Where to Stay in London
9 Best Areas & Places
2. Covent Garden
3. South Bank
5. Westminster & St James’s Park
8. Notting Hill
9. Camden Town
When travelling to London, of course you want to find the perfect place to stay at! In this article we focus on 9 of the best areas and places we believe you can pick when in London – whether you’re looking for top sights, genuine London atmosphere, historic surroundings, shopping options, top-notch restaurants or quirky pubs.
Inspiration for London trip: 12 Hours in London and London 3-day Itinerary and Darwin in Cambridge
The Temple district is probably best known for its Temple Church. At the same time the local neighbourhood covers one of the most striking and legendary periods in British history. In case you want to discover and explore the secret sides of the Knights Templar and their amazing past, you may choose to stay around the Temple area.
To the north the Temple neighbourhood is bordered by the Strand and Fleet Street, to the south the River Thames, to the east Whitefriars Street and Carmelite Street, and to the west King’s College.
The Temple Church is an 800-year old round church located in a secluded courtyard. Even today, it shows an outstanding fragment of London’s exciting past. Constructed by the Knights Templar, an order of crusading monks who saw it as their task to protect pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem, it still serves to tell the Templar history.
Inside the Church you will catch sight of impressive stone statues of the former Knights Templar, placed atop their tombs.
A special thing to notice inside the Round Church is Magna Carta, the charter of rights agreed to by King John in 1215. It represents the earliest version of England’s state law and was a document formulated by William Marshall whose tomb can also be visited inside the Church.
For a stylish hotel with an excellent location in London, you may want to take a look at the Strand Palace Hotel.
Would you like to explore the site of London’s iconic flower and vegetable market? The old market has today been moved elsewhere – but the location remains as one of London’s best places to feel the vibe, discover small bars and be entertained. So when you are to decide where to stay in London – you definitely should have places around Covent Garden in mind.
Bordered by the Strand to the south and Chinatown to the east, Covent Garden is one of the popular areas in London West End. The Covent Garden neighbourhood is probably best known for its historic Covent Garden Market, once known as an amazing London flower, fruit and vegetable market. Therefore, it is also nicknamed the Apple Market. With time the flower market was transferred to Vauxhall as the New Covent Garden Market – where you will now find England’s largest market of its kind.
Covent Garden is today a lovely, vibrant place in London, brimming with fashionable shops, upscale boutiques, fine restaurants and trendy bars – yet with easy access to great entertainment, for instance in the Royal Opera House where performances by the world-class Royal Opera or Royal Ballet companies take place, or in the Lyceum Theatre for musicals and other performances.
Often street performers entertain at the Covent Garden square (a tradition since the 1660s) – and it is one of the best places in this part of London for people watching.
A hidden gem is Neal’s Yard, a picture-postcard place tucked in between lush brick house facades and two small alleyways!
Another site to visit is London Transport Museum with unique historic vehicles.
When you consider where to stay in London, Covent Garden may be a good pick – it is one of the best places in London with a great and authentic vibe!
Would you like to stay in a neighbourhood in London where you will be conveniently located for London Eye and also centrally located for many other sights, museums, theatres and places of interes in central London? Then the South Bank will be a good choice!
The South Bank, the area south of the River Thames just opposite Westminster and Covent Garden, include great attractions such as the iconic London Eye, The Dungeons and SEA LIFE Centre London Aquarium. From London Eye you will be able to enjoy absolutely panoramic views of great parts of London!
For entertainment you may want to throw yourself into a speedboat tour on the Thames, or try a big-screen experience at BFI Southbank or BFI IMAX.
If you are more into theatre experiences, you will have the National Theatre, The Old Vic and Young Vic Theatre within reach, as well as the smaller 100-seat studio theatre Waterloo East Theatre which plays inside a converted railway arch.
For places to eat, you may want to explore the restaurants and bars at Gabriel’s Wharf.
Would you like to stay near great attractions such as the landmark London Eye and the iconic Big Ben? Then check out the modern Park Plaza Westminster Bridge with a wealth of amenities such as swimming pool, brasserie, Japanese sushi, Italian coffee, Spanish tapas and British afternoon tea.
Would you like to stay a little bit outside London – where you will have the opportunity to explore top sights such as the Royal Observatory Greenwich and the famous Prime Meridian Line – and still have easy access to the rest of London by train, tube, bus or take a cruise from Greenwich to Westminster (affiliate link) on the River Thames? Do you fancy the idea of returning to green surroundings to chill after a long day of London sightseeing? In this case Greenwich could be your first choice.
Famed for its Royal Observatory Greenwich where the renowned Greenwich Mean Time is defined, Greenwich is the place where you will be able to stand with one leg on each side of the Prime Meridian Line! Moreover, you will in addition to the planetarium be able to explore England’s largest refracting telescope, as well as a 4.5 billion-year-old asteroid. Afterwards, chill in Greenwich Park, the vast park surrounding the Royal Observatory – which back in the day used to be a hunting park!
