6 Safest areas to stay in London for tourists (and Where to avoid)

Wondering What are the safest areas in London to stay? Where to avoid staying in London? In this post, I will help you to find the safest areas and neighborhoods to stay in London for tourists and the best hotels to stay in London.

London is the capital city of England and the United Kingdom. It is one of the most iconic and vibrant cities in the world, known for its rich history, cultural diversity, and numerous landmarks.  

London is home to numerous iconic landmarks, including the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament (which includes the famous Big Ben clock tower), the London Eye, and the British Museum, among others.

The River Thames flows through the heart of the city, and its presence has played a crucial role in London’s development and identity.

The city is a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities, with a diverse population from all over the world. This diversity is reflected in its cuisine, festivals, and neighborhoods.

London has an extensive public transportation system, including the iconic red double-decker buses, the London Underground (the Tube), and commuter trains, making it relatively easy to navigate around the city.

Football (soccer) is a major sport in London, with several prominent football clubs, such as Arsenal, Chelsea, and Tottenham Hotspur, based in the city.

Is London Safe to Visit?

London is generally a safe city for tourists to visit. But, like any major city, it is essential to take some precautions to avoid pickpocketing and tourist scams.  

Here are some safety tips for travelers in London:

  • London has many safe neighborhoods, but like any city, some areas may have higher crime rates. Research the areas you plan to visit and stay in well-known, tourist-friendly areas.
  • Stay vigilant and aware of your belongings, especially in crowded public transport and tourist attractions. Keep your bags and valuables secure.
  • If you need transportation, use licensed taxis or reputable ride-sharing services to ensure your safety.
  • Familiarize yourself with the emergency numbers, including the police (dial 999 in UK).
  • Be cautious of scams targeting tourists, such as fake ticket vendors, distraction theft, or unsolicited offers.
  • Traveling in a group, especially at night, can add an extra layer of security.
  • In London, traffic can be heavy. Always look both ways before crossing the street and use designated pedestrian crossings.
  • Familiarize yourself with local laws and customs to avoid any unintentional offenses.

What are the safest areas in London to stay?

The safest areas to stay in London for tourists are Mayfair, Knightsbridge, Belgravia, South Kensington, Chelsea, and Covent Garden. Regardless of where you stay, it’s essential to use common sense, keep your belongings secure, and avoid poorly-lit areas at night as you would in any major city. 

Other safe residential neighborhoods in London are Richmond, Bermondsey, Highbury, and Hampstead. Richmond is  considered one of the safest areas in London. It is a leafy suburb, located in southwest London, known for its picturesque Richmond Park. 

Westminster is generally considered a safe area. It is a great base for sightseeing as it is home to many iconic landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, and Westminster Abbey, and it attracts millions of tourists every year.

Westminster is also a major political and administrative center, which means there is a significant presence of police and security forces. As a result, the area is typically well-patrolled, and the crime rate is generally lower than in some other parts of London.

However, like any major city, tourist-heavy areas can attract pickpockets and petty thieves, so it’s essential to remain vigilant and keep an eye on your belongings. Additionally, late at night, it’s advisable to use well-lit, busy streets when walking alone.

Where to avoid staying in London as a tourist?

While London is generally a safe city for travelers, there are certain areas that are known for higher crime rates or have a reputation for being less desirable to stay in. They include Hackney, Haringey, Tower Hamlets, Stratford, Lambeth, Southwark, and Croydon. 

Camden is known for its popular markets and music scene, but it can get crowded, and certain parts might not feel as safe, especially late at night.

King’s Cross has undergone significant redevelopment in recent years, certain parts can still be a bit rough, particularly late at night.

Map of the best areas in London for travelers
Map of the best areas in London for travelers

Safest areas & neighborhoods to stay in London for tourists

1. Mayfair

Mayfair is one of the best areas to stay in London for tourists, especially for first-timers due to its central location, safety, and proximity to major attractions such as Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park.

Mayfair is an affluent area in the heart of London. It is one of the most prestigious and exclusive districts in the city, known for its upscale shops, luxurious hotels, fine dining restaurants, and beautiful Georgian architecture. 

Mayfair is situated within the City of Westminster and is bordered by Piccadilly to the south, Oxford Street to the north, Hyde Park to the west, and Regent Street to the east.

While Mayfair is generally considered a safe area compared to many other parts of London, like any urban area, it’s essential to take common-sense precautions to ensure personal safety.

