London is a huge place with a large number of areas and districts so diverse that you wouldn’t believe you’re still in the same city. Working out where to stay in London can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve never visited the capital before.
So to help you out, I’ve created a guide to best areas of London to stay in. Within each area, I’ve also included some information about the neighbourhood, a few hidden gems, its transport links, as well as recommendations for the best hostels and hotels suitable for all budgets.
Where to Stay in London by Area
I’ve split this London accommodation guide into three main areas – Central London, West London and East London – then within these, I’ve broken them up once again by individual neighbourhoods.
Where to stay in Central London:
Central London – Soho
Soho is one of the capital’s most popular neighbourhoods and certainly one of the most exciting places to stay in London to be right in the heart of everything.
Located in London’s West End, Soho has a large concentration of boutique shops, cool cafes, international restaurants, and busy bars and clubs. Not only is there a buzzing nightlife scene, but the area is also the heart of London’s LGBTQ+ community, meaning there are plenty of colourful gay bars and clubs hidden within the maze of narrow streets too.
Within Soho, you’ll also find many West End theatres, making Soho one of the best areas to stay in London for those who don’t want a long journey back after a night at the theatre.
HIDDEN GEM: The many restaurants of beautiful Kingly Court just off from better-known Carnaby Street.
TRANSPORT LINKS: Soho has excellent transport links for all parts of London, with Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road, Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square just a few minutes walk away.
MID-RANGE: The Resident Soho
LUXURY: The Soho Hotel
Central London – Victoria
Victoria is one of the best areas of London to stay in if you want to be close to many of the city’s most iconic tourist attractions.
Located in the borough of Westminster, you have the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, the London Eye and Buckingham Palace all within a short walking distance.
There’s also plenty to do in Victoria itself, such as catching Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre or grabbing a bite to eat at one of the many eateries at Nova Food.
HIDDEN GEM: Pretty Australian cafe and popular brunch spot Timmy Green.
TRANSPORT LINKS: Victoria train station and Victoria coach station provide many convenient links in and out of the capital to different parts of the UK, including direct trains and coaches to several of London’s airports as well as direct transport to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour for Harry Potter fans. Victoria Underground sits on the Victoria Line and District Line so can easily transport you to other parts of the capital.
BUDGET: Astor Victoria Hostel
MID-RANGE: The Belgrave Hotel
LUXURY: Rubens At The Palace
Central London – Fitzrovia
Fitzrovia is a diverse residential area located on the Western edge of Tottenham Court Road, the high street which leads off from better known Oxford Street.
Fitzrovia is also home to the offices of many of London’s creative agencies in industries such as advertising, TV production and architecture, with a great restaurant and pub offering centred around lively Charlotte Street.
The BT Tower is Fitzrovia’s most iconic landmark, while Regents Park (home to London Zoo) is a short walking distance to the North and Oxford Street, the West End and Soho are all walking distance to the South
TRANSPORT LINKS: Fitzrovia is surrounded by several underground stations, including Tottenham Court Road (at the end of Oxford Street), Goodge Street and Warren Street, while Great Portland Street and Euston Square sit on its Northern corners. Fitzrovia is also walkable to large overground transport hubs Euston (10 minute walk) and Kings Cross St Pancras (20 minute walk) which are great for travelling in and out of London.
BUDGET: YHA London Central
MID-RANGE: Holiday Inn Regents Park
LUXURY: Charlotte Street Hotel
Central London – Bloomsbury
Fitzrovia’s neighbour Bloomsbury is sat on the opposite side of Tottenham Court Road.
Not only is Bloomsbury known for its fashionable residential area and pretty green squares, but it is also home to many of London’s top cultural, intellectual, and educational institutions.
The visually pleasing district is home to the British Museum, the largest museum in the UK, London Universities such as University College London, SOAS and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and the famed Bloomsbury publishing house.
TRANSPORT LINKS: Bloomsbury’s main underground station is Russel Square on the Picadilly Line, just a couple of stops away from London’s West End. Tottenham Court Road, Holborn and Euston Square also line the boundaries of the district. Just like Fitzrovia, Bloomsbury is within a short walking distance of main transport hubs Euston and Kings Cross St Pancras.
BUDGET: Generator Hostel London
MID-RANGE: Staunton Hotel B&B
LUXURY: The Bloomsbury Hotel
Where to stay in West London:
West London – Earls Court
Located just on the edge of the beautiful neighbourhood of Kensington, Earls Court is an affordable option for staying in one of central London’s most affluent areas.
Just a short distance from the popular High Street Kensington and the large museums of South Kensington, Earls Court is far enough removed from the busier areas that it has a local and authentic feel, but still on the edge of Zone 1 and close to most of the things you’ll want to see and do in London.
HIDDEN GEM: Evans and Peel Detective Agency, Earls Court’s secret speakeasy.
