As you'll discover upon making a poor decision, choosing the where to stay in London can make or break a vacation to the British capital. Choose unwisely, and you'll struggle to see all the things you want to see. You might miss out on great views and be far away from the best restaurants, theaters, and bars, limiting your nightlife opportunities. We don't want that to happen to you, so here's a primer about where to stay in London, helping everyone who travels to get the most out of their stay.
A Quick Summary of Some Hot Neighborhoods for Visitors to London
In the east, Hackney and Whitechapel are major nightlife and art spots, with vintage clothing stores dotted around and great restaurants. Western areas like Notting Hill have some excellent markets and upscale eateries, while northern suburbs like Highgate mix history with attractions like London Zoo, and proximity to the nightlife of Camden. Down south, Clapham is a popular upscale area, Brixton is edgier, but full of culture and great food, and Peckham and Bermondsey are craft beer hubs.
Picking Where to Stay in London the First Time You Visit
The obvious candidates for travelers who are new to London are areas north of the river, and close to the center. Mayfair and Park Lane are wealthy, safe, central areas that mix up restaurants and shopping. Somewhere like the Leonard Hotel or 44 Curzon Street would do just fine. You can even walk to Buckingham Palace, and Hyde Park is just around the corner as well.
Islington and Camden are fine as well, with great access to the center via subway and buses. And they are better for younger visitors who need to be close to the city's nightlife. In this case, check out options like the Pullman Hotel in St. Pancras, which is ideally situated for transport links and has a popular on-site theater. Also, somewhere in Holborn like Mercure Bloomsbuy or Ibis Blackfriars might make sense.
Ideas to Make Sightseeing Easy
However, if the Tate Modern, Borough Market and the South Bank are going to be high on the list, you may want to cast your eye south of the Thames to Southwark, where hotels like the Novotel London City South provide convenient locations to explore the capital's most exciting cultural district. If Westminster, Buckingham Palace, the Natural History Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Tate Britain are all on your list, then it makes sense to think about where to stay in London's western neighborhoods. A handy suggestion could be Kensington's Ibis Styles London, but there are plenty of options in the West End as well.
Choosing the Perfect Spot for a Weekend Escape
If these activities rank high on the agenda, the question of where to stay in London isn't too complicated, and a number of options stand out immediately. If you want great food and great art, Borough and Southwark are ideal, and our Ibis Blackfriars is just accross the river. You can pop into the Tate Modern, try the dining venues in Borough Market, and get great views of Tower Bridge.
Shoreditch is another great candidate. If you're there for a weekend trip, it has everything you could need. There are packed bars with master mixers conjuring up exotic cocktails and craft beers by the barrelful, as well as up-and-coming chefs, and the sheer delight of Columbia Road flower market. And with hotels like the Courthouse Hotel, the accommodation options aren't too shabby either.
Where to Stay When You Want to Absorb Some Local Culture
Hackney is another great option for trips where you want to experience everyday London but be close to the center. You'll find hotels in the south of the borough that are near to the jam-packed bars of Dalston, the nightclubs of Shoreditch, and an area that in general hums with life and excitement. If you're wondering where to stay in London that has more than just sights to see, Hackney should be right up there.
Explore London's Neighborhoods When Planning Longer Breaks
Over in West London, Ealing is another appealing candidate for where to stay in London. It's far enough out to have an identity of its own, it's convenient for Heathrow Airport, and not far from the West End. You can also get to Windsor really easily, so it's great for royal watchers. On the accommodation front, options like the new Ibis London Ealing (opening february 2018) make it a very attractive suburban option.
Advice for Couples Planning a Trip to London
Equally, couples probably don't need to be in the most hectic nightlife areas like Shoreditch or Vauxhall, or areas that are right next to the main historic attractions like Westminster. Instead, choose areas that are more tucked away, a little bit quieter, but still full of places to eat, drink, and enjoy some culture.
A great idea for where to stay in London for couples is Holland Park. In the west of London, it's not too far out to make getting into town difficult, and it's close to venues like the Royal Albert Hall. There are great pubs and restaurants in Kensington and Notting Hill, and Harrods is right next door too. And with cosy hotels like 88 Studio in the area, you don't have to look much further when picking where to stay in London.
Where to Stay if You're Touring the City's Galleries
Fortunately, the biggest galleries are almost all located in central London. The Tate Modern is on the South Bank, the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery are on Trafalgar Square, while the Tate Britain is in Pimlico and the Courtauld is in Somerset House on the Strand. So hotels in Westminster or the West End will be perfect to catch all these attractions. However, don't discount Islington, which is home to the Esoterick Collection of Italian art, or Whitechapel, which has one of the most dynamic modern art galleries in the city. But if you stay central and master the Tube and buses, all of these smaller galleries are easily within reach.
What About London's Sports Venues? Lodging Ideas for EPL or Tennis lovers
If you plan to make a sporting occasion the centerpiece of your trip, you might want to focus your thinking about where to stay in London on the venue in question. For example, the Ibis London Hounslow isn't too far from Twickenham. However, if you're blending central London sightseeing with a football match, being close to Waterloo Station could be a better option, as trains run from there to the stadium. As far as EPL games are concerned, the Ibis Earl's Court is well situated for Chelsea matches, and anywhere near King’s Cross St. Pancras station will do just fine for Arsenal games. Just be prepared for a short Tube ride to the stadium with plenty of rowdy fellow fans in the train car with you.
Where to Stay When Green Space is Essential for you
The most famous of all is Hyde Park, with its horse riding paths, the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain, the Albert Memorial, and Marble Arch. The area is also home to some of London's plushest hotels, such as the Leonard Hotel, or the Byron. Further north, Regents Park contains London Zoo and is close to attractions like Madame Tussauds, as well as excellent hotels like the Blandford.
Then there's Hampstead Heath. One of the world's greatest city parks, it's a huge green expanse, with stunning views across London from Parliament Hill, swimming ponds, and open-air concerts at Kenwood House. If you need some outdoor space and are wondering where to stay in London, somewhere close to the Heath like the Haverstock will be ideal. With one of the largest collections of plants in the world, Kew Gardens is an option for the more botanically minded, and only a short walk from our relaxing Brentford Novotel.
You Could Even Stay Just Outside London and Travel Into Town
Reading is a great example. It's only 35-45 minutes from Westminster by train, and really convenient for arrivals at Heathrow. The city has some great restaurants and nightlife, and it's near Windsor Castle and Legoland Windsor. You can even get to Stonehenge without too many problems.
Up in Hertfordshire, just north of London, St. Albans is just as appealing. This Roman town has some amazing mosaics and baths to explore, a gorgeous cathedral, and some irresistible pubs. So don't restrict your search for where to stay in London. Be creative. Sure, going too far out could be a mistake, but if you're on the main train routes into town and you pick the right city, out of town hotels can be very rewarding, and can even save some money.
Choose the Ideal Hotel in the Perfect Neighborhood
Much depends on how long travelers intend to stay, and what they want to do during their time in London, so it's all a matter of context. But, from romantic couples to weekenders and sports fans, there are always some sensible options regarding where to stay in London. It's just a matter of finding them.