London; the most beautiful city in the United Kingdom… Second only to Paris in Europe for attracting tourists, London offers a rich portfolio of thousands of hotels to suit any budget. But if you are not careful, accommodation in London can get vey pricy quickly so it is advisable to do your research ahead of time. If London is your next destination for your upcoming trip, this article, Where to Stay in London is just what you need.
I have prepared this detailed guide Where to Stay in London, focusing on the main regions and recommended hotels, starting with the city center all the while keeping an eye on cost. After reading this guide, I am confident that you will make the right decision about where to stay in London.
Where to Stay in London – 10 Best Neighbourhoods
With opulent palaces, rich museums, cultural centers and diverse cuisine, London undoubtedly is a leading culture capital in the world.
Unlike other European cities, where regions can be easily and distinctly identified, London presents a challenge due to its size and multitude of regions and centers. Browsing many other London Guides, one will notice differences in presentation and even titles of many regions.
But don’t let that bother you. In my article Where to Stay in London, I have tried to simplify these challenges and present them clearly to help you decide.
There are 10 main regions for Where to Stay in London. These are:
- Covent Garden region at city center and close to sightseeing,
- Westminster region where historical buildings are confined to its borders,
- Mayfair & Oxford Street region for avid shoppers
- Waterloo & South Bankside region, next to the river, ideal for families
- City of London region for business travelers at the financial center,
- Soho region for those seeking a vibrant nightlife,
- Bloomsbury region for training and education,
- Kensington region, west of the center, home to important museums,
- Paddigton and Bayswater region for convenience of transportation to/from the airport,
- King’s Cross and St. Pancras region for those on a shoestring budget.
From a sightseeing point of view, all these regions will delight you with their individual offerings. Each of these regions will have plusses and minuses stemming from their unique characteristics and locations. Below, you will find a candid discussion in detail:
1. Covent Garden
Covent Garden region, right at city center, tops my list of recommendations for where to stay in London. This region is particularly recommended for first time travelers to London, due to its central location and proximity to “must see sites” and delightful restaurants.
Covent Garden is walking distance from many of the sites listed in Things to Do in London and offers ample shopping opportunities. London’s historic and popular covered market Covent Garden Market is right here.
Additionally, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Street, all known for a heart-throbbing shopping experience are all within walking distance.
In short, Covent Garden, with its central location, easy public transportation, shopping and abundant restaurants makes the top of the list for where to stay in London, not to mention its beauty and safety.
The best hotels in in Covent Garden:
4★ Radisson Blu Edwardian, Mercer Street: Booking.com rating 9,0. 10-minutes walking distance from Soho and Trafalgar Square, this is a property known for fashionable rooms and overall quality. For information and reservations click here.
4★ Fielding Hotel: Booking.com rating 8,5. A popular 19th Century establishment within 5-minutes walking distance to Covent Garden Market. For information and reservations click here.
5★ St Martins Lane: Booking.com rating 8,9. Ideal for the most discerning traveler lookingfor luxury in a central location for where to stay in London. For information and reservations click here.
For those of you who are looking to be close to historic sites and main tourist attractions, where to stay in London has one answer: Westminster region.
Westminster is particularly recommended for families as an ideal location for sightseeing London’s most iconic sites such as Big Ben (Westminster Palace), Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and National Gallery.
London Eye and other important sites are easily accessible by foot or public transportation. Due to its popularity, Westminster is not the most economical area for hotel accommodation however there is something to be said about the advantage and charm of stepping into London’s history as you leave your hotel.
The best hotels in Westminster:
3★ Comfort Inn Buckingham Palace Road: Booking.com rating 8,1. One of the most popular hotels for where to stay in London with over 5000 customer reviews. Victoria Station, right next to the hotel, makes getting to the Oxford Street on the metro a breeze. For information and reservations click here.
4★ St. James’ Court, A Taj Hotel: Booking.com rating 8,8. A short walk to Buckingham Palace, this hotel offers a luxury spa and multiple restaurants. For information and reservations click here.
