Let’s face facts; one of the first things anyone who decides to spend a few days getting away from it all and visiting the bustling, compelling metropolis that’s London realises is they have to sort out where they’re actually going to lay their figurative hat while they’re here.
Central, north, east or west; which is best? Good question. Generally speaking, all points on the London compass offer affordable, comfortable and convenient accommodation (although some areas are pricier than others; equally then, some are cheaper), so how do you really narrow down and pinpoint where to stay? Well, here are some ideas you might want to take on board…
Piccadilly Circus/ Soho – to stay in this area is to be located right at the heart of everything. Effectively sited between Oxford Circus to the north and Piccadilly Circus to the south, the Soho district is full of colour, vibrancy and energy. Famed for its nightlife venues, high-quality restaurants and traditional pubs, as well as being surrounded by many of the world’s greatest theatres and cinemas, it has a bohemian buzz like nowhere else in the capital.
Rightly sought-after as one of the most upmarket and elegant areas of London in which anyone might stay, Mayfair’s the loose diamond-shape of land that, on its four sides, is bordered by Oxford Street, Regent’s Street, Hyde Park and St. James’s Park. Needless to say then, it’s great for shopping – both high street and luxury brands – and for being close to the likes of Buckingham Palace and Kensington Gardens. For those who like combining attractions with a touch of luxury, this is the perfect spot.
famed throughout the world for sharing its name with – and being the setting for – an unforgettable British romcom hit movie, Notting Hill’s unquestionably a charming area that’s brimming with a world-class market and many a fine restaurant, eatery and boutique, as well as many a pretty terraced house painted in various appealing shades. Terrific then for foodies and sightseers, owing to its nearness to the centre of town.
a particular popular area to make their base with a great number of visitors to London, owing not just to its proximity to the hub of the city (and, thus, its vast array of attractions), but also to the mainline Paddington station (and its connections throughout the country and, maybe most significantly, to Heathrow International Airport via the Heathrow Express rail service). This charismatic district also has the advantage that much of its accommodation – for instance, a hotel near London Paddington like the London Premier Paddington – tends to be a little cheaper than that of the likes of Notting Hill, South Ken and Central London.
Another particularly prized part of town, this area’s famous for its wealthy property (and, yes, wealthy residents), as well as the three fantastic attractions that draw millions of people to ‘Albertopolis’ every year, the Natural History, Science and Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museums, along with the magnificent Royal Albert Hall.
Angel/ King’s Cross – where Central meets North London, this area (which arguably focuses on the upmarket Upper Street; the north of the city’s answer to Chelsea’s King’s Road) is popular for its antiques and vintage outlets, stylish nightlife options and fantastic dining opportunities.
one of the most attractive and peaceful parts of the entire city, Hampstead is a leafy district that admirably retains a ‘village feel’, the proud legacy of the place it once was before it was engulfed by the growing metropolis; indeed, it’s surely this that makes it so popular with tourists. It can boast beautiful architecture, old pubs and salubrious restaurants, as well as the unparalleled beauty and repose offered by the glorious greenery of Hampstead Heath, of course.
one of the most eagerly anticipated areas of London for visitors, Camden’s reputation precedes it across the entire globe. It’s the centre of so-called alternative culture in the UK capital and, thus, is crammed full of fascinating, sprawling, eye-popping and aromatic markets, as well as awesome music and comedy venues, night-spots and eateries, the latter offering cuisine from every corner of the planet. Relatively near Central London, but – as made clear – very much its own unique place, Camden tends to offer cheaper accommodation than you’ll often find in the heart of the city.
undoubtedly London’s up-and-coming area when it comes to eating out and nights out, this small district that nestles between the Islington/ Bloomsbury area of Central London and, to the east, the famous financial hub that’s The City, it’s especially popular with young people; whether they be entrepreneurs running and working for digital start-ups, dynamic artists or just revellers enjoying a good time. Much that’s best about Shoreditch revolves around Old Street with its modern, dynamic vibe, but the exoticism of Brick Lane, the market bargains of Spitalfields and the transport links of Liverpool Street are all within easy walking distance.