In Greenwich you can also visit Cutty Sark, the only remaining tea clipper, a 19th-century ship, which brought tea from China to England.
Other sites to visit in Greenwich are the Queen’s House and the National Maritime Museum. Inside the museum you will, beyond being introduced to the Royal Navy, gain insight into the life of the great British hero Admiral Nelson who participated in the Battle of Trafalgar.
Don’t miss Greenwich Market – an amazing market for crafts, design, antiques and world-famous food specialities!
Would you like to stay in a hotel with a top location overlooking the historic Greenwich and still with a handy location for train connections to central London? In this case Clarendon Hotel may be one of the best places you can pick for your London stay!
An excellent area to stay in is the neighbourhood around St James’s Park and Westminster. The park itself is a picturesque green and peaceful space in the middle of bustling London, all close to Buckingham Palace. From the bridge across the park lake you can enjoy the view of the Royal castle.
Staying in this neighbourhood around Westminster will give you the opportunity to start the day with a lovely stroll in green surroundings before throwing yourself into sightseeing in London. At the same time you will be in the heart of London with easy access to some of the most fascinating historic buildings, not least the famous Big Ben, part of the Palace of Westminster, as well as Westminster Abbey.
In fact St James’s Park is the oldest park in London, and it has a fascinating history – right from being a leper hospital dedicated to James the Less (hence the name), being royal hunting grounds for deer and duck hunting, to being an unusual zoological park with animals such as crocodiles, an elephant, pelicans, as well as a diversity of other birds.
Just south of St James’s Park you will find the area known as Westminster – which was actually once an island in London! This is the real heart of the city, and Westminster is an attractive neighbourhood full of significant buildings and historic landmarks, as well as traditional bars and restaurants – ideal for a British pub lunch!
Westminster Abbey (named so since there was previously also an ‘Eastminster’) and the Palace of Westminster are over a thousand years old. You can join a tour of the Palace of Westminster to gain insight into this World Heritage Site. One of the major sights here is of course the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster, Big Ben! In 2012 it was named the Elizabeth Tower as a tribute to the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II.
Westminster Abbey is the fabulous Gothic abbey church in London. Since 1066 it has hosted all coronations in England. It has been location of Royal weddings and has tombs of famous people inside, as well as a large number of other burials and monuments.
Not far from Westminster Abbey you will find the Churchill War Rooms, the Horse Guards Parade at Whitehall, as well as 10 Downing Street, home of the Prime Minister since 1735.
For one of the best places to stay within these areas in London, an option with a superb location is the Victorian The Sanctuary House Hotel. The lush St James’s Park and vibrant Oxford Street are only minutes away from the hotel.
Would you like to stay in one of the poshest and most unique places in London where you can enjoy fine-dining and upscale bars? – and still have a whole range of historic places to discover?
Mayfair is squeezed in between Soho and Hyde Park, and bordered by Green Park and St James’s Park to the south and Oxford Street to the north. It is really easy to find green spaces to chill out – either in one of the vast parks – or even in smaller neighbourhood parks within Mayfair.
Originally an 18th-century district in London with an annual ‘May Fair’, Mayfair has still to some extent kept the ambiance of the past with fabulous architecture and old mews. It is now among the poshest areas to stay in London with upscale flats in impressive mansions, upmarket restaurants with a gourmet cuisine, high-end boutiques and trendy cocktail bars, as well as traditional pub life at its best.
When it comes to entertainment there is no shortage – whether it is shopping, dining or evening entertainment. You will have Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street within reach for full-scale shopping!
At the same time you will get the opportunity to explore historic places, galleries and fine museums full of hidden gems in the elegant neighbourhood. Don’t miss out on the Royal Academy of Arts!
The Chesterfield Mayfair is a top-class hotel in Mayfair, one of the best areas in London where you can enjoy shopping and upmarket restaurants just round the corner. The hotel is conveniently located close to vibrant Oxford Street with all its diversified shopping options.
Maybe you would like to find hotel in Kensington if you want to be near the great museums such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Science Museum, and the Natural History Museum. Besides, you may also enjoy an early morning stroll through Hyde Park or at Portobello Road Market. In this way you will be a bit away from the bustling city, but still near enough for your day sightseeing in the British capital.
Kensington is one of the best places in London to stay to take advantage of free museum entry to top-class museums such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, the awesome Science Museum with great inventions, and the Natural History Museum with a giant blue whale, a roaring T.rex and other prehistoric dinosaurs. You will also be able to gain insight into Darwin’s theory of biological evolution by natural selection.
Afterwards, chill out or go for a brisk walk in Kensington Gardens or Hyde Park with the special Speakers’ Corner which has existed since 1872. Here, anyone can step up to speak in public on any preferred subject. Moreover, Kensington Gardens feature the Albert Memorial, a true piece of art commemorating the death of Prince Albert, as well as the symbolic and world-famous statue of Peter Pan!
