The best areas to stay in London for firsts-timers are Covent Garden, Westminster, Soho, Knightsbridge, City of London, Notting Hill, Paddington, Chelsea, Kensington, Victoria, Southwark, and King’s Cross. These are popular and safe neighborhoods for tourist that offer a wide variety of attractions and amenities.
In this blog post, I will help you to find where to stay in London for the first time tourists, for families, and couples, as well as the safest places to stay in London.
Covent Garden is the best place to stay in London for first-timers due to its close proximity to London’s top attractions such as Westminster, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Soho, and Mayfair. If you stay here, you will be located in the middle of action, within walking distance to attractions, as well as many restaurants, bars, and shops.
London is a safe city as a whole but there are certain areas that you should avoid. If you searching for the safest area to stay in London, look into the tourist area or the upmarket neighborhood such as Covent Garden, Mayfair, Knightsbridge, and Chelsea.
You will be safe because there will be people around at all hours and police regularly patrol the area. You should be aware of pickpocketing, scams, and mugging in tourist areas. Practice some basic precautions, walk in groups and stay in well-lit areas at night, you should be fine.
Of course, no matter where you stay in London you will be able to easily explore the whole city thanks to the super convenient tube network. Just make sure your hotel is close to a tube station with lots of different lines and you’ll be good to go. Baker Street, Hammersmith, and Kings Cross are some of the best-connected stations that will have you zipping from place to place in no time.
If this is your first visit, I recommend spending at least five days in London if this is your first visit to the capital of the United Kingdom. Five days in London is enough to get a good feel for the city. You can see the most famous tourist attractions, experience the local culture and history, enjoy food and drink. If you have more days, you can take day trips to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Oxford nearby.
|💖 Best Area for first-timers:||Covent Garden|
|💎 Best luxury hotel:||Covent Garden Hotel, Firmdale Hotels|
|🏨 Best mid-range hotel:||The Z Hotel Covent Garden|
|💰 Best budget hotel:||Fielding Hotel|
🎬 To get an overall idea of where to stay in London for the first time, check out this short video:
13 Best areas to stay in London for tourists
1. Covent Garden, where to stay in London for first-timers
Covent Garden is the best area to stay in London for first-timers due to its super central location. If you stay here, you will be located in the middle of everything, within walking distance to famous attractions such as Westminster, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, as well as many restaurants, bars, and shops.
Known as one of London’s chicest areas, Covent Garden is the heart of London’s West End. Covent Garde is generally a safe place for tourists with a wide range of accommodations and well-connected public transports.
Covent Garden was an important location since the 1500s when the land was acquired by Henry VIII. The quaint cobbled streets and covered markets lend the area a traditional English feel. Street Performers provide novel entertainment for tourists and locals alike as they drift between the shops and cafes.
Whether day or night, Covent Garden is always lively. During the day, the area is one of the city’s most popular shopping districts. At night it is one of the best places to go for a more refined party experience.
If you want to spend your evenings relaxing in some of London’s most fashionable bars and restaurants, then Covent Garden is the place to be. Covent Garden is home to the chicest nightlife in London, without the extortionate price tag of Kensington, Chelsea, or Knightsbridge.
Beyond the restaurants and bars, people flock to Covent Garden to partake in London’s world-class theatre scene. Covent Garden is the heart of London’s West End, one of the most renowned theatre and performing arts districts in the world.
Covent Garden is where you will find some of London’s principal performing arts venues, including the Lyceum Theatre, the London Coliseum, and the Royal Opera House. Numerous other theatres and venues line the streets, putting on an incredible array of shows year-round.
Leicester Square lies to the west of Covent Garden. Another key part of the West End, Leicester Square is home to theatres, casinos, and comedy clubs. It is also the location of several prominent cinemas, which often host big red-carpet events and film premieres.
At the north of Covent Garden sit the pretty backstreets of Seven Dials. So named for the seven roads that make up the area, which all meet at a central roundabout. This is an area full of small theatres, fashionable cafes, and high-end boutiques and beauty stores.
Trafalgar Square is just a few minutes’ walk from Covent Garden. Nelson’s Column stands as the centerpiece to this large public square, flanked by four stone lions and a pair of fountains. Statues of famous figures stand at three of the corners, whilst the Fourth Plinth is left free for temporary installations.
Aside from being a popular meeting place, Trafalgar Square often hosts open-air events such as concerts. The London Gay Pride festival is also typically hosted here, with the parade leading through Soho to end in the square.
The National Gallery overlooks Trafalgar Square. Along with the adjacent National Portrait Gallery, this is one of the must-visits for anyone who loves fine and classic art.
If you are in London around December, you will want to stop by and visit the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree. The impressive tree is gifted to London each year by Norway as thanks for assistance during the second world war.
In fact, the Covent Garden area as a whole is a lovely area to stay in if you are spending the Christmas period in London. Covent Garden Market and Seven Dials have some of the best Christmas lights in London, with new installations each year.
Just across Waterloo Bridge is the popular South Bank. Home to the Royal Festival Hall, National Theatre, and British Film Institute, South Bank is a center of London’s arts scene. The London Eye is just a few minutes’ walk south along the river.
You will often find street performers entertaining the tourists by the river. A daily book market takes place under the shelter of Waterloo Bridge whilst a popular Christmas market stretches along the riverside each winter.
If the numerous cafes and restaurants overlooking the Thames don’t strike your fancy, there’s also a street-food market held every weekend behind the Royal Festival Hall. A walk east along the River Thames will also offer you a view of the iconic Oxo Tower. Once a factory producing Oxo stock cubes, the famous windows were designed after planning permission for illuminated advertisements was refused.
Located in a central area, you can easily travel around with tube, bus, and rail networks. There is Covent Garden Tube Station on the Picadilly Line. In a rush hour and to avoid the queue, Londoners use Charing Cross, Holborn, Embankment, and Leicester Square Underground stations, with are all within walking distance from Covent Garden.
Covent Garden is pretty touristy, the area is prone to pick-pocketers, be sure to keep an eye on your belongings all the time, especially in a busy area, on a tube, or while watching street performers.
