German Version: Wo sollte man in London übernachten!
London is huge. Thus, when booking a hotel in London, you have to choose between many neighbourhoods. Which part of London is the best one for you depends on your needs and interests. In some areas there are many world-famous tourist attractions, some neighbourhoods are great for going out at night and others are pretty quite and full of nature.
Where to stay in London depending on your needs
- Low budget
- Alternative culture
- Shopping lover
- With kids
- Party people
- Nature lover
- Luxury lover
London for first-timers
Option 1 - Westminster
You are in London for the first time? Then I guess you want to visit typical tourist attractions like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Hyde Park and Westminster Abbey. These famous sightseeing spots are located in the south part of the "City of Westminster". From a hotel close to the tube stations Hyde Park Corner, Westminster or Victoria you can walk to all these attractions. To visit other famous locations there are different tube and bus connections (e.g. District or Circle Line to Tower of London, bus to St. Pauls Cathedral or Northern Line to Camden Market).
Option 2 - Piccadilly Circus
A hotel close to Piccadilly Circus is also great when visiting London for the first time. Londons most famous crossroad is already a well-known tourist attraction itself but from there you can also walk to other sightseeing spots like China Town (3 Min.), the National Gallery (5 Min.), St James Park (10 Min.) or Oxford Street (10 Min.). Moreover, the Piccadilly Line brings you to most other parts of the city. And at night you can go out in the neighbouring area SOHO.
Option 3 - Kings Cross
A hotel close to Kings Cross is one of the best choices when visiting London for the first time because the train station is a central hub in London. With the Piccadilly Line you are at Piccadilly Circus or Hyde Park within a few minutes. The Northern Line brings you to Camden in 5 minutes, the Circle Line to the Tower in 15 minutes and the Victoria Line to Oxford Street or Green Park (Buckingham Palace) in approx. 5 minutes. Actually, you can reach almost everything in London from Kings Cross by public transport quick and easily. But there are also some attractions within walking distance like platform 9 3/4, Camden Town and the British Museum, one of the largest museums of human history and culture worldwide, as well as nice pubs and restaurants.
London on a budget
Option 1 - South Kensington
London on a budget is a difficult subject, because London is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Today there are many budget airlines flying from and to London and therefore the expenses for an accommodation often eat up the biggest part of the travel budget. But there are also pretty cheap hotel chains like the Easy Hotel with seven houses in London. The cheapest rooms according to their website are at Easy hotel South Kensington, which is close to the Natural History Museum, Kensington Garden and Holland Park. One night costs approx. £55.00*. Other centrally located Easy Hotels are in Westminster (Victoria), Paddington and East London (Old Street).
How to spend as less money as possible in London for food, public transport or sightseeing, can be read in my blog post "How to travel London on a budget".
Option 2 - Rotherhithe
Do you know Rotherhithe in London? This neighbourhood is located south of the River Thames east of Southwark. There you will find the hostel YHA London Thamesside. It offers dorms for approx. £20.00* or double rooms for approx. £45.00*. The overground station Rotherhithe is 5 walking minutes away. From there you can reach the East End (Shoreditch High Street) in 20 minutes. In Shoreditch one of the cheapest possibilities for delicious food is the Brick Lane Market. By the way, the YHA Hostel has other houses which are located more centrally but a double room in Central London is way more expensive.
Option 3 - Canary Wharf
Another cheap accommodation is the Point A Hotel Canary Wharf. The hotel is located 10 walking minutes from the eponymous tube station. From there the Jubilee Line brings you to the London Bridge (7 minutes / 3 stops), to Westminster (12 minutes / 6 stops) or to Baker Street at Regents Park (20 minutes / 9 stops). Moreover, with the DLR you are at the Tower or at St Pauls Cathedral in 20 minutes. A double room at Point A Hotel Canary Wharf costs approx. £55.00*.
*Hotel prices in London highly depend on the date of booking and the period of your stay.
