Check:

Best Things to Do in London

Unusual and Cool Places to Eat in London

Tips for Visiting London for First Time Visitors

The West End (Covent Garden, Soho, Leicester Square, Oxford Street)

A vibrant district full of theaters, shops, pubs, clubs, landmarks and shopping opportunities.

Major Tube Stations: Leicester Square (Northern & Piccadilly Line), Oxford Circus (Bakerloo, Central & Victoria), Tottenham Court Road (Northern & Central)
Budget: London’s most exclusive hotel district with many of London’s most exclusive and expensive hotels.
Attractions Nearby:
Family Friendliness: Close to most things, so very recommendable. Might be noisier than elsewhere at nights.
Nightlife: Best area of London.
Best for: Young people who want to experience the nightlife and shopping in the heart of London.
Worst for: Families who want peace and quiet at nights.
Personal experience: I love hanging out in the area, but I’m not sure if I would ever live there. But if you don’t have much time in the city and want to experience the busy London life, go for it.

Recommended Places to Stay:

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[su_box title=”Luxury:” style=”default” box_color=”#333333″ title_color=”#FFFFFF” radius=”3″ class=””]Sofitel St James
I stayed at this hotel for 2 nights and visited for an afternoon tea. The location couldn’t have been more perfect and the standard of accommodation was surely satisfying. The only minus is that rooms have no balconies, but if you’re looking for a centrally located spot, you won’t regret booking here.

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[su_box title=”Budget:” style=”default” box_color=”#333333″ title_color=”#FFFFFF” radius=”3″ class=””]Strand Continental
There aren’t many budget places in this area, not even a hostel, so your best bet would still cost about $100+ per night. While it’s not for a backpacker budget, you pay for the location.

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A busy commuter area with a Royal feel.

Major Tube Stations: Victoria (Victoria, Circle, District)
Budget: Mostly affordable.
Attractions Nearby:
Family Friendliness: Families will enjoy their stay in Victoria due to easy access to everything.
Nightlife: Decent nightlife. There’s also easy access to other areas.
Best for: Travelers planning day trips from London.

Recommended Places to Stay:

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[su_box title=”Luxury:” style=”default” box_color=”#333333″ title_color=”#FFFFFF” radius=”3″ class=””]41
This hotel is surely stylish. Nestled behind Buckingham Palace and close to Victoria Train & Bus station, it serves delicious food at the lounge and looks like a traditional London club.

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[su_box title=”Budget:” style=”default” box_color=”#333333″ title_color=”#FFFFFF” radius=”3″ class=””]Astor Victoria Hostel
Clean and modern hostel just 2 minutes walk from Pimlico Underground Station. For a small price you can get a comfortable place to sleep.

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South Bank

Sensational public attractions and spectacular people watching along the banks of the Thames.

Major Tube Stations: Waterloo (Northern, Bakerloo, Jubilee), London Bridge (Northern, Jubilee)
Budget: High, as most hotels are luxurious, oriented towards business travelers.
Attractions Nearby:
Family Friendliness: Fine for families as it’s very centrally located.
Nightlife: Plenty of restaurants and bars to choose from.
Best for: Those who want to do as much sightseeing as they can.
Worst for: People who hate crowds and want to shop nearby.
Recommended Hotel:  Sea Containers – BOOK HERE
Southbank London

City of London

Busy suited streets of a location that’s full of rich history.

Major Tube Stations: Bank (Central, Circle, District, Northern, DLR)
Budget: Usually expensive, because targeted to business travelers
Attractions Nearby:
Family Friendliness: I’d not recommend.
Nightlife: Excellent during the week, bad over the weekend.
Best for: Business travelers, especially bankers.
Worst for: Weekend travelers – many restaurants, bars, and shops are closed during the weekend.
Recommended Hotel: Batty Langley’s – BOOK NOW


History is etched into the stones of this neighborhood.

Major Tube Stations: Victoria (Victoria, District, Circle)
Budget: More expensive than budget-friendly, but worth the price for the location.
Attractions Nearby:
Family Friendliness: Could be ideal for families, as it’s full of green areas.
Nightlife: Some.
Best for: Tourists interested in iconic landmarks.
Worst for: Nightlife seekers.
Recommended Hotel: Rubens at the Palace – BOOK NOW

Paddington, Bayswater & Marylebone & Maida Vale

These swanky London neighborhoods feel less crowded despite the central location.

Major Tube Stations: Edgware Road (Northern), Bond Street (Jubilee, Central)
Budget: Affordable and easily accessible district of London.
Attractions Nearby:
  • Sherlock Holmes Museum
  • Little Venice
  • Madame Tussauds
Family Friendliness: Great place for families.
Nightlife: Not much happening there, but it’s still close to other areas of excellent nightlife.
Best for: Families.
Worst for: Young party people.
Recommended Hotels:
  • Luxury – The LanesboroughBOOK NOW
  • Budget – Corus Hyde ParkBOOK NOW
where to stay in London

Notting Hill & Hammersmith

Quaint streets and rustic townhomes earn this west London neighborhood its cinematic credentials.