Being one of the most fashionable areas of London, as well as very popular with tourists, accommodation in Covent Garden can get pretty pricey. You’ll have plenty of luxury hotels to choose from if you stay here. If you’re working with a tighter budget, you’ll have a harder search.
Stay In Covent Garden If you are a first-time visitor; you want to stay at the heart of London’s West End; you have a more generous budget for accommodation; you’re staying in London for Christmas.
Best places to stay in London in Covent Garden:
luxury ($$$): Covent Garden Hotel, Firmdale Hotels This 5-star hotel is located in London’s theatre district, within easy walk from Covent Garden, Oxford Stree, Leicester Square, and Royal Opera House. It has air-conditioned room with en suite bathroom, flat-screen TV, minibar. There are many restaurants, bars and nightlife right at your doorsteps.
mid-range ($$): The Z Hotel Covent Garden this hotel is set in the heart of London’s West End, close to St Paul’s Church and Covent Garden’s famous Piazza. there is many bars, restaurants, museum, galleries and boutique shops right next to the hotel. It’s also close to Covent Garden tube station, Leicester Square station, and Charing Cross station.
budget ($): Fielding Hotel This hotel is located in front of the Royal Opera House, within a short stroll from Convent Garden Tube Station and Covent Garden Market. It has air-conditioned rooms with a TV, a telephone, tea and coffee facilities.🔍MORE HOTELS IN COVENT GARDEN
2. Westminster, good place to stay in London for sightseeing
If you want to stay in a safe area within a stone’s throw of the city’s most iconic attractions, then the borough of Westminster is the perfect location for you. This borough in Central London is the area along the banks of the River Thames, part of West End. Staying in the City of Westminster will have you right at the heart of the city and all the top sights.
Not only will you be on the doorstep of major sights like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, and St Pauls Cathedral, you will be surrounded by other top neighborhoods. Once you’re done sightseeing you can easily head off to the fancy shops of Knightsbridge or the chic restaurants of Covent Garden.
One of the most prominent structures in this political center of London is Westminster Abbey. The history of Westminster Abbey dates back as far as the 10th century whilst the majestic Abbey that stands today began construction in the 1200s.
Westminster Abbey is an instrumental piece of British tradition and political history. Every English monarch has been coronated here since 1066. More recently, this is where Prince William and Katherine were married.
Just behind Westminster Abbey is Big Ben, easily one of the best-known structures in London. No visit to London is complete without a postcard-worthy snap of the iconic clock tower, officially called Elizabeth Tower – technically Big Ben is just the name of the bell that chimes the hour.
The tower is located at the north end of Westminster Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Once a royal residence dating back to the middle ages, the current structure was built in 1840 after the original palace was destroyed by a fire.
Sitting right on the banks of the River Thames, Westminster Palace is now the seat of the British Government. Better known as the Houses of Parliament, visitors are welcome to observe debates amongst the ministers. Alternatively, you can take part in a guided tour of the building.
Downing Street is just a few minutes’ walk north of the Houses of Parliament. The residence of the Prime Minister, the street is gated off from the public, but it’s still interesting to pass by if you’re in the area.
If you cross over Westminster Bridge you will arrive at the southern end of South Bank. A walk along the riverside will offer you fantastic views of the Houses of Parliament.
South Bank is also home to several family-friendly attractions such as the London Aquarium and the London Dungeons.
Here you can hop on the London Eye and take in some fantastic panoramic views of the whole city. The London Eye is the tallest observation wheel in Europe and sees over three million passengers each year.
From the top of the London Eye, you can see many of London’s most famous attractions. On a clear day, you can easily see all the way to the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf or the huge O2 Arena all the way in Greenwich. You’ll also get a fantastic aerial view of nearby Buckingham Palace.
Buckingham Palace is probably the most famous building in the whole country. Home to the British monarchy, visitors can take tours of the staterooms or observe traditions such as the Changing of the Guard.
Buckingham Palace is set between Green Park and St James’ Park. St James’ Park, with its large lake, is a hotbed for local wildlife. Particularly known for its bird population, keep a lookout for the local pelicans and brilliant green parakeets.
Neighbouring Green Park is perfect for picnicking with its wide-open lawns and brilliant view of the palace. You will notice that Green Park has a lot of deck chairs. Be aware that you will be charged a small fee if you want to use them.
Apart from sightseeing, there are plenty of restaurants, bubble tea shops, cat cafés, nightclubs, pubs, and bars eat, drink, and shop.
Located in the congestion charging zone and in tube zone 1, this prime location offers fast access to all parts of London. You can use the Jubilee Line, the Circle Line, and the District line at the Westminster Tube Station which is located between St. James Park and Embankment.
There are also a lot of bus routes that go through the borough.
You will also see dozens of London’s black cabs, one of the most recognizable images of London, or you may like to book a taxi with local firms like Cars Connect and Millbank Cars on Page Street.
Being super central and popular with tourists, Westminster is far from the cheapest area to stay in London. If your budget can accommodate the costs of such a desirable area, then you will have some excellent luxury hotels to choose from.
Stay In Westminster If you are a first-time visitor want to do lots of sightseeing; You are only visiting for a short trip; You love political landmarks; Riding the London Eye is top of your things to do; You want to stay right at the heart of London’s most tourist-friendly areas;
Best places to stay in London in Westminster:
luxury ($$$): Rubens At The Palace This 5-star boutique hotel is located within a short walk Westminster, Green Park and Shaftesbury Avenue. It ‘s also close to Victoria train, Underground and bus stations providing easy access to Victoria Palace Theatre and Victoria Apollo Theatre. Enjoy meal an drink at The English Grill restaurant and Palace Lounge.
mid-range ($$): St. James’ Court, A Taj Hotel, London This 4-star hotel is set close to Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park and Mayfair. You can easy reach Gatwick and Heathrow International airports with Victoria Coach and Rail Stations nearby.
budget ($): The Sanctuary House Hotel Located within a short stroll from Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament, St James’s Park, and Big Ben, this hotel has a restaurant, Fuller’s traditional pub where you can try fish and chips and deep filled pie.🔍MORE HOTELS IN WESTMINSTER
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3. Soho, where to stay in London for nightlife
Soho is one of the best places to stay in London for nightlife. Right at the heart of central London, this former red-light district is the best area if you want to be surrounded by excitement throughout the day and night.
