The Big Smoke. The Swinging City. The home of Big Ben and fish and chips. The British metropolis city of London has so much more to offer than palaces, museums and greasy food (though these are the greatest things about the city).
It is also home to a multi-cultural and diverse population, with each district offering something vibrant and unique.
Whether you’re in town for a West End production in Covent Garden or you’re looking for high-class afternoon tea in Kensington, or you want to paint the town red in a SoHo strip club. There is a little something for everyone in this bustling city.
When it comes to where to stay in London, there is a plethora of options. The city itself is huge, and while getting around is easy, good accommodation and transport doesn’t come cheap.
Which is exactly why I put together this insider’s guide together, so you can choose to stay somewhere nearby all the places you want to see and save a few quid on transport.
This in-depth guide looks at the best places to stay in London organized by your interests. I’ll be showing you the top neighbourhoods for first-timers, for families, party animals and culture vultures and I’ll also share with you exactly what to see and do in each area (including some hidden gems along the way).
So, no matter what you’re into, I’ve got you covered.
London Neighborhood Guide – Places to Stay in London
This lively and vibrant neighbourhood is located in the centre of the city. It is home to incredible tourist attractions and boasts a fantastic selection of world-class restaurants, high-quality shops and boisterous bars.
The South Bank and Southwark neighbourhoods are located on the southern side of the Thames River. These are two of London’s best neighbourhoods for sightseeing because of their excellent location
Set north of the city centre is the lively, vibrant and trendy Soho neighbourhood. It boasts an excellent mix of cocktail bars, traditional pubs, theatres, speakeasies, restaurants and cafes, which is why this is our top recommendation for where to stay in London for nightlife.
Without a doubt, Shoreditch is one of the coolest places to stay in London. Located east of the city centre, this neighbourhood is a hipster haven complete with art galleries, cafes, vintage shops, bars and restaurant.
London’s South Kensington neighbourhood is a luxurious neighbourhood set west of the city centre. It is one of the more affluent areas of the city and boasts a variety of incredible museums, world-renowned shops, delicious restaurants and delectable bakeries.
London is a megalopolis bursting with history, culture, music, art, and nightlife. It is the capital and largest city in the United Kingdom and is the biggest city in the European Union. London is generally a safe place to travel for tourists.
Greater London consists of 32 London boroughs as well as the City of London (found in the centre of the city). It is home to more than 8.8 million people and covers a vast area of 1,572 square kilometres. Because there’s so much to see and do, we’ve decided to focus this London neighbourhood guide on the five best areas to stay in based on the major attractions in each area.
Covent Garden is the city’s main tourist district. Here you’ll find a great variety of lively theatres, bustling shops, and boisterous restaurants. It is centrally located in the city and allows for easy access to the main attractions, which is why it’s one of the best places to stay in Central London. In London, you can find all kinds of hotels from budget to Luxury, and even some cheap hostels too.
Head across the river and you’ll arrive in Southbank. A fantastic neighbourhood for visiting London’s art galleries, here you’ll find the London Eye, the Tate Modern and a whole host of budget accommodation such as cheap hotels and hostels, making it a great choice for a place to stay in South London for one night.
Slightly north of the city centre is the energetic and eclectic Soho neighbourhood. Packed with cocktail bars, theatres, underground speakeasies, and world-class restaurants, Soho is definitely the best area in London to stay in if you’re looking for vibrant nightlife.
Set northeast of the city centre is Shoreditch. One of the coolest places to stay in East London, Shoreditch is a vibrant neighbourhood home to trendy restaurants, hip bars, cool art galleries, and independent shops. It’s also home to some of London’s cheapest hostels, so it’s a win-win.
And finally, west of the city centre is South Kensington. Home to huge parks such as Hyde Park, museums, restaurants and shops, South Kensington is our top pick for where to stay in West London with kids because it’s packed with great activities and major attractions.
Still not sure where to stay in London? Don’t worry because we’ve got all the info you need – and more – coming right up!
Make sure you know as much as possible before visiting London. Use our backpacking London guide to gain valuable information and to travel like a pro!
London’s 5 Best Neighbourhoods to Stay in
Now, that I’ve introduced you to the top five neighbourhoods, it’s time to dive into our in-depth list for the best areas to stay in London.