Major Tube Stations: Hammersmith (Piccadilly, Hammersmith & City, Circle, District), Shephard’s Bush (Central, Overground)
Budget: Not ridiculously expensive, but surely not the cheapest district.
Attractions Nearby:
  • Portobello Road Market
  • Hyde Park
Family Friendliness: Very family-friendly, as it’s a quiet area.
Nightlife: Some, but not much.
Best for: Shoppers.
Worst for: People who fly to/from airports like Stanstead.
Recommended Hotel: Dawson Place – BOOK NOW

Photo by Victor Guidini.

Bloomsbury and Fitzrovia

College district with many gardens. Where history, creativity, and the latest trends form a unique cultural fusion.

Major Tube Stations: Euston (Victoria, Northern)
Budget: Prices are decent, but it’s rather a more expensive than cheap district.
Attractions Nearby:
  • British Museum – Where the mummies are. One of the free museum of London.
  • UCL – One of the major colleges in London.
  • British Library
Family Friendliness: Good area, easily walkable.
Nightlife: This area has easy access to the West End where the nightlife is booming.
Best for: Visiting or prospective students, families.
Worst for: Those who expect posh area.
Recommended Hotel: Gower House Hotel – CHECK PRICE HERE

Hyde Park (Chelsea, Kensington, Knightsbridge)

This stylish central London neighborhood works hard, plays hard, and shops hard. Elegance permeates the air.

Major Tube Stations: Green Park (Jubilee, Piccadilly, Victoria), South Kensington (District, Circle, Piccadilly)
Budget: Super posh & expensive area.
Attractions Nearby:
  • Harrods – The luxurious shopping mall.
  • Victoria & Albert Museum
  • Natural History Museum
  • Kensington Palace – Where William & Kate live.
  • London Zoo
  • Winter Wonderland (during the winter)
Family Friendliness: South Kensington is great for museums and shopping, so easy for families with kids.
Nightlife: Plenty of incredible rooftop lounges, nightclubs, and bars. Incredible restaurants. However, surely not cheap.
Best for: Posh travelers and families willing to spend money.
Worst for: Backpackers and people on a budget.
Recommended hotels: The Rembrandt Hotel – CHECK PRICE NOW & San Domenico House – CHECK PRICE NOW
Museum of Natural History London

King’s Cross & Camden Town

The alternative, underground music venues, and street markets challenge the norm.

Major Tube Stations: King’s Cross St Pancras (almost all lines), Camden Town (Northern)
Budget: Well-priced.
Attractions Nearby:
Family Friendliness: Probably not the best for families. It can get slightly sketchy at nights.
Nightlife: Plenty of nightclubs, restaurants, and street performances. More bohemian than posh.
Best for: Hip travelers, or Harry Potter fans (easy access to Harry Potter Studios & platform 9 3/4).
Worst for: Families with young children.

Recommended Places to Stay:

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[su_box title=”Luxury:” style=”default” box_color=”#333333″ title_color=”#FFFFFF” radius=”3″ class=””]St Pancras Renaissance Hotel
Probably the most photogenic hotel in London. The hotel appeared in Harry Potter, Spice Girls’ music video, and many other things.

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[su_box title=”Budget:” style=”default” box_color=”#333333″ title_color=”#FFFFFF” radius=”3″ class=””]Generator London
I stayed at Generator on a few occassions and it never disappointed. Modern, clean, beds have curtains. It’s surely not a party hostel where you can’t sleep, everyone was respectful.

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East London (Shoreditch, Brick Lane)

A creative haven for artists and designers.

Major Tube Stations: Old Street (Northern), Liverpool Street (Circle, Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City) – Also accessible by Overground.
Budget: Usually affordable.
Attractions Nearby:
Family Friendliness: I’d probably not recommend it for children, due to a lot of nightlife.
Nightlife: Lots of clubs, bars, restaurants and pop up places.
Best for: Food, street markets & art lovers.
Worst for: Luxury travelers who aren’t fans of hip vintage neighborhoods and noisy nightlife.

Recommended Places to Stay:

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[su_box title=”Luxury:” style=”default” box_color=”#333333″ title_color=”#FFFFFF” radius=”3″ class=””]Ace Hotel Shoreditch
Ace is a modern hotel that’s definitely worth the money you pay for a night. The hotel bar downstairs is excellent, so you actually don’t even need to leave the hotel as many locals go there on Saturdays.