Soho is full of incredible bars and restaurants. Practically every street is bursting with fantastic venues spilling out onto the pavement. Popular as an after-work hangout, Soho is busy even on weeknights.
Soho is home to London’s Chinatown, so you will find tons of excellent east Asian restaurants in the area too. This is one of the best places to stay if you are visiting London around Chinese new year or any other big eastern festivals.
You will also find tons of nightclubs around the area. No matter what kind of intensity you like from your evening’s entertainment, Soho has something for everyone. If you enter a bar before 9 pm, you can avoid cover charges and save some money on nightclub costs.
Soho is also the centre of London’s LGBT community. You’ll notice there are loads of gay bars throughout the area. Soho really comes alive during London’s Gay Pride celebrations. It’s great fun, but not if you don’t like crowds.
Soho is another big part of London’s West End, with both the Apollo Theatre and Dominion Theatre located within the district. Leicester Square is just to the south so it’s popular for people to grab dinner in Soho before or after a show.
Surrounded by some of the most affluent London neighborhoods, including Marylebone, Mayfair, and Fitzrovia, Soho is home to numerous Michelin-starred restaurants.
From traditional British fare to cuisines from around the world, this is where to go to sample some of the finest food available.
To the north of Soho is where you will find London’s most famous shopping district, Oxford Street. One of the most famous streets in the world, Oxford Street is home to the flagship stores of numerous well-known brands
Adjacent Regent Street is a bit of a fancier version of Oxford Street. The busy avenue links Oxford Street with Piccadilly Circus. Here you will find numerous high-end brands such as Rolex and Burberry.
If you are visiting with children, you should definitely take them to Hamleys. Both the oldest and largest toy store in the world, Hamleys boasts seven floors devoted to all kinds of toys. Each floor has its own theme, including immersive sections dedicated to Harry Potter and Star Wars.
Hamleys hosts numerous events and installations throughout the year, so it’s always worth popping in to see what’s on. No matter when you go though, there will always be staff performing magic tricks to wow the kids. There’s even a café on one of the upper floors for when you need a break from all the excitement.
Running Parallel to Regent Street, Carnaby Street is a hub of London fashion. The entrance is marked by the iconic Liberty department store. Carnaby Street boasts an array of well-known fashion brands like Doc Martins, as well as smaller, more boutique brands.
Piccadilly Circus is best known for its luminous billboards. The junction of several major roads, Piccadilly Circus is a popular meeting spot for tourists and locals alike. Chinatown, Leicester Square, and Green Park are all within walking distance of Piccadilly Circus.
If you are looking for somewhere to enjoy a traditional afternoon tea, there are plenty of excellent venues nearby. Fortnum and Mason and the Ritz hotel both offer some of the fanciest afternoon tea experiences you could want.
Soho isn’t just parties, food, and shopping though. If you want to take in some culture, there are plenty of great museums and galleries nearby.
The British Museum is within walking distance to the north. In addition to its permanent, free exhibitions of artifacts from around the globe, the British Museum offers a packed calendar of temporary exhibitions. These usually require a ticket, so try to book ahead.
The Royal Academy of the Arts is just off of Piccadilly. The academy boasts several exhibition spaces with a frequently changing array of installations and events.
You can easily travel to Soho with four Tube stations including Oxford Circus Tube station, Tottenham Court Road Tube station, Piccadilly Circus Tube station, and Covent Garden Tube station. There are also numerous buses nearby.
Soho is very safe at all times of the day but can also get rough late at night. Keep an eye on your belongings all the time and even when you’re watching the street performances.
There are plenty of accommodation options in Soho, even though it tends to be pricey but you can save money on transportation by walking to nearby landmarks.
Stay In Soho If Being centrally located is super important; you are visiting London for the first time; You are after London’s best nightlife; Shopping is a highlight of your vacation; You want to dine at one of London’s Michelin starred restaurants.
Best places to stay in London in Soho:
luxury ($$$): The Soho Hotel, Firmdale Hotels This 5-star hotel is set close to the historic area of Soho Square. There are many restaurants and bars, cafés, theatres and nightlife right next to the hotel. Enjoy European cuisine, breakfast, and afternoon tea at its on-site restaurant.
mid-range ($$): The Resident Soho this 4-star hotel is centrally located in Soho, close to Oxford Street, Tottenham Court Tube Station, British Museum and London Eye. It offers rooms with modern bathroom, a hairdryer, a desk, a laptop safe.
budget ($): The Z Hotel Tottenham Court Road this property is based in Soho, close to Carnaby Street, Queen’s Theatre, Old Compton Street, and Piccadilly Theatre. London City Airport is 13km away.🔍MORE HOTELS IN SOHO
4. City of London, best area to stay in London for top attractions
To suggest that you stay in ‘the city’ may seem rather redundant, however, The City (also known as the Square Mile) refers to the oldest part of London that dates back to the original Roman settlement.
As such, this is one of the best places to stay to appreciate the history of the city of London.
In The City, you will find some of London’s most iconic attractions and landmarks. Being very centrally located and full of popular things to see and do, this is one of the best areas to stay for first-time visitors to London.
In the east of The City, you will find Tower Bridge. One of London’s most recognizable structures – though often confused for the considerably plainer London Bridge – no visit to the city of London would be complete without crossing over Tower Bridge.
Recognisable for the two grand stone towers at either end of the bridge, visitors can climb the stairways within the towers to reach a second, raised walkway. Known as the West Walkway, visitors are able to walk between the two towers along a viewing platform with a glass floor.
From here you can enjoy panoramic views over London and the River Thames. Tower Bridge is steeped in history, with much of it displayed in an exhibition in the South Tower commemorating the workers who built the bridge.
The center portion of Tower Bridge is able to be raised to allow taller ships to pass through. A schedule for when the bridge is due to be raised can be found online. It’s worth checking ahead to see when the bridge will be raised during your trip to London as it’s quite fun to witness.
Tower Bridge is actually not named for its own towers. Rather it is so named for being right next to The Tower of London. Another of London’s most famous landmarks, The Tower of London is located right by the north end of Tower Bridge.
