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.
- Where to Stay in London
- London Neighbourhood Guide
- London’s 5 Best Neighbourhoods to Stay in
- #1 Covent Garden – Where to Stay in London for Your First Time
- #2 South Bank/Southwark – Where to Stay in London on a Budget
- #3 Soho – Where to Stay in London for Nightlife
- #4 Shoreditch – Coolest Place to Stay in London
- #5 South Kensington – Where to Stay in London for Families
- FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in London
- Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in London
Looking for a specific place to stay but don’t have much time? Don’t sweat. There are plenty of luxury hotels, epic hostels, homestays, and bed and breakfasts spread across the great city.
But these are my highest-rated recommendations for places to stay in the city.
Best Airbnb in London: Private room in central location
This massive room is great for travellers who visit London as first time visitors. The apartment is located in central Leicester Square which is the ideal location for visiting London. There are lots of great places, cafes and restaurants around. You’ll also get free breakfast every morning. The main bathroom is shared, however, you’ll have a private toilet. If you’ve seen enough of the city, you can enjoy the free Netflix and Amazon Prime Video on your TV.
Best Homestay in London – Double Room in Kings’ X House share
There are few better locations in town than this London homestay, and that’s just the beginning of what makes this place so awesome! Your friendly homestay hosts will welcome you each morning with a complimentary breakfast, and there’s beer too (although you don’t have to have that in the morning). There’s an open plan living space and a garden, and a couple of great places to relax with your host too.
If you’re feeling competitive, challenge them to a game on the pinball machine.
Best Hostel in London: The Walrus Hostel
The Walrus Hostel wins our vote for the best hostel in London because of its excellent location, fantastic facilities and great prices – ideal for budget travellers. It boasts spacious and comfortable rooms with cozy beds and modern features. You can choose between dorm rooms and private rooms. Free wifi and a simple breakfast is also included with each reservation.
Best Hotel in London: Citizenm London Shoreditch
Citizenm is the most stunning hotel in London. Set in the trendy Shoreditch neighbourhood, this four-star hotel is surrounded by options for nightlife, dining, shopping, and sightseeing. It offers a range of comfortable and spacious rooms that come complete with wireless internet, en suite bathrooms, and essential amenities.
Unlock the The Broke Backpacker’s GREATEST Travel Secrets!
Sign up for The Broke Backpacker Newsletter below to receive weekly tips on the travel-life + a FREE copy of The Backpacker Bible!
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. Here you can find anything from budget hotels to luxury hotels, 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!
There is one item every traveller NEEDS. Some travellers don’t even know they need it, but those travellers need it more than anyone.
What is this forgotten essential of the backpacker-life? SPOILERS! Guess you’ll just have to click the button to find out. 😉Find Out What It Is!
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.
Things to See and Do in Covent Garden
– Enjoy a show at London’s West End or Royal Opera House.
– Take a short walk to St. James Palace and Buckingham Palace.
– Marvel at St Paul’s Church.
– Admire the architecture of Somerset House.
– Delve deep into the world of cars, buses and beyond at the London Transport Museum.
– Shop for handmade goods and unusual items at the Apple Market.
– View an incredible collection of art at The National Gallery.
– Dine on excellent seafood at The Oystermen Seafood Bar & Kitchen.
– Feast on modern British cuisine at Drury 188-189.
– Satisfy your sweet tooth at Ben’s Cookies.
– Grab a pint at the Marquess of Anglesey pub.
– Get lost at Piccadilly circus trying to find Trafalgar Square.
Best Airbnb in Covent Garden: Private room in central location
This massive room is great for travellers who visit London for the first time. The apartment is located in central Leicester Square. There are lots of great places, cafes and restaurants around. You’ll also get free breakfast every morning. The main bathroom is shared, however, you’ll have a private toilet. If you’ve seen enough of the city, you can enjoy the free Netflix and Amazon Prime Video on your TV.
Best Hostel in Covent Garden: Strand Continental
This is one of the best hotels in London to stay in thanks to its friendly atmosphere, excellent location and unbeatable price. It offers mixed dorms as well as single, double, and family hotel rooms. There’s also free wifi, shared bathrooms, and free continental breakfast. For anyone looking for the best budget hotel in London, I’ve found it for you.
Best Hotel in Covent Garden: The Resident Covent Garden
This four-star hotel is located in the vibrant West End in Covent Garden, the best neighborhood in London to stay in for sightseeing. It is close to great shops, restaurants, theatres and tourist attractions. They offer a variety of facilities and features, including walk-in showers, sinks with BRITA filter water tap, a kettle with free Fairtrade teas, and Nespresso coffee machine with free capsules. Now that’s what I call luxury!
Best Hotel in Covent Garden: Strand Palace Hotel London
The Strand Palace Hotel is situated at the heart of the city. It is an easy walk to the West End Theatre District and is close to popular tourist attractions and landmarks. Rooms are comfortable, spacious and luxurious and each is outfitted with a variety of modern amenities. In my opinion, this is the best luxury boutique hotel in the city.