5★ Conrad London St James: Booking.com rating 9,0. Ideal for the most discerning traveler looking for luxury and proximity to Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. For information and reservations click here.
3. Mayfair & Oxford Street
North of historic Westminster region lies Mayfair and Oxford Street, known for its opulence and bustling shopping scene – quite possibly the best in London. Mayfair & Oxford Street is another important area to seriously consider for where to stay in London.
Mayfair is a large area, housing the wealthiest of the world in luxury residences, catering to the needs of the most finicky residents and travelers in its posh hotels and designer boutiques.
With skyrocketing property prices, one of the highest in the world, Mayfair, Oxford Street and a short walk away, Regent Street are sure to please every shopping lover in a wide variety of shopping malls and exclusive boutiques.
Savile Row in Mayfair is known worldwide for made-to-measure tailors and unique boutiques. If you have decided on Mayfair & Oxford Street Region for where to stay in London, every other site is easily accessible either by foot or public transportation.
The best hotels in Mayfair & Oxford Street:
4★ Amba Hotel Marble Arch: Booking.com rating 8,9. West of Oxford Street, this hotel is a popular establishment 2 minutes walking distance from Hyde Park. For information and reservations click here.
4★ Radisson Blu Edwardian, Berkshire: Booking.com rating 8,2. For those looking for a central location close to shopping district for where to stay in London, this hotel is an ideal choice, across from Bond Street metro station. For information and reservations click here.
5★ The Montcalm Marble Arch: Booking.com rating 8,9. 5 minutes walking distance to Marble Arch metro station, this a high-quality property. For information and reservations click here.
4. Waterloo & South Bank Bankside
South of River Thames, Waterloo & South Bank Bankside is where I stayed during my last trip to London.
Compared to the previous 3 regions described in Where to Stay in London article, Waterloo & South Bank Bankside is less central however ideal for those who would like to visit London Eye, Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe and The Shard.
Should you choose this region for your trip, I recommend that you look for a hotel close to London Eye in Waterloo. For families traveling with children, this area promises lots of things like the London Aquarium, the London Dungeon and London Eye.
I stayed at the 3-star Premier Inn London County Hall hotel during my visit and thoroughly enjoyed it. The best thing about this hotel is its location, directly behind London Eye and a few minutes walking distance to Big Ben. If you would like to find out more about the hotel click here. (I will provide more details further down the article.)
The disadvantages of this region are its distance from the city center and relatively high cost of accommodation in some hotels. I, however, enjoyed staying in this region. I walked a lot to explore the city and frequently used busses and metro on hop on hop off locations and various metro stations. I found the transportation to be easy and hassle-free.
The best hotels in Waterloo and South Bank Bankside:
3★ Premier Inn London Waterloo: Booking.com rating 8,5. A popular property located within a 2-minute walking distance to London Eye and Waterloo train and metro stations. For information and reservations click here.
4★ Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London: Booking.com rating 8,7. One of the most popular hotels in London, across from the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. For information and reservations click here.
5★ London Marriott Hotel County Hall: Booking.com rating 8,5. For those looking for a popular and superior hotel accommodation for where to stay in London, this is an ideal choice with views of Big Ben and River Thames. For information and reservations click here.
5. City of London – London Central
City of London, better known as the Business and Financial District of London, is situated east of the city center between the Tower Bridge and London Bridge. Business travelers to London should consider the City of London Region for where to stay in London.
Here you can find, London Bridge, Tower of London and St. Paul Cathedral, amidst the intertwined modern and classic buildings.
City of London, compared to the previous regions discussed in where to stay in London, is some what far from the city center. But for those travelers who want to mix business with pleasure, the region is recommended, particularly with a fair priced hotel as it is possible to enjoy the aters, bars, a few museums and shopping opportunities in the neighborhood.
The best hotels in City of London:
3★ Premier Inn London Blackfriars: Booking.com rating 8,5. This is a nice property just 1000 ft from the Blackfriars metro station and within a short walk to St. Paul’s Cathedral. For information and reservations click here.