Built in the 11th century, the Tower of London has been a royal residence, as well as a notorious fortress and prison for almost a thousand years. The Tower has a notoriously bloody history, having jailed numerous well-known figures as they awaited execution, including Anne Boleyn and Guy Fawkes.
Now it is a popular tourist attraction. Each year, millions of people visit to tour the tower or view the Crown Jewels which are housed inside. If you’re lucky you may even catch a glimpse of the famous Tower Ravens.
St Paul’s Cathedral is located in the west of The City. St Paul’s Cathedral has been in this spot since the seventh century, although the original was destroyed during the Great Fire. The modern St Paul’s Cathedral was built in the 17th century and stood as the tallest structure in London until 1963.
It’s not just historic buildings you should keep an eye out for. Some of London’s best modern skyscrapers can be found in The City. The Gherkin is one of the best-known modern buildings in London, so nicknamed for its iconic shape.
If you like shopping, you can visit the historic Leadenhall Market, One New Change, The Royal Exchange, and Old Spitalfields Market.
The City of London is severed by seven tube stations including Bank, St. Paul’s, Barbican, Moorgate, Liverpool Street, Old Street, and Aldgate.
The City is fairly safe! There are a lot of police officers in this 1 square mile area.
This one of the major financial centers of the world hosts a wide range of hotels that suit all budget travels from backpacker hostels to luxury accommodations.
Stay In The City If you want to stay in one of the most historic areas in the city of London; you want to stay surrounded by some of London’s best and most iconic attractions; you are looking for where to stay in London for first-time visitors;
Best places to stay in London The City:
luxury ($$$): Vintry & Mercer Located in City of London, this 5-star hotel has a fitness centre, a bar, a business centre, free wifi, and continental breakfast. You will be close to famou tourist attractions such as Sky Garden, Tower of London, Borough Market, London Bridge, and Mansion House station.
mid-range ($$): Apex City Of London Hotel this 4-star stylish hotel is set on Seething Lane, only 30 minute drive by car from London City Airport, and 02 Arena on the DLR. You can enjoy meal at its The Lampery restaurant.
budget ($): COVE Cannon Street This apartment hotel has units with flat-screen TV, a kitchenwith an oven, a microwave and kettle. There is private bathroom with free toiletries and a hair dryer.🔍MORE HOTELS IN THE CITY OF LONDON
5. Southwark, lots of sightseeing for tourists
Located within a short distance from Westminster and London’s top attractions, Southwark is right across London Bridge from The City. The vibrant borough is a diverse mix of business and pleasure. Towering office blocks loom over bustling markets and historic pubs.
One of the biggest tourist attractions in Southwark is Borough Market. Borough Market, London’s best food market, is a fantastic place to pick up delicious local street food or sample top-quality produce. The stalls will often hand out free samples too.
The market stretches up next to Southwark Cathedral. Over eight hundred years old, the grand cathedral holds its own, even against the towering Shard skyscraper.
The Shard is one of London’s most famous skyscrapers. The shimmering tower of glass boasts luxury hotels and exceptional restaurants. Visitors can travel up to the Shard’s viewing platform to take in stunning panoramic views across London.
London Bridge tube station exits right at the base of the Shard, so it’s super easy to get to.
Southwark runs along the southern side of the River Thames, so you will have easy access to the attractions of South Bank’s east end.
The Tate Modern is located at the south end of Millennium Bridge. London’s biggest modern art gallery, the Tate is a must-visit for any art lover coming to London.
Right next to the Tate Modern is the Globe Theatre. A faithful replica of Shakespeare’s own theatre, this is the perfect place to experience Shakespeare’s plays in a breathtakingly authentic atmosphere.
The original Globe Theatre was destroyed by a fire in the 1600s. However, you can still visit the site of the original, marked by a weathered bronze plaque.
Out on the river, you have London’s floating naval museum, the HMS Belfast. Once a mighty warship in the second world war, the HMS Belfast is now permanently moored in Southwark. Visitors can climb on board and explore the huge ship with guided tours and detailed exhibits.
Southwark is overall a safe area, use common sense as you would anywhere else in the world, always keep your eyes on your valuables, you should be fine!
Southwark is well-connected with 11 railway stations in the area, six London Overground stations, three tube lines including Bakerloo, Northern, Jubilee, and numerous bus routes.
A little outside of the main tourist center, Southwark offers a great selection of both mid-range and luxury hotels. Whilst you may struggle to find much that’s super affordable, you will have plenty of more reasonably priced options than deeper into the city center.
Stay In Southwark If you want to do lots of sightseeing; you want to stay close to the city center but without the super high price points of the more touristy areas.
Best places to stay in London in Southwark:
luxury ($$$): Shangri-La The Shard, London 5-star luxury hotel is set St Thomas Street, 1 minutes’ walk from London Bridge Train and Tube Station. You can walk along the River Thames’ South Bank to The London Eye, Big Ben and Westminster. There are plenty of dining and drinking option at its on-site TING, Bar 31, and GŎNG.
mid-range ($$): London Bridge Hotel Located in Southwark in front of London Bridge Station, and within easy walk to London Bridge Tube Station. You can take a stroll along Thames’s South Bank and visit Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
budget ($): ibis Styles London Southwark – near Borough Market Located in South Bank close to Borough Market, the Thames and the Tate Modern. This 3-star hotel offers rooms a satellite TV, with a laptop-size safe, car parking, and free wifi.🔍MORE HOTELS IN SOUTHWARK
6. Knightsbridge, one of the safest area to stay in London
Along with Mayfair, Knightsbridge is one of the poshest neighborhood in London. Knightsbridge a relatively safe area, there police regularly patrol around and there will be people around at all hours. This is the best place in London to stay if you want to stay in a upmarket area.
Knightsbridge is home to the most high-end shopping experience in the whole city of London. Boasting the likes of Harrods and Harvey Nichols, retail therapy doesn’t get more indulgent than a shopping spree in Knightsbridge.
Possibly London’s most famous department store, Harrods is the place to go if you want to browse the ridiculously expensive furniture only millionaires would consider paying full price for. The lower levels boast multiple rooms filled with glistening jewelry.
