London is one of the most popular cities in the world for tourists with over 19 million people visiting the British capital in 2016. However, given the large size of London, one of the most challenging issues for all travellers and especially first time visitors is determining what is the best area to stay in London for tourists. Each London neighbourhood can provide travellers with a completely different experience of the city.
Furthermore, given London is fairly spread out, choosing the best area to stay in London for first time visitors is particularly crucial to ensure you don’t spend unnecessary time commuting to the sites you want to see.
So without further to do, here’s our guide to the best London neighbourhoods for tourists and first time visitors based on what interests you most about visiting the British capital!
Best Place To Stay in London For Sightseeing – Belgravia, Kensington or Knightsbridge
If it’s your first time visiting London and the primary aim of your trip is to see all the major sites and visit the world famous museums then you might as well stay as close as possible to them! All three of Belgravia, Kensington and Knightsbridge are located in West London and are only minutes walk from some of London’s most famous landmarks including Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Westminister Abbey.
Whilst this part of London is undoubtedly more expensive, the proximity to the sites makes these three suburbs the best area to stay in London for first time visitors and tourists whose primary aim is to sightsee!
- Astor Hyde Park Hostel – great budget option in this area offering a mix of dorm and private rooms. The hostel has a brilliant common area, large kitchen and cheap breakfast available with proceeds going to charity. Click here to see their latest prices
- Eden Plaza Kensington – mid-range hotel located just a few minutes walk from the Science Museum and Natural History Museum. Also well connected with nearby Tube stations. Click here to see their latest prices
- Park Grand London Kensington – luxury option located close to Earl’s Court Tube Station. The hotel has a contemporary design and is popular with business travellers in London. A good option if you want to splurge in this area! Click here to see their latest prices
Click here to browse other options in the best area to stay in London for sightseeing!
Best Place To Stay in London For Shopping – Soho
If you’re coming to London to explore some of the world famous shopping that the British capital has to offer then look no further then staying in Soho. Soho is located within walking distance of Oxford Street, arguably London’s most famous shopping street with over 300 shops featuring some of the world’s best-known brands. You can also walk to Covent Garden for more boutique shops and possibly even go to the Knightsbridge to visit Harrods department store.
Soho is also full of restaurants and bars, as well being within walking distance of most of the major theatres if you want to see a West End show during your time in London. All these things undoubtedly make Soho one of the best places to stay in London for tourists.
- SoHostel – funky hostel, only a few minutes walk from Oxford Street. Breakfast is included in the rate and they also have a TV lounge and bar downstairs to meet other travellers. Click here to see their latest prices
- Z Hotel Soho – cool boutique hotel located right in the centre of Soho. The rooms have been stylishly decorated and there are a number of great cafes, restaurants and bars nearby. Click here to see their latest prices
- Sanderson Hotel – a sleek luxury hotel which is only two minutes walk from Oxford Street. The hotel has amazing facilities include a modern gym, spa and a restaurant/bar downstairs. Very spacious rooms! Click here to see their latest prices
Click here to browse other options in the best area to stay in London for tourists who want to shop!
Best Place To Stay in London For Family – Paddington or Knightsbridge
Paddington and Knightsbridge are located on opposite sides of Hyde Park, making them a great option if you’re visiting London as a family. In case you’re not aware, Hyde Park is one of the largest green spaces in London with a number of playgrounds for children to choose from. The advantage of Knightsbridge is that you will also be close to the museums, many of which have exhibitions tailored specifically towards children such as the Science Museum and Natural History Museum.
However, as Paddington is more of a residential area it means there’ll likely be larger places to rent for cheaper prices compared to Knightsbridge which is popular with many first time visitors to London. Paddington is also close to the London Zoo and has plenty of places to see for children that are fans of Paddington Bear!