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.
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.
Things to See and Do in South Bank/Southwark
– Explore The Queen’s Walk.
– Rest and relax in Jubilee Gardens.
– Snack and sample your way through the South Bank Centre Food Markets.
– Catch a classical or musical performance at the National Theatre.
– See your favourite sea creatures and aquatic animals at SEA LIFE London Aquarium.
– Enjoy a feast at Pieminister.
– Slurp a hot and filling bowl at Neds Noodle Bar.
– Dine on a cheeky curry from Chilli Chutney Waterloo.
– Excite your sense at the Borough Market.
– Take a short walk to marvel at St Paul’s Cathedral.
– Visit Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
– See The Shard.
– Browse the exhibits at the Tate Modern or National Portrait Gallery.
– Walk up to Tower Bridge and the Towers of London
Best Airbnb in South Bank/Southwark: Affordable room in shared flat
Wanting to a stylish accommodation in London but you’re on a budget? This Airbnb might be worth having a look at. The private room in a shared flat is affordable, spacious and clean. You can use all the amenities in the apartment. The host is known for being very helpful and offers great advice during your stay. Previous guests felt very comfortable and have left only the best reviews.
Best Hostel in South Bank/Southwark: The Walrus Hostel
The Walrus Hostel wins our vote for the best hostel in London because of its excellent location and fantastic facilities. It boasts spacious and comfortable rooms with cosy beds and modern features. Free wifi and a simple breakfast are also included with each reservation.
Best Hotel in South Bank/Southwark: St Christopher’s Inn Village
This charming property is ideally located in London. It is close to well-known tourist attractions, including the Millennium Bridge and Tate Modern, as well as restaurants, bars and shops. It offers comfortable and affordable accommodations and boasts modern rooms with heating, wireless internet and a shared garden. If you’re in town to party, this hostel has many events happening which makes it one of the best party hostels in London.
Best Hotel in South Bank/Southwark: The Wellington Hotel London
The Wellington Hotel is in a great spot for sightseeing. It is within walking distance of museums, landmarks, and theatres, and is surrounded by eateries, pubs and shops. Rooms have historic charm and modern amenities. Guests can also enjoy free wifi and an on-site coffee bar.
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.
Things to See and Do in Soho
– Shop until you drop on Oxford Street.
– Excite your senses in lively Leicester Square.
– Feast on steak and other delicious English options at Blacklock Soho.
– Grab a snack at Cahoots.
– Indulge in amazing treats at Choccywoccydoodah.
– Listen to live jazz at Ronnie Scott’s.
– Enjoy amazing views of the city from the Soho Sky Terrace.
– Sip a cheeky pint at John Snow Pub.
– Dance the night away at The Box.
– Let your hair down at Freedom Bar.
– Drink sophisticated cocktails at The Bag O’Nails.
– See and be seen at Aqua Spirit.
Best Airbnb in Soho: Private room in luxurious flat
You really can’t get any close to the cities nightlife! This Airbnb is right in the middle of great bars and pubs. Located in central Soho, close to Oxford street, you can be sure that you’ll always find a place for a great night out. You’ll have a private room to yourself, including a private bathroom. The flat itself is luxurious and well designed, with high-quality amenities in the common areas.
Best Hostel in Soho: SoHostel London
This lively, bright and airy hostel in London is a great option for accommodation. It is conveniently located in London’s Soho neighbourhood and there are plenty of bars, restaurants and clubs nearby. It has more than 100 comfortable rooms, a sun-soaked terrace, as well as a café and bar.
Best Hotel in Soho: Z Hotel Tottenham Court Road
Located in nearby Westminster, this hotel is in an ideal location for walking to London’s best bars, clubs and restaurants. It is also close to Leicester Square, Picadilly Circus, and offers easy access to some of the best things to do in London including the museums. Each room comes complete with air conditioning, a private bathroom, and modern amenities.
Best Hotel in Soho: Mimi’s Hotel Soho
Mimi’s Hotel Soho is a charming and modern four-star hotel. It offers comfortable and cosy rooms that are outfitted with a range of essential features. Guests of this hotel can enjoy free wifi as well as luggage storage and concierge services.
A new country, a new contract, a new piece of plastic – booooring. Instead, buy an eSIM!
An eSIM works just like an app: you buy it, you download it, and BOOM! You’re connected. It’s just that easy.
Is your phone eSIM ready? Read about how e-Sims work or click below to see one of the top eSIM providers on the market and ditch the plastic.Buy an eSIM!
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.
Things to See and Do in Shoreditch
– Explore the trendy shops, bars and food huts at Boxpark Shoreditch.
– Eat your way through Urban Food Fest.
– Experience one of London’s most dynamic arts centres, Rich Mix.
– Sip cocktails at Hoxton Hall.
– Sample a range of drinks at The Cocktail Trading Company.
– Indulge in outstanding Italian fare at Popolo Shoreditch.