For those of us who can’t afford the opulent homewares on offer, the food hall is where you will want to actually do some shopping. From chocolate to cheese, Harrods’ food hall is the perfect place to pick up some scrumptious edible souvenirs.
Just down the street is the less famous but equally chic Harvey Nichols. Boasting a restaurant and a champagne bar, this is the perfect place to shop for some luxury clothes or cosmetics and then immediately put down your bags and relax.
If you follow Piccadilly road to the other side of Green Park you can continue the upmarket experience. This is where you will find one of London’s best-known luxury hotels, The Ritz. Even if you can’t afford to stay the night, you can still treat yourself to a fabulous afternoon tea in their glitzy dining rooms.
Alternatively, continue your luxury shopping spree at Fortnum and Mason. This department store is favored by the royal family and boasts multiple floors of exclusive clothes and homewares. It’s worth visiting just to glide up the grand staircases.
Shopping isn’t all there is to do here though. Knightsbridge is also home to some of London’s top museums. The Natural History Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum are both next door to one another, right outside South Kensington tube station
The Natural History Museum is one of the most popular attractions in London for families. From Dinosaurs to the iconic suspended blue whale skeleton in the foyer, there are plenty of family-friendly exhibits to keep visitors of all ages entertained.
In winter, the area in front of the Natural History Museum hosts yet another family-friendly attraction, the Natural History Museum Ice-Rink. This is a super popular attraction with both tourists and locals, so you will want to book tickets well in advance if you plan to get on the ice.
Hyde Park runs along the north of Knightsbridge. Aside from offering a relaxing green space to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, Hyde Park is a great place for those traveling with children. There’s plenty of space and playgrounds for them to work off some energy.
If you are looking for a romantic date idea, consider renting a boat and heading out onto Serpentine Lake. Alternatively, hire one of the many bikes you will see scattered around and take a pleasant cycle around the whole park.
Knightsbridge is well connected to the other areas of London, with two tube stations: Knightsbridge Tube Station and Hyde Park Corner Tube Station.
Like any other city center area, Knightsbridge can be noise, congestion, and pollution! It is a relatively safe area!
Stay In Knightsbridge If You love indulging in Luxury shopping; you want to stay in a safe area; You’re looking for a high-end, family-friendly area to stay.
Best places to stay in London in Knightsbridge:
luxury ($$$): Knightsbridge Hotel, Firmdale Hotels this 5-star hotel is set close to Knightsbridge tube station, near Royal Albert Hall, the National History Museum, the Science Museum. Each guest room has spacious bedrooms, bathroom with bathrobes and slippers, and iPod docking station.
mid-range ($$): The Rembrandt Located in exclusive Knightsbridge, within a short stroll from V&A Museum and tube stations. There is Palette restaurant and 1606 lounge bar to enjoy meal and drink.
budget ($): The Montana Hotel this 3-star hotel is within a short distance from the Royal Albert Hall and Hyde Park. With the Gloucester Road London Underground Station neaby, that can take you to Heathrow Airport.🔍MORE HOTELS IN KNIGHTSBRIDGE
7. Notting Hill, best place to stay in London for festival
Notting Hill is of course best known for the eponymous carnival. For one weekend every August the area is transformed into a massive street party. A colorful parade winds through the main streets. Visitors can enjoy live music, dancing, and delicious Caribbean street food.
This is therefore obviously the best area of London to stay in if you are visiting to attend the carnival. The tube stations around the area can get really cramped, so you can avoid the hustle and bustle by just staying at the heart of the party.
As you might expect, the prices for accommodation skyrocket during the carnival. If you are working with a smaller budget, you will definitely want to avoid staying in Notting Hill over carnival weekend.
Outside of carnival season, Notting Hill is a much more laid-back area. One of the less touristy, fashionable areas of central London, Notting Hill is known for its colorful residential streets.
One of the most iconic streets in Notting Hill is Portobello Road. Best known for Portobello Road Market, one of London’s most iconic street markets. Here you can shop for everything from jewelry and antiques to street food.
For a more contemporary shopping experience head to Westfield. The largest shopping center in Europe, you can find tons of big-name brands, as well as excellent cafes and restaurants.
The Village wing offers a luxury shopping experience with brands such as Gucci and Burberry, plus a champagne bar.
Notting Hill has a number of filming locations, fans of the Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts movie can check out the famous blue door, Juliet’s House, and the Notting Hill Travel Bookshop (Blenheim Crescent).
You can get around Notting Hill easily by public transport with Notting Hill Gate Tube station, Westbourne Park station, or Ladbroke Grove station.
This is one of the safe places to stay in London with plenty of accommodations to choose from!
Stay In Notting Hill If you are visiting London for Notting Hill Carnival and want to stay right at the heart of the party; you want to stay in a fashionable yet laid back neighborhood; you want to stay close to central London but in a less touristy area.
Best places to stay in Notting Hill:
luxury ($$$): The Laslett this 5-star hotel is located very close to Notting Hill Gate Underground Station, Kensington Palace, and Royal Albert Hall. There are 51 rooms and suites with work desks, free wifi, and USB charging points. Try food and coffee at its on-site coffee shop and Henderson bar.
mid-range ($$): The Portobello Hotel Located in a quiet location in Georgian terrace, Notting Hill, this hotel has beautiful bedrooms and continental breakfast with organic coffee, local hams, cheeses, and pastries.
budget ($): Dawson Place, Juliette’s Bed and Breakfast This B&B is located in the heart of Notting Hill, easy walk from Notting Hill Gate Tube Station and Portobello Market. It’s surrounded with many shops, restaurants and cafes.🔍MORE HOTELS IN NOTTING HILL
8. Paddington, where to stay in London on budget
Paddington is probably best known for the adventures of the eponymous Paddington Bear. Like Paddington Bear, thousands of people experience Paddington Train Station as their first introduction to London.
If you are planning to travel around Britain or want to explore outside of the city during your trip to London, staying close to Paddington Station would be super convenient for you. Paddington is connected to train lines that stretch all the way across the country to Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Oxford.