The alternative London
Option 1 - East End
The East End is one of the most diversified areas in London. Worlds collide here. While business people work in the skyscrapers around Liverpool Street, street artist create new artworks around Brick Lane. Additional to international street art you will find the best Indian and Oriental food of the city as well as alternative fashion in this multi-cult quarter. On weekends there is the Brick Lane Market which offers great street food and fashion but also on weekdays there are many great shops and restaurants. Furthermore, the East-End is one of the best areas in London to go out at night.
Option 2 - Camden Town
Camden is also well-known for its alternative scene and there are even more similarities between Camden Town and the East-End. The equivalent of Brick Lane Market is Camden Market. It offers alternative fashion and many street art stalls with great international street food. The visitors here are just as various as in East London and the streets around Camden High Street are full of street art and colourful houses. But for musicians and lovers of rock music of all sorts like punk, indie, gothic and hard core, Camden is the better area to stay at. For decades in the clubs in Camden alternative music trends and bands are born. But please note: Recently the East-End is also getting more and more popular but Camden is overcrowded by tourists every day of the week for many years. On weekends sometime the tube station Camden Town is closed because there are too many people.
London for shopping lovers
Option 1 - Mayfair / Soho
The Oxford Street in the north of Mayfair is Londons most famous shopping street and one of the streets with the strongest sales in Europe. Start your shopping tour at Marble Arch close to Hyde Park and keep walking until the end of the street (2 km). You will pass by a huge Primark, Nike Town, Urban Outfitters, Selfridges, a Disney Store and many other shops. Then go to Regents Street which crosses Oxford Street. Popular shops on this street are the toy store Hamleys, the department store Liberty or the Apple Store. You can shop at this street until you reach Piccadilly Circus or you can go left (before Liberty) to Soho. In Soho the Carnaby Street is the most popular shopping street.
Option 2 - Chelsea
In Chelsea the most popular shopping street is King‘s Road, where many small boutiques and designer shops like Vivienne Westwoods World´s End are located. Antique lovers should go to Chelsea´s Antiques Market.
Option 3 - Stratford
Westfield Stratford City is the largest shopping mall in Europe. In the 250 shops you will find everything you need. The mall is located in East London, next to the Olympic Park. If you don´t have a hotel in Stratford you can go there by public transport (overground, Central or Jubilee Line).
London with kids
Option 1 - Kensington
Kensington is a good choice when exploring London with kids. At Exhibition Road there are two museums, which are also interesting for kids, the Natural History Museum with a great dinosaurs exhibition and the Science Museum. Moreover kids can play at the Princess Diana Memorial Playground at Kensington Gardens, or do a small boat trip in the neighbouring Hyde Park.
Option 2 - Regent´s Park
The Regent´s Park offers a lot of space to play. Moreover the zoo is located in the park. Book your tickets in advance because online tickets are a bit cheaper. Adults pay £24.30 for a tickets, children £18.00 and children under 3 years are free. The zoo also is included in the London Pass. If you want to visit a lot of tourist attractions in London, check if buying this pass is the better option than buying tickets individually. Close to Regents Park is the famous wax museum Madame Tussauds as well as the Sherlock Holmes Museum for little detectives. Not far from the park is the train station Kings Cross where you can find platform 9 3/4 and a Harry Potter fan shop.
Option 3 - Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace is located approx. 10 km to the south of Westminster (journey time approx. 45 minutes). There you can feel like in prehistoric times because at Crystal Palace Park there are some life-size dinosaurs statues. Moreover, there is a camping site, a skate park and a small lake. For families a cheap hotel is the Travelodge London Crystal Palace. Early bookers can find a family room here for approx. 35.00 GBP per night.