4★ DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel London: Booking.com rating 8,6. One of the most popular properties in London, just 5-minutes walking distance from Tower of London and Tower Bridge. For information and reservations click here.
5★ Grange St Paul’s Hotel: Booking.com rating 8,5. A luxury property located in City of London next to St. Paul’s Cathedral. For information and reservations click here.
Where to stay in London? For nightcrawlers looking for a vibrant night scene, there is only one spot: Soho.
Soho has a lot to offer its visitors, from popular bistros, traditional entertainment venues to mom and pop establishments and many small shops and quaint boutiques.
Something to keep in mind while considering Soho region for where to stay in London is that, in addition to world famous English pubs and night clubs, Soho also has several bars for LGBT community amid sex shops. With that said, it may be more suitable for young visitors vs. conservative families.
Soho is surrounded by Covent Garden, Westminster and Mayfair regions, making it very easy to access various sightseeing spots in London.
The best hotels in Soho:
3★ Premier Inn London Leicester Square: Booking.com rating 8,5. A popular hotel within a short walking distance to Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden and National Portrait Gallery. For information and reservations click here.
4★ The Nadler Soho: Booking.com rating 8,9. A 4-star modern hotel which is located with in 2 minutes walking distance to Oxford Street. For information and reservations click here.
5★ The Piccadilly London West End: Booking.com rating 8,9. One of the best locations in London, just 300 yds. away from Leicester Square. For information and reservations click here.
Above Soho region, north of the city center lies Bloomsbury, particularly suitable for families who enjoy a charming neighborhood with well-organized streets and centers alongside green spaces. With its many training centers and educational institutions, Bloomsbury is also suitable for students who are London bound.
North of West End, Bloomsbury has many attractions of its own, British Museum being the most significant. Additionally, this region is home to bustling Russell Square, Bloomsbury Square and Brunswick Shopping Centre.
Bloomsbury is an ideal location for those budget travelers who are looking to be close to the center. Compared to West End, Bloomsbury Region offers lower rates for accommodation making it a serious contender in your list of where to stay in London.
The best hotels in Bloomsbury:
3★ Thanet Hotel: Booking.com rating 8,2. A 3-star property 200 yds away from British Museum and less than a quarter of amile to the Dominion Theatre. For information and reservations click here.
4★ Radisson Blu Edwardian: Booking.com rating 8,6. A popular property 100 yds to the British Museum and within a short walk to Covent Garden and Soho. For information and reservations click here.
5★ The Principal London: Booking.com rating 9,2. East of Russel Square, in a vibrant but less touristy area of London. For luxury seekers who also want some privacy for where to stay in London. For information and reservations click here.
Settled west of London city center, Kensington Region is the most popular region in the city. World famous restaurants, museums and designer boutiques make Kensington a sought-after location for the rich and famous. Important museums such as Natural History Museum and Albert Museum can also be found in Kensington Region.
Kensington Gardens and Hyde Gardens are both within the confines of Kensington Region and offer unique tranquility in the middle of a big city.
Naturally, accommodation costs are higher in Kensington Region and a detailed research is useful if you would like to choose this French influenced opulent region for where to stay in London.
The best hotels in Kensington:
3★ The Montana Hotel: Booking.com rating 8,0. A small, well-kept property, centrally located, close to Hyde Park and Royal Albert Hall might be a good choice for those looking for the same for where to stay in London. For information and reservations click here.
4★ Holiday Inn London Kensington High St.: Booking.com rating 8,0. Preferred by a younger crowd, this is a popular property within 10 minutes walking distance to Hyde Park. For information and reservations click here.
5★ The Bailey’s Hotel London: Booking.com rating 8,7. An elegant 19th century home converted to a hotel within 50 yds of Gloucester Road metro station. For information and reservations click here.
9. Bayswater & Paddington
Albeit less known compared to other regions of London, I wanted to include Bayswater& Paddington region, north of Hyde Park, for your consideration for where to stay in London.