Paddington Station is one of the biggest train terminals in London. Aside from being well connected to other areas of England, this is also where the Heathrow Express departs from. If you are flying into Heathrow airport and taking the train into the city, this is a super convenient area for you.
If you are a fan of Paddington Bear, then you will be able to indulge yourself here. Within the station, you will find both a bronze statue and a gift shop dedicated to the famous bear.
Three more Paddington Bear statues are located around the area, marking the start of the three Pawprint Trail routes. Each route will lead you around the various sights and attractions of Paddington, including Little Venice, Hyde Park, and the Diana Memorial Playground.
Hyde Park is the most famous of London’s many green spaces. Covering over 350 acres, there are tons to do in Hyde Park year-round. With lakes, ponds, and miles of winding trails, you can spend hours exploring the park.
Marble Arch is one of the best-known attractions in Hyde Park. The triumphal arch was intended to be an entrance to Buckingham Palace but was relocated to its current spot in 1851.
It’s now overlooked by the Marble Arch Mound, one of London’s most controversial tourist attractions.
Right next to Marble Arch is Speaker’s Corner. Stop by on a Sunday morning to hear people addressing passers-by with rousing speeches on whatever topic they find important enough to share.
Or take a stand yourself and join the legacy of famous Speakers such as Karl Marx and George Orwell.
Hyde Park is also home to the Princess Diana Memorial Playground. Definitely worth visiting if you are traveling with children. The centerpiece of the playground is a wooden pirate ship on an artificial beach. You can let your kids play whilst you relax in the café.
North of Paddington you’ll find Little Venice. This pretty network of canals is lined with waterside cafes and restaurants where you can relax in the tranquil atmosphere. Little Venice is also home to numerous barges and canal boats, some of which even boast small shops and cafes on board.
You can also catch a boat ride from Little Venice that will take you right into the heart of the London Zoo.
A few minutes’ walks away is Baker Street. Most famous for being the home of fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, Baker Street also boasts one of the best-connected tube stations in the city. Just down from the station is Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum.
Paddington is one of the best neighborhoods in London for families. All the green space of Hyde Park, along with its playgrounds gives kids plenty of space to play and get out some energy, while there are plenty of family-friendly attractions within walking distance.
Meanwhile, the convenience of Paddington station will make it easy to get your kids between the airport and your hotel. The area is typically quieter than other tourist districts, so fewer crowds to keep track of everyone in.
One of the less overtly touristy areas of London, this is also one of the more affordable areas to stay. If you are looking for a reasonably priced hotel room that’s also centrally located with a low crime rate, this is one of the best neighborhoods to consider.
Stay In Paddington If you are flying into Heathrow and will be getting into the city via the Heathrow Express train; you are first-timers, families; you are working with a smaller budget but still want to stay close to the city center; you are traveling around the United Kingdom by train; you want to be able to easily explore outside of London during your trip.
Best places to stay in London in Paddington:
luxury ($$$): Royal Lancaster London This 5-star holtel is really in the heart of London, close to Paddington Underground Station, Hyde Park, Marble Arch and Lancaster Gate Tube Station. It provides soundproofed rooms with heated bathroom floors. Plenty of choices in food and drink at its Nipa Restaurant, Island Grill, Hyde Cafe, and Park Restaurant for a traditional afternoon tea.
mid-range ($$): Inhabit, Southwick Street this boutique townhouse hotel is in Paddington. It has 88 guest rooms, an infrared sauna, and yoga classes. The hotel’s Yeotown restaurant serves coffee, organic juices and plant-based food.
budget ($): Hyde Park Radnor Hotel B&B This Bed & Breakfast is only 3 minute walk from Paddington tube and main line. It has 24-hour front desk, shared lounge and a tour desk. From Paddington Station, you can take express train to Heathrow Airport.🔍MORE HOTELS IN PADDINGTON
9. Chelsea, one of the poshest areas of London
Have you heard of the TV program “Made in Chelsea”? Chelsea is one of the poshest and safest areas of London. Less touristy and more residential, the area is full of upscale boutiques and classy restaurants catering to the area’s wealthy community.
Whilst you will find plenty of well-known brands here, you will also be able to discover smaller boutiques and more exclusive designers. Between the chic stores of Chelsea and neighboring Knightsbridge, you can shop to your heart’s content and then relax in one of the many stylish cafes.
Chelsea is home to several respected galleries and museums. The Saatchi Gallery is one of the most respected museums of contemporary and modern art in London. Meanwhile, the National Army Museum exhibits equipment and uniforms from all the way back to the 1600s.
The Chelsea Physic Garden is a sweet little breath of fresh air down by the river. The second oldest botanical garden in England, the Chelsea Physic Garden was founded in the 17th century and is home to numerous species of medical plants.
If you want to escape from the hustle and bustle of the busy streets, there are plenty of parks to retreat to. Hyde Park is within walking distance to the north. Alternatively, cross Chelsea Bridge and relax by the river in Battersea Park.
Battersea Park is a lovely haven, with numerous sculptures, pretty gardens, a shimmering lake, and an elegant waterside Chinese pagoda. There’s even a little zoo where children can interact with smaller species like otters.
You can get to Chelsea on the tube, to Sloane Square station. You can also travel with the buses on King’s Road.
As one of the wealthiest and most fashionable neighborhoods in London, accommodation here can get pretty pricey. Whilst there is little to suit budget travelers, those with more generous allowances have plenty to choose from with an abundance of elegant, boutique hotels in this safe and luxury area.
Stay In Chelsea If you want to stay in one of the most famously fashionable areas of London; you want to indulge in laid-back luxury; you have a generous budget for accommodation; this is your first visit;
Best places to stay in London in Chelsea:
luxury ($$$): San Domenico House This outique, 5-star hotel is situated 5 minutes’ walk from Sloane Square and Chelsea. Each guest room has en suite marble bathroom and free wifi.
mid-range ($$): Nell Gwynn Chelsea Accommodation Located on Sloane Avenue in the Royal London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, this accommodation has 24 hour porter service and security cameras. Apartments are fully equipped kitchens and bathrooms.
budget ($): Sydney House Chelsea Located within easy stroll from South Kensington Underground Station, between Fulham Road and King’s Road, this hotel offers guest rooms with a flat-screen TV, a bathroom with L’Occitane toiletries.🔍MORE HOTELS IN CHELSEA
10. Kensington, lots of museums
Kensington is one of London’s wealthiest tourist neighborhoods. Full of fabulous museums, upscale shopping, and high-end restaurants, Kensington is the home of laid-back luxury.