Mayfair is renowned for its high-end shopping, with famous streets like Bond Street, Savile Row, and Mount Street hosting luxury boutiques and flagship stores for top fashion brands and designers.

The area is home to several art galleries that showcase both traditional and contemporary art, attracting art enthusiasts from all over the world.

Mayfair is close to three royal parks, including Hyde Park, Green Park, and St James’s Park providing a tranquil escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.

There are numerous historic landmarks in the area, including Buckingham Palace, Berkeley Square, Grosvenor Square, and the Handel House Museum.

Mayfair offers a plethora of high-end restaurants, Michelin-starred eateries, and exclusive members’ clubs, making it a popular destination for gourmet dining.

Mayfair boasts luxurious hotels, upscale apartments and grand townhouses, attracting wealthy residents and prominent figures.

Due to its central location and prestigious reputation, Mayfair remains a sought-after address for businesses, residents, and first-time visitors looking to experience the epitome of luxury in London.

Best places to stay in London in Mayfair:

  • Luxury ($$$): The Biltmore Mayfair, LXR Hotels & Resorts, 5-star hotel, located on  Grosvenor Square in the affluent area of London’s West End, easy access to the finest shopping, dining and royal parks. It’s within walking distance from New Bond Street, Oxford Street, Regent Street, and Hyde Park.
  • Mid-range ($$): Park Lane Apartments/Shaw House, former home of the famous author William Somerset Maugham, apartments are in the heart of Mayfair, close to Hyde Park and Oxford Street. Within walking distance from Bond Street Underground Station.
  • Budget ($): The Chesterfield Mayfair, 4-star luxury hotel in London’s Mayfair, just off Berkeley Square, between Hyde Park and Green Park. It is a short walk from Green Park Underground Station, and Bond Street. You can enjoy the daily Traditional Afternoon Tea, which won the Tea Guild Award of Excellence.

2. Knightsbridge

Knightsbridge is an affluent and prestigious district in central London, ideal base for visitors seeking central location and luxury holiday. Knightsbridge is famous for its high-end shopping, luxurious hotels, and elegant lifestyle.  

Knightsbridge is a safe area. It is an affluent and well-maintained district with a significant police presence, contributing to its overall safety. The neighborhood attracts high-end residents and visitors, which also tends to result in lower crime rates compared to some other areas of the city.

Knightsbridge is home to some of the world’s most renowned luxury department stores and boutiques. Harrods, a world-famous department store, is located in the heart of Knightsbridge and attracts millions of visitors each year.

Additionally, you can find designer stores such as Chanel, Gucci, Prada, Dior, and many others along the bustling streets.

Knightsbridge is adjacent to Hyde Park, offers ample green spaces, walking paths, boating opportunities on the Serpentine lake, and various recreational activities.  

History buffs can visit The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) and the Natural History Museum. The V&A houses a vast collection of art and design artifacts, while the Natural History Museum showcases various specimens of plants, animals, minerals, and fossils.

The district itself is steeped in history, and you can find some beautiful examples of architecture, including elegant townhouses and historic buildings.

Knightsbridge offers an array of fine dining restaurants and chic bars that cater to its affluent residents and visitors. You can experience a diverse range of cuisines from around the world.

The area boasts several luxurious hotels, attracting international tourists and high-profile guests. It is one of London’s most desirable neighborhoods for those seeking luxurious living.

Knightsbridge is well-connected to the rest of London through various transport options, including the Knightsbridge Underground Station (served by the Piccadilly line) and several bus routes.

Best places to stay in London in Knightsbridge:

  • Luxury ($$$): Knightsbridge Hotel, Firmdale Hotels, 5-star hotel is located in a quiet street in the heart of London, within a short walk from Hyde Park, Harrods and the international designer stores of Sloane Street and Brompton Cross.
  • Luxury ($$$): Beaufort House – Knightsbridge, luxury serviced apartments situated in Beaufort Gardens, a quiet tree-lined Regency terrace in the heart of London’s exclusive Knightsbridge area.
  • Luxury ($$$): The Capital Hotel, Apartments & Townhouse, 5-star hotel in the heart of Knightsbridge London, close to Harrods and Harvey Nichols.

3. Belgravia

Belgravia is a safe and affluent district in Central London. It is located in the City of Westminster and is bordered by Hyde Park to the northwest, Buckingham Palace to the east, Chelsea to the south, and Knightsbridge to the west.

Historically, Belgravia was developed in the early 19th century by the Grosvenor family, who owned the vast estate of the area. The name Belgravia comes from one of their subsidiary titles, Viscount Belgrave. 