Bayswater is popular with students and other visitors who are on a tight budget. There is not a nightlife to speak of.
Paddington, like its neighbor Bayswater, is a relatively quiet region. However, it is a viable choice for those looking for a safe and secure neighborhood that is affordable and within walking distance of Marble Arch and Oxford Street.
Possibly the biggest advantage of this region is its accessibility to Heathrow Airport by Heathrow Express. Paddington Station is the last stop for Heathrow Express making the region attractive to those who want a hassle-free ride upon arrival and departure from Heathrow airport.
The best hotels in Bayswater& Paddington:
3★ Best Western Plus Delmere Hotel: Booking.com rating 8,7. A 3-star budget property within 5-minutes walking distance to Paddington Station and Heathrow Express. For information and reservations click here.
4★ Hilton London Paddington: Booking.com rating 8,1. Within a 10-minute walking distance to both Hyde Park and Kensington Palace, this property offers charming Art Deco style rooms and a full gym. For information and reservations click here.
5★ Royal Lancaster London: Booking.com rating 8,7. An attractive property located 5- minutes walking distance from Paddington metro station and 15 minutes from Oxford Street shopping. For information and reservations click here.
10. King’s Cross & St Pancras
Looking at the map of where to stay in London at the beginning of this article, you may have noticed a “missing” region, not shown within the map boundaries. That is King’s Cross & St. Pancras Region in the outskirts of the city. I am including this region for consideration due to its affordability and easy access.
On the plus side, this region is home to King’s Cross Train Station, one of the most famous in London, located north of the city center.
St. Pancras is right next to the train station. For those travelers who want to do London on a shoestring, this region is ideal. It also provides quick train transfers to Paris and other European cities. On the down side, staying here means you are far from popular tourist sites and attractions. While walking to the sites is not possible from King’s Cross & Pancras Region hotels, other forms of public transportation are easy to use, such as the London metro.
In short, if you considering price and quality for where to stay in London, and don’t mind public transportation, consider a hotel close to metro and/or train stations in King’s Cross & Pancras Region.
The best hotels in King’s Cross & St. Pancras:
3★ Premier Inn London St. Pancras: Booking.com rating 8,8. A popular budget hotel within 5-minutes walking distance to King’s Cross Train Station. For information and reservations click here.
4★ Pullman London St Pancras: Booking.com rating 8,9. A recommended property located close to train and metro stations, for those looking for quality and affordability for where to stay in London. For information and reservations click here.
5★ St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel : Booking.com rating 8,7. A popular, modern and high-quality property offering direct access to Eurostar and London metro. For information and reservations click here.
My Personal Recommendation: 3★ Premier Inn London Country Hall
In addition to providing you with various regions and recommended hotels in each region for where to stay in London, I want to also mention my own personal favorite. A first hand account of where I stayed in London during my last trip.
My choice for where to stay in London was the 3-star Premier Inn London County Hall in Waterloo Region, located south of the Thames River, directly behind the iconic London Eye.
This property stands out with its great location. London Eye, London Aquarium, The London Dungeon sites, all very popular with families travelling with children are within just minutes of walking distance from the hotel.
Big Ben, the undisputed symbol of the city of London, is 5 minutes away. I don’t know about you, but I was thrilled to see Big Ben every minute of every day, reminding me of my presence in this magnificent city. Relaxing on a bench by the river looking at Big Ben at the end of a long day for me, was a most rewarding experience.
I am confident that getting around in the city will not present a challenge if you choose this hotel. Many important sites are within walking distance. If you are not an avid walker, two metro stations are close by. You can also take the world-famous double decker public buses.
London’s hugely popular hop on hop off buses which regularly stop near tourist attractions throughout the city do have a stop nearby the hotel.
Now to the most important issue of cost. I paid Euro 170 for a double room per night including breakfast. No question that this price for a 3-star hotel may raise some eyebrows in other parts of the world. However, as seen in my article where to stay in London, Euro 170 per night (with no minimum number of nights requirement), represents good value, particularly for what you get at this specific property.