London for party people
Option 1 - Shoreditch
My first choice for going out at night in London is Shoreditch. It doesn´t matter if you are looking for an authentic British pub, an extraordinary bar, a great restaurant or a cool dance club. The atmosphere is hip and relaxed. You don´t have to dress up but you can if you want to. Some recommendations:
- Barrio Shoreditch - delicious cocktails in colourful theme rooms
- Queen of Hoxton - nice roof top terrace
- The Pride of Spitalfields - an authentic pub
- The Old Blue Last - often free or cheap concerts
- Rossopomodoro - delicious pizza and pasta
- Meraz Café - delicious curries
- Cargo - Cool night club
- Ballie Ballerson - Bar with ball pools
Option 2 - Soho
Soho in the heard of London is probably the most colourful and dazzling party area of the city. For most bars and clubs you need to dress up a little bit. But there are not only clubs, pubs and bars in Soho, where you can drink and dance until the break of dawn; the West-End offers many theatres, musical and stand-up comedy shows as well. Some recommendations:
- Cahoots - Vintage tube-themed bar
- Barrio Soho - Colourful cocktail bar
- Argyll Arms - Victorian pub
- Archer Street - Stylish bar with singing waiters
- Ain’t Nothin’ But - Blues bar
- The Comedy Store - Stand Up Comedy
- Queens Theater - Les Misérables Musical
Option 3 - Stoke Newington
The neighbourhood Stoke Newington is located north of Shoreditch. In recent years it became a popular area for going out at night. Today there are many bars, clubs and restaurants and definitely more locals than in Soho and Shoreditch. Some recommendations:
- The Nest - Night club
- Auld Shillelagh - Irish pub
- Ruby´s - Cocktail bar
- The Prince - Pub
- L´Antica Pizzeria da Michele - Pizzeria from Naples (known from the film Eat Pray Love)
London for nature lovers
Option 1 - Greenwich
Who wants to explore London but likes to stay in a quit and green area, you should book a hotel in Greenwich. It is quieter than in the city centre but you can reach many famous tourist attractions quick and easily. Particular quiet and green is the Greenwich Park, a large and beautiful park which offers a great view over London. Furthermore, some interesting attractions are located in Greenwich like the National Maritime Museum, the Royal Greenwich Observatory or the Greenwich Market.
Option 2 - Hampstead
Hampstead is located in North London, 10 minutes from Kings Cross (Northern Line). It is where the stars and millionaires live. I guess they especially love the beautiful park Hampstead Heath. In this green oasis is the great viewpoint Parliament Hill, which offers a fantastic view to the skyline of London. In addition you can go swimming in a small swimming pond, visit the Kenwood House (a former manor house), watch a movie in the open air cinema or visit the small Golders Hill Park Zoo.
Option 3 - Richmond
Richmond is located outside the centre of London (approx. 15 km from Westminster - 35 minutes with the District Line). There is the largest royal park of the city. You can relax, hike, ride a bike, see deer or visit a botanical garden at Richmond Parks. And the famous Royal Botanic Garden Kew, one of the oldest botanical gardens worldwide, is also located in Richmond.
London for luxury lovers
Option 1 - St James
In the neighbourhood St James, close to Piccadilly Circus, St James Park and Green Park, There are many 5 star hotels like the Ritz, Sofitel and Stafford. Hotels are super expensive but offer pure luxury.
Option 2 - Notting Hill
In Notting Hill there are many beautiful Victorian houses in bright colours. You can take a stroll, dine in the exclusive restaurants or shop in some designer stores. A nice luxury hotel in Notting Hill is the "Laslett".
Option 3 - Knightsbridge
In Knightsbridge is the most exclusive department store in London - Harrods. On the ground floor tourists love to shop souvenirs but on the upper floors you can shop luxury designer fashion. A nice hotel for luxury lovers is the hotel Bulgari. Some of the exclusive rooms offer an amazing view over Londons most famous park, Hyde Park.
Please note: Of course London has also other beautiful areas; for example the City of London, where the St. Pauls Cathedral is located, Tower Hamlets, where the Tower is located, Islington or Southbank, where the London Eye is located. The areas mentioned in this post are just some personal recommendations.
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