The district was planned and designed by architect Thomas Cubitt, who created a grid of grand terraces and garden squares, giving it a distinctive and elegant architectural style.

Belgravia is characterized by its stately white stucco townhouses, private garden squares, and tree-lined streets. It is considered one of the most prestigious and expensive residential areas in London, attracting wealthy residents and international investors.

In addition to its residential appeal, Belgravia is also home to exclusive boutiques, fine-dining restaurants, and high-end amenities. 

Some of the notable landmarks and attractions in Belgravia include Belgrave Square, Eaton Square, Elizabeth Street, and the shopping area of Motcomb Street.

The area is well-connected by public transportation, with several Underground stations nearby, including Victoria, Knightsbridge, and Sloane Square, making it easy to access other parts of London.

Belgravia has a wide range of accommodations, ranging from luxury to budget options. It is an ideal neighborhood for visitors seeking a central safe location, easy access to public transportation, and attractions. 

Best places to stay in London in Belgravia:

  • Luxury ($$$): The Hari London, 5-star hotel, located a 10 minutes’ walk from Harrods and the Knightsbridge area, a 15-minute walk to the tube at Victoria underground station, offering links to central London.
  • Mid-range ($$): The Clermont London, Victoria, 4-star hotel, located in the heart of the of London Victoria, next to London Victoria station. Easy distance from The Apollo and Victoria Palace theaters, Buckingham Palace, Royal Parks, River Thames, Tate Britain.
  • Budget ($): The Tophams Hotel, located in a quiet location in the historic Belgravia district, close to London Victoria Station and the Gatwick Express. Short walk from  museums, the theaters of the West End and the shops of Knightsbridge.

4. South Kensington

South Kensington is a safe and vibrant neighborhood located in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It is well-known for its cultural attractions, beautiful architecture, and prestigious educational institutions.

South Kensington is one of the best areas to stay in London for family and kids due to its central location, safety, family-friendly museums and parks. 

The area is home to several world-class museums that form the Museum Quarter. The most famous ones are:

  • The Natural History Museum, a vast collection of natural specimens, including fossils, minerals, and exhibits on various aspects of the natural world.
  • The Science Museum, featuring exhibits on space exploration, computing, transport.
  • The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), the world’s largest museum of art and design.

Within the neighborhood, you can find the Imperial College London, the Royal Albert Hall, and Hyde Park, one of London’s largest and most famous parks.

Exhibition Road is the central thoroughfare in South Kensington lined with museums, cultural institutions, shops, and cafes, making it a popular destination for both locals and tourists.

The area features upscale shopping opportunities along streets like Brompton Road, where you can find luxury boutiques and designer stores.

South Kensington is characterized by elegant Victorian and Edwardian townhouses, making it a picturesque and affluent residential area.

The neighborhood has a cosmopolitan atmosphere with a diverse population and a wide range of international restaurants, reflecting the city’s multicultural identity.

South Kensington is well-connected by public transportation. The South Kensington tube station, served by the District, Circle, and Piccadilly lines, provides easy access to other parts of London.

Best places to stay in London in South Kensington:

  • Luxury ($$$): The Exhibitionist Hotel, 5-star luxury boutique hotel in front of the Natural History Museum, in the heart of South Kensington. Short walk from the V&A Museum, Science Museum, Albert Hall, Knightsbridge, Sloane Street, Harvey Nichols and Harrods.
  • Mid-range ($$): Meliá London Kensington Member of Meliá Collection, 4-star boutique hotel in the heart of fashionable Kensington, a short walk from Gloucester Road Tube Station, with links to  Westminster and the South Bank.
  • Budget ($): 54 Queen’s Gate Hotel, great hotel in the heart of South Kensington, easy walk from Hyde Park, Kensington Palace, The Natural History and the V&A Museums.

5. Chelsea

Chelsea along with Knightsbridge and Kensington is one of the safest neighborhoods of London for tourists. It is a highly affluent and fashionable area, known for its elegant architecture, upscale shops, and vibrant cultural scene. 

Chelsea is bordered by the River Thames to the south, Belgravia and Knightsbridge to the north, Earl’s Court to the west, and South Kensington to the east.

Some notable landmarks and attractions in Chelsea include:

King’s Road. This iconic street is famous for its trendy boutiques, restaurants, and cafes. It has long been associated with the Swinging London fashion and music scene of the 1960s.

Chelsea Physic Garden. Established in 1673, this botanical garden is one of the oldest in London and features a wide variety of plants and herbs.