A little away from the big-name tourist attractions, Kensington is lively, but not as crowded as the city center.
South Kensington is home to numerous family-friendly museums. The Science Museum, Natural History Museum, and Victoria and Albert Museum are all within South Kensington.
High Street Kensington is a popular shopping street that runs through the heart of South Kensington. Aside from well-known brands and fancy cafes, High Street Kensington is also home to several smaller museums.
There are two major parks in Kensington. Kensington Gardens surround Kensington Palace at the west end of Hyde Park. Amongst the manicured lawns and winding pathways, Kensington Gardens hosts numerous monuments and statues, as well as the Serpentine Art Gallery.
The Royal Albert Hall, one of the major performance spaces in London, is located along the southern edge of Kensington Gardens. Hosting everything from operas and ballets to theatres and concerts, the Royal Albert Hall is a beautiful building worth taking a stroll past even if you aren’t attending a show.
Holland Park in the west of Kensington is definitely worth visiting, especially on a sunny day. The leafy park is home to a small forest along with its numerous manicured lawns and gardens. Keep an eye out for the roaming peacocks, they have a tendency to sneak up on you and scream.
Make sure to visit Kyoto Garden. The small Japanese garden at the heart of Holland Park, with its waterfall, koi pond, and traditional Japanese ornaments makes for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the high street.
The Royal Borough of Kensington is well served by the underground system and a number of bus routes like Gloucester Road and South Kensington tube stations. You can easily travel to one of London’s five airports: Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Stanstead, and City.
Kensington isn’t the cheapest area to stay in London. You will mostly find luxury hotels here, especially in South Kensington, which is one of the safest areas of London.
However, there are a few mid-range chain hotels to choose from if you have your heart set on Kensington but don’t want to break the bank.
Stay In Kensington If Browsing world-class museums are how you like to spend your vacation; You want to stay in one of the most fashionable tourist districts in London;
Best places to stay in London in Kensington:
luxury ($$$): Baglioni Hotel London – The Leading Hotels of the World Centrally located close to Kensington Palace, The Royal Albert Hall, and Design Museum and Harrods, this 5-star hotel has on-site Brunello Bar and Restaurant that serve traditional Italian cusine.
mid-range ($$): CG Kensington Located in Kensington and Chelsea district, this hotel offers air conditioned rooms with a coffee machine, a mini desk, a wardrobe, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom.
budget ($): Hux Hotel, Kensington Located in the heart of London, with easy access to transport hubs such as High Street Kensington Tube Statio. Rooms have 24/7 room service, tea and coffee facilities, and marble bathrooms.🔍MORE HOTELS IN KENSINGTON
11. Victoria, central area, budget-friendly, & excellent transport links
Nestled between Chelsea, Knightsbridge, and Westminster, Victoria is one of the most convenient places in London to stay. Between the central location and the major public transport stations, you will be able to easily explore the whole city, as well as areas outside of London.
Victoria is a bustling transport hub to the east of Chelsea. The busy train station runs train services that connect across the breadth of the south of England.
Victoria station is where the Gatwick Express terminates in London. If you are flying into Gatwick airport and plan to take the train into the city, then Victoria is where you will enjoy your first introduction to London.
Victoria is one of the best areas to stay if you want minimal fuss getting between the airport and your hotel. If you are on a shorter trip and don’t want to waste time traveling between your accommodation, the sights, and the airport, this is ideal for you.
Being right between Westminster and Knightsbridge, Victoria is one of the best places to stay to enjoy London’s top tourist attractions and high-end shopping districts. A walk along this stretch of the Thames will offer a wonderful view of the iconic Battersea Power Station.
Victoria is one of the best places to stay if you want reasonably priced accommodation right at the heart of Central London. The hotels that surround the train and coach station are remarkably affordable for the location.
Stay In Victoria If you want to stay in a super central location with fantastic transport links; you are flying into Gatwick Airport and intend to travel into London via the Gatwick Express train; you are looking for where to stay in London city center without breaking the bank.
Best places to stay in London in Victoria:
luxury ($$$): The Goring This 5-star hotel has spacious rooms with luxury décor, and private terrace in many rooms. It is only 5 minute walk from Victoria Station, giving excellent transport links.
mid-range ($$): The Clermont London, Victoria Located next to London Victoria station, this hotel has a fitness centre, 9 meeting and function rooms. easily access Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport by train.
budget ($): Park Plaza Victoria London Convenient location, only a 2-minute walk from Victoria Station, this hotel has and on-site talian restaurant and bar, TOZI, a Lounge Bar, and private car parking.🔍MORE HOTELS IN VICTORIA
12. King’s Cross, coolest area to stay in London
Once the center point for London’s red-light district, rejuvenation over the last few decades has allowed King’s Cross to grow into one of the coolest London neighborhoods. King’s Cross is now the center of London’s thriving community of artists and creatives.
The King’s Cross Station station is a major hub for trains coming in and out of London with lines of Northern, Circle, Piccadilly, Metropolitan, The Victoria, and the Hammersmith & City Underground.
The extended Eurostar terminal at St. Pancras Station also helps to travel from London to European cities like Paris, Brussels, then connect to Rome, Zurich, Copenhagen, and Barcelona easily.
Behind King’s Cross Station is the main campus of Central Saint Martin’s University of the Arts. Numerous small galleries populate the area, many demonstrating works by local artists or students. In summer, the area along the canal often hosts open-air film and music festivals.
The old warehouses of the area have since been converted into a trendy shopping locale. Known as Coal Drops Yard, you can browse edgy boutiques and relax in trendy coffee shops.
Alternatively, the area between King’s Cross Station and the canal has been transformed into a haven of high-end, contemporary shopping. Numerous fashionable cafes and restaurants line the road, spilling out onto their streetside dining terraces.
