Find somewhere to stay in London’s best districts and enjoy the wonders of the British capital!
The holidays will soon be upon us, and you have decided to drop your bags in Londinium, a small town founded nearly 2000 years ago by the Romans and today one of the most important cities in the world: so let’s set off for London! There’s just one problem – which this article is here to solve – you know nothing about London, its 8.7 million inhabitants, and its twenty districts, let alone where to stay in London.
London is full of districts with different atmospheres, in terms of culture, history, types of people living there and their lifestyles. Here is a non-exhaustive mini-guide of the areas to stay in London.
Photo credit: Flickr – Koala99
This is probably the most famous London district in the whole world. Why? Because it is emblematic of the United Kingdom and the monuments that make it London’s political and touristic centre: Big Ben. Having said that, staying in London in Westminster will be expensive. Very expensive.
The British Parliament sits in the Palace of Westminster, adjacent to the famous clock: Big Ben. Who hasn’t taken its picture while visiting London? There is also the famous Buckingham Palace – seat of the British parliamentary monarchy – and Westminster Abbey. Watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, it’s worth a look. In Westminster, you can visit Westminster Cathedral, a Byzantine-style church. The district is on the banks of the Thames, and is very central. The streets are deserted in the evening and there aren’t any places to go out: this is not a place to stay in London for fans of drinking and wild parties. Westminster will suit day visitors who like to sleep early, to visit the next day.
Soho, Marylebone and Mayfair
Photo credit: Flickr – Andrew Sorensen
These are three central London districts too, adjoining the three largest parks in the city centre: Hyde Park, Green Park and St James Park. Soho is described as inspiring, pleasant and central. But it’s also the liveliest part, the most busy, as the English would say. It is full of bars, pubs, museums and shops – from independent traders and artisan stylists to big chains – small intimate jazz clubs, cozy cafes, and good restaurants. On the itinerary, Covent Garden market in the morning, visit the National Gallery in the afternoon, party at night.
Soho is also the most Gay friendly neighbourhood in London, and there are many things to see. Have you heard of Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, Oxford Street, Carnaby Street? All these emblematic places are concentrated in the district of Soho. The atmosphere is multicultural, dynamic and festive. So, if you are looking for quiet places to rest, choose another area to stay in London. At Mayfair and Marylebone, you’ll find mansions, luxury hotels, and many embassies. Mayfair is the most expensive property on an English Monopoly board… If you are tired of the tumult of Picadilly Circus, these two neighbourhoods will offer you a little more calm. A central place, calm, dotted with greenery but plan your budget accordingly!
Chelsea and Kensington
Photo credit: Flickr – Márcio Cabral de Moura
This is the model of upscale London. Nevertheless, you will find pleasant parks and you will enjoy wandering the streets to at least contemplate the houses’ Victorian style architecture. This district is home to the largest concentration of museums to visit in London. For example, walk through the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum. These two areas to stay in London are also very expensive. For a cultural trip and successful shopping expeditions while sampling the capital’s upmarket treats not far from the Thames, they will be the perfect choice.
Photo credit: Flickr – Eduard Díaz i Puig
This district displays London’s charm, with small shops to wander around, the Portobello weekend market, Ladbroke Square Garden to explore in good weather. The district is quite quiet on weekdays, but out of the way. The atmosphere is calm and romantic, far from the hustle and bustle of Soho and the City. In the summer, Notting Hill’s Caribbean carnival is a popular tourist attraction. On the budget side of things, this area to stay in London offers better options, prices are more moderate. Ideal for an extended weekend for summer couples.
Southwark and South Bank
Photo credit: Flickr – David Merrigan
This area on the southern banks of the Thames offers good accommodation options: there are many moderately priced places to stay – affordable hostels and more comfortable hotels – close to the city centre, countless cultural activities and all you could possibly need in bars and restaurants to relax on the terrace. This district is very touristy and will delight visitors in search of a compromise between places to go out and tranquillity.