Chelsea Embankment. A picturesque walkway along the River Thames offering stunning views of the river and the city’s skyline.

Chelsea Old Town Hall. A grand Victorian building that has served as a venue for various events and functions.

There is also a Saatchi Gallery hosting various exhibitions and installations. Additionally, Chelsea FC is one of London’s most successful football clubs, based at Stamford Bridge stadium in Chelsea.

Chelsea has a rich history and has been associated with various famous personalities, artists, and musicians throughout the years. It is also a sought-after residential area due to its central location and upscale living amenities.

Best places to stay in London in Chelsea:

  • Luxury ($$$): San Domenico House, a luxurious boutique hotel located a short walk from Sloane Square and fashionable Chelsea. Also close to Victoria Station, Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park.
  • Mid-range ($$): 11 Cadogan Gardens, a townhouse building located just off Sloane Square in the heart of Chelsea.
  • Budget ($): Sloane Place , boutique hotel in central London, close to many things.

6. Covent Garden

Covent Garden is a popular area for first-time visitors because it is located in the heart of London, England. It is known for its vibrant atmosphere, rich history, and diverse range of attractions. 

Covent Garden is considered safe during the day and into the evening. However, like in any touristy area, it’s advisable to stay aware of your surroundings and take necessary precautions to prevent pickpocketing and tourist scams.

Covent Garden has a long history dating back to the 17th century. Originally a fruit and vegetable market, it later evolved into a center for entertainment and shopping. The market moved to a new location in 1974, and the old market buildings were redeveloped into a thriving commercial and cultural district.

The Covent Garden Piazza is the main focal point of the area, surrounded by charming arcades filled with shops, cafes, and restaurants. It’s a great place to relax, people-watch, and enjoy street performances by talented musicians and street artists.

Although the original fruit and vegetable market is no longer there, the area is still home to the Covent Garden Market, an indoor market selling various goods, including artisanal products, crafts, clothing, and unique gifts.

Covent Garden is home to the Royal Opera House, one of the world’s most famous opera and ballet venues. It hosts performances by the Royal Ballet and the Royal Opera, attracting visitors from all over the globe.

The area around Covent Garden boasts a wide range of theaters and performance venues. From West End musicals to classic plays, there’s always something happening on stage.

Covent Garden offers a mix of high-end designer boutiques, independent shops, and well-known brand stores, making it a fantastic shopping destination.

The dining options in Covent Garden are diverse, catering to all tastes and budgets. You can find everything from traditional British pubs to international cuisine from around the world.

Covent Garden is well-connected by public transport. The Covent Garden tube station (Piccadilly Line) is conveniently located in the area, making it easy to reach other parts of London.

Overall, Covent Garden is a must-visit destination for tourists and locals alike, offering a unique blend of culture, entertainment, and shopping experiences in the heart of London.

Best places to stay in London in Covent Garden:

  • Luxury ($$$): The Savoy, 5-star hotel set on the banks of the Thames, an easy walk from The British Museum and The Royal Opera House, with some of the city’s best-known restaurants and bars, including Simpson’s-In-The-Strand, Gordon Ramsay’s Savoy Grill and The River Restaurant, serving UK’s finest shellfish and seafood. 
  • Mid-range ($$): The Henrietta Hotel, great 4-star hotel, close to Royal Opera House and Arts Theatre.
  • Budget ($): Assembly Covent Garden, centrally located near the Charing Cross Road, Trafalgar Square, and Shaftesbury Avenue.

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In conclusion, Mayfair, Knightsbridge, Belgravia, South Kensington, Chelsea, and Covent Garden are the safest places to stay in London for tourists.They are all the best areas for first-time visitors due to their central locations, safety, wide range of tourist amenities, and excellent connections to public transportations. 

Mayfair suits luxury seekers, Knightsbridge for shoppers, Belgravia for upscale living, South Kensington for cultural enthusiasts, Chelsea for vibrant city life, and Covent Garden for art and entertainment lovers. Choose your ideal haven wisely!

Remember that while these areas are generally safe, it’s always wise to be aware of your surroundings, avoid poorly lit areas at night, and keep your belongings secure. It’s also a good idea to check for any updated safety information from local authorities before your trip.

About Author: Linda Smith

I'm Linda Smith, the Hotel Expert, an experienced travel blogger who passionate about traveling. I'm here to share with you all my travel experiences and tips. I cover a wide range of travel topics, specializing in sharing information about the best areas, neighborhoods, and hotels in each city. I hope all these things will make your travel easier.

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