In short, I was very happy with my choice of accommodation from a value for money perspective. For information and reservations click here.
Getting Around in the City – London
London is a big city. As previously mentioned in where to stay in London, there is not a clearly defined single city center like other European capitals. Each region discussed in this article has its own unique character and vibe.
In order to make the most of your London visit, and save time, it is important to learn about the best way to get to and around the city. For this reason, I decided to include a section on getting around in the city of London in my article.
But first; let’s talk about airport to city transportation. Discussed in detail in my London Airport to the City Guide, there are several options such as Heathrow Express fast train, metro, taxis and shuttle services.
Metro stations are conveniently located all over the city. It is important to point out that if you plan on using the Heathrow Express, you need to be prepared to change from train to metro at its last stop, Paddington Station. If you do not wish to make this change, you may consider a hotel near Paddington Station or choose an alternative to Heathrow Express to get to the city.
Once in the city, you will notice that many important sites and tourist attractions are scattered all over this big metropolis, making it imperative for you to use public transportation at one point during your visit.
Covent Garden, Soho, Westminster, Mayfair Regions are the most convenient in terms of sightseeing on foot.
Using the London metro to access the sites that are not within walking distance is both inexpensive and efficient. Double decker public buses are fun to ride and give you a full visual tour of the city while getting you to your next destination.
Additionally, hop on hop off buses are highly recommended. These operate on routes that are designed for tourists so sightseeing amongst London’s most popular tourist attractions is made easy.
When compared to other European capitals, taxis, Uber, and even public transportation in London is expensive. So, if you are planning on getting around the city frequently, I would strongly recommend looking into Oyster Card and London Pass.
London Hotel Rates & Reservation Channels
Another important feature of my article where to stay in London is hotel rates and reservation channels.
I wish I could unequivocally tell you that accommodation rates are reasonable in this beautiful city. Unfortunately, to find reasonable rates that won’t put a dent in your budget, takes a lot of research and opportunity hunting.
Expect to pay Euro 150-170 per room per night in the city for a 3-star property. Prices can easily go up to Euro 250. (% 20 VAT included)
If hotel rates are quoted on room only basis, expect to pay Euro 10-40 per person for breakfast.
But don’t let that scare you; London, with thousands of available hotels for every budget, lends itself to opportunity hunting, by advance booking and a good booking channel.
Once you have decided on where to stay in London, you can make your reservation through the hotel’s website or use a booking channel.
My choice for a booking channel is Booking.com. I like Booking.com for its security and no service fee policy. While there is a prepayment option on this site, where you can pay all your hotel stay on the site at the time of reservation, you may also pay directly to the hotel at the time of arrival. Free reservation change and cancellation options (where applicable) are offered at the site.
- For London hotels on Booking.com click here.
In Short, Where to Stay in London?
In short, London offers a wide variety of options when it comes to where to stay in London. Every part of London has its own unique character and a rich selection of Things to Do in London.
For travelers who insist on being right in the city center, Covent Garden is recommended. If history is your passion, choose Westminster. For shopping enthusiasts, Mayfair, for business travelers City of London seem logical choices. Choose Waterloo if you like the tranquility of the Thames River, and of course Soho will not disappoint those looking for a vibrant nightlife. Finally, if you are on a small budget, look at King’s Cross and St. Pancras region.
As for my personal favorite hotel, I definitely recommed Premier Inn London County Hall, a 3-star property where I stayed during my last trip to London. For my next trip, I will surely look at this property for current rates.
Covent Garden’s 4-star Radisson Blu Edwardian, Westminster’s St. James’ Court, A Taj Hotel and Amba Hotel Marble Arch near Oxford Street definitely stand out with their locations, amenities and quality.
Throughout my article Where to Stay in London, I have tried to describe in detail different regions and recommended hotels in each region paying close attention to advantages and disadvantages of each location for your consideration.
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