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[su_box title=”Budget:” style=”default” box_color=”#333333″ title_color=”#FFFFFF” radius=”3″ class=””]Dictionary Hostel
This hostel has a great vibe and offers hostel-sponsored bar crawls that will let you meet people in an easy way.

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Canary Wharf

Major Tube Stations: Canary Wharf (DLR, Jubilee)
Budget: Mostly expensive.
Family Friendliness: Not very suitable for children, as it’s a business area.
Nightlife: Decent during weekdays, mostly dead on weekends.
Best for: Posh business travelers.
Worst for: Young travelers wanting to experience a trendy neighborhood.
Recommended hotel: Novotel London – CHECK PRICE NOW


Timeless architecture combined with a quiet but elegant atmosphere.

Major Tube Stations: North Greenwich (Jubilee, Emirates Air Line)
Budget: Easily affordable.
Attractions Nearby:
Family Friendliness: If your kids dislike being on public transport for a long time, it might not be the best area.
Nightlife: Nothing is really going on, apart from events at O2 Arena.
Best for: People coming for an event or concert at O2 Arena.
Worst for: Travelers who want to stay somewhere central, close to major attractions.
Recommended hotel: De Vere Devonport House – BOOK HERE


Don’t even think about it, unless you’re going to London for an event hosted in Wimbledon or Royal Ascot. It’s too far from everything. The only thing that’s nearby is the Wimbledon Stadium.

Other Things to Note About London

Make sure which room are you booking at any hotel. Smaller hotels and guesthouses often have shared bathrooms, unless the room is listed as ‘en suite‘.

London might seem expensive at first, but if you drink during happy hour, look for discount codes, and use other money saving tricks, it can be affordable.

Nightlife starts and ends early in London, or anywhere in the UK really. Pubs and bars usually close at 11 PM (10 PM on Sundays) while the food is usually served until 9-9:30 PM. If you’re planning on going out leave early. Many posher nightclubs require registration online, so make sure you get on that guest list before heading to a fancy place.

Arrange your travel insurance

Don’t forget to arrange health insurance before heading to London. The easiest and the most reliable travel insurance is World Nomads Travel Insurance. Get it before your trip to avoid unnecessary troubles that might ruin your holidays!

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Where to Stay in London
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Do you have any questions about London neighborhoods? Are you thinking of staying in some areas I haven’t listed here? Let me know in the comments below!

Julie Ann Gramoll

Saturday 20th of November 2021

We are staying in a flat down the street from The Hercules and Lambeth North Station. First time visitors to London with 2 1/2 days to hit the highlights. Recommendations on the best way to get around? Walkable to Big Ben, the Eye, London Tower, Churchills meeting area, Kensington Palace, etc.? Also, best market for fish and chips.

Anna Karsten

Monday 22nd of November 2021

Tube :) You can walk to Big Ben and walk along the Thames but tube will be your friend to get around.


Wednesday 12th of February 2020

Hello Anna, I am visiting London for the 1st time on 2nd of May with my spouse and friend all in our late 20s. Our plan is to visit Stamford Bridge to watch the match that Saturday but also do some light sightseeing and enjoy the nightlife for the weekend. On Monday and Tuesday finish off the sights then off to the airport :(

Which neighborhood do you most recommend to stay? Thanks in advanced

Anna Karsten

Friday 14th of February 2020

Depends on what do you want to see. Covent Garden, Camden anywhere in Soho is always good for nightlife.

Michael Tsipursky, MD

Sunday 9th of February 2020

Hi Anna, Visiting London in March with my 11 yo son and his 11 yo friend and his dad. Was looking at Soho vs Camden vs south bank for apartment rental for a week. Covent garden seems a bit away from main attractions. Want to see sights but also want to be part of a vibrant neighborhood although with little guys will not need much night life. Suggestions? Best Mike

Anna Karsten

Sunday 9th of February 2020

What do you wan to do/see? Covent Garden is pretty central. I'd probably skip Camden with the little one and also tons of nightlife but unlike in Covent Garden it's edgier and weird. South Bank would be my preferred choice I think.


Sunday 29th of December 2019

Hi Anna,

Thank you for such a budget-friendly blog post. I'm really excited to follow all these instincts while I'm moving London the coming next week woohoo :)


Tuesday 17th of December 2019

My son is going abroad to London Metropolitan University and we will go to visit him in April. I have a 15 year old, 19 year old and me and my wife. Thought it would be easier to stay somewhere near the University but want to make sure it is safe and a good place to stay. What are your thoughts? Love the idea of Kensington or Notting Hill but not sure how far away that is? If around the school is not good what are good places to stay at a reasonable distance?

Anna Karsten

Tuesday 17th of December 2019

Are you just going to visit him, or do you want to enjoy sightseeing too? The area near London Met is fine, but there's nothing to do there. I'd probably say stay elsewhere for sightseeing :)

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