There’s a great variety of museums for visitors to enjoy around the King’s Cross area. The British Library is just the other side of beautiful Saint Pancras. Housing the Magna Carta and over four hundred miles of bookshelves, the British Library also hosts regular fascinating exhibitions.
Literature lovers can pair their visit to the library with a trip to the Charles Dickens Museum. The Postal Museum is also a surprisingly fun museum to visit. Visitors can ride the old mail train that used to transport posts around the warehouse.
The British Museum is even within walking distance of King’s Cross.
Harry Potter fans will already be familiar with Kings Cross, as it is famously the train station from which the Hogwarts Express departs in the books. If you are staying in the area, it is definitely worth taking advantage to get here before the crowds.
Whilst there’s no actual Platform 9¾ – that we muggles know of – there is a luggage trolley embedded into the wall of the station’s main lobby. Guests are free to take photos posing as a young witch or wizard or pay a fee for extra props and a professional photo.
Right next to the photo spot is the Platform 9¾ shop. Here you can pick up plenty of Harry Potter goodies and souvenirs. Both the shop and the trolley can get super busy though. Try to get here early or be prepared to queue.
Kings Cross is within walking distance of vibrant Camden. The home of London’s alternative scene, Camden is a colorful hotbed of unique shopping, excellent nightlife, and fantastic live music venues.
Camden Market is one of the best-known markets in London. Really, the whole area is comprised of a collection of overlapping markets that form what most people know as Camden Market.
Horse Tunnel Market, better known as The Stables, the most iconic Camden market. Camden Town Market overlooks the lock. Meanwhile, many of the side streets host street stalls and food vendors.
In addition to the many restaurants and bars in the area, there a numerous prominent music venues in Camden. The Blues Kitchen and the Jazz Café, along with many other pubs and bars in the area, host regular live music performances.
The Roundhouse has been a staple in the London music scene for decades. Meanwhile, the Electric Ballroom is a popular rock concert hall that doubles as an indoor market on weekends.
Stay In King’s Cross If You want to stay in one of the coolest areas of central London; Staying at the heart of London’s art community would be ideal; Taking advantage of London’s vibrant live music scene is a must; this is your first time visiting London.
Best places to stay in King’s Cross:
luxury ($$$): Rosewood London Located within east walk from Holborn Underground Station, offering easy access to Heathrow Airport, this hotel has an Mirror Room restaurant and spacious guest rooms.
mid-range ($$): Central Victorian House Located in Camden district in, close to Camden Marke and Camden Town Tube station. London City Airport is the nearest aiport to the hotel.
budget ($): The Gyle Located close to King’s Cross Station, this hotel has 24-hour front desk, continental or buffet breakfast, and guest rooms that are fully equipped.🔍MORE HOTELS IN KING’S CROSS
13. Shoreditch, young hipster area in East London
Shoreditch is the heart of London’s young hipster scene with plenty of graffiti, street art, galleries, art museums, bars, and nightclubs.
Stretches from Kingsland Road to Old Street Station in East London, Shoreditch is a bit of a controversial area for being the poster child for London’s gentrification.
Typically, East London is considered the less affluent part of London. However, Shoreditch and the surrounding areas are some of the trendiest places to stay.
Shoreditch is perfect for anyone who loves vintage clothes and alternative shopping experiences. You will definitely want to check out Box Park. Built from shipping containers, this shopping center is full of fashionable brands, independent boutiques, and exceptional street food.
Old Spitalfields Market is one of the most iconic markets in London. Meanwhile, nearby Brick Lane boasts another popular market, as well as some of London’s best curry houses.
Shoreditch is also one of the best areas to stay if you love street art. Many of the walls here are covered with colorful murals. Local stores and brands advertise their wares with colorful shopfronts and creative installations.
Being that East London is still the less wealthy part of London, the hotels in this area of London are typically much more affordable than in the city center. Even with east London becoming increasingly fashionable, there are still plenty of quality budget options to choose from.
To get to Shoreditch High Street, you will find the nearest tube stations are Liverpool Street, Old Street, and Moorgate stations. There are also buses, the London Overground’s East London line, and taxis!
Shoreditch is as safe as central London and the West End. Shoreditch and the surrounding east end is the best area to stay in if you are working with a smaller budget. You’ll be able to stay in one of the trendiest areas of London, without the high price tag of central London.
Stay In Shoreditch If You want to stay in one of the trendiest areas of London; Vibrant nightlife is important to you; You love street art; You are first-timer, on a budget.
Best places to stay in London in Shoreditch:
luxury ($$$): Mondrian London Shoreditch This 5-star hotel is located close to Hoxton Square, Brick Lane, and Sky Garden. It has a 24h front desk, outdoor pool, and terrace. You can enjoy cocktails on its rooftop.
mid-range ($$): citizenM London Shoreditch Located a 3-minute walk from Shoreditch High Street Station, this hotel has gift shop, 24h on-site restaurant, and fully equipped rooms. it’s also near Old Spitalfields Market, Brick Lane Marke,Old Street Station and Liverpool Street Station where train to London Stansted Airport.
budget ($): Point A Hotel London Shoreditch Three-star hotel is within easy walk from Shoreditch High Street. There is comfortable rooms, 24 hour reception, and free high-speed wifi.🔍MORE HOTELS IN SHOREDITCH
Where should I stay in London for the first time?
Covent Garden is the best area to stay in London for first-timers due to its close proximity to top attractions such as Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Parliament, and Tower of London. If you stay here, you will be located in the middle of everything.
What is the safest area to stay in London for tourists?
The central area such as Mayfair or Covent Garden are the safest areas to stay in London for tourist. These areas has plenty of things to do and see but as you travel to any city, it’s essential to be aware of surroundings and stay on well-lit area.
How many days do you really need in London?
Well, that depends on what you want to do and see! Generally, I’d recommend at least 3-4 days to hit the major sights, but if you’re a history buff or love museums, you could easily spend a week exploring. It’s a big city with lots to offer, so take your time and enjoy!
See more: Where to stay in Edinburgh
Overall, Covent Garden is the best area to stay in London for first-timers because it is the most convenient location to see London’s top attractions. If you stay here, you will be located within walking distance to attractions, as well as many restaurants, bars, and shops.