TRANSPORT LINKS: Earls Court Station is one of London’s main interchange hubs, with the District Line, Circle Line, Hammersmith and City Line and Picadilly Line all meeting here. This makes Earls Court one of the best places to stay in London for convenient access to numerous different areas of the city.
EARLS COURT HOTELS:
BUDGET: Saint James Backpackers Hostel
MID-RANGE: K&K Hotel George
LUXURY: The Bentley Hotel
West London – Notting Hill
Made famous by the film of the same name, Notting Hill is conveniently located on the North-West corner of Kensington Gardens, so you’ll be nice and close to Kensington Palace for a bit of royalty spotting.
There are plenty of great things to do in Notting Hill, but the area is probably best known for its pretty rows of colourful houses and the charming Portobello Road antiques market.
HIDDEN GEM: Electric Cinema Portobello Road, one of the oldest working cinemas in Britain.
TRANSPORT LINKS: Sitting on the Central Line, Notting Hill Gate underground provides quick and easy access for those wanting to make the most of London’s impressive shopping scene, with Westfield Shepherds Bush just a couple of stops westbound and well-known Oxford Street a few stops eastbound.
NOTTING HILL HOTELS:
BUDGET: Hostel One Notting Hill
MID-RANGE: Kensington Court Notting Hill
LUXURY: The Laslett
Where to stay in East London:
East London – Shoreditch
Shoreditch is one of London’s coolest and most alternative neighbourhoods and is particularly popular with the young creative crowd.
There are plenty of independent shops and cafes, hip late-night bars, busy nightclubs and loads of colourful graffiti murals perfect for those all-important Insta-photoshoots.
Brick Lane is the place to go for the capitals best curry houses, Old Spitalfields Market is great for quirky crafts and fashion, while Colombia Road Flower Market is a popular weekend spot with locals and tourists alike.
HIDDEN GEM: Pizza and Prosecco Brunch at Bounce Ping Pong, Old Street.
TRANSPORT LINKS: Shoreditch spans across a fairly large area of East London, with a few different transport options. Old Street on the Northern Line is on one side of Shoreditch, while major Overground and Underground station Liverpool Street sits on the southern edge and is more convenient for heading into the city centre via the Central Line or Circle Line, as well as for jumping on the train to other areas of the UK.
BUDGET: The Dictionary Hostel Shoreditch
MID-RANGE: CitizenM Shoreditch
LUXURY: The Curtain
East London – St Pauls
St Pauls is the district on the top of Ludgate Hill surrounding Sir Christopher Wren’s iconic 300+ year old St Pauls Cathedral.
The Cathedral itself is one of London’s most popular tourist attractions, so this area can get particularly busy with tourists. However, stray off of the beaten path and St Pauls is a maze of old narrow streets (it’s one of the oldest parts of the city) with plenty of hidden gems such as quaint British pubs and independent shops.
St Pauls also has a rich literary heritage, with many famous authors such as Charles Dickens and Dr Johnson living and working around the area, making it one of the best places to stay in London for history buffs.
HIDDEN GEM: Madison Rooftop Bar with amazing views over St Pauls Cathedral.
TRANSPORT LINKS: St Pauls Underground station is on the Central Line. Jump on the tube Westbound to Tottenham Court Road or Oxford Street stations for an easy interchange to most of London’s other main attractions.
ST PAULS HOTELS:
BUDGET: YHA St Pauls Hostel
MID-RANGE: Club Quarters Hotel St Pauls
LUXURY: The Ned
(South) East London – Greenwich
Greenwich is where to stay in London if you’ve got a longer period of time to explore the capital or if you’re travelling with young children and need a little more space away from the faster-paced parts of town.
The area is set on the bank of the River Thames and is known for its maritime history, with popular attractions such as the National Maritime Museum, the Cutty Sark and the Old Royal Naval College. Greenwich Park is a large and peaceful green space and has fantastic views out across the city from the Royal Observatory at the top.
North Greenwich is also home to London’ top music venue, the O2 Arena. Most people visiting London will spend at least a day exploring everything Greenwich has to offer, but it is also one of the best areas of London to stay for those who prefer a more relaxed pace of life.
HIDDEN GEM: Greenwich Market, one of London’s lesser-known markets.
TRANSPORT LINKS: Ease of transport is one of Greenwich’s only downfalls as an area. Down in South East London, south of the River Thames and East of the City of London, Greenwich is accessible by DLR and takes around 30-40 minutes to get to many of the central attractions. Alternatively, you can get the Thames River Service (boat) direct from Greenwich Pier to Westminster Pier which is a really fun and alternative way of travelling in the capital.
BUDGET: St Christophers Inn Greenwich
MID-RANGE: Innkeepers Lodge London Greenwich
LUXURY: InterContinental London – The O2
I hope this post has helped you decide where to stay in London or has at least shown you the best areas of London to stay in. Please let me know if you have any further questions in the comments below or drop me an email at emily[at]londoncitycalling[dot]com.
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