– Dine on delicious Asian food at 100 Hoxton.
– Drink refreshing cocktails at Callooh Callay.
– Snack on great pub fare at Old Street Records.
– Marvel at the views from the rooftop terrace at the Golden Bee.
– Enjoy excellent cocktails in a laid-back atmosphere at Found.
– Sink your teeth into a great burger at Bar Kick.
Best Airbnb in Shoreditch: Stylish 2nd floor studio
This Airbnb isn’t just located in the coolest areas in London – it’s also pretty unique itself. The stylish and very well-designed studio offers the perfect experience of central London city life. You’ll have every amenity you might need, as well as super-fast wifi and a smart TV. Great for spending a day inside or working online if you’ve seen enough of the busy streets.
Best Hostel in Shoreditch: Prime Backpackers Angel
Prime Backpackers Angel hostel in the prime location near Shoreditch, ideal for those visiting London for a night out. Because of its comfortable beds, sociable atmosphere and affordable price, this is one of the best hostels in London to meet fellow travellers. It has a massive, fully equipped kitchen, a spacious chill-out lounge with a TV, board games, book exchange and free computer for guests to use. If you feel like being sociable, they organise events throughout the week.
Best Hotel in Shoreditch: Point A Hotel London Shoreditch
This hotel is conveniently located in the best area to stay in London for hipsters. It is in close proximity to a variety of trendy bars, world-class restaurants,and energetic clubs. Rooms for comfortable and cosy and each has modern amenities and features.
Best Hotel in Shoreditch: Citizenm London Shoreditch
Citizenm is the best hotel in London. Set in the trendy Shoreditch neighbourhood, this four-star hotel is surrounded by options for nightlife, dining, shopping and sightseeing. It offers a range of comfortable and spacious rooms that come complete with wireless internet, en suite bathrooms and essential amenities.
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 such as The Natural History Museum, world-renowned shops, delicious restaurants and delectable bakeries. Because there’s so much to see, do and eat in South Kensington, this area is our top pick for where to stay in London for families.
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. Covering everything from the sciences and natural history to decorative arts and sculpture, South Kensington will broaden your horizons and spark your curiosities.
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 and boutique hotels in the city.
Things to See and Do in South Kensington
– Delve deep into history at the Natural History Museum.
– See the Tardis Police Box, a must for Dr Who fans.
– Browse the exhibits at the incredible Science Museum.
– Grab a slice at Pizzetta Pizza.
– Indulge in delicious Indian dishes at Khan’s of Kensington.
– Enjoy afternoon tea at the royal residence of Kensington Palace Pavilion.
– Enjoy a sweet treat from Oddono’s Gelati Italiani.
– View an awesome collection of art and design at the V&A – Victoria & Albert Museum.
– Shop until you drop at Harrod’s.
– Catch a performance at Royal Albert Hall.
– Drink afternoon tea at Town House Kensington.
– Pack a picnic and enjoy an afternoon in Hyde Park.
Best Airbnb in South Kensington: 2 floor family home
Accommodating up to 6 people, this Airbnb is perfect for big families. The apartment is spread over two floors. There are two massive bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms. The kitchen is fully equipped and ready to be used. The host also provides a couple of table games- a great way to get together after a busy day. The area is family-friendly with cute cafes and restaurants just around the corner.
Best Hostel in South Kensington: Safestay London Kensington
This is one of the best London accommodation options if your family is travelling on a budget. Set in the heart of London, this hostel is close to shops, restaurants, parks and museums. It has three different houses that offer a range of standard rooms as well as private family suites.
Best Hotel in South Kensington: The Harrington
The Harrington is conveniently located in one of London’s best neighbourhoods. It is close to the London tube and is within walking distance of great museums and verdant parks. This property provides spacious apartments that are well-outfitted and ideal for families.
Best Hotel in South Kensington: DoubleTree by Hilton, South Kensington
This is our top pick for where to stay in London with kids because it offers spacious rooms in a great location. This four-star hotel offers a range of features, including a sauna, a gym, and a continental breakfast each morning. Rooms provide modern accommodation with ensuite bathrooms and comfortable beds.
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.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for London
It’s good to get lost sometimes, but it’s also good not to get too lost. There are people that want you home in one piece.
There’s one travel insurance provider The Broke Backpacker trusts for all his wildest shenanigans… World Nomads!
Click the button below to get a quote on your insurance or read our in-depth review of World Nomads’ coverage. And then… let the shenanigans begin. 😉
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.
Thanks for reading – that was fun! 😀
We bring you epic FREE content!
Find out how YOU can help support us.
We’re a big site with a big team and this job isn’t always easy. But we do it because we love it – we love providing epic and free content. We love the knowledge that our content keeps you adventuring. We don’t ask for money, but if you’d like to find out how you can help the site in more organic ways, click the button below.
Thank you for your support 🙂
Bye for now, but not forever!
If you want MORE top-tier Broke Backpacker content like this, then sign up for our weekly newsletter below to get the latest and greatest!
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!