- Publove @ The Green Man – if you want to full English experience of staying above a pub then this is a great option! This hostel has been recently refurbished and sits above a London pub that is open 24 hours. Dorms only. Click here to see their latest prices
- Hotel Edward – located a few minutes walk from Paddington station, this is a great budget hotel that offers basic amenities. Click here to see their latest prices
- The Capital – if money isn’t a factor, then staying at this 5-star hotel will undoubtedly be an amazing experience. It’s located close to Harrods, has a Michelin-starred restaurant and offers traditional afternoon teas! Click here to see their latest prices
Click here to browse other options in the best area to stay in London for tourists travelling as a family!
Best Place To Stay in London For Nightlife – Shoreditch
Once considered the dodgy part of London, gentrified Shoreditch is now arguably the most trendy part of England’s capital making it the best place to stay in London for nightlife, hip restaurants and cool cocktail bars. Whilst Shoreditch might be best known for its evening activities there is also plenty to keep you occupied throughout the day including exploring famous Brick Lane and Spitalfields Market or gazing at all the street art that lines Shoreditch’s streets.
Shoreditch is without a doubt one of the coolest parts of London and potentially the best area to stay in London for tourists and first time visitors who want to experience the city through a hipster’s eyes and also reduce their overall London trip cost.
- Dictionary Hostel – this hostel is set in a converted warehouse (nothing is more Shoreditch!), has its own bar, free breakfast and located right in the centre of all the Shoreditch action! Click here to see their latest prices
- The Hoxton – boutique hotel with funky and stylish rooms, located only a few minutes from Old Street Tube Station. Downstairs is a popular bar and restaurant that gets busy on weekends, however, rooms are completely soundproof. Click here to see their latest prices
- Ace Hotel – trendy hotel located within a few minutes walk of Brick Lane Market. There is a juice bar and basement bar downstairs meaning you’re covered for pretty much any type of beverage! Click here to see their latest prices
Click here to browse other options in the best area to stay in London for first time visitors and tourists who want to enjoy the nightlife!
Best Place To Stay in London For Live Music – Camden
Whilst these days Shoreditch might be considered London’s capital of cool, if you’re primarily interested in listening to live music during your evenings then it’s worth staying in Camden. In a lot of ways, Camden is quite similar to Shoreditch with its own set of cool markets to explore, hip eateries to try and bars to have a drink at. However, what makes Camden stand apart from the rest of London is its live music scene which has many venues where world-famous artists have performed such as Prince, Blur, Coldplay and many more. Camden has also produced many musicians, most famously Amy Winehouse who has a statue dedicated to her in Camden Market.
The sheer music history in Camden makes it the best area to stay in London for tourists who want immerse themselves in live music and see as many gigs as they can during their stay in London!
- Hostel One Camden – one of the highest rated hostels in London, undoubtedly due to the great atmosphere they have created. There are regular free dinners, nightly activities and a homely atmosphere making it easy to meet other travellers. Click here to see their latest prices
- The George Hotel – traditional budget hotel, located a ten-minute walk from Kings Cross Station. They serve traditional English breakfasts downstairs if you need to fuel up for a day of exploring! Click here to see their latest prices
- The Principal – lavish high-end hotel with a striking exterior located in Russell Square. Another one to consider if money isn’t a factor! Click here to see their latest prices
Click here to browse other options in the best area to stay in London for tourists who want to listen to live music!
One of the cheapest ways to find a place to stay in London, particularly if you’re travelling as a couple is to book a room via Airbnb. Airbnb has a range of different room types available including private and ensuite rooms in a shared house as well as entire places to rent. I would particularly recommend this option if you want to stay close to Shoreditch or Camden as there are a number of Airbnb options available in East London. If you have never used Airbnb before, click here to receive £25 off your first trip with Airbnb!
There’s a reason why London is one of the most popular cities in the world for travellers. The sheer number of neighbourhoods in the British capital can make it difficult to decide on the best place to stay in London for tourists. However, the fact of the matter is that you’ll never be able to see all of London in one visit and therefore it’ll probably only be a matter of time before you return and get a chance to experience a different London neighbourhood.
Are you planning to visit in London? What do you think is the best area to stay in London for tourists and first time visitors? Let us know in the comments below!