Later, you will maybe enjoy a stroll through Kensingtons’s historic cobbled streets and mews! Another site to see and maybe visit is the Royal Albert Hall, for instance known for hosting the BBC Proms.
In Kensington you will also be near Portobello Road Market, which during the weekends is a real gem of antiques and jewelry, as well as the perfect place to discover food from all over the world.
When longing for a luxury store, Harrods in Knightsbridge is a must-see (even if you are not going to buy anything, but just want to experience with your eyes). It was inaugurated in 1849 as a tea and grocery store. Here you can get nearly any item or goods you can think of! Don’t miss out on the spectacular food halls! Afterwards, it is easy to find a fine-dining restaurant in the area.
Kensington is really one of the best areas you can stay in London. For a unique experience you may want to consider the Radisson Blu Edwardian Vanderbilt Hotel which is a top-class hotel with a lavish interior, Italian marble bathrooms and high-quality bedrooms.
Would you like to wake up and walk right out on Portobello Road Market? Or maybe join the annual Notting Hill Carnival? In this case there is not much doubt where in London to stay: Notting Hill!
Just north of Kensington you will find Notting Hill. It is really a mix of eclectic styles, outstanding architecture, street art, market stalls and much more.
Rows of pastel houses, picturesquely set in the london neighbourhood – Lancaster Road, Clarendon Road and Westbourne Grove are all brilliant examples of pretty roads wrapped in shades of pastel colours.
The big draw in Notting Hill is Portobello Road Market, the largest antiques market in the world consisting of over 1,000 stalls. It is the perfect place to find collectables, antiques, retro items and other fascinating gems.
After the 1958 race riots, a new event saw the light of day in this part of London – the first one being organised in St Pancras Town Hall. The Notting Hill Carnival subsequently sprang out from the the first Notting Hill Street Festival in 1965 – and from 1966 the Notting Hill Carnival was a recurring annual event in Notting Hill!
Finally, the Electric Cinema is also worth a visit. It’s one of the oldest and most enchanting cinemas in the country.
Would you like to stay in one of the best areas in this part of London for an amazing market experience – with the renowned Portobello Market just round the corner?
Camden Town is one of the alternative areas in London, picturesquely set at a small canal. If you like the vibe of a neighbourhood where you will find a heaven of small open-air markets with quirky market stalls, the iconic Roundhouse, dynamic street performers and great live music, it is maybe Camden Town you should consider for your stay – especially if you are a real shopping addict whether it is the big brands, vintage clothing, antiques or special-style items you are after. It is also a great place for people watching!
Camden Town dates as a residential area back to the 1790s. Anyway, it was only much later that the development of the Grand Union Canal together with a better railway service, converting this part of London into an attractive and bustling part of the city, took place.
Today, you will come here for the extraordinary finds at the Camden markets. You can stroll around for hours to find the most unique pieces and find new (and alternative) inspiration for your clothing, as well as curious items for your home. Camden’s markets are popular among locals and visitors alike! You may well combine your shopping and haggling skills with trying some interesting cuisine and taking the opportunity to discover fascinating musical talents and engaging artists.
There has always been an intriguing live music scene here – spanning over a wide range of performances, including theatre shows, for instance at the Etcetera Theatre.
The Camden open-air markets include Camden Lock Market with crafts, vintage, antiques, clothing and cheap eats, Camden Lock Village with a wide range of clothing, accessories and quite unusual stuff, and Camden Market (once named Buck Street) with more fashion in their assortment – just to mention a few.
The area is also quite idyllic along the Camden Lock canal (Regent’s Canal) inviting for a stroll! Try a boat trip or a water bus to Little Venice, or plan a picnic here at the Camden Locks in the scenic surroundings.
Maybe you want to stay a bit outside central London – in one of the areas where you will find a local neighbourhood atmosphere and some of the best alternative markets in London? Holiday Inn London Camden Lock may then be a good option for your stay in Camden Town.
Where to Stay in London – Best Places, Areas & Neighbourhoods
Do you need a 3-day itinerary for your London trip? Check here what you can cover in 3 days: London 3-day Itinerary
Read next: 6 Best Places to Stay in Barcelona and Visit Gaudí in Barcelona
Travel Insurance / Visa
Have you considered what you will do in the (unlikely) event of something unforeseen happening? Do you need a travel insurance? Check here if you need a travel insurance for your trip – and check here if you need a visa for your trip and apply for it!
Where to Stay in London – Best Places, Areas & Neighbourhoods
Featured image of
Where to Stay in London – Best Places, Areas, Neighbourhoods:
Rudy and Peter Skitterians / Pixabay
Where to Stay in London
Best Places, Areas & Neighbourhoods