If you’re not sure where to stay for your first time, look no further than Covent Garden. This lively and vibrant neighbourhood is located in the centre of the city in the vibrant west end. It is home to incredible tourist attractions and boasts a fantastic selection of world-class restaurants, high-quality shops – especially in Covent Garden market, as well as boisterous bars. Covent Garden is also where you’ll find the vast majority of London’s world-renowned theatre scene, where you can see top performers strut their stuff on stage.
Thanks to its convenient location, Covent Garden is also one of the best places in Central London to stay for sightseeing. In Covent Garden, you’re in close proximity to popular tourist attractions and landmarks, including Oxford Street which is the most famous shopping street in the city, Buckingham Palace and Big Ben, the British Museum, the National Gallery, the London Eye, London Bridge and Westminster Abbey.
It also has excellent transport links to everywhere in London, and if you want to venture outside of the capital for a day trip from London, King’s Cross Station and Waterloo Station are not too far away.
Usually, people think London is expensive. But it doesn’t have to be!
The South Bank and Southwark neighbourhoods are located on the southern side of the River Thames. They’re two of London’s best neighborhoods for sightseeing because of their excellent location. Not only do they boast a number of popular landmarks and attractions, like the London Eye and Tate Modern, but South Bank/Southwark are a short walk from Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Covent Gardens, Soho and more.
There are so many things to do in South Bank, you’ll be spoilt for choice! These neighbourhoods are our top pick for where to stay in London on a budget because of their high concentrations of backpacker hostels and mid range hotels. Here you can enjoy the very best of London without bursting your budget.
Set north of the city centre is the lively, vibrant and trendy Soho neighbourhood. It boasts an excellent mix of cocktail bars, traditional pubs, theatres, speakeasies, restaurants and cafes, which is why this is our top recommendation for where to stay in London for nightlife. Whether you’re looking to dance the night away, sip a cheeky pint, or watch a lively play, Soho is a neighbourhood bursting with options for after-dark fun.
Although Soho is one of the best areas to stay in London, it should be noted that some parts can be a little rough at night and noisy – it really comes to life in London on weekends, especially in SoHo, so if you’re down to party this is the place to stay. Take a bit of extra caution when exploring Soho after dark, and you’ll no doubt enjoy the neighbourhood.
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Without a doubt, Shoreditch is one of the coolest places to stay in East London. Located just outside of the city centre, this neighbourhood is a hipster haven complete with art galleries, cafes, vintage shops, bars, and restaurants. It boasts an exciting mix of informal hangouts that attracts creatives, entrepreneurs, and independent spirits from all corners of the city. Shoreditch is perhaps the best area of London to stay in for young adults or students.
In addition to being the best neighborhood to stay in London for hipsters and trendsetters, Shoreditch is also a fantastic place to visit in London for shopping. Tucked throughout this northeastern London borough are a myriad of local and independent boutiques as well as vintage shops where you can find gently used fashions, accessories and furniture, as well as books, jewelers and more.
London’s South Kensington is a luxurious neighbourhood set west of the city centre. It is one of the more affluent areas of the city and boasts a variety of incredible museums – in fact, South Kensington is home to three of the best museums in the city, which is why we think it’s the best neighborhood to stay in London with kids, as well as being just a short tube ride away from London Zoo.
If you’re looking for a sophisticated vacation in London, South Kensington is also super close to Notting Hill, which has some of the highest-class bars and restaurants in the city. You’ll also find the best luxury hotels with private hot tubs and boutique hotels in the city.
FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in London
Here’s what people usually ask us about the areas of London and where to stay.
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Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in London
London is a vibrant and multicultural city that is bursting with history, culture, food, nightlife, shopping and entertainment. It’s one of the largest cities in the world, and no matter how long you stay, you’ll leave feeling like there’s so much to add to your London itinerary. That’s why, for me, a trip to London is always a good idea.
In this London neighbourhood guide, we’ve looked at the best places to stay in the city. If you’re still not sure which neighbourhood is right for you, here is a quick recap.
The Walrus Hostel is our favourite hostel because of its excellent location, modern facilities and unbeatable prices.
Another good option is the Citizenm London Shoreditch. Set in London’s coolest neighbourhood, this four-star hotel is in close proximity to nightlife, shopping, dining and sightseeing.
Do you have a favourite place to stay in London? Let me know in the comments.
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!